oh happy day, part 24

part 24

I have a quick, unexpected “oh happy day” announcement! Last week a group from Colorado took the growing collection of diapers and formula down to the colonias, and I just had to share this picture. YAY! In a few weeks we’ll have another load—from Arizona—that will carry an incredible God story with it. I can’t (but I will ☺) wait to share it!

A few noteworthy items while I’m sending an update.

—> A Babies of Juarez supporter and friend is hosting a Pampered Chef party as a fundraiser for the cause. 20% of the show will be given to Babies of Juarez and our house-building projects. (http://eightythreehundred.org) If you’re interested in doing some PC shopping and having the proceeds help down in Juarez, please go to www.pamperedchef.biz/jgorman and, under the shop online tab, search for host Bethany Maxwell. You can place an order and have it shipped directly to you. Isn’t it great how we have all these creative avenues to help people? I love it… (Some of you already have a Pampered Chef connection, and I’m not suggesting you switch.)

—> Babies of Juarez was recently featured on a local Phoenix radio show. If you’ve ever wanted more information about the ministry down in Juarez, I invite you to listen to the podcast at http://www.kpxq1360.com/ContentPages/1948/. Scroll down to “Local Shows” and then go to Walk the Talk with Robyn Bloomquist. It’s the show from 9/24. There’s a prize for the person who correctly counts the number of times I said “um.” Ha!

—> I want to invite the Colorado families to the New to You Children’s Consignment Sale coming up this weekend. Please see the attached document for more information. We’re so grateful for their continued support of the Babies of Juarez project.

There you have it—short and sweet! Thank you for your tremendous support of this ministry.

Until the next one…

oh happy day, part 23

Juarez June 2011 -- Anderson 016

Juarez June 2011 -- Anderson 018

Juarez June 2011 -- Anderson 024

Juarez June 2011 -- Anderson 027

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.

Juarez June 2011 -- Anderson 037

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!

baby Traike

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.

baby Traike3

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.

BOJ -- load 22-lo

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.

BOJ -- load 22 with men-lo

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…)

BOJ -- load 22 with Mike-lo
BOJ -- load 22b-lo

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…

oh happy day, part 21!

Faithful supporters…

I’m sorry to say I don’t have any Butt Paste stories for you this time. Bummer, huh? If you’re new to this project, check this out. This time around I just want to share some pictures. The load of supplies that went in February was the first official combination load from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and Gilbert, Arizona. YAY! Because of some very crazy circumstances, we didn’t get one big group picture as planned, but here are a few shots of the supplies in various stages of delivery. It is incredible what was given…

BOJ -- part of load 21 at Ortmann's

BOJ -- part of load 21 in storage

BOJ -- part of load 21 in storage2

BOJ -- part of load 21 stacked

BOJ -- part of load 21 trailer


And I couldn’t resist including the picture taken during the February trip of my dear husband holding one of the Babies of Juarez. We were so thrilled to kiss those chubby little cheeks. Thankfully the baby’s mom is still able to breastfeed. It’s our hope and prayer that when that situation changes there will be formula on hand to feed this precious life.

Okay, some business.

— A dear friend of mine and co-gatherer of supplies has been working to spread the BOJ word up in the Highlands Ranch area. Thanks to her great work, a few spring consignment sale organizers have agreed to partner with BOJ and distribute flyers at their upcoming events.

— BOJ is about to dust off the old running shoes. Our second “I Run for the Babies of Juarez” half-marathon got lost in the Anderson move to Arizona, along with my mind—another story entirely—but we’ve recently had a few people ask us to resurrect it. Details to come! Please consider running (or walking) for this important cause. You get a really great t-shirt and a fun experience to boot.

— We feel momentum building yet again for this project. A lovely new addition to the BOJ supporter team is finding new and creative ways to drum up more supplies for the Babies of Juarez. If you want to get involved or re-involved or step up your involvement in this cause, here are some great ways to help: email BOJ flyers to friends in the area, ask your pediatrician or OB-GYN (sorry, guys—doesn’t apply to you, does it?) for any expired formula in their offices, ask your church or small group or neighborhood to consider doing a drive. We’d love to get some flyers and door-hanger bags in your hands if you feel led to spread the word in your community. (My kiddos helped me hang flyers for BOJ and eightythreehundred.org in our new neighborhood, and we had a great time doing it!)

Okay, my last update was long, so I’ll try to keep this short. Have to share one story before I go. We were on a team last month that built a home for this dear family.

