Saul and his wife Janet 

Tonio in 2005

Saul Johasir Castillo 
"In 2005 I came to Arbol de Vida for the first time, to this day I still say that it was a lifesaver, I cannot imagine my current life without the support that the hostel gave me, I am currently 29 years old and have a degree in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation graduated from the Universidad Mexicana del Norte. 
My stay there lasted 12 years, at that time Carmen and John gave me the opportunity to study part of primary, secondary and high school and as if that were not enough, once I left there they linked me with Sergio Cabada Alvidrez, General Director of Grupo lntermedia, He was the one who sponsored my Bachelor's Degree, and gave me a job for 7 years, where I worked as a cameraman, and director of production cameras, I currently work as a Manager in a Del Rio Store and I exercise in a private way giving therapies at home. 
It is worth mentioning that there I met my wife, Lidia Janeth Angel Mejfa, she was also at the hostel and finished her Nursing Degree at UACJ, where the hostel sponsored her career, she is already a Graduate and a Server is in the Graduation Process. ( an R.N.) 
If you asked me what Tree of Life gave me, the answer would be: Everything, it gave me a family, friends, advisors, tools for daily life, it is not the same to have a place where you feed boys and girls for years and when they become a certain of age You let them go. They did not provide them with the tools to excel in daily life, obviously all those years went to waste, instead, the Tree of Life has a very special follow-up to develop all the necessary areas in an individual. 
It is incredible to see how there is such a wonderful place, a place 
where they are taught art classes, music classes, sports workshops and, above all, they share the love of Christ in their lives, and all this is thanks to the support of people who maybe we will never know, but from here we say THANK YOU. 
To finish, on one occasion Carmen told us about a dream she had about 30 years ago, in her dream she observed how a child's hand was sticking out of a pool of dirty water. When she wanted to help him, thousands of hands began to come out of the well. without a doubt I was one of them and I am completely grateful for that." 

Before Saul's day of graduation of college. He wanted his picture in Cap and Gown with us. They hugged us hard and told us how much they loved us.

"Hola, mi nombre es Damaris tengo 26 anos y pues creel en iubol de vida, toda mi nines siempre fue muy buena fui realmente bendecida, me llevaron junto con otros 3 hermanos mios, llegue muy chiquita so no recuerdo mucho solo se que aprendi a conocer de Dios en Arbol de Vida ellos siempre cuidaron de mi y ahora tengo una bella y hermosa familia con la cual estoy de misionera en partes de Mexico sirviendo al Señor."


Hello, my name is Damaris, I am 26 years old and I grew up in the tree of life. All my childhood was always very good. I was really blessed. They took me along with 3 other brothers of mine. of God in the tree of life they always took care of me and now I have a beautiful and beautiful family with which I am a missionary.

"Good afternoon, first of all, I would like to thank my family, I always say that I am adopted, that they are in charge of the Arbol de Vida Hostel, since they took and continue to take the time to see that she is a good young woman, thanks to the values and care is that I was able to conclude my degree in gastronomy, not satisfied with that they continue to support me with my Master's in Business Management, but before all this I would like to be able to tell you how it is that I reached a high academic level. 
I have been in the shelter for 15 years, I arrived from the DIF, without family, without love, and with a problem of mistreatment by the only person who took care of me, who was my grandmother, the Tree of Life Shelter began by teaching me the Christian values that until I have them to date, that includes the example they gave me of helping others in their need, not giving up when someone tells you that you can't, supporting children who have the same situation that I went through at the time, even I continue to be taught to give unconditional love, to be able to be better every day, I currently help out at the shelter by shopping for food for 100 children, which is part of what I studied in kitchen management, I have taken some cooking courses and hygienic 
handling of food. 
Currently, I also obtained a scholarship to meet the best chefs in Latin America, and out of 300 young people, only 20 were selected, but this achievement would not have been possible if I did not have adequate support. 
At 28 years old, I am very grateful to God for this family, this place and all the people who surround me, for all their unconditional support and with those people who continue to support these causes who, without asking for anything, trust in what we will be in the future."

Ivan was one of the first children at Tree of Life. 

When he arrived, he was extremely withdrawn and unable to speak clearly; although he was probably seven years old, he could not identify where he lived or who his parents were – it was clear he had some form of Autism. He had been abandoned in front of Child Protective Services.

Ivan found a home at Tree of Life. Now a resident for more than 16 years, he still struggles off campus but thrives in the loving environment at Tree of Life. He speaks both English and Spanish, wears a suit every Sunday to Church, and has been dubbed "The Ambassador of Good Will" by visitors.

Ivan is loved by all the children at Tree of Life. He will probably never leave the orphanage – and we would never want him to.

