Thursday, October 20, 2016


Grateful for this week's harvest!
Lots of changes,
lots of oxytocin,
very busy staff,
and many happy hearts!

"Every good and perfect gift comes from above."

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Huge Thanks!

I would like to acknowledge all of you who responded to our Casa Compasiva plea for funds over the last two weeks. In the providence of God, your generous gifts arrived on time to cover the deficit in our bank accounts, pay our weekly bills and salaries, and set aside enough for this next month's rent. To God be all the glory, and to all of you a huge thanks! 

Please continue to pray for regular monthly supporters who can help to subsidize this most worthy ministry. In researching for a recent report I had to write, I discovered that we at Casa Compasiva are slowly but successfully inching along the path towards sustainability. In fact, in 2015 we arrived at 25% sustainability, with more progress already made in that direction in 2016. In other words, “The ox is slow, but the earth is patient.” We are encouraged that though we still have a long ways to go, at least we are on our way! Thanks for bravely sharing this journey with us.

For the women and babies of Oaxaca,

Lila Quezada

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Zilcho Dinero!

I just arrived back in Oaxaca after spending the summer up north in a new therapy program for my Parkinson's Disease.

The good news is that while I was away, our wonderfully competent Casa Compasiva staff attended seven birthing mamas at Casa, and taught pre-natal classes each week to between ten and fifteen pregnant families!  They did a great job holding the team together in my absence...keeping "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

One young doula got the courage to share the devotional in the pre-natal class for the first time. Another of our young midwives gained the confidence to attend clients on her own without the constant presence of the doctor or a senior midwife.  They also weathered many storms, including: the sudden death of one midwife's father at age 49, the wedding and departure to her husband's village of another midwife, the first-trimester pregnancy nausea of two of our married doulas, and the extended absence of our senior midwife who is away visiting family in Texas.  All this was  played out against the backdrop of constant civil chaos as the Oaxacan teachers' union  blockaded  and crippled transportation and local business all around the city and state. Our Casa Compasiva staff endured the dangers and inconveniences of the summer,  accomplishing all with the grace and strength of our Lord.  I am very proud of our staff! 

The bad news is that while I was away all summer going through my therapy,  I was very low on energy and dealing with med-induced nausea much of the time.  Therefore, unfortunately I was in no shape to do fund-raising for Casa Compasiva while in WA and B.C.  Arriving back in Oaxaca on Friday night, I realized that our coffers are indeed empty.  Nada. Zilcho.  Well, actually negative zilcho in both the US and Canadian accounts. 

It is time to go to prayer again for God's hand of favour on CC finances.  We need money this week.... our hard-working staff deserve to be paid! Will you please join me in prayer? 

 Lila Joy Quezada

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Cinco de Mayo or International Day Of the Midwife?

Today is Cinco de Mayo—touted as an important holiday by Hispanics in the U.S., but largely ignored in Mexico—except in the state of Puebla.  More importantly for us here in Oaxaca, today we are celebrating the International Day of the Midwife....and what a thing to celebrate!

We celebrate natural birth!  God has designed women's bodies to have the ability to give birth with strength, dignity, and intuition—unimpeded by unnecessary medical interventions. Our Casa Compasiva midwives work hard to facilitate these natural births by supporting women with quality attention, excellent care, and unwavering compassion.

We celebrate women attending women in the vulnerable, yet empowering seasons of pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation. Our Casa Compasiva midwives and doulas understand and appreciate the unique needs of women clients in each of these phases. 

We celebrate education! Much of the intrinsic fear surrounding the mysteries of labour and birth can be dispelled by knowledge of the process.  What is happening to me? How will I be able to cope with the pain?  Is this normal?  At Casa Compasiva, we teach an ongoing series of eight classes designed to educate and prepare prospective parents for all phases of pregnancy, labour, birth, and post-partum. Ignorance creates fear; the truth sets one free!

We celebrate God's sovereignty and human choice—both/and-- not either/or! Casa Compasiva's pre-natal care and childbirth education reflect an understanding of God's sovereignty over human affairs, and human volition both. We prepare, we educate, we facilitate-- we do everything possible to allow for natural births.  When  complications arise and our best-laid plans go awry, we bow to God's sovereignty.  When clients choose to have an elective C-section or to go elsewhere, we respect their right to make informed decisions.

We celebrate community!  Pregnant women are not just clients to the Casa Compasiva midwives and doulas.  They become friends—important members of our ever-widening circle of loved ones.  In this last year our midwives and doulas attended six women who have come back for their second or third baby with us because they know that we love them!

