Unity 4 Orphans (U4O0 is excited to share the story of one woman who followed her heart to make a difference in the lives of orphaned children in Mexico.
Brenda Martinez first heard about U4O when she met our founder, Joe Brandi, at The Rock Church in October 2021. He was talking about ministry in Mexico and Nicaragua, and she felt God calling her to spend time with the kids. In January 2022, Brenda went to Tijuana with packed bags and an open heart. Nearly two months later, and still living at the orphanage, she opens up about her experiences with the children and the ways we–as an organization and as individuals–can better serve them and make a difference in their lives.
Taking Volunteering to the Next Level
Life at the orphanage is full of energy, with kids of all ages busy at school and at play. Being a very active person makes Brenda well-suited to spending so much time with the children, and it didn’t take long for them to bond with one another. Whether it’s art, games, sports, singing praise songs, or doing devotionals, loving on the kids takes a lot of energy, but as Brenda says, they offer “pure love” in return. She encourages kids who are talented artists, runs and plays outdoors with those who need active play, and guides them all through daily devotions.
“The love that the kids give every day is amazing; they welcome you with open arms!” -Brenda Martinez
In dedicating her time to living with the kids, aiding the orphanage staff, and being a surrogate mother to teenage girls, Brenda has gone above and beyond to show love to kids who need it most. More recently, Brenda has taken on the role of dorm mother to the teenage girls and spends most of her time with them. The days are full and she’s always busy, getting the girls to school on time, helping with homework, and offering guidance whenever opportunities arise–much like any parent!
“It’s not about me–it’s about the kids!” -Brenda Martinez
Shedding Light on How to Best Support Orphaned Children
Because of her experiences, Brenda is in an extraordinary position to shed light on the needs of the children and the orphanage staff. Life as a dorm mom has opened her eyes to the need for counseling and psychological intervention. Many of the kids have undergone abuse, neglect, and abandonment, and as they become more independent as teenagers, it’s even more important to have consistent wise counsel. For now, focusing on mental and emotional health will keep the kids happier, safer, and more able to succeed in school. In their futures, this vital aspect of their care will set them on a course for better relationships in their personal and professional lives. Brenda shares that the kids have food, clothing, shelter, and education, but are missing consistent counseling services to help them mature into healthy young adults.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13
When she feels overwhelmed or scared, Brenda repeats her favorite Bible verse. She finds strength in these words written by the Apostle Paul and they give her a sense of peace and protection. At the core of her, this dedicated volunteer has a desire to travel and share her faith with others, to talk about Jesus. Her example of love in action is an inspiration to all of us in the Unity 4 Orphans community!