Give Until it Hurts

My name is Amy Schrock. I am from Kansas and I currently serve as a child caregiver at SLCH.

How did I end up here? As a teen, I had always been interested in SLCH and I felt led to serve there. I did not have any connection with anyone who knew anything of this Children’s Home in Mexico. I had never visited, nor been asked to come. I struggled with the decision and the issue of not knowing where to serve, even though I felt as if God was pushing me to go somewhere. I finally decided to just take the next step forward and fill out an application for SLCH. This was not an easy decision to make. On one hand, it is s commitment of one to two years of your life, but on the other hand, it’s only one to two years of your life. It took lots of prayers, trust, and faith in God, but after taking that step forward, I felt as if this is where God was calling me. I wanted to care for children so I committed to the 15-month term as a child caregiver. I had very little knowledge of what that position included, but I knew that this is what God wanted me to do. I decided that the fear of the unknown would not hold me back.

My term started in January of 2021. The day after I arrived I was asked to be the caregiver of a two-day-old baby boy. After caring for him for five weeks, he went back to his family and I got another baby boy that I took care of for another five weeks. A few months after I arrived, I started taking care of an 11-year-old girl who has lived here since she was two days old. She is now in the process of being adopted. I was blessed with the fact that she knew English.

I also took care of a 15-year-old girl, Lupita, for a few months. I was then asked to be the caregiver of a set of sisters--Perla (13) and Brenda (12).  They had arrived at the home soon after my arrival.  They did not know English and I did not know Spanish, but I decided I would not let the language barrier keep me from being their caretaker. We started by using lots of Google Translate until I had enough Spanish words added to my vocabulary to be able to communicate with them.

This past summer, I took care of an 11-month-old boy that was very malnourished when he came, weighing only 11 pounds. He managed to steal our hearts in the two short months that I had the privilege of taking care of him. He was our little sunshine and would always wake up with the sweetest little smile wanting to eat anything and everything. Never take the chubbiness of a baby for granted!

A few months ago, I received a 2- week-old baby girl. She is almost 3 months old now and will most likely go back to her family or be adopted. Becoming attached to each baby that has come has been very easy. They take a piece of your heart when you have to say goodbye to them, but it is so worth the pain. I thank God I was able to give them love and security for a short time of their life.

You also cannot help becoming very much attached to the children here. We get to see each other at our worst and our best.  We laugh and cry together, as well as play, work, and learn together.

Lessons Learned

So you may be wondering what it means to be a child caregiver at SLCH in Tecate, Mexico. I hope I can give you a glimpse of my experience here. I would like to make it sound all nice and sweet and easy but I also want to give you the truth.

Being a caregiver here basically means you are a mom to the children you take care of. Is being a mom hard? Is it worth it? Does it mean you will need to make sacrifices? Does it mean you will have an effect on your children’s lives? Does it mean you will learn to fully rely on God’s power? I say yes to each of these questions.

Some things I’ve learned are that the hard moments are the times you grow the most--the moments when you realize that it is only by the strength of God in you that you are able. It is not me, but it is God in me. It is those hard moments that make the journey beautiful. That moment when your child gets up from throwing a fit and looks into your eyes and bursts into tears and says “thank you for helping me with my problems and for helping me become a better person and learn how to handle my emotions”. Hearing a little girl pray, asking God to forgive her for not obeying and for the bad words she said. These moments have challenged me personally to have child-life faith.

I was not at SLCH very long before it struck me how richly blessed I am to have both a mom and a dad who took care of me, gave me a Christian home, and a good childhood filled with love and security. I did not choose my life any more than these children chose their childhood.

Since we have received so much from God and we have been blessed so richly, can we not give of our time and sacrifice for Him? I want to encourage you to serve God and give Him your all. Give until it hurts.

It is hard to believe that my term here is almost up. Time at Shining Light flies by at an unbelievably fast rate of speed! We do have a great need for long-term staff here at the home. We are in desperate need of caregivers and I hope and pray that God will meet those needs.  It is not easy for the children to have to readjust to a new ’mom’ every few months.

Let me encourage you to not let fear keep you from serving the Lord. Fear of commitment, not knowing whether you will enjoy it, language barriers, not being able to handle the challenges—God can handle it all.  If God leads you to it, He will most certainly bring you through it. Do not doubt His power and His strength in you.

There are many places you can serve, be it here or at home, in the next town or another country. God gives each of us a different calling, but He has given us each the same promises. If we choose to believe in His promises, then we will have confidence that with God we can do whatever He calls us to do.

Jesus gave His life for you. May we follow His example of perfect love and sacrifice.