Doxa creates opportunities for people to serve Tijuana through
house building, education, and long-term community.
The ministry of Doxa has been around for almost thirty years and continues to grow as God calls us to serve in the many neighborhoods of Tijuana. Over the last year the board and staff took the time to reflect on what the next five, ten and twenty years has in store for Doxa. This was not always an easy process as we were forced to identify our strengths along with our weaknesses, but the results have been rewarding.
We studied our vision, mission and values, which allowed us to refine these key concepts to align with the organization we have grown to be while not losing sight of the core values that were set in place almost thirty ago. The refining of these foundational elements set the stage for us to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for the upcoming years that creates short-term and long-term goals.
Some of our short-term goals include expanding board membership, fundraising and increased marketing. We have already brought on two new board members and will be looking to grow the board by a few more in the months and year to come. Our fundraising efforts took shape this last spring as our Executive Director, Alex Knopes, led a robust campaign to ensure that houses were still being built even though the pandemic restricted groups from participating in the building of the houses themselves. Through this fundraising we were able to safely employ local labor to complete the houses and provide homes for families that had been waiting. We have also begun to establish fundraising campaigns that will include the Pedregal Community Center and expansion concepts for house building and community outreach in East Tijuana. As we continue to expand our marketing efforts, we encourage all of our supporters to follow us on social media. Please see links below so you can stay up to date on all of these goals as we work hard to push them forward.
We believe these goals will continue to push us towards our vision and mission. A vision of:
A world in which relational and economic life flourishes, where people are globally compassionate and gain new life by giving theirs away.Doxa’s Vision
And a mission to:
Create opportunities for people to serve Tijuana through house building, education, and long-term community.Doxa’s Mission
In all our ministries we are striving to further our vision and mission. We are most excited to see our first community center building take shape in the neighborhood of Pedregal. We are nearing the completion of the plans and will begin to get bids for the construction and strategize the phasing of this capital project. The community center will be designed to support the Tijuana community through child and adult education, providing tutoring programs and community events. Taking a relational and interactive approach will help to form long-term community relationships. It is exciting to see this concept turn towards reality and we look forward to engaging all of our communities on both sides of the border to come alongside as we realize this goal together.
When we first began to build homes in Colonia Pedregal de Santa Julia the roads were dirt and deeply crevassed, without electricity the sprinkling of houses on the hillsides, were dark at night and every drop of water, whether for cleaning or drinking, was trucked around the neighborhood. Clearly, great change occurred over the last thirty years but one constant was Rosa and her passion to make life better for every person she encountered.
I first met Rosa in the early 90’s when she came to Hogar de los Niños orphanage and cared for the kids there. Each year about a hundred high school students from our church would travel across the border to build houses and the orphanage was our base of operations. In addition to all her work at the orphanage, which at the time had over seventy children living there, Rosa’s duties included helping out-of-their-depth youth pastors, like me, navigate everything from finding building sites and creating a lumber yard throughout the orphanage to delivering sand and finding a tow-truck for a van teetering over a cliff – all done, regardless of what other mishaps had occurred that day, with graciousness and a brilliant smile. To be honest, I am not sure the smile was good natured restrained laughter at my ineptness or, in the early years when she was learning English, a way of communicating her great support for our endeavors. Either way the smile always helped.
Over the years the building trips grew larger in size and in number and it became clear to the Doxa (then Homes without Boundaries) leadership team that growth was due in no small part to Rosa. Many short-term missions do more damage than good because of their “hit and run” nature but Rosa’s year-round presence and engagement in the community dovetailed into Doxa’s commitment to return year after year to the same place and built trust in the neighborhood and beyond. Logically, we hired Rosa full time and with that both the community and Doxa became stronger. More specifically, each of us became stronger inspired by her compassion and commitment.
Most of the teams from the US knew Rosa from the educational offerings like day camps she organized or the house building projects she supported but there was so much more. She was known by multitudes as “la profe.” Others saw her as the unofficial mayor of the region. And for many she attained that mononymous status reserved for Elvis or Prince and was simply Rosa — as in one person saying to another in need, “go see Rosa.” Regardless of her title, Rosa was a force for good. In the movies the good guys wore white hats but in Pedregal they wore bright white sneakers and those white sneakers of Rosa were everywhere: out in Brisa Marina talking to a family about building a house, at the clinic taking a woman with cancer who had no other way to see a doctor, at the community center tutoring, meeting with Zumba instructors to offer classes, in another colonia delivering food and supplies to a woman with disabilities, at the Annex overseeing the delivery of house building materials, or downtown partnering with the City of Tijuana to build three hundred houses further out on the highway where we are still building today. Rosa was a one-person Social Welfare and Housing Agency — and a great one.
