Thanks to Luke Gammichia for writing this post! Luke is about to begin his senior year of high school at Trinity Prep. This is Luke’s fourth trip to Casa Hogar.
What I have learned from the couple of times I have been on the trip is that every year is different. You have people who have been on this trip over 50 times, to people who are coming for their first time. But the thing that always stays the same is the love I have for the kids here at Casa Hogar. And that is my main reason for coming back every year, for the kids. You come to Casa Hogar thinking you are going to make an impact on the children but truly they leave a bigger impact on you. From the moment you arrive you are greeted with the smiling faces of the children and that holds constant throughout the trip. They are a joy to be around and it makes you wonder, how is it that these kids who really have nothing to their name are always so happy? And I think it is because they know the love that Jesus Christ has for them. Because people will fail you, family members can fail you, friends can fail you, missions groups from Orangewood can fail you, but God will never fail you, he will always be there for you.
I have noticed in my life I try to find comfort in so many earthly things, but these kids are a testament to the comfort of God.
I remember my first year here at Casa Hogar; I had the privilege to take one of the children to the “tienda” (a little convenient store across the street). We walked in and in some very elementary Spanish, I was able to communicate to him that he could pick whatever he wanted in the store. When I told him this, I remember his eyes lighting up at the fact that he could get something for himself, to call his own. After we checked out we headed back to the children’s home and I watched this boy walk around and offer his “possessions” to everyone else. This little act really had an impact on me because it made me think about my life and the many things I have been blessed with and how hesitant I am to give them up.
Switching gears a little bit, we want to give you a quick update on our trip so far. After quite a bit of traveling, we finally made it to the orphanage around 3pm on Saturday. Many of the children came to greet us and immediately we jumped right in building/continuing relationships.
The next day we woke up and church is pretty similar to that in the United States in that there is a time before hand to mingle and then there are songs, a message and offering. Every year there is a VBS-type production put on by the kids and it is so fun to watch these children in front of the congregation singing about Jesus in a different language. What really stood out to me is the community aspect of the church here. Everyone loves on these kids as if they are their own children.
The days events continued with puzzles, bracelet making, trips to the tienda, and a USA vs. Mexico soccer game which we sadly lost due to someone on our team scoring an own goal. Also there was a birthday celebration with cookies, cake and cupcakes.
We ended the night discussing our devotion on Ephesians 2:1-10. In which it talks about us as God’s people being formerly dead, and that there was nothing we could do to change this. But it is only by God’s grace that we are saved and are essentially revived. After, the group talked about some things in our lives that we try as hard as we can to do but never can succeed.
We finished the night off with a game of “four on a couch” and sadly the boys lost. So my day consisted of its fair amount of losses. But on the other hand, I did win a top bunk.