Stories

"My name is: Yerli Karely castro Velazquez and previous years I was living in the shelter called Arbol de Vida which is located in Lomas de Poleo, Puerto Anapra. 
I was a girl who lived with her father and her stepmother at the age of approximately 10; When my father went to work I was left in the care of my stepmother, what he did not know at first is that she hit me, time spent between beatings and insults I could not say anything to my father because I was threatened by her, when The day comes when she knows how to manipulate my father and my martyrdom begins even more. Every time my stepmother left, my father would get me up to clean the house, that was not a problem, the problem was that she began to isolating my father with lies, which I achieved, she hit me and more because of my stepbrothers. One day because of a lie that my stepbrother had told, she hit me and cut my arm with a tool and I had to go to the hospital when he arrived. my father says that I did it because I was careless, as the days passed she began to leave me without eating, little by little I could no longer sit down to eat with them at the table, after that she only gave me two meals a day, after that nothing more gives me one meal a day, until I reach The degree of not giving me food during the day and she would tell my dad that I had already eaten. my stepmother got to the point that she no longer fed me and I had to drink water from the bathroom sink because I didn't. Couldn't drink or eat on their plates. When one day I made the decision to run away from home and file a complaint with my stepmother in Babicora, which is the police station, they take me to a shelter called Arbol de Vida, that's where I was in a shelter for the first time but it wasn't for a long time because my father claimed me and they gave me back to them. 
When they hit me with them my tragedy began worse, both my father and my stepmother arrived and so that I would not run away from the house again they began to tie me to the bed and they Just released me to clean the house, several times I I escaped from my house to go directly to the shelter because it was the only place where I felt protected, but they found me again ..... When the day comes when I was in very poor health, I was in severe child malnutrition, I could no longer receive any food because my stomach was already too small, she was cornered and called the patrol one day because I stayed with her children inside. from the house, but when I closed the door of the house and sat down in the dining room, I could no longer stand up and I was dying. When the patrols arrive, they break down the door of the house and see me in the state I was in, they take me out carrying me and put me in the unit and start calling the hospitals to see who could receive me. My situation was serious, they took me to the general hospital. where they told them that they were going to do everything possible to save me but they said that there was not much hope. I was hospitalized there for about a month and my guardianship went directly to the DIF and when I left there they took me to the Arbol de Vida shelter where they had to care as if I were a baby they gave me a nanny who took care of me 24 hours a day and I was living in the house of the directors Carmen Yanez and her husband where they took care of me. thanks to them I am the person I am now. They gave me studies from elementary school to high school. 
Thanks to the people who decide to support the shelter and their donations that contribute to that shelter because just as I need there are many more children who need you. 
Now I am already a mother of a family and with values and good teachings from that shelter that never left me alone and that helped me overcome my biggest fears. In fact, my case was put on both the news and channel 44 where the situation was very strong, but thanks to their efforts and to God, today I am alive and not in a grave."

John, Carmen Michel and Rebeca Walker at Her Graduation for Bachelor Degree 

"I'm Jose Antonio Valenzuela Casas, most call me Tony. I'm 30 years old. I have three sisters, the oldest one is Erika and two smaller than me Eva and Angelica. 
I would like to share a bit of how God changed my life through the Treeof Life Children·s home. 
I was born in Juarez Mexico in one of the poorest areas of the municipality. My family was poor, I never got to know my father. My mom was never able took care of us because she had mental issues. 
When I was in elementary school I suffered mistreat because we had a stepfather and he was always drunk and constantly using violence against us for no reason. As family we didn ·t have the basic needs covered, we barely had something to eat every day in our little pallet house. For all the shortages we had, but overall for the violence we were taken away from my parents. DIF (Social Services) brought me and my siblings to the Tree of Life (Arbol de Vida). I lived at the home for about 15 years approximately, since I was 7 until 23. There I received a good education and finish college, I also learned to speak English to play guitar and piano. I was able to develop certain interpersonal skills which have helped me a lot in my adult life, but above all I understood that I can achieve many things if I work hard and make an effort. This place opened my mind to a greater world and made me understand that there are greater things to achieve in life so as not to always live in poverty. I became aware that it is particularly important to always get prepared for life and having a good education is a fundamental basis. And last but not least, I learned and got to know the love of God and who he was, this developed my spiritual area and I was able to heal my heart from many things that happened to me in the past. 
After all the years I lived at the Tree of Life I left the home to continue my life. I worked as an accountant for a couple of years, and I had my life made. 
About two years ago I felt in my heart how God was calling me to serve the children that live at the same home where I just to live years ago. Last year the Lord opened a door for me, and I was able to leave my job to work and serve the children at the Tree of Life, now God is using my life to encourage other kids with my example. So at the moment this is what am doing, but am not on my own I have a fiancee her name is Sharon and she loves to serve the Lord and to do missions, she also has her college degree as a biologist pharmaceutical chemist. She is very smart and sweet and I am so lucky to have her in my life. We'll be getting married this year in august. 
Carmen and John are excellent persons that are full of love for the children, they are constantly improving this place to make it better. They will always be a family for me. 
Now all I can do is thank· God for the great life he has given me and for changing my course, because if I had never reached this place my life would not be what it is now!"

Tonio and Sharon in 2023 working with the youth from Arbol de Vida

Michel and Carmen with 2 boys. This is Michel's 8th day at Tree of Life

With Fito at High school graduation. Fito lived with us and helped teach our children. He also taught at the University.