Orangewood Missions

Local and Global Partners In The Gospel

Travel overseas with our mission teams! Read stories from their experiences and join them in prayer as they spread the gospel around the world.

Casa Hogar Reflections

Thank you to Cameron Walls for writing today's blog! Cameron is a rising senior at Orangewood Christian School, and this is his first trip to Casa Hogar.

As a newcomer to Casa Hogar, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I didn’t know what items to bring (I learned at 4:30 a.m. that, apparently, you need a passport to get out of the United States) or how the kids would receive me, and Drew Bott isn’t exactly the most reliable of lifelines. But, I believe this aspect of uncertainty helped enrich the experience as a whole.

When asked to describe this week in one word, “humbling” has to be the most accurate. I didn’t understand how desperately I needed to meet the children of Casa Hogar until I actually did. Looking back, I can’t recall a distinct motive for joining the mission crew other than a certain feeling that I couldn't shake--a feeling that God was telling me it was time to serve.

Jesus calls all of his followers to service, and, on multiple occasions, he brings special attention to certain people groups, such as the orphaned. I knew that it was my turn to remove myself from the center of the universe and really pour into a new community, an opportunity that I am incredibly grateful for.

These wonderful children taught me what it means to be joyful in the Lord. Each and every boy and girl has a permanent smile on their face, whether it’s time to work or time to play. This is what joy is; these kids have had their hearts broken, been thrown aside and looked down upon, yet they are truly grateful for anything and everything they receive. On countless occasions, I would observe the children receive bags of chips from the store and immediately share with the others sitting across the pavilion, no questions asked. No matter what was given to them, the kids would scream something unintelligible in Spanish and hug you dearly. This embrace between two people of nearly opposite backgrounds proved to be one of the most tender and innocent images that I’ve ever experienced, an image that God uses as an illustration of his sacrifice of his Son.

This is exactly what I believe to be the reason I was led to serve at Casa Hogar: to be shown true Joy. Service is an incredible tool that will undoubtedly strengthen one’s relationship with the Lord, and I consider myself truly blessed to have been included so seamlessly with this year’s trip to Acapulco. There will forever be a special place in my heart for the children of Casa Hogar as they have provided me with a deeply humbling and ultimately life-changing experience of what it means to be joyful in the Lord.

Casa Hogar Reflections (Day 5)

Thank you to Aubrey Honerbrink for writing today's blog!

"My name is Aubrey Honerbrink. I will be a Senior at Orangewood, and this is my fourth trip to Casa Hogar. I originally came to Casa Hogar to find myself, and I continue to come back because I feel myself getting closer to that each year.” These were the words I used to introduce myself to my mission group, upon my arrival to Casa Hogar. 

It may seem crazy, but it wasn’t until this year that I had been faced with the question of “Why?” When I tell others of my annual trip to Acapulco, Mexico, they ask what I do on these trips or wish me well, but never stop to ask “Why?” 

To those who haven’t experienced the miraculous wonders that come with mission work, it may be hard to understand that there isn’t always an answer to the question: “Why?” At least, for me, there wasn’t always an answer. I did not know why I wanted so badly to come to Casa Hogar. I can only explain it as a strong compulsion. I didn’t ask questions, I didn’t look back, I took a leap of faith and it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

Soon enough, I was on a plane, traveling to a different country with people I didn’t know all too well. Some may think that I should have worried or at least been nervous, but I wasn’t at all. I knew that if God was calling me to do His work in this place, I could trust Him to keep me safe.

As soon as I stumbled through the gates of Casa Hogar, an overwhelming calm rushed over me and I knew that this place was more than just a couple of old buildings that needed a new coat of paint, this place was, and would forever be, my home. The people here were so quick to love and accept me into their home and for that I am so grateful.

Looking back, I can see that though I didn’t have a reason, God was very intentional in His plan for my being here. Casa Hogar has been my safe haven through the years. I have been here at my worst and I have been here at my best, but in both circumstances I have felt extremely loved. God has used this place to heal the kids living here and he has also used this place to heal me. I cannot imagine a world in which this place does not exist. Casa Hogar is forever in my heart, it is a part of who I am.

Yesterday we had an incredible day of work in the morning, lunch and nap time included! After siesta, we were out and about helping the children and leaders of Casa Hogar decorate their derby cars for the car races today. Brian Caslow, Al Pascale and Uriel are finished with one of the closets they are building and it looks absolutely amazing! Last night, Gio (a long time friend at Casa Hogar), shared his story with our team. He shared a story of hope and grace and we found ourselves full of teary eyes praising Jesus for his goodness! Of course, we ended the night with a game of “Family.”

 

 

Casa Hogar Reflections (Days 4 & 5)

Thank you to Lindsay Crespo for writing the blog today, which happens to be her birthday! Lindsay is a rising Senior at Orangewood Christian School and this is her 2nd year on the trip.

Since my first trip to Acapulco last year, I have been anxiously awaiting the time when I could once again see the smiling faces of each and every one of the sweet children of Casa Hogar. Now, living in the nearly unbearable heat and mosquitos for six days for a second time, I have begun to see the small but great differences in those smiling faces and sweet eyes I get to see everyday. I can remember the day we arrived how my sponsor child’s face lit up as we turned the corner for the first time in a year. A part of me thought it was because she was so happy to see us, but I then began to think of her story – her own experiences. Being so close to my parents, I couldn’t imagine a world without them. As I looked into her eyes, I saw something that I only began to recognize this week, trust. I had come back. I came back to her home to see her again. The heat, the mosquitos, the construction, none of it had kept me from seeing her again.

I think sometimes, as Christians, we can feel that sense of “will He come back?” A lot of the times, we live moment to moment, we meet God and can see Him so clearly, like in Casa Hogar, but then we come back home and return to the realities of life and we wait earnestly to meet Him again. For me, I always ask myself, will He want to meet me there again? Does He want me as much as I want Him? But what we forget is that God has never left us. We may come home and seemingly walk away from the moment where God met us, but God never leaves us. Nothing, not even our sin, can keep us from the love of the Lord. As we build greater, stronger bonds with the children here at Casa Hogar, we break down their walls of abandonment and distrust and we begin to see their hearts. In the same way, God breaks down our walls of loneliness, anxiety, and hurt so that He can show us a love that no one else ever could.

It seems like it has been too long since we have shared what we are up to!  Tuesday morning consisted of work in the morning, and rest time in which we prepared for our afternoon activity. Around 4:30pm we all came together to help the students here write thank you cards for their sponsors (be on the lookout for yours upon our return). That evening we played with the children and found ourselves a little sad that it was almost mid-week. 

 

Yesterday was our day off and we had a busy day! We started visiting Cliseria at the market where 90% of our group got new Mexican blankets. From there we went up to the cross that overlooks Acapulco to do our devotionals for the day! After our devotionals, we were awarded the incredible opportunity to go to a beach club to eat and swim! We were able to catch a few minutes at Casa Hogar to play and rest but then we were off again for dinner overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Los Flamingos Hotel! We ended our night with a beautiful time of watching men jump off of a very large cliff and were left wondering. “how and why do they do that!?” 

Our girls have been spending intentional time with the older girls at Casa Hogar and on Tuesday they had some time in their room painting nails

Our girls have been spending intentional time with the older girls at Casa Hogar and on Tuesday they had some time in their room painting nails

This work bench was built by Brian, Al and Uriel. As you can see, it even has electrical sockets!

This work bench was built by Brian, Al and Uriel. As you can see, it even has electrical sockets!

Photos from Casa Hogar, Day 3

Copyright @ Orangewood Church, PCA, 2013