Mexico (MNN) — Juarez is one of Mexico’s chief hubs for drug trafficking and the violence that comes with it.
In 2010, the city had over 3,000 deaths related to the drug trade. According to a recen
t report, as many as 900 street gangs continue to operate in the city. A Ciudad Juarez artist told Forbes’ Nathaniel Parish Flannery, “All the sicarios, the ones killing people…they’re young.”
A 17-year old reportedly broke into the home of this artist’s grandmother and murdered her.
Buckner International foster homes are caring for kids left behind or neglected in this drug hub. Buckner Mexico’s Community Transformation Center (CTC), San Agustin, offers family, community and after-school programs, healthcare, educational/vocational training and job placement.
Ismael and Adriana Meza direct Buckner Mexico’s Amigo Fiel foster group home, as well as the San Agustin CTC.
“We’re there primarily because there is such a great need among the families in the community,” says Ismael. “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.”
There are over 16,000 child prostitutes in Mexico and 24.7 million kids living in poverty. Buckner’s foster group homes, like Amigo Fiel, are providing a safe, family environment for kids who might otherwise be on the streets.
Through the San Agustin CTC and Amigo Fiel, the Meza’s are seeing Christ’s transformative love at work in Ciudad Juarez. It’s showcased in the story of a little girl named Marta*.
“Marta came to us at age 9 in [the] second grade. She had been very malnourished and was not very pleasant smelling,” Ismael says. “Her mother is a drug addict.”
According to Adriana, Marta’s situation mirrors that of her foster siblings.
“Some are true orphans who have no parents; others have biological parents who don’t have the means to care for their children,” says Adriana. “And others have parents who are incarcerated.”
But circumstances don’t dictate how Ismael and Adriana treat the dozen or so kids they care for at Amigo Fiel.
“They deserve to be loved. They are innocent children,” Adriana states. “They need to experience a loving environment, but most of all they need to understand what the love of God is about.”
After two years of Ismael’s kind authority and Adriana’s empathetic advocacy for Marta’s needs, Ismael says, Marta has been transformed.
“She’s been advanced to the sixth grade and will graduate from elementary school this year,” says Ismael. “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 Meza’s have also been working with Marta’s mother through the group home and CTC.
“The mom has stopped completely using drugs and has given her life to Jesus Christ,” says Ismael.
“We feel like the time is drawing close where [Marta] can go back to living with her mother.”
Pray God’s love continues to reach kids like Marta through the Meza’s and Buckner Mexico. Pray these facilities will keep shining like a light on the hill in Juarez.