Children's Haven International



Friday, December 10th, 2010

THIS IS A TEST (more…)

Summer 2009

Friday, April 16th, 2010

    We had a  great TEAM program this summer, thanks to the seven churches that felt led to join us. Each group left CHI/RIN thankful that they had come. Every group worked on several projects. Some small, some large, and all did a lot of painting! But most importantly all touched the life of a needy child!

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   As usual, Maria prepared wonderful meals and this year, each morning began with a devotional. Upon arrival, most group members joined the children for their Sunday night service in the Gym, led by Clifford Smith. “Hermano Alberto”, as he’s known to the children, is a missionary from Canada, whose been a constant spiritual force at RIN for well over a decade.

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    Other opportunities for spiritual growth & to worship with the children were held on either Tuesday or Thursday nights, with time for singing and a short devotion.

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     We decided to try something new this year for our TEAM’s “Day out”. Wednesday morning, sometime between 9:00 & 10:00, we packed everyone into the vans and headed off to the neighboring city of   Progresso, for shopping, fellowship, and fun! Progresso tends to be very “tourist friendly” with it’s numerous street vendors & souvenir shops.  

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    After driving back to Reynosa, the TEAMs enjoyed a buffet lunch at La Calle. All   enjoyed the variety of Mexican &  American food offered at this great restaurant.

   Next, we made our way to the Colonias to hand out rice, beans, and clothes. For most TEAM member’s this is the most humbling part of the trip. It makes you realize how richly blessed  we are in every way. While offering folks a glimpse of what life might be like for so many of our children, were it not for the ministry of Children’s Haven.     

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    The change in schedule was very well received, especially since it gave the groups an extra evening to spend hanging out with our little ones.

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 Our first TEAM of the summer was Emmanuel Bible Church from Missouri. They came for their 6th trip, the week of June  7th  – 12th. .

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     This group did a lot of painting, sorting of clothes, and cleaning in the warehouse. But without a doubt, the most important thing they did, was to help us host, Refugio’s first ever, Vacation Bible School- open to community! The program ran from 3:00 to 5:00 the entire week. Emmanuel’s TEAM led in crafts, games, singing, devotions, and skits. 

   To finish the week off, we invited the community children and their parents for a hot dog party and saw eleven youngsters commit their lives to Jesus!

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Rejoice Lutheran Church from Minnesota (Intern Eliza’s home church) visited us the week of June 21st-26th. This was the largest group they had ever assembled and it was their 6th trip!

    They started the outside work on the gym, did some finish work inside the extension in Casa #5, worked in school, painted the interior walls on the soccer field, as well as other small painting projects, clothes sorting, and general cleaning.

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 Plus like all other groups this summer, they made sure they had plenty of time to spend with the niños in our pool!

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     Rejoice also had the privilege, for the second year in a row, of joining us at the Home’s Graduation Ceremony. You can read more about it in a separate article; but clearly this was a highlight for each and every TEAM member.

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 Our next group to come, June 28th- July 5th, was small – but we sure had great fellowship with them. It was, BJ Mesnick, our other Intern’s family from Colorado. There were only five of them- but it was the perfect number to prep, sand, prime & paint a bedroom and  bathroom in casa #3.

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 As you can see from the photo above,  this  is where Uriel, our college freshman, lives now. It’s our “transitional housing suite”designed to develop a sense of greater privilege,responsibility & independence … all under our watchful eye!

        Ironically, after what has to be considered one of CHI’s slowest summers, the week of July 12th- 17th, was probably one of our busiest ever! Our dorms were filled to capacity, by three separate TEAMs.

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 The first group to arrive were “newcomers” from Gainsville Baptist Church in  North Carolina (Our new team coordinator, Brad Boyles & his family, had been virtually  their neighbors back home!) Pastor Mike and his group painted the outside of old house #7, outside of new house #7, worked in the school and did several other small painting projects.

    Because of flight times and cost, this small group of  6 arrived on Saturday, which allowed Pastor Mike to preach at a small mission church on Sunday morning. After the service, he and several of the TEAM members commented on how much they had  felt the Lord’s presence, despite the heat, the poverty and the language barrier.

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     Second to arrive, and also from North Carolina, was Salem Baptist Church (where Randall was baptized & he and Betsy were married!) This group’s last visit was approximately 12 years ago and a lot has changed since then. With several highly skilled workers- jobs were tackled in the school, casa #5 extension, and of course, a few miscellaneous painting projects too.

