Over all, everything is going very nicely at Casa Hogar La Familia. At the present time, we have 31 children, two directors and three volunteers.
Like the rest of the world, the directors are spending much of their time dealing with safety protocols in an attempt to protect the children and staff from the coronavirus pandemic. Silvia says that no private hospitals are taking any coronavirus cases, so all government hospitals are bulging at the seams with cases related to the pandemic.
The church that meets on the second floor has discontinued holding Sunday and Thursday evening worship services, choosing to meet in individual small groups for prayer and worship.
Two of the long time members of the church Juan Francisco pastors have passed away as a result of complications from the coronavirus. A father and his son both died last week.
As is to be expected, all mission teams have canceled their visits to La Familia for the remainder of the year. They miss the mission teams and the mission teams miss their time with the children, but we are all trying to make the safest decisions we can.
Almost 20 years ago, the mission team leader at Signal Crest United Methodist Church in Signal Mountain, TN, Charlie Spencer, was out for his morning run in Ciudad Serdan when he stumbled across a fellow gringo getting in his morning run. The two men introduced themselves and Charlie explained his church’s ministry at Casa Hogar La Familia. The fellow gringo’s name was Dr. Pearse Lyons, a native of Ireland who had brought his family to the US with a dream to use his expertise as a bio chemist to have a positive impact on animals, consumers and the environment. Dr. Lyons visited La Familia and soon became a good friend and over the years supported the casa hogar in many ways.
Unrelated to the coronavirus, Dr. Lyons, owner of Alltec, a high-tech company that had a location in the town where La Familia was founded, passed away several months ago. After his death, his wife made a special trip to visit La Familia and explained to the directors what a large spot in the owner’s heart La Familia occupied. She also told the directors that the owner left instructions for her to determine what capital expenditures were needed on the property La Familia occupies and make that money available.
As a result of the owner’s generosity, the perimeter wall has been extended to the end of the property and large gates installed. Railings were installed on the balconies just off the upstairs bedrooms that faced the front of the main building.
Terra cotta colored pavers now cover the parking and laundry area to the left of the main building as you face the building from the front. Plans are also underway to install artificial turf on the soccer field to the right of the main building as you face the building from the front. These gifts have been a real blessing to La Familia.
Our hat is off to Dr. Lyons who built locations in over 100 countries around the world. He was widely regarded as an inspirational leader and communicator. He lived his life with passion and purpose — rising before dawn to begin communicating with colleagues around the world. He built Alltech into the fastest growing company in the global animal health and nutrition industry through innovative technology and strong branding.
I believe most of you who have traveled to Mexico will remember Isabel Urbina, the oldest of five Urbina children who grew up at La Familia. Isabel is the oldest, followed by Jazmin, Juan Carlos, Alicia, and the youngest is Maria Fernanda. Isabel is now married to Gabriel Cortes Castillo who graduated this year with a degree in accounting. She and Gabriel were hired as volunteers at a casa hogan in Colima to give them a place to live while they were at the university. Isabel is now 28 years of age and has some great news. On July 4 of 2020, Isabel gave birth to a baby boy, and on the same day, July 4th, Isabel’s first son, Josué, celebrated his13th birthday, as well.
Please keep the children and staff in your prayers. With the pandemic heating up in Mexico, we are all in uncharted waters.
Written by Bill Lee of Embrace the Dream Foundation, Inc.,
PO Box 5558, Greenville, SC 29606.