All posts by qanderson

oh happy day, part 28

We had quite a few new families join us on our trip to Juarez this month—and it was great fun to watch them patiently haul supplies and stack diapers/formula for the picture and then haul supplies again…before carefully putting everything on the shelves to await distribution. Here’s what you sent to Mexico!

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I swear sometimes God might be trying to kill me. I thought the stories surrounding load 27 would do me in. Little did I know load 28 would be just as wonderful! On the last night of our trip we were sitting at church listening to various members of the congregation sing and speak, when Elizabeth, Pastor Miguel’s wife, called up the kids who had been recipients of the diapers and formula you’d given. Elizabeth expressed powerful words of gratitude to you all for helping these dear families.

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It was incredible enough to look at happy, growing children who made it through infancy, but imagine watching this while knowing the family who had given the very first Babies of Juarez diapers and formula was sitting in the seats watching with me! I thought my heart would burst on the spot.

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Of course I had taken a picture of the gift that started it all. And 28 loads later I’m still taking pictures…thanks to your continued support of the babies of Juarez. God sure does love his babies!

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Look at this face and know that your gifts and efforts have truly mattered.

oh happy day, part 27

Load 27 knocked our socks off! A trailer carrying all these supplies went down to Juarez mid-January…

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And then last week I received the gift of a lifetime. My daughter Cassidy and I were graciously invited to join a team of friends down in Juarez for a house build. While there, a dear friend and head national for the organization that distributes the Babies of Juarez supplies, Leo, arranged for a group of moms and babies who have benefitted from your generosity over the years to come visit us at the team center. To say the very least, it was overwhelming. And moving. And life changing. We heard stories of babies who lived only because of the supplies you gave. We met some babies who couldn’t tolerate regular formula and required specific nutrients in the high-end formula donated by others of you. We heard stories about mothers who notice massive differences between the development of their infants, babies, and toddlers who received diapers and formula through Babies of Juarez and their older kids who managed to survive on sugar water and bean juice as babies. They described their younger children’s health, growth, and overall physical/mental development as dramatically superior.

SO—not only have your gifts meant life to so many babies, they’ve meant a better life. Last week I got to see this with my very own eyes and hear with my very own ears. You are making a tremendous difference in the lives of families in great need. And now…enjoy some pictures of these beautiful babies!

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On behalf of the babies and their mommas, thank you for your amazing support.
Quinn

oh happy day, part 26

What can I say about load 26? You should probably know how hard I’m working to tone down my enthusiasm for this particular delivery of diapers and formula. It was chock-full of cool moments. I live in lists, so here are the highlights in my favorite form.

• Only six weeks after load 25, we got to take load 26 down.

• “We” includes my dear husband, kids, parents, in-laws, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and cousin, all flying to Arizona and then driving with us to El Paso. I’m sure that piques your curiosity, so here’s the whole story.

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• It took the majority of a 6×12 trailer to haul the supplies to El Paso. (We stopped about every ten miles to refuel. You think I’m kidding!)

• A huge portion of the supplies came from a diaper drive done by our kids’ school. The support was overwhelming! Over 20,000 diapers given. (We didn’t have room to take them all with load 25, so the rest became part of 26.)

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• A good friend and ultra-active supporter of Babies of Juarez spent countless hours putting on a yard sale to benefit the cause. (Raised more than $1,200!) Some of the supplies from this load were the fruit of her family’s labor.

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• In a Walmart parking lot in El Paso, as we transferred supplies from our rented trailer into the Missions Ministries trailer, it became clear some would have to go into storage to wait for the next border crossing. A great problem to have, don’t you think?

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• Once safely across the border into Mexico, we unloaded 26 with the unsolicited help of the beloved construction crew. I came on the scene after the process had already started. Watching joy-filled faces and willing hands jump right in to tackle the project together was a life moment I will never forget. Then my moms, cousin, and sister-in-law stacked the load for the official picture. I always appreciate the patience of our team members as they recognize my need to share with you what you’ve all done together. The pictures keep us all motivated to remember the babies and their overwhelming and ongoing need.

