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Celebrating Children’s Day in Tijuana

I had the privilege of being part of the Children’s Day celebrations in Tijuana, Mexico. Children’s Day, or Dia Del Niño, is a highly anticipated holiday for the children in Tijuana, celebrated on April 30th. For the children at the intercultural school, House Of Wise Words, we held our celebration on Thursday, April 27th. For some of these children, who come from families struggling to make ends meet, this was likely their only opportunity to enjoy this special day.

Children’s Day is a day to honor and celebrate children, highlighting their importance in society and recognizing their rights. The celebrations in Mexico vary from region to region and from family to family, but some common ways of celebrating this day include:

Special Events: Schools, communities, and organizations organize special events like parades, picnics, concerts, and cultural activities that are specifically geared toward children.

Gifts: Parents, relatives, and friends often give children gifts such as toys, clothes books, or sweets to show their love and appreciation.

Family Time: Families spend time together, taking part in activities such as baking, playing games, or going on outings.

Fun Activities: Children are encouraged to participate in fun activities such as sports, crafts, and games. Parks and public spaces often have special activities and events for children on this day.

Recognition of Children’s Rights: This day is also an opportunity to raise awareness of children’s rights and the importance of protecting and promoting their well-being.

Thanks to the support of my colleague Aida Amador, Via Migrante Coordinator, and Via Internationals sister organization Los Niños De Baja California, we received a generous donation of toys and fruit juice from the Banatti organization of Tijuana, Mexico. Along with pinatas and candy, the toys made for a very special celebration for the children at the House of Wise Words.

The photos from the event show the pure joy and happiness in children’s faces.

God’s word in scripture reminds us how valuable children are to him. How we care for our children, demonstrates our love for Christ. In my experience, the gladness we share with children is rewarded with joy in our own hearts.

At this point, after handing out dozens of gifts and celebrating with the children at House of Wise Words, I thought my children’s day celebration was over. I thought I would enjoy the “actual” Dia Del Niño at Border Church from the United States side of the border. But a small voice in the back of my head kept reminding me that my Veterans office in Tijuana, was filled with three barrels of toys and too many 2-liter bottles of juice. What do I do with them?

That voice whispered, “The children from Casa De Luz shelter as well as the children that gather at Border Church, could surely enjoy being celebrated on this special day.” Again, I reached out to my colleague Aida at Via International and my friend Pastor Guillermo of Border Church. We mobilized; packing up the toys and drinks, we set out for Casa de Luz to celebrate with more children. Pastor Guillermo’s brother-in-law hopped in to serve as an MC and activity director for the impromptu celebration. The joy of children is contagious. We were all overcome by it.

A tremendous children’s day celebration was created. For a few hours, these precious kids completely forgot the trauma, struggle, and hardships they have been enduring.

As I recall that day, all I can think about is Jesus feeding the multitude with just a few pieces of bread and fish. Christ manifests himself when we least expect him to. By looking at the number of children, you would think that three barrels of toys would not be enough for each child to receive a toy, yet they did.

The voice that whispers always has an amazing message. I will always try to keep my heart attentive to those whispers that bring such great things.

Children’s Day is a special holiday for me. I was separated from my young grandchildren for nine years. I was not able to see them grow up from young children to teenagers. During this separation, I strived to serve children as best as I could. To me, these became my own grandchildren, filling in the void in my heart of the missed opportunities with my own grandchildren. Today, Christ continues to bless me with continued opportunities to serve children, like at the House Of Wise Words, Casa de Luz, and at Border Church.

Overall, Children’s Day in Mexico is a day to celebrate children and to show them how much they are valued and loved. The looks on their little faces tells me that for a few hours, they felt the warmth and joy of Jesus Christ through our efforts.

This year, EDSD is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the Year of Service. In June, the service projects will focus on the plight of refugees and migrants around the world. Please stay tuned for opportunities to serve our neighbors here and in Tijuana in June.


Category: #Advocacy, #Migration

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