Doxa creates opportunities for people to serve Tijuana through
house building, education, and long-term community.
Like most everyone else, Doxa has never experienced something like the effects of a pandemic. It will be at least a full 2 years before the first US volunteer group comes back to stay and build in Tijuana. A slower than projected return. The only other time in Doxa’s 30-year history that even comes close is 2008, when the effects of Mexican cartel activity and the global financial crisis caused some groups to skip building that year.
Even with the pandemic disruption, Doxa has continued to operate on the ground in Tijuana. Since April 2020, groups and individual donors have funded the building of 39 houses, equipped 117+ scholarship students for distance learning, facilitated limited community events (such as summer camp), and supported Hogar de los Niños and Unidos por Siempre orphanages.
House building fundamentally changed with the creation of two local building teams. Once houses are funded, these teams work with the families to level the site, pour the cement slab, and construct the house. Thankfully, we have been able to build houses for all families that were promised one last year. The wait list continues to grow, though, with no firm dates of when the next houses will be built.
Education has looked different, as well. Equipping all scholarship students for distance learning entailed the purchase of many laptops, tablets, software, and school supplies. It also meant outfitting Hogar de los Niños, Unidos por Siempre, and Doxa with business printers, more tutoring staff, good Internet connections, and supplies. These classrooms function as resource centers to support kids during distance learning.
Thankfully, Doxa has a large property that is mostly undeveloped. This means lots of outdoor space, which has permitted limited community events. Summer camp made a return this year, dance classes have resumed, and every Thursday afternoon people gather to play soccer, volleyball, or kickball. Doxa’s community programs, however, aren’t as active as they once were.
Pre-pandemic, about 1000 people per year came down to Tijuana with Doxa to build houses. These operations and the resulting donors accounted for the majority of Doxa’s revenue. Not only did house building groups have an immensely positive impact on Doxa, but also on Hogar de los Niños and Unidos por Siempre orphanages. The absence of groups has, unfortunately, resulted in a financial toll on Doxa that also has ripple effects to the partner orphanages.
Doxa desires to still be present in the lives of students, families, and both orphanages. To continue the long-term relationships that have been formed over the past 30 years. In order to sustain operations, education scholarships, and community programs Doxa is embarking on a fundraising goal of $175,000. These donations will result in a fully operational education scholarship program, continuation of community events, and retention of all staff through 2022.
We ask that you prayerfully consider supporting Doxa during this time. Here’s how:
Thank you for your years of partnership and together we’ll continue impacting the communities of Tijuana.
If you are reading this newsletter then it is possible you have been to Tijuana and are missing the community there as desperately as we are. We must acknowledge at the outset our deep appreciation for Rosa, our mentor and friend.
Many of you have been asked this question, “So what is Doxa?” If you have been to Tijuana, depending on when you went or with whom, your answers may have varied from house building, day camp, to worshiping in a “thin” place where God seems to be nearer than our world back home. An underlying component of our collective experience is the relationships that have surrounded all of us – teammates, house families, and the orphanages that have hosted us.
For the Whitney’s Doxa is defined by the people and encounters we have had in Tijuana: from brilliant Rosa who believed that education could change a generation, to the house building efforts from donors and builders up and down the West Coast, to Tony and Casa Hogar de Los Niños, to friends like the Tzecs, to our visits to the bodega and materiales store, to the plan for a Community Center in Pedregal, to a new partnership in East Tijuana, and to the students whose career paths were influenced by their time in Tijuana. We have had twenty-five years of shared meals and prayers, celebrations of births, weddings, birthdays & anniversaries, loads of lumber, and gallons of paint. Over two thousand new homes, new opportunities for education, new connections in developing neighborhoods, and a whole lot of lessons about grit and tenacity, this is our Doxa.
The Church in Tijuana Meets the Church in Seattle
For us, friends in Tijuana prayed for our kindergarten Sunday School students, many who grew up to make their own trips to build a house, while we in Seattle prayed for the children we met in Tijuana. How grateful for who they are now and their voices in our lives. (Thank you, Facebook.)
We are also thankful for a congregation in Seattle who believes in each other. They have generously supported house building and education in Tijuana. Dale remembers a little girl sitting amidst the debris in the old dump in Tijuana and to this day, she lingers in his prayers. He says Doxa isn’t just the people who build, but also the people who donate, who pray, and encourage those who are partnering with her family (and families like hers) for something different. We have often been part of an Easter house building trip with high school students and are often struck that the same God who died for us also died for that little girl. Resurrection Sunday.
Liz notes that new home owners in Tijuana have been so supportive of the team members working with them on their homes. For those in Tijuana, they have to own the land – no small feat, and then they are trusting our teams to construct a solid structure. Many of you know the dynamic we are describing. Families providing drinks or treats; asking about the builders, praying for them.
A Part of the Gospel
One father of a new home gave this crucifix to our team, with these powerful words, “Thank you for your part in the Gospel.” The crucifix hangs in the kitchen at the Old Orfa as a reminder of a partnership that we have participated in and one that continues to change lives on both sides of the border.
This is Doxa.
Summer camp has become a tradition over the past decade. What started with a handful of kids during one week has grown into a month-long summer camp with over 100 children. Last year’s summer camp was canceled due to the pandemic, much to the disappointment of kids and parents alike. This year, however, we got creative and crafted a COVID-friendly summer camp.
With 84 kids and 14 volunteers, this year’s summer camp was a little smaller than usual. COVID protocols meant limiting the number of attendees, holding almost all activities outdoors, not doing any field trips, and removing the lunch component of camp. Still, everyone was eager to return to camp this year!
New offerings included activities specifically designed for middle school kids. In years past, Doxa’s camp was only open to elementary aged kids, but now many of Doxa’s students are growing up. Ely was instrumental in putting together age-appropriate offerings for middle schoolers. These included physical activity games, DARE classes by Tijuana police officers, and psychologist-led mental health and sex-education seminars.
Meanwhile, the elementary school kids were busy with the usual arts and crafts, sports games, and activities. Thankfully, there were plenty of adult volunteers around to run the various stations.
Since there were no field trips this year, Flavio and Sabino put together a water obstacle course for the last Friday of camp. Something special that we haven’t done before. Kids were split into two teams and competed against each other to see who could finish the course in the fasted time. Everyone enjoyed it so much that I think we’ve inadvertently created another summer camp tradition.
Overall, it was so good to be active, playful, and creative around one another again. For many, this summer camp was the first time in over a year that they had really been around other people or did team activities. Time to dust the wheels off and get moving again!
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