• Unexpected rain threatened the supplies. I was happily gallivanting around Juarez with a friend shopping for mattresses, and the unload/stacking crew had headed elsewhere. So my husband, our kids, and the team center security guards quickly hauled everything indoors.

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• Back at home, we discovered the pastors of the Mexican churches had blessed us with pictures of the supplies being distributed to the families. Here’s a sampling. (Missions Ministries made the sign to thank you all for your beautiful efforts.) The most perfect cherry on top of load 26.

On Sunday, load 27 heads to Mexico. What’s that old saying about wild horses? I can’t wait to report back to you!

These words and pictures only hint of the effect of your efforts. Let them encourage you as we come together to serve others. Thank you all for the privilege of delivering your gifts and resources to help hungry babies survive and even thrive. It brings me tremendous joy.

—Quinn

oh happy day, part 23

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It’s definitely time for an update on load 23. This massive amount of supplies went across the border with a team on June 8. And on top of that—there are many more supplies that couldn’t fit in the trailer. Those stacks of diapers and formula aren’t even included in these pictures. Those remaining supplies were stored briefly in El Paso and have been taken across gradually. What an incredible job you did! Thank you, thank you.

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And you can see our team took some creative liberty assembling the supplies for the picture. Cute, isn’t it?

Some of you are new to this project—yay and WELCOME! I thought it might be helpful to give a quick rundown of how the ministry works. It’s delightfully simple and effective. People like you donate supplies or money to purchase supplies. There’s a hub in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and one in Gilbert, Arizona, has recently been added. We collect and store the diapers and formula. When a team is going to the colonias for a house-building project through Missions Ministries, the supplies are loaded and sent with that team. Missions Ministries distributes the supplies to the five local pastors in their area of service down in the colonias outside Juarez. The five pastors then distribute to the families under their care. Over the years we’ve seen pastors come the very night we arrive, late in the evening, because they knew of a hungry baby who desperately needed food. It’s a life I can only imagine. And overwhelming to say the least. Since this project started in 2007 we’ve sent 23 big loads to Juarez (see babiesofjuarez.org for pictures) and as a result the infant mortality rate has dropped significantly. It’s been my life-changing privilege to gather supplies from all of you these past few years. Thank you. Two “often asked” questions: why not cloth diapers and why don’t the moms breastfeed? The families don’t have adequate water supply to wash cloth diapers—and the moms are typically so malnourished that their milk dries up quickly.

A few noteworthy items this go-round:
–The daycare at First Baptist Church in Mesa held a diaper/formula drive and collected 1,571 diapers and enough formula to make 878 bottles! Amazing.
–Summers Laboratories in Collegeville, PA, recently donated 200 2-oz tubes of Triple Paste medicated ointment. What a wonderful gift!
–New to You consignment sale has agreed to support Babies of Juarez again by handing out our flyers at its upcoming event on Friday, September 30 and Saturday, October 1. Thank you!
–We’re gearing up for the October 9 half-marathon in Denver. Want to run or walk—or pledge support to a runner or walker? Click on the “Half Marathon” tab to contact us for information and registration.
–The June Water2Wine event was a huge success, raising close to $7,000 for the Babies of Juarez and two house-building projects. (Incredible work, friends!)
–Load 24 will go down with us on October 12. From the look of things so far, God plans to feed and diaper a whole lot of babies!

A friend of mine (a saint in my eyes) lives in Ruidoso Downs and ministers to many people in the colonias outside Juarez. He keeps me updated on certain families we know or babies being born. It was his words God used to birth the Babies of Juarez project in the first place—and he continues to encourage and inspire me. Through him I recently learned of Traike, one of the new babies we’re now privileged to love on through this project. I include these two excerpts from his notes so you can meet her too. And watch her grow!

