Friday, November 15, 2013

Home For Christmas?

Families are God's idea and His design. At GBH we understand God's plan is best. Though we can pour all of our love, time and resources into caring for our babies, we cannot give them the sense of belonging that comes with having a mommy and daddy. For this reason, we pray for "forever families" EVERYDAY for our babies.

Psalm 68:6 says that God sets the lonely in families. True to His word, God has heard and is answering our prayers. Currently Maria, Daniela, and Jesus are in the adoption process with the social services. It is our prayer that these precious little ones celebrate this Christmas in their new homes.

Still to be completed are the selection of families, many appointments, and much paperwork. But we know that if it is God's timing and His will, nothing is impossible for Him. Please join us in this prayer; that Maria, Daniela and Jesus would be Home For Christmas.

Posted by Juan Strutton at 8:20 PM

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Baby Dream Dinners

All our babies come with a history of early trauma of some sort. One very important component to their healing is nutrition. Appropriate quantities of vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fiber are essential to the healing process and brain development.

One of our missionaries, Donna Werdenie, has spent time researching and understanding this relationship between nutrition, brain growth, and healing - particularly in relation to early trauma. She has carefully planned and constructed meal plans for optimal brain development.

Using recipes that are both delicious and baby-friendly, Donna spends her Saturdays cooking and preparing meals for the following week. Her ingredients are fresh and organic (when possible). Baby-sized portions are dished into containers, labeled, and placed in the freezer. The weekly meal plan is posted on the fridge where our GBH team can easily read and follow it.

Someone commented that our system was a lot like “Dream Dinners”. I guess you could call it “Baby Dream Dinners”:)

Posted by Juan Strutton at 11:34 AM

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Many ask about immunizations and what that process looks like for our babies here in Mexico. First of all, health care in general is very different to what we are accustomed to in the States. This is one of many areas we are still navigating through, learning as we go. However, out of necessity we have walked through the immunization process many times and feel like we understand the protocol.

In the States we schedule our "well baby visits" around a vaccination schedule. Every month to two months during the first years of our babies' lives we pack up the diaper bag and head to the pediatrician's office. There our babies' progress and growth are measured, the doctor addresses any concerns, and nervous moms are reassured. On the way out the door our babies receive their vaccinations, often with a dose of Tylenol so as not to experience any discomfort in the next few hours. Those visits are followed up by a phone call from the nurse or doctor himself, checking in to see how our babies are doing after their shots. 

At Grace Babies' Home, when we get a new baby we work with our Mexican Director, Martin Castro, to obtain the baby's Seguro Social (social security/public health ID number). With that number, we are able to take the baby to the Centro de Salud (public health center), which is located next to the general hospital. 

Once inside the Centro de Salud we poke our heads into the small room where the vaccinations take place to let them know we are there. They immediately recognize us and move us to the front of the list. On this particular day there were five newborns in front of us when we arrived.

We wait in a multipurpose waiting room in the furthest seat away from the 40 others waiting to see a doctor. This photo is only about 1/4 of the waiting room. The rest was full. We waited about a half hour before they called us in.

Once in the room the nurses work efficiently to administer the shots and record what was given. A date is given for our return.

At this visit Santiago also received a TB vaccination in his arm. This is something new for us as this particular vaccination is not given in the States and is followed by a reaction that leaves a nasty scar.

We understand that around the globe many children die of diseases that are preventable with vaccinations. While our experience is different than in the States, we are grateful that our babies do have vaccinations available to them.


Posted by Juan Strutton at 1:58 PM

Saturday, June 29, 2013

New Arrivals

Two of our most frequently asked questions are: "Where do the babies come from?" and, "What is the process for bringing a new baby into your home?'  On Wednesday, seven-month-old Santiago and nine-month-old Amelia joined our GBH family. We would like to use their arrival to answer those questions.

When we have funding and trained staff in place (1:2 baby to adult ratio and $500 committed monthly financial support per baby), we let our Mexican Director, Martin Castro, know that we are ready for more babies. Martin then works with the DIF (Mexican Social Services) to coordinate which babies will come and when. All our babies come through the DIF.

The DIF will set up a time to bring the babies to us, or Martin will pick them up from the central shelter where they are currently being housed. 

When they arrive we offer a bottle so that their tummies are full and we can start them on a feed-wake-sleep schedule. This all happens very slowly, allowing time to take in their new environment, new sounds, and new friends.

New babies are given their own white board where we will keep notes of their daily lives for the rest of their stay at GBH. 

There can be up to forty babies at one time in the DIF shelter. For them to keep accurate records and identify them correctly, they wear wrist bands at all times. We cut the bands off and save them in their file.

GBH Director, Juan Strutton, reads through the file on each baby. If any changes in care are required, he notifies the staff, otherwise the file remains private.
Babies are weighed and measured. A growth chart is started.