We celebrate the love of God through Jesus Christ and the power of prayer!  Our pre-natal appointments and classes include short devotionals and gospel messages making clear the hope we have in Jesus.  Our midwives and doulas pray for each clients' needs—physical, spiritual, and emotional.  We take our stand on the authority of scripture and we seek to honour God in our lives and our service to the people of Oaxaca.

So why do we ignore Cinco de Mayo and instead make a big deal of International Day of the Midwife? Because in Oaxaca, midwifery care with Casa Compasiva midwives is reason indeed for celebration!  

 Lila Joy

Monday, January 25, 2016

Belated Christmas Message

Christmas 2015
Our first grandchild
One month ago, in a far-away land called Germany, my daughter gave birth to her first baby—a son. She laboured quietly alone for several hours, not calling her husband at work or even realizing that she was really in labour until the midwife came by for a routine check. By that time she was so far along that the midwife popped her in the car and drove her immediately to the nearest hospital instead of to the family-friendly hospital an hour away. Baby Micah was born quickly and safely, but not in the peaceful environment or with the quality midwifery care that our daughter and son-in-law had planned. Our first grandchild is strong and healthy, but our daughter is still recuperating from the second-rate experience of her second-choice hospital care.
Which all begs these questions: Was their Plan B back-up-hospital choice actually God's Plan A experience for them? Or did their midwife jump the gun in rushing her to the nearby hospital instead of opting for the longer trip to the better facility in Hanover? Was God's sovereignty somehow trumped by exigency? Or were the circumstances of baby Micah's birth exactly what God had decreed they should be?
I will leave those questions of God's sovereignty and man's responsibility to the theologians of both Calvinist and Arminian persuasions. While it bothers me that my daughter suffered more than she “should have,” I don't have time or energy to wrestle with the theological implications. And in all honesty, I have to admit that her experience was not unlike what sometimes happens at Casa Compasiva.
“Juana” was a recent client of ours anticipating a lovely cozy birth at Casa Compasiva. She laboured well until 5 cm, when suddenly her labour slowed down and she failed to progress—at all. Hours and hours later, after trying all the tricks of the trade that we know—and all to no avail-- our midwives reluctantly made the call to transport her to a local hospital. Both Juana and her baby's safety were at stake, not to mention our integrity as a medically responsible birth-facility.
Plan B back-up- hospital experience was less than ideal.
Eventually Juana gave birth to a healthy baby girl—in a cold, sterile, unfriendly atmosphere isolated from her husband and from everyone she knew. She and baby were safe, but she was traumatized by being alone at such a time. Instead of the loving and supportive Casa Compasiva staff, Juana was surrounded by unfamiliar strangers critical of her intentions to birth naturally. Her birth experience fell far, far short of her expectations. Just like for our daughter in Germany, Juana's Plan B back-up- hospital experience was less than ideal.

And yet, I have to ask myself... was her Plan B actually God's Plan A? For whatever unfathomable reason, did God have a purpose in allowing the circumstances of Juana's baby's birth to be exactly as they were? Did He have reasons far beyond that which we can see or understand in allowing Juana's isolation in a Mexican government hospital... and in allowing my daughter to suffer “needlessly”... and in allowing Mary to be forced to give birth to Jesus in a dirty stable far away from mother and midwife because “there was no room in the inn.” The answer, I suspect, is “yes”. Just as “The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of...” (Blaise Pascal), so also God has His own reasons which His creatures cannot begin to comprehend. He allowed our Saviour's birth to be in terribly unhygienic conditions---definitely not Mary's Plan A choice! He sometimes allows medical complications for which we at Casa Compasiva have no solutions. In a fallen world, stuff happens...
As the old hymn goes: “Ask Him not then, 'When?' Or 'How?' Only bow....only bow.”
We bow, then. Casa Compasiva will bow to God's inscrutable ways, continuing to serve the Oaxacan mothers and babies to the best of our ability. Being human, we will feel frustrated when things don't work out as planned-- when a mother's Plan B must be applied and it yields unsatisfactory results. But we will continue to trust that ultimately God is working out His Plan A purposes in each mother's pre-natal care, birth, and post-partum recovery period.
It is a privilege to do what we can. It is a privilege to provide Oaxacan women with quality maternity care, ministering God's love through Jesus Christ in both word and deed. It is a privilege to comfort them even when their Plan A's go awry, and we are hindered in our ability to provide all their care. Then we encourage them to look to Jesus in their disappointment. We grieve with them when their birth plans fail to materialize as hoped, resulting in inexplicable suffering. And when we can offer absolutely no explanations as to the “why's and wherefores” of that suffering, we pray for the strength and the grace for all of us to bow.
Our first three midwives graduated from the Casa Compasiva midwifery course at the end of October. ... just in time to serve through this very busy Christmas season. These three excellent midwives will attend some of our Oaxacan clients in relaxed and joyful births at Casa Compasiva. They will all celebrate the successful conclusions to the natural birth classes that we offer.

