The story of one of our alumni weekend pop-up shops, and told by one of the founders, Tracy (Rubuliak) Rahn.
“I want to tell you a story. A small part of my own once upon a time.
Five years ago, I was hired by a local church. One of the founding values of the church was missional work and I quickly realized I inherited our church’s mission work in Mexico.
It was a beautiful work that was being done. I attended the fundraisers, saw countless photos of wide-eyed children and their mothers holding them close. Every space in our office was filled with these images and printouts of goals and dreams for our work in Mexico.
Two years in, our staff took a trip down to Mexico. It’s one thing to hear these stories and read the statistics, but a couple days into that trip, those statistics suddenly took on flesh.
We visited the Casa de Luz Children’s Centre in Primo Tapia, Mexico, which is located an hour south of the American border on the Baja California peninsula.
One day, we were traveling back to the centre in a van with the Casa de Luz Children’s Centre logo painted on the side. A beat-up SUV started following us. When we reached the gates of Casa de Luz, the SUV pulled up beside us and I noticed that it contained a young mother and her three daughters. She jumped out and started talking quickly with our director.
The young mother had come to give her children up. She had no place to live. She had just lost her waitressing job. She was desperate. Seeing our van, she assumed that it was from an orphanage, so she followed us.
This is the unusual thing about Casa de Luz. It works like a reverse orphanage. Our goal is to provide a safe place for children to come during the day, where they are fed, taken to school and cared for. Meanwhile, their mothers work, enabling the families to stay together. The mothers also have access to adult education programs, job training, micro-loans and even home ownership programs.
It was then that the numbers, the vision boards and the fundraisers faded away and this mother and her three girls grabbed a hold of my heart. I was ruined. And my story was changed from that day, because they became a part of it.
Fast-forward another two years and a small idea started brewing in my mind. One day, I saw a picture of somebody wearing a Mexican scarf. The idea turned into House of Light Goods. One of the mothers I met at Casa de Luz is Ruby and she is an accomplished seamstress. We told her our idea, bought some blankets and officially hired her as our head seamstress.
We are just approaching the two-year mark with House of Light Goods. It has been scary, hard and wonderful. Last Christmas we were gobsmacked when someone sent us a link to a Buzzfeed list of Christmas gift ideas that mentioned House of Light Goods.
We’ve started to expand our products in the last year, and are still figuring things out. But it really does feel incredible to be able to spread the vision and the hope that are transforming Primo Tapia, Mexico. Ruby has almost saved up enough money to buy land. Casa de Luz will help her build her home. We’ve started working with a local man named Felix who makes beautiful tapestries, which Ruby then sews into pillows. Casa de Luz just celebrated its five-year anniversary and is running at capacity. I hope there will be more Rubys raised up and more scarves will be lovingly sewn and bought by generous people who are touched by Ruby’s and our story.”
Alumni Weekend celebrates the accomplishments and impact that TWU Alumni have had in the marketplaces of life. Join us Sept. 16-17 to hear more of the interesting, exciting, transformative, and passion-driven stories of our community.