Before heading on this missions trip to Mexico, I had the opportunity to view Heidi Baker’s documentary entitled “Compelled by Love.” The video demonstrated how one person, after receiving Christ’s love in great measure, can pour out so much love and make such a difference in this world. I had the opportunity to see this demonstrated first hand on this trip to Mexico; Both in the family we visited and in the team I went with.
Obed and Evelyn are the directors of the City of Refuge orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. They are parents to three adult aged children of their own and parents to 17 children in this orphanage. Over the years, they have opened up their home to children from horrible living conditions to kids where their parents cannot afford to raise them. This couple is truly compelled by love. It amazed me to see them operate their home.
This home ran on the love of Christ. From the moment Obed and Evelyn woke up until the time they put the kids to bed, the love of Christ compelled them, sustained them, and overcame the children. Their heart is to make sure that these kids do not live believing they are orphans, but are part of family. They are intentional about it. They address each child as son and daughter. Each morning Obed greets each child with delight.
“Buenos dias, mi amor! (Good morning, my love!)” is what I heard frequently in the morning. The pinching of cheeks, hugs, kisses, pats on the head, huge grins is what I observed the kids receiving any time they passed by Obed or Evelyn. They are trained in the things of the Lord. I witnessed Evelyn pulling two kids aside to discuss forgiveness. They work with the kids to memorize scripture and teach them to worship God in song beautifully. One night before our devotional time, these parents explained to the kids, “You have to give God your all. Not your leftovers. You have to worship with understanding.” Day after day, this is what they do. These parents amazed me and taught me so much through their modeling.
Not only did I see God’s love sustain these parents, but I saw God’s love pour out of those 17 children. The thing I Iearned was that these kids were so loved that they overflowed love. I came into this trip expecting to be the pursuers. I expected that we would have to initiate with them as adults, and they would respond. Boy was I wrong! These children, having been full of love, where the initiators. I can’t tell how many times I’d have arms thrown around my waist or neck from behind only to turn around and see a sweet smile. They grabbed our hands, put their tiny hands on our faces, showered us with hugs, and jumped on our lap. All without our asking. It reminded me of the fact that we can only love God because He first loved us. They loved on us because they had first experienced the Father’s love strongly through Obed and Evelyn. Their love overtook us, and that came as a huge surprise.
And if that wasn’t enough of a demonstration of being compelled love, our missions team took it to another level. Our team of 10 people are from such vastly different backgrounds, yet we all have one thing in common. We all have been touched by God’s love. From the moment we arrived, on little or no sleep the night before, this team put themselves on the back burner. This team played and played some more. From throwing footballs, to being human playgrounds, to running around an amusement park, and splashing around at a water park, this team played. And in addition to the playing and hugs, they served. They cleaned bathrooms, cooked dinner, did dishes after meals, set up and cleaned up crafts. This team did it without a complaint and with little rest. They were compelled by love and showing the love of the Father was all that mattered.
The love of the Father is all that matters. When you’ve experienced it, it compels you. It compels you to raise kids that aren’t your own. It compels you to gush, in overflow, over others. It gets you to leave the comforts of home and put yourself last for the sake of others. That’s the love I got to witness and experience this weekend, and it makes me love the Father that much more.