About seven years ago, a group from Adventist Health White Memorial went on a medical mission trip to Valle De La Trinidad in Baja, Mexico. One of the participants, Music Chaplain Alex Lalin, soon found it was a place he, his family, friends, and fellow co-workers would continue to revisit. While the group was there, they connected with the local orphanage. After meeting and visiting with the children, Alex and the others realized that this was a place they needed to be involved in more than just once a year. They began making trips with their own families to bring donations, support, and friendship to the orphanage. The kids at the orphanage were overjoyed with this, and a lasting relationship was born.
When the small group from Adventist Health White Memorial returned for the medical trip the following year, the kids from the orphanage remembered them; the volunteers were deeply moved by this. After the group returned home, word began to spread about the orphanage in Valle De La Trinidad, and support and donations began pouring in from all over the Adventist Health White Memorial community. In describing the donations, Alex expressed joy and thankfulness for the generosity of the people from his community and the hospital, who contributed shoes, mattresses, and other specific needs for the orphanage.
Each year, the frequency of visits has increased. In addition, the size of the group from White Memorial has grown and been augmented by volunteers from the Adventist Health Glendale and Bakersfield hospitals who have joined the endeavor.
However, the relationship didn’t just encompass the clinic and orphanage. Alex and the group began helping the local community as well. Families have been assisted with essential items like shoes and backpacks, and kids from the orphanage have been sponsored and supported to attend school. A new dental clinic is opening later this year, sponsored by Adventist Health in collaboration with Montemorelos University and the Northern Baja Conference. The dental clinic will be managed by a former resident of the orphanage who was sponsored to attend university, trained to be a dentist, and will now be returning to her home community to run the clinic.
When talking about the continued partnership with the Valle De La Trinidad community, Alex expressed how amazing it is to see how this small, grassroots project started and how it continues to grow each year, with donations and people wanting to be involved in any way possible. “They are sold on mission” he said. “This is being done out of true compassion and heart. So many of our associates and volunteers are engaged not only with the Adventist Health mission but also the mission of Christ.”
By Brendan Collins, Alex Lalin, and John Schroer