How it all got started...
Face of My Father Children´s Home has been caring for children for 7 years, but the ministry did not start seven years ago. It started in a vision, a dream, many years before that dream would come into existence. But even before the dream, God was moving in the hearts of key people to make the future dream a reality. Let´s go back to 1988 and see how God pieced everything together.
William Cooke was 14 at the time, growing up in England, and had the opportunity to be part of a short-term missions team lead by his pastor, Kevin Gould, to Guadalajara, Mexico. On the way to Guadalajara the team stopped in an orphanage and William received a very strong call from God to one day be a full-time missionary in Mexico.
At the same time Katie John was growing up miles away in Alaska. She also had felt a call on her life to full-time missionary service and was waiting for God to show her just how that was going to happen. Fusing the two stories, a year later William´s pastor moved to pastor Katie´s church, Clover Pass Community Church, in Alaska and William´s family moved the following year to work alongside him. William and Katie became very close friends and started dreaming of a life together.
In 1991 a small church in San Marcos was being pastored by the Walle Rivera family. Victor Walle´s parents had donated land with a half-constructed house on it for the use of the church, and the thought at the time was to use the house for a possible drug-rehab center or some other social-aid center. A team of short-term missionaries from Alaska came to see the property while ministering in Guadalajara, and dedicated themselves to pray for the property and its future use. Katie´s parents were on that team.
Jump forward to 1996. William and Katie are studying missions in separate Bible Colleges and have decided that they are to be married and start looking into what Mexican ministry God would have them involved in. They hear God calling them to work with the Walle Rivera family in the church ministry in San Marcos, and in 1998, 7 months after marrying, and with the full blessing and support of their church, they packed their belongings and headed for Mexico. Through lack of communication on the part of the Mexican church, they found out when they arrived that the Walle family had since moved to Guadalajara, and that the Cookes were now fully in charge of ministry in San Marcos. This included doing whatever they saw fit with the donated land and house, as long as it was used by the church for a service to society. William and Katie decided that they would work towards opening a home for abandoned and orphaned children.
Work on the donated house began and many people gave towards its completion. The grounds were built up, trees planted, a fence put around the property, and in time the house was habitable. But there was no electricity on the street, so the Cookes continued living in a rented house while they waited and pushed for the local authorities to put in the electricity. There came a time, though, when they had to move out of the rented house because the rent had been put up and they could no longer pay it. So they moved into the donated house and lived in it without electricity for a year until it was finally installed. By this time they had 3 children of their own. They continued to pastor the local church and minister in many ways in the town and in nearby towns.
After a few years of living in the donated house and working on the paperwork to get the Home up and running, they came to the realization that to be able to do the job well they were going to need some help. God put on their hearts to look for another couple or family who would be able to care for the children in the Home while they directed. At the same time the church had purchased property and a team from Ohio came to help with construction. On that team there was a couple, Tod and Kristi Ramey, who were looking into missions themselves and who began to feel the desire to minister in San Marcos in the Children´s Home. They came down a second time with their three girls and then made the final decision to come full-time. They arrived to begin ministry in 2008.
When the decision was made to work with another family, and seeing the relative smallness of the donated house, another decision was made to build a two-story building that would serve as the Home and the other family´s house. That way more children could be attended and there would also be room for each family to have their own home as well. When the Rameys arrived the second house was under construction and they put themselves to building and beginning to learn Spanish. Once the Home was to a safe point where it could start receiving children, the directors started putting out the word and in April of 2009 received their first child. The Rameys then took over the primary care of each of the children that came in and the Cookes directed the Home. Day by day they saw God work in miraculous ways and the ministry grow and flourish.
Pressing the fast-forward button once again, we arrive to 2016. Over these 7 years 18 different children have been cared for in the Home, both from within San Marcos and from other cities and towns. The Rameys made the decision to move back to the States in 2011, and at that point the Cookes moved out of the donated house and into the Children´s Home building to take over the care of the children. The donated house is now being used as a guest house for visiting teams and volunteer workers. The Cookes continue to pastor the local Christian and Missionary Alliance church and run the Children´s Home. Plans are being made to expand the Home to be able to care for even more children, but that is another story…
So many hands have been a part of this work, so many prayers prayed, and so many resources given. “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3