Thursday, January 03, 2013

Casa de la Esperanza

Just a few days after Christmas we left for a mission trip to Casa de la Esperanza in Mexico. About 45 of us (kids and adults) were on the trip. We rode about 24 hours on a bus we had chartered to Anahuac, Mexico.  Thanks to prayers, we had a very smooth border crossing and arrived at the orphanage safely.

Just to give you an idea where we were, I have included a description from their website.

Casa de la Esperanza is a Christian orphanage with a beautiful story. It was founded in 1988. Its purpose was to care for orphaned, abandoned, and abused children as well as children whose parents can not care for them. The home is located in Anahuac, Chihuahua, Mexico. Casa is situated on eighty acres in the beautiful Sierra Madre Mountains. Casa de la Esperanza literally translated means "house of hope" and that is exactly what it is for many children in Northern Mexico. Casa has developed into and become a safe haven for many of God's beautiful children. The first day a child arrives at Casa, they are generally hungry, tired, and scared. The scene is a sad and yet hopeful one. After those first few days, the child can be seen playing, smiling, and learning about many things. An undernourished and abused child without hope, in time becomes a healthy, active and loving part of our family. They become accustomed to daily routines such as meals and brushing their teeth. They encounter a caring staff including several American missionaries. The child finds a clean and safe environment where they begin to feel comfortable.

Our mornings consisted of working around the orphanage which is also a working farm. The girls and I did some gardening, pulling weeds, tilling the ground, and planting seeds. We also washed the orphanage vehicles and separated potatoes, rice, beans, and Bibles into many bags to be distributed into the nearby neighborhood. Wes and some others from our group put together 20 plus new bikes for the children. They also fixed up some of their old bikes that were broken. It sure was a treat to see the faces of the children when they saw all the new bikes. Other people painted, did carpentry work, and helped cook all the meals.

The afternoons were mostly spent playing with and loving on the children. There was obviously a language barrier, but love, laughter, and playing does not always require people to speak the same language.

A highlight for our family was going into a nearby neighborhood to deliver the food and Bibles we had bagged up. It was heartbreaking to see how some of the people lived.We saw several homes that would fit inside one of our bedrooms. The weather was near freezing and some of the walls to the homes were so very thin. The people were thankful to receive the food and Bibles. We even had the opportunity to pray with some of the people after we visited with them. When we would leave we would have tears and they would as well. Our prayer is that they could see Jesus in us.

One evening we put together a carnival completer with several games, a maze, and and prizes. We also made a special New Years Eve dinner and decorated the dining area for the special occasion.

To hear Gil, the director, tell stories of children's lives before they came to the orphanage breaks your heart, but then to see how God works through the ministry there warms your heart. God is truly at work there.

Wes and I had brought the youth group to Casa in past years, but it was extra special this year to bring Abby and Avery. They had heard us talk about our love for Casa, and seen lots of pictures and it was neat for them to actually go this time. They loved it too, and I was so proud of their attitude, how hard they worked, and the love they showed the children. I know their lives were touched that week just like our lives will forever be touched by this awesome place. We will definitely go back.
 Abby and Hattie sound asleep on the bus.

 How much farther?

 Enjoying the new bike!

 Sweet girls!

 Being goofy on the playground.

 Hard at work!

 A devo with the children.

 Sweet Manuelito fell asleep in Wes's lap.

 Wes's buddies.

Putting together new bikes.

Pulling the weeds. 

Photo: Greenhouse work @ Casa
 Ashley and Abby.

Working hard and having fun!

 The girls even mixed in manure from the cows at the farm. Great fertilizer!

Eva and I. Love this baby!

Avery and Grace taught the other girls hand games.

 Dinner with our new friends.

Gil and Becky Sanchez, the directors of the orphanage.