John & Teresa
John & Teresa
We first met Brayan at the Beach in Cabo San Lucas. It wasn’t a planned encounter. Teresa and I were playing tourists, enjoying the 75-degree warm, winter sunshine of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. But while Americans and Canadians were enjoying beverages in the sun, the kids in Cabo were working.
Brayan approached us with his homemade potato chips and Valentia Hot Sauce, asking us to buy. We soon discovered his needs and those of his family were much greater than just making a sale.
Brayan was easy to identify. Among all the kids selling food and souvenirs on Medano Beach that day, only one child had an eye permanently wandering in the Wrong direction—a condition known as “Strabismus.” Brayan was unable to align both his eyes upon the object of his attention. (That's Brayan, in photo to right, before his operation.)
Some might call it an accidental encounter with Brayan. Depends on your prospective; others would say it was preordained. Either way, this was our introduction to the kids that live on the other side of Cabo, about five kilometers up dusty dirt roads and far from the fancy tourist hotels.I
Throughout our marriage, Teresa would tell me about her experiences growing up poor in Chihuahua, Mexico, near the Texas border. We would compare her life with my rather privileged upbringing. And sitting on the beach that day with our new friend, Brayan, we could no longer be “just” tourists, enjoying the beach in Cabo anymore.
We needed to find a way to change lives, to be part of the solution to the poverty found in Mexico.
Our encounter with Brayan turned out to be part of the answer to the question we had been asking each other, and God:
“How can we find our niche to help poor people in a city filled with both rich tourists and impoverished residents?”
Months before that day we had ventured into the streets on the poor side of Cabo, learning about the people’s needs and the extent to which these needs were being met. During those trips in our aging minivan we came across Amigos de Los Ninos, an organization that gives free operations to kids in need. Among these surgeries—eye operations! That day on the beach, as we munched on Brayan’s potato chips (Teresa’s with hot sauce; mine without), we asked Brayan to join us for lunch on the beach the following day to talk about the possibilities of surgery. He arrived on time—along with three other children from his neighborhood who heard that a couple of Americans were buying lunch!
Our group of young friends had grown to four...! Teresa then invited the four to go to the movies. A couple of days later, our four new friends walked five kilometers to meet her at the theater—along with six other kids who had heard a couple of Americans were buying movie tickets! Our group of young friends had now grown to 10!
Several months later, Brayan became a candidate for the free eye surgery. The operation was successful! His outlook changed—visually and socially. (Brayan is second from left in this photo.) At school, Brayan went from the boy who was laughed at to the young man the girls wanted to date!
And so, the “dots” began to connect. Our desire to change lives has now grown to 50 children and their families on the poor side of Cabo.
• Assist in meeting the physical needs of our 50+ children.
• Provide tutoring (when necessary) to assist them in completing high school, thus increasing their odds of escaping poverty.
• Provide psychological & spiritual perspectives to motivate them toward good decisions.
- We need an inexpensive way of transporting about 2,000 free jackets per year from Tennessee to Cabo. (Do you have airline connections, or extra room in shipping containers?)
- We have been able to meet the needs of this mission since 2014 through yard sales and your assistance. But the needs are growing—and so are the expenses (relational activities with children in Cabo, transporting clothing & jackets to Mexico, etc.). Please see details below about how to financially walk with us to love these children and their families.
- We need additional storage for the clothing and jackets that we bring to Mexico. A medium storage locker costs about $100 per month in Cabo San Lucas. Thanks to Dinorah and Sol Mar Resort, this need has been met!
- Tutoring may become necessary to help our 50 kids succeed in school and make it through high school. A permanent, safe location may become necessary.
- Airfare is expensive! If you have frequent flyer points/miles you would like to donate, those points would be very helpful.
- Our yard sales in Murfreesboro, TN have been the primary source of revenue for our expenses. We hope you will have items you can donate to us for those yard sales.
- We seek to partner with other non-profit organizations and/or churches to better meet the needs of families in Cabo San Lucas.
- There will come a time when a building might be necessary—a location for storage of clothing and jackets, a tutoring location, and perhaps food distribution. Such a building must be in a safe location—for us, as Americans, and for the children who are sometimes threatened by street thugs. (Such a structure and location is available now for about $55,000.)