The Cuirim Story
The Cuirim story begins with Brian and Kirsten Donohue meeting in Chicago. From the very beginning, they dreamed of being involved in missions, and during long walks in the neighborhoods along Lake Michigan, the framework for Cuirim Outreach was developed. In the summer of '95, the Donohues accepted an invitation to start a youth ministry at a church in Virginia. The next ten years were full with Bible studies, camping trips, and conversations with people who would become partners in establishing Cuirim Outreach. In '96 the Donohues bought their farmhouse. At the time, it was an auto junkyard, but after years of renovation, it has become a pleasant, little farm with animals, gardens, a guest cottage, and a chapel. The transition of their land from an auto junkyard to a beautiful farm, was a foretaste of the type of transformation that would occur in their ministry as well.
In the fall of 2003, Brian and Kirsten purchased a little house in a slummy neighborhood of Nogales, Mexico. Their ministry in Nogales took off, and by the summer of 2004, Cuirim House was in full swing. It hasn’t stopped. In 2005, the Donohues rented out their farm in Virginia, stepped down from their church’s youth ministry, drove across the country, and moved into Cuirim House. In the summer of 2006, the Kid's Cafe was built, and a local man, Miguel, was hired to run it. In the fall, Cuirim Outreach was officially established as a new 501(c)3 non-profit.
Over the next few years, the ministry grew rapidly. New groups, from all over the US, came each year. The Kid's Cafe opened up. A sports park was built, along with a drug rehab center. New leaders emerged in the neighborhood, and subsequently, Brian had opportunities to work beside them and teach on the Kingdom of God. In addition, the Donohues kept a house on the Arizona side of the border, and their relationships with the Arizonan churches turned into friendships and new partnerships.
Then came the perfect storm. The economy dropped, US news agencies focused on the increasing drug cartel activities, and the swine flu epidemic began. These three waves wiped out most of the Cuirim House’s volunteer groups and dissuaded new groups from inquiring about trips. The Donohues had a tough decision to make. They could either stay along the border and wait out the storm or use the time to build for the future. Waiting out the storm, or standing still, didn’t seem like a good idea, but making big changes after recently establishing the Nogales ministry wasn’t appealing either. After consulting with the Cuirim Outreach Board, they decided to build for the future. As a result, the Donohues pursued ministry deeper into Mexico (i.e. Navajoa), visited ancient, monastic sites in Ireland, and returned to Virginia to make their farmhouse a more permanent home base.
Since the fall of 2013, a lot has happened with the Donohues’ various ministries. The volunteer groups who had stopped coming to the Cuirim House have returned. The Cuirim House has expanded over the years, and its design has been inspired by Brian and Kirsten’s interest in the Irish, monastic movement. The ministry in Navajoa has been established as well, and a course has been set for outreach in Ireland. In Virginia, the farm has been renovated, and the chapel is almost completed. The Donohues use the farm to host Cuirim events, write and print “The Kingdom Chronicles,” and invite guests to worship in the chapel and enjoy the peace of farm life. They have also started a bookmaking ministry, led by their friend, Fiona. They don’t expect to add any new ministries to their lives right now. Brian, Kirsten, and their five children have traveled quite a bit, and they look forward to a more regular rhythm of life...but don't be surprised if God has other ideas.