In Your Words

A missionary kid returns home

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Over the 27 years that David and Carol Stevens have served as pastor and wife in the Church of the Nazarene they have desired to attend the Southern Nazarene University (SNU) annual Work & Witness trip called Commission Unto Mexico. Carol Stevens was born in Mexico. Her parents were independent missionaries there. She has always wanted to return.

In 2012 they decided to go on the winter trip. David and Carol had no idea about where trip coordinator Howard Culbertson had arranged to go and work on the trip. As they learned more they were excited to learn that Monclova, Mexico, was the destination. Carol was born in Monclova! As she read the SNU web site about the trip she read that one of the work teams would be going to an orphanage. Carol had heard that the missionary camp where she grew up was an orphanage. She asked David, "What is the chance that there is more than one orphanage in Monclova?"


Her hopes were confirmed: the orphanage was at the former seminary and missionary center where she had grown up. Carol was returning to her childhood home.
As they neared the city she grew nervous with anticipation. There were many things that had changed. All of their pre-conceived notions were quickly discarded. Monclova has become a modern city. The hotel was of the highest quality. Within walking distance of the hotel was an H-E-B grocery store and a Home Depot; not far away was a Sam's Club -- familiar American businesses. There was no traditional market such as is found along the border with the USA. Carol was afraid that things had changed at her childhood home as well.
As they walked to the Casa Hogar Galilea orphanage on the first day, both of them were excited. David was team leader and his mind was occupied with preparations. The team walked across a busy six-lane road, across the H-E-B parking lot, across another busy street and through the gate into the orphanage. When Carol was young, the seminary and missionary homes were outside the city limits. Now the orphanage is in the middle of a business center. The director gave Carol a personal guided tour through the buildings, ended at the house she grew up in (Carol and childhood friend in picture left). The house had been converted into a dormitory for the boys. They discussed how it was when she was young. David was very happy to see the place he had heard so much about. Both of them were happy to learn that although the seminary had moved to the city of Pachuca, the property was still being used for God's work. During the week there the team worked hard on the various assignments.
Painting the outside of the buildings was a top priority. The governmental organization that regulates orphanages was requiring some important improvements. The team painted three large buildings that week. Another project was installing fences around the water tanks and pumps. These were in a large, open-topped concrete room that was down in the earth. It was possible for children or adults to fall in. Another fence was required around their propane tank. Some of the team members helped prepare the meals. Another group worked in ministry to the children.
Missionaries John and Deborah Robinson of the Nazarene Border Initiative led the ministry to the children. Sara, one of the teens in the group, was sitting down and some of the youngest kids there came and sat on her lap and asked her, "Can you be our mama?" She had tears in her eyes as she told the team about this during the evening meeting. Everyone agreed that the work projects were a great success.
Even though this orphanage is not operated by the Church of the Nazarene, Carol and David are so thankful that it was included in this year's Commission Unto Mexico. Now they are wondering if they should go again, because the teams have been invited to return to Monclova this year. There is still much work to do among the many Nazarene Church buildings in the city of 500,000 people.
The Stevens encourage those who have been thinking about going on a Work & Witness trip to sign up for this one.
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