Babies are carefully and tenderly bathed. Crazy, fun, splashing baths are a ways off yet:)

We try to get medical attention within the first 48 hours of the babies' arrival. KT is a bilingual pediatric nurse practitioner, who is amazing. She explains anything we may medically be unsure of and helps us get the babies on the road to health and wellness.

On this particular visit we had a brief lecture on respiratory issues, an explanation on all the meds that were prescribed before their arrival, a hands on lesson in how to work our nebulizer, as well as a written "if-then" plan for step-by-step asthma treatment. Phew!

Amelia and Santiago arrived Wednesday. They are already showing signs of improvement in their health. As they start to feel better, their personalities begin to emerge. Santiago is generally a happy little guy. Amelia is quiet and very sweet. Both share an undeniable resemblance to the image of their Maker. Thank you for keeping these two new little ones in your prayers.
Posted by Juan Strutton at 4:28 PM

Thursday, June 6, 2013

For In Due Season We Shall Reap

In January 2012 we had recently said good-bye to our first baby, Natalia, and we were waiting on the social services to send us another baby.... any day. When days rolled into weeks, we disappointingly entertained the idea that perhaps this would be a forty-day time of testing and waiting. Well, we were right about the testing and waiting, but way off on the timing. We actually waited close to ten months for God to bring us our next babies.
Very First Bloom - March 2012

During this time we kept busy putting some finishing touches on the home; one of those touches being landscaping. We were limited to what we could plant because our leach lines run under every inch of dirt around us. So we settled on some giant pots that could be placed around the perimeter of the property. We thought it would be both fun and practical to fill the pots with fruit trees. So, with zero "fruit tree experience", we picked up nine bear-root trees from Costco. Even our friends from British Colombia who helped us plant the trees were skeptical that the two-foot twigs would ever show any sign of life, much less fruit.

Donna Werdenie, a missionary who lives and serves at GBH, was certain our trees would one day produce fruit. She made index cards with scripture about bearing fruit and walked by the trees several times a day asking God to make them fruitful. During extensive times of prayer and seeking the Lord for the ministry, we began to feel like our tiny little fruit twigs were somehow symbolic of our faith journey at GBH. By spring of 2012 the trees had leaves and flowers. By summer we had a couple very small, uneatable nectarines and pears. This spring most of our trees produced beautiful blossoms and we are anticipating some fruit. Observing the trees change through the seasons and mature over time, we do see a little of our journey in theirs.

Today's Apple Blossoms
We can only reap what we have sown. We can not expect avocados when we did not plant any avocado trees. At GBH the fruit of our labor are lives transformed by Jesus Christ. Specifically, He has given us a vision for healing. The seeds that we sow are specific to the fruit that we expect to bear. The greatest healing seed we sow is prayer. We pray every day for miracles of healing in our babies. Others include education and training, nutrition, small adult to child ratio, planned sensory activities, and play that promotes healing.

There is much effort that must be expended before fruit can be enjoyed. Our trees need to be watered. We've had to replenish the soil in the pots several times. They need to be fertilized and sprayed for pests. Branches need to be pruned and weeds need to be pulled. So it is with our faith journey at GBH; fruit doesn't just happen, it requires a great deal of effort. Effort is labor, and labor is most often difficult and unrecognized. For every one smile, giggle, new word, first step, and connection of trust, there have been hundreds of bottles made, diapers changed, sleepless nights, interrupted naps, rejection of homemade food, loads of laundry, spills, and oh-so-exhausting tantrums. Only those who tend the tree, and the Maker of the tree, know the depth of labor represented by a beautiful blossom or savory fruit.

Today's Peaches
Bearing fruit takes time. Many months pass with the appearance that nothing is happening, until one day you look out and see that the tree is covered in tiny little buds. Then one day you notice a beautiful little flower. After the tree is in full bloom you begin to recognize tiny little fruit replacing the blooms. Then begins hopeful expectation while you watch the fruit grow and ripen. At GBH, we know what it feels like to watch for many months while seemingly nothing happens. We know the beauty and fragrance of those first smiles. We rejoice over the fruit of our labor when we are eye witnesses to healing. But there is no instant fruit and there are no shortcuts to speed up the process.

So, as we look out our window and see what used to be tiny little twigs beginning to produce fruit, we rejoice in the similar journey that God has our GBH family on. Through much labor and long periods of hopeful expectation, we too are beginning to see fruit in the lives of the precious little ones under our roof.
Posted by Juan Strutton at 1:18 PM

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tía Mary

Mary Fruin is an amazing, young woman of God. We have asked her to write about how she came to be an intern at Grace Babies' Home and a little about her experiences here. We hope that her story encourages other young women to take this step of faith to come serve God's little ones in this way.

Hello All!

