Since from before I was born, my family has been adventuring down to an orphanage just south of Tijuana, called Door of Faith. Over the years, more and more people have started joining us, including this last Friday when we had the opportunity to attend with a few families from the Live Oak Canyon Ward. The morning usually starts with loading the car with the supplies, meeting up with everyone, saying a prayer, and then driving down towards San Diego. And then, (after the traditional McDonalds breakfast stop,) we cross the border with our cars, keeping everyone together, and then drive a little further south to La Misión. Once we arrive, we unload, fix the children and staff lunch, and spend the rest of the afternoon playing with the kids.
In most circumstances, these kids come from broken homes, or a lack of one completely. Many sent to the orphanage suffer from abuse, abandonment, and neglect. They are faced with some of the harshest realities of the world at a young age. While it's better than living on the streets, many dreary and dysfunctional orphanages and foster homes would not be much of an upgrade. Many are ridden with bullying, violence, and, to a young child, a sense of being invisible and unwanted.
However, at Door of Faith, this is not the case.
This orphanage was founded on the beliefs of family, love, and Christ. The buildings and playground are painted in bright colors. Prayer is said before school, at meals, and at bedtime. Cakes are baked on every child's birthday. Dorm parents are placed with each age group. Lynette, one of the owners, cuts and styles everyone's hair. Each child is taught the importance of education, and after school, are supported in college. DJ, the "father" of the orphanage, is asked a few times a year to give grown up girls away at their weddings. They are a family. These children are taught that they are NOT what's been done to them, but that they have a purpose in life. They are taught to love thy neighbor as thyself, and they actively serve in soup kitchens, volunteer projects, and other less fortunate orphanages on a weekly basis. They attend church, as a family, every Sunday. Every child feels welcome, and every child feels loved.
The Spirit present when serving at this orphanage is completely unique and beautiful. Despite everything they have gone through, these smiley kiddos are filled with happiness and hope. To feel how loving a family can be when centered around Christ, (even a family with more than 100 kids,) is a very tender experience. Just walking onto the grounds, you can feel the tremendous amount of love Heavenly Father has for these kids, and for all of His children around the world.
He has a plan for each one of us, a plan to bring us eternal and lasting happiness. Jesus Christ suffered so that we can eventually conquer any circumstance, heartbreak, or trial we face. God's love is not limited to any race, group, gender, or religion. It is not limited to only those who want or deserve His love either. He simply has a boundless, unfailing love for all of His children. Because He loves us, He has blessed us with families and people we can love like family to take care of us, and to find happiness with. What an honor it has been to witness this so clearly these many years serving at Door of Faith.
If anyone would like any further information about this wonderful orphanage and what they believe, visit www.dofo.org
Article written, video filmed and edited by the talented Devoree Shields