However, in spite of everyone's best efforts, it is likely that some of the labours will end in the necessity of higher-level medical intervention. Our midwives may be forced to make the agonizing decision to transport to nearby hospitals. There will be tears shed all around. Some of the women whom we transfer will suffer difficult births under deplorable conditions. Those babies will be born during an imperfect Christmas season into an imperfect world.
But in God's economy, even the sorrows of their mamas' labours can be redeemed into something of eternal value in imperfect lives, and we stand ready to minister His love into their hearts. Please support the imperfect ministry of Casa Compasiva as we attempt to bring good tidings of great joy in both Plan A and perceived Plan B circumstances. We cannot do it alone. We ask you to remember the mamas and babies of Oaxaca this Christmas and in the coming year, and we thank you for your gifts and your prayers.
Feliz Navidad!
Lila Joy Quezada

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Our "Iron-clad" Guarantee

I have been thinking a lot lately about what “product” we are trying to sell at Casa Compasiva.  What is the most important Casa Compasiva focus that is our raison d'être-- our reason to exist?

Is it childbirth education?  Of course that is part of it... we want our clients to be well-educated in order to be well-prepared and make informed decisions. To that end we offer a series of eight mandatory childbirth classes, as well as various and sundry other public classes and workshops.  But that is only part of it... only part of our promise.
What then?  Is it natural birth?  We want our clients to be able to have a natural birth, and whenever possible we prepare them for that event, and help them through it when it arrives.  But what about clients who have already had two or three C-sections, or are diabetic, or have a heart murmur, or have a low-lying placenta, or some other condition signaling a higher-risk birth?   Do we then shoo them out the door saying there is nothing here for them? No, we continue to offer them pre-natal and post-partum services, while also referring them to higher level care...
Well, then, is that it?  Is it pre-natal and post-partum care?  Is that our hallmark, our principal product? But what about the woman who only hears about Casa Compasiva while already in her thirty-eighth week of pregnancy and who then goes into labour and delivers with us at thirty-nine weeks?  Did she just miss out on the quintessential Casa experience because she had no time to attend classes? No.

What is it then?  What is the one “product” that we can guarantee all of our clients will receive—whether wealthy foreigners, middle-class locals, or lower-income indigenous women from the surrounding mountain villages? I figured it out: it is love-- God's love distilled into quality maternity services, flowing through the hearts and hands and words of our midwives and doulas.  It is not a fake cheery smile, or a pithy team slogan, or a one-size-fits-all approach to pregnancy and birth.

No two women experience the same pregnancy, birth, or recovery period.  No two clients will go through exactly the same track of treatment with exactly the same results.  We can't guarantee a natural birth... unexpected complications can arise requiring transport and an eventual Caesarean.  We can't assure that her baby will be healthy.  That is in God's hands, not ours. But we can guarantee that if she is a Casa Compasiva client that she will be treated with respect, that she will be as informed as time allows, and--most especially--that she will have the chance to hear and experience the gentle love of the Lord Jesus as ministered to her by our midwives.

That is our “iron-clad” guarantee.  That is our promise-- not a particular outcome, but a particular exposure. We hope and pray that it will be enough to touch the hearts of the women we serve.  We hope that the exposure will “prime the pump” motivating them to reach out for more of this same Jesus whom they see in our lives and whom they hear about in their classes and appointments.

I need to be up-front with you right now.  Our funds are depleted;  rent for this month had to come from a private source;  I have no money to pay the obligatory Christmas bonuses or even the regular salaries for next week. We have many pre-natal clients and several births scheduled for December. In a season when demands on the midwives' time and energy are at an all-time high, our funds are at an all-time low.  This ministry depends on partial funding from outside sources; we cannot do it alone.

Please remember us in your prayers and in your giving.

We invite your continued participation in the ministry of Casa Compasiva, helping us to guarantee the only “product” that can really “deliver”--- God's love through Jesus Christ!

 Lila Joy