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Celebrating Three Major Milestones in Mexico NGO Service 2023

Buckner International recently celebrated three major milestones in its Mexico children and family services ministries:

  1. The 15th Anniversary of Buckner Mexico operations as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in Oaxaca, Mexico

  2. Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls distributed its 5 millionth pair of shoes to a child served through Buckner Mexico ministries

  3. The grand opening of a new Buckner Family Hope Center in San Agustin Etla, also in Oaxaca, Mexico -- this is our second location in Oaxaca

Any one of these celebrations would have been enough to make a trip ... but we did all three celebrations in one visit!

On top of all the festivities, it was my pleasure to introduce Dr. Lilibeth Santiago, our new Executive Director, during Buckner's 15th anniversary gala. I met Dr. Santiago several years ago during our 10th Anniversary and was so impressed with her then. She is a trained and certified medical doctor with several master’s degrees and is finishing a Ph.D. in Management of Social Services Nonprofits. She is an amazing leader with a wide circle of relationships in Oaxaca and beyond. I wish her well as the leader of our Mexico operations.

Rodrigo received the 5 millionth pair of new shoes. He told one of our team members, “I was so excited when I saw my new shoes that I wanted to cry.” His tears were happy tears. His mother was so happy to see her son excited about brand new red tennis shoes. The grand opening of the Buckner Family Hope Center at San Agustin Etla was filled with activities such as water coloring, black bean art, games, and the shoe distribution. The owner of the building and his wife beamed with joy at children and families being served in this community.

During my visit to Oaxaca, I had the privilege of lecturing on “Leading Organizational Transformation: the Buckner Story,” to a packed room full of ministry students and pastors at Lacy Theological Seminary led by Dr. David Tamez at the Universidad La Salle. It was a joy to speak to 200 students led by Dr. Luis Ignacio Salgado Fernandez, president, and shared this presentation with a group of 30 pastors from the Alianza Ministerial.

All of these special activities and events were incredible. Yet, nothing could have prepared me for the 15th anniversary celebration where an orchestra and choir of vulnerable children performed spiritual and cultural music for us to enjoy. This made the night and the whole trip surreal, magical, and an experience I will never forget.

Everything rises or falls on leadership. I am so proud of Henry Jackson, president of Buckner Children and Family Services (BCFS); Samela Macon, VP of BCFS operations; Rocio Lopez, senior director of international operations; Carlos Colon, regional director of international operations; Dr. Lilibeth Santiago, Buckner Mexico executive director; and the entire Buckner Mexico team. Buckner Mexico has a bright future in store where more children and families can be served to find hope for tomorrow.

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