A Dream Realized

Sep 15, 2017

Steph Duff

A large pitcher of watermelon water sits on the table. The heat of the day lingers in the space of the open-air restaurant, and three men sit watching an American home renovation show subtitled in Spanish. A lime green wall is the backdrop for the kitchen where Luz and her two sisters, Diana and Lily, prepare homemade foods for their patrons.

Five months ago, on March 17th, Luz, Diana, and Lily realized a dream and opened up a roadside restaurant in Cancun, Mexico. The restaurant, which sits next to a hardware store, offers breakfast and lunch daily and serves different foods each day.

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Luz and Lily are moms in the Strong Families Program in Cancun. Their children receive tutoring, creative workshop classes, and Bible Study, among other things at the Community Center in Tres Reyes. As part of the Strong Families Program, Luz and Lily receive classes, Bible Study, and instructional care, as well. Their sister, Diana, is in the process of joining the program.

The three men leave, having finished their meal, and an older man waits by the front of the restaurant for a to go order. The smell of fresh empanadas fills the air, and a young woman walks in and orders a fruit-infused water to go. Once the table is cleared and the carry-out orders are dispersed, Luz and Lily sit down at the table with tired smiles on their faces.

“We’ve always dreamt of opening up a restaurant,” Luz shares while Lily nods softly next to her. “It was always a matter of finding the resources and developing a plan to bring it to life; we didn’t feel we had the opportunity until now.” All three sisters have children and husbands they care for, and each of them felt a call to have a place of their own and to be a part of helping the economy in each of their homes.

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Months before the sisters were able to open their restaurant, they sat in a Saturday morning class as part of their Strong Families programming. A Back2Back staff member looked out into the group of women and uttered Truth over their doubting hearts and minds. “All the dreams you have, you can fulfill; if we put them into God’s hands, it doesn’t matter how impossible it feels.” Luz’s eyes tear up as she shares this moment, remembering that day as the catalyst for opening their own restaurant to help strengthen their families.

Luz looked at her sisters a few days later as they discussed an empty building just up the road from the Community Center. “What if we use the building to make our own restaurant?” Their brother loaned them the initial start-up costs, and in June, they were able to pay back the loan completely. They’re now paying rent each month, but will eventually own the space.

“We are learning responsibility, we are learning what we are capable of when a rush of customers comes in and we could be overwhelmed, we are learning to take hold of emotions instead of allowing them to take hold of us,” shares Luz and Lily. “We can help provide for our families, but we also have the capacity to be with them, too.”

Luz and Lily clean up the remnants of the lunch rush and fan themselves, laughing as sisters do, and talking quickly to each other of what they’ve accomplished and what’s yet to come.

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Steph Duff is a writer, daughter, sister, and really loud laugher. By day she lends her voice on behalf of orphaned and vulnerable children with Back2Back Ministries. By night she is readily found with her nose in a book and spending time with her dachshund, Addy. At all hours, she can be found consuming copious amounts of coffee. She feels most herself in the heat of India and prefers her mugs big, her books long, and her words intentional.

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