Chuy and Damaly “Tie the Knot” on April 15, 2017

Over 250 special guests were in attendance at the wedding of Damaly and Chuy with Juan Francisco officiating. The wedding theme was the 1980s.

Juan Francisco escorted his only daughter and oldest child to the wedding venue in Tecamachalco in a 1985 Ford Crown Victoria. The moment the father and daughter stepped out of the huge Ford, it was apparent that this was going to be a beautiful wedding.

Damaly’s dress was simply stunning and Juan Francisco was wearing a sport outfit from the ‘80s.

Damaly and Juan Francisco arrive at the wedding.
Bride and groom draped in the traditional lasso symbolizing the unity of marriage.
The weding ended with Juan Francisco, Silvia and all of the children of La Familia singing a special song Juan Francisco wrote especially for his daughter’s wedding.
The outdoor dance floor was illuminated with huge sparklers held by the wedding guests.
The reception was a sit-down dinner for the wedding party and all of the guests. Pictured above are several of Damaly’s family members. (L to R) Paco and Alucy and Damaly’s maternal grand parents. The woman standing behind the grand parents is Ale, Silvia’s and Alucy’s sister.
L-R: Tim Baker, Chuy, Damaly, Mark Beatty, Robbie Hamilton, Marshall Sansbury.

Oklahoma Team Visits La Familia

Arriving in Tecamachalco on Tuesday, February 28 and departing on Monday, March 6, a mission team from Kingfisher, Oklahoma visited La Familia. Joining this team were Ardita Roci currently living in Downers Grove, IL and Bill Lee from Greenville, SC.

This team was greeted by 12 new residents of Casa Hogar La Familia, which included two infants: Hadasa who is eight months old and Alejandra, who is 11 months old.

During our visit, we learned that Jazmin is doing well in nursing school at the University of Colima. Her grades are excellent, as well.

Among the projects the Oklahoma team completed during their visit was to have two concrete columns built and construct and paint a gate to enclose the residential property of a new member of the Groupo Amor Church that holds worship services on the second floor of La Familia. The owner of the property has lost her sight due to diabetes.

Two of the men on the team also installed new screen wire in the old screen frames. This was a big job, but much needed to prevent flies from coming into the home.

We also took a trip to Puebla to purchase items to aid in the construction project that were unavailable in the city of Tecamachalco.

On another evening, Ardita Roci prepared for all of the staff, children and mission team members, an Italian dish of Italian cheese pasta served with tomato and cucumber brochette.

The buzz in the air during this visit to La Familia was the upcoming April 15th wedding of the directors’ daughter, Damaly Hernandez Arias, and Jesus GuzmanBeristain (Chuy). On our trip to the City of Puebla, the team donated money for the directors to purchase wedding clothes for the children of La Familia.

There are currently a grand total of 26 children, five volunteers and two directors at Casa Hogar La Familia.

Casa Hogar La Familia welcomes EIGHT new children!

I received a telephone call from Silvia yesterday. She wanted to tell me that as of this week, La Familia welcomed EIGHT new children to the Casa Hogar.

  • Leonardo is 12 years old and from Quecholac. (Arrived on Sunday, February 5)
  • Karla is 11 years old and from Zinacatepec (very close to Quecholac).
  • Kamila is 3 years old.
  • Keyla Alejandra is ten months old.
    (All three girls arrived on Thursday, February 9)

In addition, they have two new children arriving this weekend from a small town near Quecholac.

And finally, they have two more new children arriving this weekend from a different small town nearby.

On Tuesday, February 28, I will be leading a mission team to La Familia from the Federated Church in Kingfisher, OK. I will be sure to get photographs of the new children and make sure I have the correct names to go along with the photographs.

Bill Lee

We Will Know In the Morning

Lighthouse Fellowship
Fort Worth, TX

We have just returned from a trip to Casa Hogar La Familia. What I forgot, is that God works in all situations.

We volunteered at the school to clean the classroom and eat lunch with the students. Some of the differences between The United States and Mexico became evident at the school. Instead of 22 students per class, this class had 48 students. No regulations to keep ratios in check. We carefully made 60 sandwiches of bread, mayo, ham, cheese, onions, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Yes jalapenos! We packed up our lunches, cleaning supplies and headed to the school.