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 Then came this summer’s “Veterans”: Christ Reformed Church, all the way from Pennsylvania, making this their their 9th trip to CHI/RIN! They brought young, old, and a lot of fun to us this year.

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    This group also had skilled workers who continued the work on the gym, worked in casa #7, finished painting the walls of the soccer court, amongst a few other things.

    Probably, the most memorable moment for each of these three TEAMs, was joining the children for a bitter-sweet event that Wednesday evening. After six years of faithful service, Tio Hugo & Tia Rosa were saying goodbye. Their daughter Dahlia, would be starting High School in the fall and they felt God calling them to return to their home city, Tampico, and concentrate their love and energy on her and her older brother, Natanael, while they still had the chance.

    While we miss them greatly, we know that there is no better place to be than in God’s will – and we pray God’s blessings upon them. The sweet part was that we didn’t only say good-bye, but also hello to two new couples the Lord has brought back to our TEAM! Tio Jorge & Tia Lucy (RIN 01-05 ) and Tio Mariano & Tia Silvia (RIN 06-07 ).

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    Our last TEAM of the summer was First Brethren Mennonite from Kansas, making this their 4th trip. They were a great group & we had a wonderful time with them. They painted the interiors of  casa #7 and the 2 new school rooms, in addition to  many other projects.  – B.B. & B.C.

Rejoice Lutheran Church ELCA

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Clearwater, Minnesota
April 11-April 16
Rejoice Team
(Click on picture to see more photos)
Built and installed a new front gate
Made all of the curtains for house 7
Stained and prepped six new bunk beds for the kids in house 4
Help put finishing touches on house 7

TEAM – Summer 2008

Friday, April 9th, 2010


June 28 – July 3 – Sons of Salvation, Minnesota
Continued Park Clean-up
Casa 1 Trim and Doors
Replaced Wood and primed ice room
Painted interior pool wall and began exterior

June 28 – July 3 – Sons of Salvation, Minnesota
Continued Park Clean-up
Casa 1 Trim and Doors
Replaced Wood and primed ice room
Painted interior pool wall and began exterior


July 6-11 – Christ Reformed Church, Pennsylvania
Completed Interior trim & doors of Casa 1
Repaired sheet rock in Auditorium
Continued sheet-rocking in the new Casa
Cleaned, Prepped, and Painted School


July 13-18 – Faith Community Church, Colorado
Painted Interior of Ext. Casa 1 & installed fans
Finished painting exterior pool wall and ice room
Touch-up painting in school
Cleaned floors


July 20-24 – Kingman Mennonite, Kansas
Continued touch-up painting and cleaning in the school
Finished repairing exterior trim on Casa 1, began Casa 6
Worked with Newsletter mailing


July 28-Aug 1 – Woodlands Lutheran, Texas
Prepped & Primed Casas 1, 2, 3, & 6
Painted Casa 1 Yellow!
Moved school sign and bell
Various woodwork & Bodega clean-up
Helped move donations at Pharr office


Aug 3-9 – Brethren Work Camp, Illinois
Cleanup & organization of warehouse at Pharr office
Completed replacing all woodwork on homes
Finished painting Casas 2 & 3, conít. on 6
Removal of debris/trash that T.E.A.M.S had been piling up all summer

TEAM – Winter 08-Spring 09

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Realizing the significance of the troubled economy, along with most of the Border Cities’ bad reputations, we are humbled and blessed that these 8 TEAMs still felt led to answer the call! They all worked really hard… but there’s still so much left to do!  Our prayer is that their stories will encourage others to come out and lend us a hand!

P1060691_0202_202If you hadn’t heard of Fargo, ND. before, I’m sure you’ve heard of it now! As I write this article, my prayers join those of our children who are lifting up their good friend Sr. Noel, the students at Oak Grove Lutheran School and the Bollman Family. It seems like they were just here with us, painting the exterior of Malena’s office, finishing off the artwork in the pool and assembling our giant Christmas tree! A second trip was scheduled for the spring, the very week of the terrible flooding, I guess it is good to obey when God says ‘no’ or ‘wait till later’, we sure hope to see them again!

P1060902_0003_339Don & Lucy Lindohlm, retired missionaries with Wycliffe, brought a first time group from Tyler Street UM Church up in Dallas, TX. They took on the task of putting the roof on the second extension for the House Parents’ room on Casa #4. Other jobs included painting & sorting. At the end of their stay they presented all of the children & staff great little personal hygiene kits-what a thoughtful gift!