Juarez February 2011 151

Juarez February 2011 206

Their situation was daunting. The grandparents of this multi-generation family were the ones to actually receive the home. They are helping raise their daughter’s four children. The daughter is in a wheelchair and will be permanently. For those of you who have been to the colonias, can you even imagine being wheelchair bound there? And yet the whole family was full of joy and overwhelmingly grateful for the gift God was giving them. (Okay, here’s a plug. I am shameless, I realize, but also stopped caring about that long ago!) Having a front-row seat to watch God give a hard-working, deserving, needy family a home—well, it’s simply indescribable. Join us sometime! So here’s the BOJ piece. They have one child who’s still diaper-wearing age, and that poor child was literally walking around with a nasty diaper leaking filth down to her knees. She was not neglected, and was clearly very much loved. But the family did not have the means to put her in a clean diaper. They were living day-to-day to provide food for all those mouths, and there was simply nothing left for diapers. Thanks to one of you, our team was able to grab a package of diapers from the stack we took down and give it to the family. Normally the giving is left up to the five area pastors. They know the needs of their communities best. But every once in awhile we are given an opportunity to personally hand out what you lovely people have given. And I can tell you we might as well be distributing gold. It is that precious.

Thank you for everything you’ve done—and continue to do—for the Babies of Juarez.

oh happy day, parts 19 and 20



“The Butt Paste is falling off the shelves.” Definitely words I never really planned to hear. And on top of that, they’re words I never, ever thought could bring me such joy. These words were spoken by one of the missionaries at Missions Ministries and the sentence speaks volumes about the work we’re all doing. Supplies of Butt Paste (a Desitin-type product) run low at the team center clinic down in the colonias, but now, thanks to your tremendous support, it is literally stacked high and falling off the shelves. The babies have clean diapers and they are no longer suffering with terrible sores on their bottoms. And although we don’t have as vivid a picture to describe the difference your formula is making, we’ve heard firsthand the infant mortality rate in the colonias we seek to serve has dropped significantly. This is cause for great rejoicing! You are truly making a tremendous difference and keeping babies alive. Thank you, thank you.

Phew. I could go on all day. But there’s a lot to say, so I’m gonna jump into updates.

–We are heading back down to Juarez the week of February 20. We were able to take supplies down over Thanksgiving. The newly built shelves held a very small supply when we arrived, so I’m sure the cupboards are nearly empty by now. If you’re considering a gift or have supplies at home you don’t need, please drop them off (or contact us to pick them up!) in the next few weeks. Thank you!

BOJ -- M&R.jpg

BOJ -- CHC class.jpg

BOJ -- first Gilbert gift.jpg

–The last two shipments included a surprise gift from Durango, a precious six-year-old birthday party collection (pictured first), a class gift from Cherry Hills Christian (second), our first Arizona diapers and formula gift from my sixth grader’s close friend (third)…and many other great stories. It’s humbling to watch people step in and fill the great needs down in Mexico. We are so grateful.

–We’re officially up and running in Arizona. Please see the attached flyer for the new Highlands Ranch drop-off spot and the new one in Gilbert, Arizona. The website also gives this, but any monetary gifts can be sent to 2487 S. Gilbert Road, Suite 106-266, Gilbert, AZ 85295. (Checks payable to The Shepherd’s Way, please. All gifts are tax deductible.)

–There are babies with special needs in the colonias. Providing basic needs for a family there is daunting; I imagine a special need would feel insurmountable. Enfamil Premium Lipil (or the store equivalent) is literally keeping three babies in the colonias alive. The babies were born prematurely and were malnourished. They weren’t responding to basic formula, but their situations changed when they were given the premium Lipil. I could go on and on with stories, but this one is too good to keep to myself. We had just learned via email the specific type of formula that was needed for these babies, and my dear friend checked the cabinet at Cherry Hills only to find cases of that exact kind. God is in the details, make no mistake about it!

BOJ -- store room.jpg

BOJ -- store room2.jpg

BOJ -- ready to load.jpg

–Among many other things, Missions Ministries supports five local churches in the colonias. These local churches distribute the diapers and formula you give. They know the greatest needs in the community and are able to distribute supplies accordingly. On our trip back in October we had the privilege of loading up the pastors’ cars with the collected supplies. (These pictures show some of the fun we had. The people pictured are faithful supporters of the ministry, so it was a special blessing to get to load up the supplies with them.)

BOJ -- q and vanessa.jpg

–During our October trip, God also graced us with combining two passions: the babies of Juarez and building houses in Juarez. Life is so good. I thought I’d reached heaven for a moment there! Okay, I’m telling you this because this trip also birthed a new project. (See all these amazing giving opportunities?!) When you get a chance, please check out eightythreehundred. We recently launched the project, and—thanks to two big donations and quite a few smaller ones—we’re already half way to funding a February build. (And many, many others!) You could spread the word and join us in watching the “temperature” rise on our website progress thermometer!

–One of the greatest gifts my husband and I ever received was the chance to build a house over Thanksgiving with both sets of our parents, our brother, our sister-in-law, our soon-to-appear niece or nephew, and our dear cousin. These precious people did a wonderful job of preserving their experiences with pictures and written word. If you’ve ever considered taking a trip like this, want to see where your gifts have gone, want to meet some babies of Juarez, or are just curious, I encourage you to read their stories here and here.

We’re going back to Juarez February 20-23, March 13-16, June 8-11, and October 12-15 and would happily welcome new team members.

As I went through the files to find out what to call this update, I was struck by the number. We’ve sent 20 (20!!) shipments of diapers and formula these past three years. You are all rock stars.


We collect diapers and formula