Vallarta Living | Archives
|The Children of the Dump|
Saúl Gonzalez, pastor of Perdon y Amistad Church (translation: church of forgiveness and friendship) has not always been a minister. In 1990, after meeting Jesus, he quit his civil-engineering job to found his church. Since then, he has established 34 missions, churches and programs with services for prisoners, addicts, children and the poor.
Pastor Saúl’s church is currently feeding 2,500 children of the city dump communities one meal a day, five days a week. This meal is provided at the local public schools, encouraging youngsters to attend and helping parents see its value. Members also tutor many of these children. In cooperation with World Vision the brightest pupils are given extra instruction following school in computers, mathematics, and music to help prepare them for the better jobs available in the resorts.
Joe and Linda Knight, pastors of the Rock Church in Monroe, Washington, became involved with Pastor Saúl after meeting him on a program at a Christian TV station in Seattle. Deeply moved by his story, Linda flew to Mexico in early 1998 and spent a month assisting him.
"Take me to the place the Americans won't go," Linda Knight told him. And he took her to a garbage dump where 100 children spent their days fighting with buzzards for scraps of food. They had no fresh water and no way to keep themselves clean.
Since then until her death on January 31, 2000 when Alaska Airlines flight 261 crashed off the coast of Los Angeles, Linda told everyone who would listen about the children living in filth on the mountain of trash that overlooks Puerto Vallarta. What the children needed more than anything was clean water to drink and to wash away the diseases and infections that haunt the dump.
Before her death, Linda raised hundreds of dollars and put up a shower. She envisioned a community center, including a kitchen and large enclosure for Pastor Saúl’s feeding program, where volunteer doctors and dentists could work. She inspired numerous people to become involved. Through the cooperation of many churches, people, and groups (including one of the resorts in Puerto Vallarta) the School of Champions, was dedicated on February 15, 2001!
While progress has been made, there are still hundreds of children in need of food — the goal is to feed 5,000 each day. One community center is a start, but not enough. School supplies are needed along with medical supplies, toothbrushes, clothing, household items, and cleaning supplies.
You can sponsor a child at $25 each month providing him or her with food, education, and medical attention. You can help by sending a donation of any amount. If you are a doctor, dentist or nurse, you can volunteer some time helping in Puerto Vallarta. If you plan to vacation in Puerto Vallarta you could donate some time helping the church with its programs.
Please consider how you can help. The children of Puerto Vallarta will thank you! All donations will be acknowledged with a receipt.
Children of the Dump
718 Griffin Ave.PMB #207
Enumclaw, WA 38022-3462