“Family comes first”

The young Medellin family before big changes.

Courtesy Israel Medellin

The young Medellin family before big changes.

Lizette Medellin


   The warm air filled the streets of Monterrey. The smell of creamy rich elotes was strongly presented. Under the scorching hot weather outside, the hot wind picked up dirt and sent it into unprepared eyes. When one would turn their back they would often find themselves with the gas smoke aroma right in front of their face due to metro busses being one of the main forms of transportation, since most families couldn’t afford a car.

   Israel Medellín lived in Monterrey, Nuevo León México. Monterrey is where Medellin was raised along with seven of his siblings. Monterrey was not a safe community to live in at all. In fact it was too dangerous to have children out after 7pm. 

    Throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s, gang violence and narco activity was common all over the western regions of Mexico, which included Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.   

  Living in a city where crime and unemployment rates were high and water contamination was commonplace made for a dangerous environment.      

“Starting at the youngest ages such as 14, my brothers and I were required by our father to work and drop out of school after 8th grade and work in many different fields”, “such as construction work.”

    “The work was not harsh, cruel, or foul at all, being a kid I would just rather be out playing in the dirt with my buddies eating ice cream and not working, especially under hot sunny days,” Medellin said. “But my brothers and I had no option and we had to support our family, since relying on our father for income just wasn’t enough for all 9 of us.”                       

  At age 21, in search of a better life, Israel Medellin immigrated to the United States.

The big transition

   Israel met his now wife, Martidalia, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Israel and Martidalia knew of each other prior years before dating, they were good friends. Israel and Martidalia’s parents were good friends and would travel from Monterrey to San Luis Potosi to visit each other occasionally. There they introduced their son and daughter to each other. 

   Once Israel and Martidalia decided to make it official, they dated for 4 years.

Most of Israel’s family migrated from Monterrey to Holland and Fennville because of better living conditions and better work.

So, in eagerness to search for a better life, Israel Medellin and Martidalia immigrated to the United States in their early 20’s.

    After years passed, the newly engaged couple migrated to the US and lived in Houston, Texas and got married. From there the couple moved to Holland, Michigan. 

   “Coming from a big city and transitioning into a small town in Michigan, there are definitely some slight changes in the community we had to get used to,” Israel laughed.

   Medellin was not fluent in English, nor was his wife. In fact Israel states, “not knowing English might’ve been the biggest barrier we faced when coming to the US.”  

“I admit I was not prepared to add a new language into my vocabulary and memorize the proper ways to pronounce a word or phrases, but, thank goodness my wife and I took classes together right away and got the help we needed.” With Israel and Martidalia’s English being mastered, the couple felt accomplished.  

“We truly didn’t waste a single day; we came to the U.S. determined and we did not want to lose a single chance for a new opportunity,” Martidalia said.   

  The couple unknowingly, stepped into their new unexpected transition that was gonna take a big leap in their life.

The big changes

   Coffee. It ran like any normal business. Organo Gold consisted of selling products with the main ingredient being: Ganoderma. Found in the Northeastern United States and out on the coast.

   Ganoderma is a fungus that can help boost immunity, fight fatigue, improve memory, and reduce stress.  Organo Gold’s products had Ganoderma in not only their coffee but tea, beauty products, and health products.

Organo Gold’s motto, “Bringing the treasures of the Earth to the people of the world,” refers to the treasure being the Ganoderma. 

        When Israel joined the coffee business he was only 38. 

Israel was a good fellow partner with Bernando T. Chua and Holton Buggs, who are now making million dollar profits. 

Chua and Buggs were considered in the gold status rank during their stages in Organo Gold.    “Organo Gold was just like any other business,” Israel said. Organo Gold has been described as a pyramid scheme. 

   “You look for people who you think you can convince to buy from you, then from there it is like a pyramid scheme. There were three specific levels and they all had significant meaning and represented your selling status; sapphire, diamond, and gold. The goal was for everyone to successfully reach gold status,” Israel said. “You were considered and were successful once you did.”

    “Being in Organo Gold you would have to travel, and I mean a lot. Traveling from places such as Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Houston was exhausting when you had a family.”  Medellin and his wife worked together like a PB&J sandwich but it was their daughters who were the challenge.

Family calls

  September, 19 2001, Medellin’s first daughter was born in Holland. The couple was filled with joy. It was a cold and crisp September. The baby’s eye lit up a big sparkle and she let out a loud cry. He was about to face the biggest blessing any man could have. Israel was finally going to be a father. 

    Three years later another daughter was born December 1, 2004. The year after that, on December 1, 2005 another daughter was born. “Biggest gifts from God,” Israel said. Often Israel had to buy airline tickets days before an event and had to bring his three daughters along. For Medellin this meant five pricey plane tickets to purchase. 

Medellin’s daughters attended Great Lakes Elementary School. I along with my sisters would often be absent from school due to my parents having to travel and meet with others. 

   The absences added up and teachers were concerned. “Your daughter’s education is important and I urge you to have your children show up every day, ready to learn.” It wasn’t that simple though. Attending meetings and leaving your children with babysitters who you weren’t familiar with plus being hours away from them, often in different states, was too much.

    Daughter’s viewpoint

   “Go beyond” this was a phrase I would hear often whilst sitting outside the big conference room. The sound of loud pumped-up music filled my eyes with joy. 

   The strong aroma of coffee lingered in my nose. My eyes, all worn out, often dazed from the doors with over 1000 people on the other side to the vending machines out near the lobby.             

    My sisters and I would sit and play with colored markers and water cups while more people would arrive.  We were too young to understand what was going on.

   I was only around 8, my sister 7, and my older sister, 10. We wouldn’t mind traveling, after all we would just tag along, I mean what else could we do?

   The meetings didn’t always allow children inside. When children were allowed, my sisters and I would just sit and sleep in the soft chairs. 

   The chairs are as soft as I imagine a cloud would be. Often we would be hungry and in confusion.  

   Hours we would sit and my mom would just have to take care of us making sure we did not get lost in the mob of over 600 people.

   Now, 15, 16, and 20, my sisters and I often look back and laugh. We remember about the times our parents left us with a close friend of our parents and the memories we left there.

   Israel Medellin and wife Martidalia Medellin stood in confusion. The couple would often discuss conversations that sounded like: Can we keep this up?  I mean we’re barely ever home and we both know we want the best for our daughters, but this isn’t the right way.” 

Looking back

   Now 45, Medellin looks back and reflects. The couple Israel and Martidalia agree that Organo Gold was a big shift in their life and sure made them wiser, mature, and open with others. 

    He often thinks to himself, “How did I manage to balance my personal life with Organo Gold?” 

“Obviously it was too challenging for not only myself but my family to keep up with this regularly. 

Not only were my daughters keeping me busy but I also had a life to live, and keeping up with this was starting to make me unhappy.”

    “I provide everything my daughters need but I fear it is not enough. I have met many new people from around 20 states. Many gave me a roof and food to stay while I traveled.”

   “I sure wish them all well. I appreciate my friends, the ones who kept me pushing.” Referring to the gold status in Organo Gold, Holton Buggs, who is now a millionaire. “Sure, I lost open doors to opportunities to become a future millionaire, but is money worth it when you have a loving family, isn’t that what life’s all about? Love, I love my family and family comes first.”  

  Israel started spending time with his family more on the weekdays, which made him happy because he usually never saw his daughters on weekdays. He was now able to pick up his daughters after school. Changes like these sound small but they had a big impact on the Medellin family.