A Different Way of Traveling

Traveling has always been a way for Josh and I to recalibrate and get inspired. Recently, we headed south of the border for a weekend in Mexico! This trip to Mexico was very different than any other we’ve taken before. Instead of relaxing on beautiful beaches, we decided to visit a very special orphanage called the Gabriel House.

The Gabriel House is a nonprofit rehabilitation center for children with disabilities who have been orphaned, abandoned, or whose families are unable to take care of them. When we arrived we were greeted by a handful of children running with open arms. Immediately we were welcomed with hugs, hand holds and kisses; instantly our hearts overflowed with joy. These children that experience so many challenges, and have so little were radiating with joy! Despite their circumstances, they had so much love to give.

We went to the Gabriel House looking to help serve and get our hands dirty doing whatever work needed to be done, but in the end, all they asked of us was to love. Our hands held, and touched, and pushed wheelchairs all day. It was the simplest thing we could do, and yet it served a great need. These children don’t have parents to hold them, love them and affirm them everyday, but we had the privilege of stepping in for two short days to love on them. I guarantee our love didn’t change them as much as their love changed us.

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A wise woman once said, “One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving.”. These children showed us what it really means to give and to love with hearts wide open. There were no reservations or holding back. They gave their whole hearts the moment we walked through the door.

They also changed our definition of giving. We went there with $3,500 to donate, $1,000 worth of groceries, boxes of Reef shoes and stuffed animals, but in the end, all they really wanted was our time, attention and love. Sometimes, I think we complicate giving, or we think we don’t have enough to give, but most of the time it’s a simple as sitting with someone, looking them in the eyes and opening your heart.

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The joy every woman knows when she gets a pair of new shoes!
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The cinderella game.

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“It’s like a little tv!” The kids loved playing with our GoPro with the LCD screen on the back.
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Going for a walk with their new kicks on!

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If you are interested in visiting, volunteering or donating to the Gabriel House, visit www.gabrielhouseofmexico.com. There you can meet the kids and find a list of practical needs the home has.

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Headed out of Ensenada we caught a rare glimpse of the zonkey ridding, sunglass wearing dog!
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It’s an Agape kind of love.

Photos by Willie Kessel. For more of his awesome work check out his instagram and blog.