More importantly Rosa was Flavio’s beloved and Paola, Esmerelda, and Flavio’s mom. They were her pride and her joy — her eyes dazzling at the mention of them. To each of them I, Doxa and am sure all who benefitted from Rosa’s dedicated work, her sacrifice of evening and weekend time with her family to resolve a visiting group’s crisis, want to say the deepest thank you for sharing the gift of Rosa with us.
Several years ago, Rosa traveled to Rome and received an audience with Pope John Paul II. As she spoke to me humbly of this joyful experience that affirmed her God-given belovedness, it was profoundly evident this belovedness was the source of the belovedness she poured out to all who met her. Rosa knew she was loved by Jesus and responded with her whole being. Her wisdom and influence permeate Doxa. Being in Tijuana will never be the same without Rosa who has travelled this journey with so many of us. Yet, her influence, example and inspiration remain, encouraging us to dream and persevere in our mission. Jeff Holland, a co-founder of Homes without Boundaries (now Doxa), tells the story of coming back from a tough day of building houses when Rosa, who had brought in a mariachi band came up to him and asked, “Why aren’t you dancing?” Jeff wanted nothing more than to take a bucket shower. But Rosa insisted, “It’s a fiesta. You have to dance.” That’s Rosa. There are always obstacles and heartaches on the road to being a beloved community but it doesn’t mean you don’t keep dancing. Constantly.
Doxa’s house building, education, and community operations have been heavily impacted this year (no surprise there). The solutions of the past were not going to work as easily in a 2020 world. In order to continue Doxa’s mission, creative solutions were used. House building realized by employing local construction teams, education largely online (but some still in person), and community reimagined.
For the first time in over a month, the local house building teams were back on the job sites. They completed two new houses over the weekend. Bittersweet, as they were the first houses built without Rosa. Still, it is good to get back to work and work at something that Rosa believed in with her whole heart. The families worked alongside Doxa’s local building teams and together the houses were completed. New green and blue structures dot the hillside in Rojo Gomez, and the Jaral Cejudo Family and the Gomez Ambriz Family now have a house to sleep in. Next up for these families is moving in and turning their house into a home.
The education scholarship program has largely moved online, equipping all middle and high school students to learn with laptops and Internet access. A handful of the younger ones, 2nd and 3rd grade still come to Doxa and get more personalized assistance. Over the summer, we outfitted Doxa with all the necessary COVID-19 equipment and procedures in order to have smaller study groups utilize classroom space. Doxa continues to work with Hogar de los Niños and Unidos por Siempre on their education needs. Providing a dedicated tutor who comes to work with the kids on a daily basis has proved to work well in those settings. The classroom at Unidos por Siempre now functions as an in-home school for those kids.
Admittedly, finding ways to continue the community part of Doxa’s mission has been the most challenging. Aside from providing families with some food packages, holding a parent meeting on COVID-19, and some virtual communications with families, it’s been difficult to cultivate the kind of community that Doxa is typically accustomed to. We just haven’t been able to find a way to adapt the authentic in-person, face-to-face connection that draws people to Doxa’s summer camp, parenting classes, community events, fall carnival, clubs, and activities in a COVID-19 world. While those program offerings remain on pause, God has presented an enormous opportunity in the meantime: to assemble stakeholders and form a local task force to detail out the programmatic plan of the Pedregal Community Center. Parents, neighborhood leaders, Doxa staff, and subject experts are part of this effort. Just as the design for the community center was driven by local stakeholders, so is the programmatic approach. As things continue to develop, we look forward to sharing them with you all!
Finally, none of the reimagined house building, education, or community work could’ve been realized without your support. We are so thankful for all of the groups and individuals who have donated this year. We literally wouldn’t still be here without you! The trust that you’ve placed in Doxa to still carry out its work in the midst of a pandemic is something we don’t take lightly. The current status of Doxa’s fall/winter fundraising goals are below:
We’ve met or exceeded two out of three fall/winter fundraising goals and are closing in on the third! Thank you for the outpouring of generosity for the people of Tijuana!!
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