1339‘Doc’ and Ms. Claris, came down the day after Christmas with the good folks from Bude Baptist church in Mississippi. Although Randall and I were away, due to his father’s passing, the TEAM felt right at home with Cliff and JoAlice Rushing as their hosts. On Saturday they had the pleasure of accompanying 15 of our children to Diversia- a family fun park where they played games, ate pizza and saw ‘Madagassgar’ on the big screen! These 15 represent the most needy children in our care – those whose relatives didn’t want or were unable to take them out for even a few days of vacation.

P1070346_0058_310After attending church with the children, going to the Colonias and celebrating the New Year- it was amazing that this TEAM got any work done at all …much less to say they put up the trusses for the school extension, finished the trim work on casa #4 and even built a couple sets of steps – which have been put to good use. That Cliff is really a slave driver!

P1070571_0343_007Two Men’s Ministries, POWER and Hero Makers, visited us in the month of January. Hero Makers dedicated their efforts to ‘Casa Irene’, the new home on our campus that one of their members wanted to build in honor of his mother. POWER jump started the conversion of the old dinning room into a new set of dorms, installed 8 new windows in the auditorium, and helped us host another Festival – open to the neighboring community! Over 500 people were in attendance and I believe this is the start of Refugio’s role as a beacon Christian love in the community which now surrounds us.

photo 5February brought Mr. Terry Brunswick and one of our favorite teams – Hines Chapel, from NC. (Oops, did I say ‘favorite’- well, you’ll see what I mean when I tell you what they do!) These are the guys who can build custom kitchen cabinets in less than three days …using only our tools! As if that weren’t enough, they got the roof on casa#5, trimmed the windows in the auditorium and painted the inside of Malena’s office bright green, at her request of course!

IMG_1083Next up was another group of first-timers all the way from McCook , NE. This small group of 9, came well recommended by our good friends Don & Suzy Burton. They continued to work diligently on the extensions on Casas 4 & 5, and on Thursday held for the first time ever, a ‘High Tea’ – complete with scones – for all of the ladies and girls at RIN! Talk about special.

A special word of thanks must go out to Mr. Byron Giles and his lovely wife Vicki. (2nd & 3rd rt.) God has been so awesome about sending the perfect people at the perfect time. This wonderful couple from Kansas City, Missouri lived on site at our office in Pharr, TX from January through March. Not a day passed that they didn’t go the ‘extra mile’ for CHI.
They were willing, able and joyful to do anything asked of them. I know the TEAMs were as pleased to have Byron around as their coordinator, as were the Thursday Winter Texan Repair & Construction Crews. Probably the only person even happier was Randall Chacon, who did a fabulous job too, but was sure glad to have the additional help.
Jaralyn Seaman, (far rt.) our spring intern was also a blessing from above -to the groups & to our Children. – B.C.

Bergthaler Mennonite Church Youth – 6th Visit

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Plum Coulee, Manitoba, CANADA
March 28th- April 2nd
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(Click on picture to see more photos)
Sanded and repainted all of the bedrooms in casa 1
Sanded and repainted all of the bedrooms in casa 4
Primed the exterior extension of casa 2

Faith Baptist Church

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Lincolnton, North Carolina
March 14-March 19
(Click on picture to see more photos)
Made 6 new bunk beds for casa 4
Painted closets and trim in casa 7
Cleaned floors in Casa 7

Grace Community Church – 12th Visit

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Newton, Kansas
February 28-March 5
2010 Kansas team
(Click on picture to see photos)
Painted new siding and window frames on gym wall
put in a dividing wall in gym storage room
cleaned up a LARGE rock pile
Helped put in new cement around pool
scrubbed down walls in casa 7

Xydis Family

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Ann Arbor, Michigan
February 21-February 26th

Xydis Family

Primed and Painted the interior of the extension in Casa 4

St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

February 7-February 12

(Click on picture to view more photos)
Put new siding on gym wall
Grouted in casa 7
Stained new bunk beds and cabinets in casa 7
Painted in casa 7
New filter and pipes for pool

Hines Chapel

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

McLeansville, North Carolina
January 31- February 6
Hines Chapel
(Click on picture to see more photos)
Made and constructed 6 bunk beds for casa 7
Painted the washrooms in  the auditorium
Painted the living room of casa 2

Clearmont Community Church

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Banner, Wyoming
November 22- November 27
(Click on picture to see more photos)

Central Community Church

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Chilawack, British Columbia, CANADA
November 7- November 14
Central community
(Click on picture to see more photos in facebook)
Constructed the roof for the new extension of casa 4
Framed interior of the new extension of casa 4
Installed and painted the new playground equipment in front of the school (more…)