By Russ Dilday
JUAREZ, Mexico - Ismael Meza remembers when Marta* came to Buckner Mexico’s Amigo Fiel foster group home two years ago. Meza, who directs the home along with his wife, Adriana, said Marta came to the home on the outskirts of the city because of the epidemic facing the city for years: drugs and the neglect and violence associated with the trade.
“Her mother is a drug addict,” Ismael said. “Marta came to us at age 9 in second grade. She had been very malnourished and was not very pleasant smelling.”
Marta’s situation mirrored that of many of the dozen or so children who live in the Buckner home, said Adriana. “Some are true orphans who have no parents; others have biological parents who don’t have the means to care for their children. And others have parents who are incarcerated.”
The home’s key to success, she said, is “love. They deserved to be loved. They are innocent children. They need to experience a loving environment, but most of all they need to understand what the love of God is about.”
Each parent brings a unique style to the home that provides a holistic answer to the children’s needs, they said.
“I’m more the rule-maker, laying down the rules for them to live by,” Ismael said, while Adriana added with a smile, “and I’m the one who’s more understanding and the advocate for what they need.”
After two years of that kind of parental love, said Ismael, Marta has blossomed. “She’s been advanced to the sixth grade and will graduate from elementary school this year. We think that all that was missing in her life was love and compassion, someone who could give her affection, and someone to set goals she could accomplish.”
The Mezas also direct the local Buckner Mexico San Agustín Community Transformation Center, where it is desperately needed, Ismael said. “We’re there primarily because there is such a great need among the families in the community. God has called us there to minister to the needs that are so obvious in this place where there is so much crisis and violence.”
The couple is also working with Marta’s biological mother through the group home and CTC – with some amazing results.
“The mom has stopped completely using drugs,” Ismael said, “and has given her life to Jesus Christ. We feel like the time is drawing close where she can go back to living with her mother.”
When that happens, said Adriana, her prayer for Marta is “that God would continue to bless her and use her life daily. We have instilled in her traditional Christian values, and we pray she puts those values into her life.”
*Name changed to protect privacy
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