Thanks to Sarah Jane Creech for writing this blog! Sarah Jane is the Assistant Director of Student Ministries and have been to Casa Hogar more than ten times. Did you know that her birthday was yesterday, July 25? Nearly every year she celebrates this day while in Acapulco!
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” I Peter 2:9-10
Over the years, I have seen many pictures of grace at Casa Hogar. Some of my personal pictures are worshipping on the cliff side with friends 15 years ago, a realization of the Father’s love for my by the single idea that these children would love me even though they know that I am leaving in a week and relationships that have lasted from the time that I was an 8th grade student traveling to Mexico for the first time and meeting some of my life long friends. This is truly a second home to my heart. One of the greatest joys in my time at Orangewood has been to see our students come to love this place. Their love is one of brotherly love, one of reframing love for these children, one of becoming like-minded with the children here.
I think that the becoming like-minded with the children here goes both ways and is beautiful. On one hand, we are becoming like the children and on the other hand our friends in Mexico are condescending to us to allow us to enter into their world a little bit. You may be asking, “How are the people of Casa Hogar condescending to us when we are going there to help them?” Well, if you could sit where I am right now, I see our students working hard on a building project that could definitely be finished even if no American came to lay hands on it, and honestly- it might be finished faster. But as our students climb up and down the long, steep, driveway, I continually find my heart thankful that Casa Hogar let us be a part of this story! For our students, this is their way of partnering and as they look at the scars they obtained, as they feel the sore muscles, as they feel the sweat drop from their brow…my prayer is one of gratitude.
“Lord, through this work our hearts are forever a part of this project. May we be people who remember. May we be people who continually fight for injustice. May we care for the orphans and widows in Mexico and at home. Jesus, meet us here and bind our hearts to your people here, that they may teach us more of you and may we be a small picture of your grace to them.”
Let me brag about our students for just a second. THEY ARE AWESOME. When I say that they are “becoming like-minded with the children here,” I mean they are playing 4 square without any rules (and it is driving them crazy but they are doing it), eating with the children of Casa Hogar, playing any game the way they are asked to play, giving piggy back rides, hugs and, I do have to say, they are doing a great job not being on their phone (because what child has an iPhone that they are attached to for every second of every day?). All joking aside, they have been amazing and my heart is continually encouraged as I see them work, play and process what they have seen and heard.
Let me recap our last day for you quickly, yesterday consisted of work in the morning, an incredible lunch made by our friend Cliseria, naptime (because who doesn’t want a nap when it is 1,000 degrees outside). After naptime, we emerged around 4:30pm and so did the children here. Dorie Hardrick, who is a first time attendee attending with her daughter, Tanya Cramer, and granddaughter, Abby Cramer, brought out the watercolors and painting supplies that she has prepared in advance and the children of Casa Hogar sat alongside of our team and painted for hours! Brian Caslow and Al Pascale are building closets for the boys dormitory that we are helping on and yesterday they started by building a work bench with Uriel, a boy here who is incredibly gifted with woodworking and other similar things. Our hope is that some of the older boys here will participate and learn the skills so that they can continue the work when we are gone. We ate dinner with the children upstairs and played for a long time afterwards.
Yesterday we studied in I Peter 2, about how God brings us out of the darkness and into light and how we are now called to do the same for others. I truly have to say that I see many glimpses today of how our team is truly sharing in bringing light to a broken world. May our light be showing Jesus to these children and asking him to continually shine his love into their hearts and lives.