For 41 orphan children in Mexico, Christmas is arriving this year in the form of a school bus loaded with presents, thanks to two LDS families - one in Colorado and the other in Utah - and several young Church members.
The families of Dennis and Linda Brimhall of the Greenwood Village Ward, Willow Creek Colorado Stake, and Kim and Linda Bateman of the Ephraim 3rd Ward, Ephraim Utah Stake, have undertaken the project.
Brimhall is the president of University Hospital in Denver, and Bateman is a family practitioner in Ephraim. The couples, who each have four children, are good friends, Sister Bateman said.
Through Collegium Aesculapium, the association of LDS physicians, (see March 25, 1989, Church News for a story about the association) Bateman has been to Mexico twice. The association is providing medical service to Indians in Northern Mexico.
While there, Sister Bateman said, her husband became acquainted with the Casa de Amor orphanage.
"Our children are giving up their Christmases this year so we can use the funds to benefit the orphan children, who range in age from 1 to 16 years," Sister Bateman explained. "It is an opportunity for us to give as well as to receive expanded cultural awareness."
As people in the families' wards and neighborhoods have heard about the endeavor, they have been generous and responsive, Sister Bateman said. In Ephraim, a Young Women class of Beehives collected, sorted and mended clothing and shoes. In the Brimhalls' stake, young men and women have made wooden toys, pillowcases with the children's names on them, dolls with clothing, quiet books, nightgowns and other items, according to Linda Cherry, editor of the Castle Rock (Colo.) Ward newsletter. Large stores donated other items.
Sister Bateman said a school bus was purchased to haul the items to Mexico. The bus will be left in Mexico for the use of needy villages there, and the families will travel home via their own vans.
"We're really looking forward to it," she commented.