My name is Mary and I'm an intern at Grace Babies' Home. My family moved to Mexico on March 1st of 2008, with the vision of working with, and helping orphanages in any way that we could. As usual, things didn't really pan out as we planned. God had His own plan set out for us, which did involve construction on orphanages, but was mostly about other things. We've done a lot of construction, on orphanages, churches, feeding kitchens, etc., we've translated for groups (once our Spanish was at a proficient level), we've helped organize groups, we help in Sunday school, we're pretty much a variety show. But after almost five years of living in Mexico, God has directed some of us back to the ministry of caring for the fatherless. Shortly after some of the members in my family, including me, started volunteering at another babies' home, I offered my assistance to Jody, the intern coordinator and a good friend of mine. I started helping out once a week and a couple weeks later, I found myself filling in for the educational coordinator, Donna, while she was visiting family and friends in Jamaica. Well, when she got back I was told that they wanted me to stay on. I was offered a paid job, but lacked the correct visa to work in Mexico, so I stayed on as an intern. I'm SO glad I did!

My day is usually filled with fun. In the morning I have my alone time or I can go talk to the ladies that are on the morning shift. I usually try to do my laundry, Bible college homework, eat, and do my Bible study in the morning so I don't have to stay up as late at night. At 1pm I go on shift. There's an overlap hour between shifts for a changing of hands, and staff meeting (Bible study, training session, games, and prayer), and then at 2pm everyone else, but Jody (my shift partner) leaves. The babies are down for their naps, and we eat lunch, chat, and sometimes work on our bible study if time allows. After that, the babies get up and the fun begins! We've done so many fun activities that it would be silly to name them all, but some of my favorites are definitely the water table, a walk to the market (usually on Wednesday mornings), finger painting, and a Jello sensory bucket (a plastic bin filled with Jello and toys). Most of our special activities require bathing afterward, so they get a bath most every day. After bath and a bottle, comes bed, and they are all back in bed by 7:30pm. Most days, are very fun. We have rough days, the same as anyone else, but we get through it and start anew the next day.

Being an intern IS hard... but it's TOTALLY worth it! I'm not particularly good at getting along with people, and guess what! There are people here! But I'm also surrounded by amazingly wise people, that are ready to help me at my beck and call! Being an intern, although very fun, does require you to give up of yourself, and every time we do that for someone else Satan throws a temper tantrum. You can expect it to be difficult because what you're doing is good! If you're thinking about becoming an intern, I would tell you to watch for depression, worry, anger, frustration, and any other sin you struggle with normally, because my experience is that the devil gets mad, and hits you where you're weakest. I don't want to scare you away from becoming an intern though, on the contrary! I want to help you be better prepared for the time when God starts pulling on your heart, telling you to go, and you start questioning.

God has been so good to me. Through my time here I have learned more about His marvelous creation and His love, the power of prayer, patience, and so many other things. This has been a huge growing experience for me, and I'm sure it will be for you too.

I would encourage you to start praying about how you can get involved in this ministry, whether or not that means becoming an intern. There are many, many ways you can help. Number one being, PRAYER! I can't stress enough the power of prayer. What a privilege to be able to talk to the God Almighty!

And as I say a prayer for you, I ask you do the same for me.

Until next time! May you be truly blessed.

Thanks for reading!

If you are viewing this post via email, you will need to go directly to the blog to see the photos.

If you are interested in serving as an intern at GBH click here for more information and to request an application.
Posted by Juan Strutton at 11:59 AM

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Laughter, the Best Medicine


This video will brighten your day. Click here to view it. Feel free to pass it on anyone who needs to see the Joy of the Lord in the life of one of His little ones.

Posted by Juan Strutton at 9:30 AM

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Birthday Celebration

"So we see that the power of our spoken blessings flows first of all from the abundance of our Creator’s own blessedness – and from His wise and loving intention to bless His children with whatever is truly our highest good. When we verbalize a blessing upon others, we have the privilege of taking part in channeling God’s goodness to them and in directing them into the Lord’s will."

~ Excerpted from The Power of Spoken Blessings by Bill Gothard

When we started thinking about Maria and Daniela’s first birthday celebration, we knew it would be the first of many at Grace Babies’ Home and we wanted to plan something simple yet significant. It could not be so extravagant that we would have difficulty matching it throughout the coming years. Nor could it be something so overwhelming that it compromised the girls’ feelings of security in our home. Understanding that the girls would in all likelihood not remember the event, it needed to have an eternal purpose that went beyond gifts and cake. We also wanted to include the multitude of extended members of our GBH family who love the girls and touch their lives through prayer and support. This is when we came up with the idea of creating a time capsule and filling it with written blessings.

We invited our extended GBH family to send in their written blessings for each of the girls. At the party we took the time to read aloud and speak each blessing upon the girls. Those blessings were then placed in a container that will follow the girls when the Lord moves them on to their forever families.

The celebration was full of special memories and princess themed decorations. The girls enjoyed their own personal cakes, homemade by Tia Jody and Tia Mary. Their time capsules were personalized and decorated by Tia Donna. Gifts were opened, laughter was heard, and lots of photos were taken.

It is however comforting to know that while the cakes and decorations are now history, the blessings of God’s word will endure. They will go on channeling God's goodness to them and directing Maria and Daniela into the Lord's will for eternity.

Posted by Juan Strutton at 6:58 AM

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