Beginning on Tuesday, July 30, my brother in Christ, Robbie Hamilton and I flew to Houston to meet an nine-person mission team from Federated Church in Kingfisher, OK and travel with them to Casa Hogar La Familia to spend a week working with the staff and the children at this home for orphaned and abandoned children.
Our trip went like clockwork. We flew to Mexico City, then took a two-hour bus trip to the CAPU bus station in the City of Puebla and there we changed buses and took a one-hour bus trip to our destination city of Tecamachalco, which is about a 30-minute drive to La Familia.
Our first evening was spent with the two directors, Juan Francisco and Silvia. They met us at the Tecamachalco bus station and joined us for dinner at a delightful relatively new restaurant located just a few blocks from our hotel.
The mission team from Federated Church was made up of both adults and young people. The adults were made up of a business owner and his wife, a veterinarian and his wife, and an operations manager at a local business. Two of our young people were students at Oklahoma State University and two were high school students. With Robbie and me, we made up an eleven-person mission team.
The next day when we arrived at La Familia, all of the children came out to meet us since they were all out of school for their summer vacation. We were blown away by the amount of new work that had been done at the children’s home since our last visit in February of this year.
The perimeter wall had been extended to completely surround our two-acre piece of property.
Solar panels for the roof had been delivered, but not yet installed.
A mission team from Lighthouse Fellowship United Methodist Church in Fort Worth had worked at La Familia a few weeks before we arrived and had removed the wood posts that supported the old clothes lines and replaced them with steel posts, making them much sturdier than they had been in the past.
Two cows (a milk cow and her calf) had been donated to the home and they were already receiving fresh milk, making butter, yogurt and cheese.
A small, but attractive new office had been built to give the directors a private place to process new children when they arrive.
We were all very impressed with the number of positive changes that had taken place at La Familia since we last visited. The big news was that eight new children had made La Familia their home since our last visit. It always amazes me how rapidly new children integrate into the home. The children of La Familia are extremely welcoming. (See photograph)
Our team’s project for the week was to first construct and second to install foam partitions to help soften the sounds the praise band generates at Sunday morning worship services as well as at the Thursday evening worship service. Without the insulated partitions, the music was uncomfortably loud for the members of the congregation who sat up front.
After taking careful measurements, we drove into Puebla where we shopped at a Home Depot store to purchase the tools we needed to complete our project. We purchased the wood for the wall panels and several other products locally and also bought paint locally to cover the walls on both in the second-floor space and the wood surrounding the insulated panels we had previously constructed.
We had not have time to complete the painting portion of our project before having to leave for dinner, so on the drive to La Familia the next morning we were a bit frustrated because still had a lot of painting to do before we could move on to constructing the sound partitions, but when we arrived at the job site we were delighted to see that members of the La Familia staff along with some of the older boys had finished of the painting after we had left.
The next day went extremely smooth. We got all 12 panels installed, four on each side wall and two on both the front and back walls. Using an App that measured decibels, we were pleased that the panels did the job intended. (See Photo of panels installed on one of the walls.)
On our third day at La Familia, two more new children were brought to the home by DIF, a Mexican government agency that removes children from potentially dangerous or unhealthy home situations, bringing the total number of children to 35. (See Photo of these two children after being bathed and dressed in clean clothes.)
On our fourth day, the women of the church located on the second floor of La Familia prepared lunch for the team.