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Violins in Baja: Couple's Mission in Mexico Combines Faith and Service

Steve Lopez - The Los Angeles Times
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November 29, 2013
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Violins in Baja: In 1979, the Bennings began working at a Mexican orphanage built by friends. Thirty-four years later, they're still going back. (Los Angeles Times)

One evening in 1978, Hans and Nancy Benning attended a church social in the San Fernando Valley, but took a seat when the dancing began. That's when they met another non-dancing couple — Chuck and Charla Pereau — and the four of them got to talking about this and that.

The Bennings told their new friends about how they met at a violin-making school in Germany and owned a music shop on Ventura Boulevard. The Pereaus had a pretty interesting story too. Chuck was an L.A. city fireman and Charla was a homemaker who also oversaw a Mexican orphanage that she and Chuck had established 10 years earlier, after adopting a Mexican child and making trips to Baja with donated church goods.

A Mexican orphanage? Hans and Nancy, who believe that faith and service are inseparable, were impressed. So they drove south across the border, cruised past Ensenada and kept going another 2 1/2 hours through mountains and valleys — all the way down to where roads turn to dust and an orphanage offers a second chance to children of misfortune.

Thirty-four years later, the Bennings are still going back to the little town of Vicente Guerrero, usually once every two weeks.

Read the rest at The Los Angeles Times

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