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Thought you might enjoy this newborn photo. Our baby strategy these days is to help the mother while she is pregnant with food, fruit, and pecans. We provide one can of formula and one bag of newborn diapers before the baby is born, then they are all yours. This little one is 10 days old, comfortably sleeping and looking healthy like an American baby. Her family rents a terrible leaky house, probably will never own a home, but they live in Pastor Martin’s area and attend his church.

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Your new baby girl is named Traike. I translate it “little tranquil one.” Her mother, Lupe, brought her outside so I could see her just after she woke up from a nap, the sun was very bright and hot, but Lupe is so pleased with her life. Pastor Martin has taken them your diapers and formula and she is doing fine. They usually attend all services and outreaches at Pastor Martin’s church, so I’m sure you will see this little one in person. They live in a miserable red house at the bottom of the hill going up to Pastor Martin’s church. Her dad’s name is Antonio.

You can see how this encourages me. Real babies in rough situations being fed and diapered by your gifts.

During our June trip we heard stories of babies in great need—stories of the situation prior to Babies of Juarez supporters regularly giving and sending supplies. Many babies were being fed water skimmed from the top of boiled beans. Most families in the colonias we serve are in a one-meal-a-day situation. And those meals consist primarily of rice and beans. Due to the cost of formula, many families are simply unable to afford it and were using bean water to try and get some nutrients in their children. Can you imagine buying formula when the average income is $5-10/day? You can be sure my heart made a pledge that day to do everything possible to ensure no more babies are drinking bean water on our watch. It was a powerful story—and a reminder to me how much I’ve been given. And a reminder to me how much I want to give in return.

Thank you for your continued support. It is precious to me…

oh happy day, part 22

I’ve had difficulty finding the words to most accurately describe how I felt standing in Juarez next to this massive supply of diapers and formula. “Whoa” is about the best I can do. Honestly, it was shocking! So very much was given in such a short amount of time.

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This picture was taken in April. The last large load of supplies went in February. So you see, y’all have been generous and busy. Saying thank you just no longer seems like enough, but this side of heaven it’s the most I can do. Thank you, thank you.

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For the sake of the first picture, these eight rock-star men unloaded the trailer (yep, the one we had just loaded in El Paso,) stacked the supplies perfectly, and then loaded it back into the trailer so we could drive everything over to the storage unit to await the pastors’ next pick-up. (If you’re counting…that’s a lot of hauling.) And only two of them gave me grief! I can’t let even one load of supplies go unphotographed. (Thank you, gentlemen…)

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These two pictures show the other Babies of Juarez supplies that went over the border between February and April. The supplies that went with Mike Anderson were given to an orphanage in the colonias. The other stack joined the rest of the stash and went to the area pastors for their local communities.

And you should just see the piles that are waiting for our June trip! I can’t stop grinning…

Okay, there are a few new things to tell you about.

–One is regarding the next BOJ half-marathon. We’ve scheduled it in conjunction with the Denver Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon on Sunday, October 9. When we ran/walked the Rocky Mountain Half-Marathon in 2009 we raised more than $4,000. Excellent! Can’t wait to see what happens with this one! Now—I know many of you are not living in the Denver area. If you want to do a half-marathon (or any run actually) for the babies, just let me know. We can personalize a pledge sheet for you and send you a t-shirt to wear on race day. Any and all involvement will be welcome! Find my e-mail address here.

Kolby Fundraiser 2011

–We also want to offer this invitation to those of you in the Denver area. (Or those who like to travel for a good cause!) Dear friends of ours are hosting another fundraiser for the ministry in Juarez. We would love to see you there!

That’s all for this update. We head back to Juarez on June 8. There’s still room on the team and still fundraising to be done. To be part of the next house, please visit eightythreehundred.org.

Already looking forward to reporting on the next round of supplies. Maybe by then someone will have invented a new way to express immense gratitude. Here’s hoping!

May God bless you all…
Quinn