The students went to recess while we took everything out of the classroom and cleaned. We scrubbed the walls, floors, windows and desks. We swept the walkway in front of the class and picked up trash. The students came back and we passed out sandwiches and chips. The kids never asked what was in the sandwich or even looked inside. They were thankful and ate their lunch. The kids had an opportunity to ask us questions and we asked them questions. The kids wanted to know how long did it take for us to travel from Texas to Mexico, how old we are and what did we do for jobs. We asked about their most and least favorite subjects in school. All students agreed that math is the favorite and history is the least. I will admit that I was surprised by their answer.

I was also surprised by how interested the children were in our lives and their well wishes for us. It was truly humbling. For us, we were just doing what we do. It wasn’t a big deal really. It wasn’t hard work. We had plenty of money to buy what we needed, we had the time and we had the human power to do the work. For the children, it was a big deal. We showed up. We spent an entire day to travel to Mexico. We spent time at the store buying supplies for lunch, making the lunches and then working at the school. It would be easy to dismiss our work. It meant something to those students to have us there.

Our trip was a powerful reminder of the power of presence. We spent time playing with the kids. We worked on craft projects, played games, and ate with the children. We learned about their stories. At the dinner table the children shared stories about their lives. Several of the children have siblings, either living in the home or elsewhere. Some of the children have parents or grandparents they have contact with even if it is form time to time. One young lady, 15 years old, told Martie that her mother was dead and that she was alone. Martie told her that she was not true. Martie said “You’re not alone, I am here”. You are not alone. I am here.

We came up with a theme statement for our trip. One has to be careful what one consumes when in Mexico. So whenever we would eat or drink something the question of safety would come up. Doug said in response “We will know in the morning.” That became our motto. Fortunately, in this sense, all was well on this trip. There are some things we can know. And there are some things we will never know. God does not intend for us to know the outcome of everything we do. Did our presence make an impact at the school? Did we show them Christ when cleaned their desks? Will one of the children remember that we played water balloon volleyball with them and laugh at the memory? Did Martie’s words change how that young lady felt about her world? Was she able to sense a deeper meaning in Martie’s words? Not only did she have Martie’s love, she also has God’s love. Will we ever know?

Faith calls us to step out in action not knowing what the results will be. We cannot be consumed with the “results”. God is in charge of the results. It is not up to us to change hearts but it is up to us to show up and do the work God has called us to do. So we go, trusting in God in the process. A big group or small, hard labor or fun and games, God is at work. So maybe we will know in the morning and maybe not. Either way we will go to love and serve close to home and across the borders.

If you get a chance, ask one of the team about our secret handshake.

New Washing Machine Is Installed

On November 29, Marshall Sansbury led a team from Lighthouse Fellowship in Fort Worth, TX to La Familia. The primary work project for the Lighthouse Mission Team was to repair the homes of members of the church Juan Francisco and Silvia founded. This particular family in Palmarito really needed help with their home. This type work is designed to help both the missioners and the La Familia organization to do a better job of serving the local community.

Lighthouse Fellowship Mission Team led by Marshall Sansbury of Fort Worth, TX (Center front row in blue long sleeve shirt)
Lighthouse Fellowship Mission Team led by Marshall Sansbury of Fort Worth, TX (Center front row in blue long sleeve shirt)

The La Familia dining room receives a much-needed coat of paint
The La Familia dining room receives a much-needed coat of paint

While the Lighthouse Fellowship team was on site, the long-awaited new industrial grade washing machine was installed. A 220 electrical line had to be installed for this new “lavadora” that has the ability to handled eight to ten loads a day without breaking down or wearing out. This was a very expensive washing machine that we had to go all the way to Mexico City to purchase, but we believe it will be a good investment since the less expensive washing machines were having to be replaced every year or so. (See photographs below)

The long-awaited new industrial grade washing machine
The long-awaited new industrial grade washing machine

VBS-type crafts with the children of La Familia
VBS-type crafts with the children of La Familia

Lighthouse Fellowship missioner working with children of La Familia
Lighthouse Fellowship missioner working with children of La Familia

Outdoor activities on the “cancha” with the children of La Familia.  David is at the front of the line in his new “very cool” sunglasses
Outdoor activities on the “cancha” with the children of La Familia. David is at the front of the line in his new “very cool” sunglasses

2017 Mission Trip Dates: Please email me at when you have your 2017 dates nailed down for your church’s mission trip. I will make sure there are no conflicts and double-check with Silvia to ensure that your dates are confirmed.