A couple months ago I met an incredible woman Sandra. Sandra runs the orphanage in Guacayvo, where our Ethos Mexico Mission team served for about a week (More photos of the missions trip here and here!). On our first day in Guacayvo Sandra gave us a tour and also shared a bit of her story. Originally she had agreed to only work at the orphanage for a few months; she had her heart set on going to school and earning a degree. But during those few months in Guacayvo, despite the rough living conditions, God put it on Sandra’s heart to stay there and run the orphanage. She has since adopted two Tarahumaran children (the Tarahumara tribe inhabits the canyon), Tito & Sandra (they call her Sandrita), and is the legal guardian of another boy named Roberto.
While staying in Guacayvo I also met Sandra’s fiancé Manuel. And eventually I learned more about their story. Manuel’s family is from a village called Tejaban, also in the Copper Canyon. They two met 6 years ago at the orphanage, yet sparks didn’t fly right away. Then a couple years ago Sandra went to study for 6 months in Juarez, and upon her return Manuel was suddenly a lot friendlier. One time Pastor Tomasz asked Manuel to accompany Sandra on the hike to Napuchis (our team did the same hike… quite intense!). The terrain is rough, and Sandra jokingly made the comment, “I wish I had a husband to help me.” Manuel responded, “I’m here for whatever you need.” (!!!!)
Back in Guacayvo, one night Sandra & Manuel stayed up the night to watch & protect the goats. It’s a steep walk to get back down to where her house is, and it’s not uncommon for the men to help the women get down. So, in a gentlemen-like fashion, Manuel took Sandra’s hand to help her down – only once they got down the steep part he wouldn’t let go! Not long after that night, Manuel asked Sandra to be his girlfriend. But she said no; her plan was to always be single and serving God at the orphanage in the Canyon. So even though she told him that she thought he was a wonderful man, she declined.
Manuel was still hopeful though, and continued to respectfully pursue her. Last May she finally agreed to date. What’s funnier is that before they even started dating, little Sandrita had already started calling Manuel “dad”!
The two continued to grow closer, and in December 2013 Manuel proposed. They even bought rings that same day (engagement rings are not as common in Mexican culture). I have to say I’m a little jealous that I’m not going to be there to photograph their Copper Canyon wedding this October, but I’m so thankful I could bless them with these engagement photos! Special thanks to Lindsey, one of the leaders on my team who helped translate during the session since my Spanish isn’t that great ;)