Thursday, December 01, 2016

Missed #Giving Tuesday? It's Not Too Late...

Here are some great ideas!

I just received word from the mama of this beautiful baby boy in Canada. She had the brilliant idea of throwing a first birthday party for her son, but asking guests in lieu of birthday gifts to donate to a fund to help Casa Compasiva. People responded generously and she raised $700 Canadian for this ministry!

What a great concept—one that others could use to help support this worthy cause. When is your next big celebration? :)

And not only Canadians and Americans can raise funds for Casa ... look at what a grateful couple here in Oaxaca brought as an offering. They had been saving their pesos in a bottle, and brought all the coins in as a gift when she went into labour. We were hesitant to accept, knowing their financial constraints as they also run a ministry on a shoestring. But they persuaded us to accept their heartfelt gift of gratitude, and to honour their spirit of joy in giving.

Need any more inspiration for creative generosity throughout the season? We are happy to help!šŸ˜€

Lila Joy




Thursday, November 17, 2016

What in the World is an "Aguinaldo"?


Aguinaldo is the Mexican name for the grand old tradition of “Christmas bonus.”  Here in Oaxaca that tradition is extremely important—rising almost to the level of sacrosanct!  People depend so much on their aguinaldos that come December and time for the Christmas bonus they would be absolutely devastated if the aguinaldos failed to materialize.  It is so vitally important to each worker's personal economy that the Mexican government has made it a legal obligation for employers to provide. This non-optional requirement consists of a minimum of 15-30 days' pay. Aguinaldos are due by the middle of December—in other words very soon! And as you might have already guessed, we do not currently have the funds to pay all of our staff aguinaldos. 

 
The Casa Compasiva collective aguinaldo bonuses this year represent a chunk of change—approximately $1200 US.  Lest you think this is exorbitant, remember that our midwives and doulas receive 30-43 pesos per hour.  With the recent plunge in the peso following US elections, this translates to only $1.50-$2.10 US per hour. Since we were not able to increase salaries this last January, the devalued peso means that they are now actually making LESS this year than they did last year. To their credit, nobody is whining or complaining about their financial hardships—these are quality, godly women and they live out their faith daily in hard work and joyful dedication.  In fact, these verses from 2 Corinthians that describe Paul's sufferings give a pretty apt description of the life of a midwife (with slight creative license). :)

 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and (in uncomfortably cramped positions).  Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the (pregnant mamas and their babies).

These  women are the best---and believe me, they REALLY deserve their aguinaldos!  Please give generously to supply this need and to affirm these excellent servants of Jesus in their sacrificial work for the mothers and babies of Oaxaca!  
 
Lila Joy


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

And Now for Something Completely DIfferent


Up until now, these blog-posts have always been about pregnant mamas, babies, midwives, maternity care, pre-natal education, etc.  But today I want to change it up a bit and talk about something completely different---alcoholism.  This ugly addiction is having a huge and growing impact on Casa Compasiva.....why?

Ever since the day we moved in to our wonderful Oaxacan facility almost six years ago, we have had a constant presence of drunken men “sleeping it off” under the shade of our trees on the sidewalk outside Casa Compasiva. To their credit, they have been (mostly) respectful, and have not intentionally bothered our clients or staff.  They sit quietly slumped against our wall, or passed out on the sidewalk by my car, but they have almost always moved when asked. 

If you have ever visited Casa Compasiva, you will probably have noticed their blankets, shoes, and other personal belongings stored in the branches of our trees.  The men live, eat, drink, sleep, and take care of their bodily functions right there outside our gate. So what is the problem? Frankly, it is little disconcerting for our pregnant mamas or nursing mums with newborns to have to run the gauntlet of these men who have taken up residence around Casa Compasiva.  While the men might try to be polite, the alcohol does not always allow them  to be....you know how it is. 

Yet these men have deserve respect and dignity, and we treat them with the courtesy and compassion worthy of people created in the image of God.  We do not give them food or money (which only enables their addictions), but we do give them cups of water, or medicine, or bandages when they fall down or get into fights. While we all recognize that they need help, we also realize that addiction counseling for alcoholic men is far beyond the scope of our birth center ministry and midwifery practice—especially given the fact that we have an all-women staff!

The problem has been escalating lately with the men becoming noisier and increasingly more belligerent (with each other—not with us).  They yell obscenities and threats at each other, scaring our clients, and disturbing the tranquility of Casa Compasiva.  Recently we have also noticed some dangerous drug-dealers doing business among our “borrachitos” (our little drunks). It has also become apparent that some bestiality is taking place, as well as the expected prostitution. Security is becoming more and more of an issue for us—particularly with births at night.

All of our pleas to the police have fallen on deaf ears...including a petition that a neighbour took up which we all signed.  The police seem to view the permanent posting of the drunks outside our gate as an ideal location for the borrachitos to stay out of trouble and get over their hang-overs.  There are at least a couple of AA chapters within a few blocks of us, but no one seems to be interested.  We can't  persuade them either to get help or to leave us alone.  They are men (and women) in desperate need of the Saviour, and we are overwhelmed by our inability to effectively address their issues.  

Laundry room "borrachito" style - drying clothes on the rocks


Rustic bathroom facilities- notice the mirror and comb on the post

So we would ask you to pray for them to come under conviction and to decide to get the help that they need.... And pray that perhaps some Christian men in Oaxaca would get a vision for ministering to them....And pray that the illegal booze supplier across the street from us would be shut down....  And pray that they would be respectful (and preferably out of sight) when we have clients coming in and out... And pray especially that they would find peace and new life in Jesus rather than vainly searching for it in a bottle. Casa Compasiva's ministry to the women and babies of Oaxaca requires an effective solution to this very real problem!   

Lila Joy

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grateful...

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