Bill Lee, President of Embrace the Dream Foundation, Inc., Greenville, South Carolina
Bill Lee is a former executive with a $640 million building material distribution company. In 1987, Bill sold his interest in that company to found Lee Resources, Inc., a consulting, training and publishing organization that serves the building supply industry. In 2000, Bill took his first mission trip to Casa Hogar La Familia. Since then, he has lead more than 50 mission teams to work with the children of Casa Hogar La Familia. To help Bill fund this Christ-centered ministry, he founded Embrace the Dream Foundation, Inc., a non profit organization based in Greenville, SC. For the past 29 years, Bill has been married to Patti Lee, has three grown children, four grandchildren and is an active member of Church of the Redeemer - Episcopal in Greenville, SC.
Marshall has been working as the liaison between Lighthouse Fellowship in Fort Worth and Casa Hogar La Familia since the year 2000. He has also served as a mentor to me as I have attempted to learn the ins and outs of the business of overseeing a children’s home. I will be forever grateful for his wisdom.
There was a time when we lost our directors and had no one to take their place. There was another time when we lost our lease on the home and had no place to house the children we were responsible for. Thanks to a lot of answered prayers we are happy to report that Casa Hogar La Familia is now developing strong Christian men and women who are learning the love of Jesus Christ and developing the responsibility to provide for a family.
Nurse Jazmin, is a recent graduate of the Nursing School at the University of Colima. Joining Jazmin at her table are two missioners from Lighthouse Methodist Church in Fort Worth, TX.
Pictured above front and center wearing a redish shirt is Juan Carlos Urbina, who this Fall entered a Technical College in Colima to begin his studies to become an electrician. Juan Carlos was raised in Casa Hogar La Familia and is moving on to the next phase of his life. We are all extremely proud of Juan Carlos and wish him the best.
On November 5, 2022, Isabel walked down the aisle to receive her degree in Finance from the University of Colima. Isabel and her husband, Gabriel, have worked as house parents at a casa hogar in Colima during their college years. Isabel hopes to find a job in a financial institution. They plan to remain in Colima, on the West Coast of Mexico about 16 hours by bus from Casa Hogar La Familia.
After two years of home schooling, everyone — the children, the directors and the volunteers — are celebrating the return to the classroom; that is, a REAL
classroom in a REAL school.
Of course, back to school means going shopping for book bags, uniforms, shoes, after school clothes, school supplies, etc. Preparing 30 children for a new school year is quite an undertaking. Below are several photographs of the children in their new school uniforms:
School Uniforms for the 2022/2023 School Year
Thanks to your donations, Embrace the Dream is once again able to fund educational expenses for the children of Casa Hogar La Familia at the college and university level.
University of Colima: We have the following children from La Familia:
Isabel is a senior majoring in Finance.
Daniel is a junior majoring in International Business.
Fernanda is a freshman majoring in Gastronomy (the art and science of good eating).
Juan Carlos is studying to become an electrician and an appliance repair person.
College and University Students in Puebla:
Josué and Rodolfo are attending The Technological University of Puebla. Josué is majoring in Mechanical Automation and Rodolfo is majoring in The Career of Automotive Systems.
Karen is attending a business school in Tecamachalco and working on a degree in accounting.
Jazmin has graduated with a nursing degree from the University of Colima, and now she is pursuing a specialty in Intensive Care. She is continuing her studies at a clinic in Tecamachalco.
Bicycles for the Children
Silvia (director at La Familia) has an Uncle Seky who is a great friend to the children of La Familia. You may remember Uncle Seky from years past when he chartered a bus and paid for all of the children to go to Six Flags in Puebla.
Well, this year, Uncle Seky visited La Familia and this time he brought with him some new friends: his new friends are members of a club that collect bicycles in need of repair — repair hem so they look like new and give them as donations to different institutions.
Last week they traveled to La Familia and made a surprise visit. The men prepared a delicious taco lunch for everyone at La Familia and the BIG surprise were the bicycles they brought for the children.
As you will see in the photographs, the men installed racks for storing the bicycles in a dry space that will preserve their beauty.
And finally, they topped off their visit with a large donation of boxes of flour to make cakes and some other sweet goodies.
Two New Children at La Familia
The children’s names are Sandra Deonate, she is 10 years old and her brother is Felipe Deonate, he is 8 years old. They have 3 weeks in Casa Hogar.
We have one more mission team scheduled to travel to La Familia in October from Lighthouse Free Methodist Church in Fort Worth. The leader of the Lighthouse mission team is Nanci Danielsen
Bill & Patti Lee visited Isabel and her family in Colima. (Patti not pictured). L to R: Bill Lee on far left, Juan Carlos in red shirt; Gabriel is Isabel’s husband, Josué is Isabel’s oldest child, Josué is holding 2-year-old, William,(William is my namesake), Isabel is holding 6-month old Malcolm, her youngest son and also my namesake; and on the far right Isabel’s baby sister, Fernanda.
Isabel and Gabriel are house parents at a Casa Hogar in Colima.
Mission Trips have officially returned to Casa Hogar La Familia. Following the visit to La Familia of Lighthouse Fellowship in Fort Worth and Federated Church in Kingfisher, OK are two more mission teams who have scheduled trips to visit the home this year.
Both Fishersville UMC of Northern Virginia and Lighthouse Fellowship have mission trips planned for this summer.
When the Federated Church left La Familia, they were disappointed that they did not have time to complete one last project: Repaint what the children call the casita, the small structure that contains the swings, sliding board and small playhouse for the children of La Familia.
The Federated mission team purchased the paint for the project and Juan Francisco said he and some of the children would get the casita painted after the team departed. Below are photographs of the freshly painted structure:
This past week, Juan Francisco’s church in Quecholac (Grupo Amor) held a church camp for all of the children of the church. I don’t have any photos yet, but will try to get Silvia to send me some.
We also have news from Colima where Isabel Urbina, her husband, Gabriel, and their two children are living while Isabel is a student at the University of Colima. They are also serving as volunteers at a Casa Hogar operated by the Grupo Amor Church, also headquartered in Colima.
The Good News: At 1:40 PM on May 7, Isabel delivered a baby boy. His name is Noah Malcolm Urbina Cortes. He is healthy and weighed in at 6-1/2 pounds.
Fear of testing positive to COVID-19 has been prevalent among virtually everyone in the world, but especially among those churches that under normal conditions put together a mission team to travel to Mexico. As a result, we have not had a mission team travel to Casa Hogar La Familia since February of 2020 until recently.
Four of us decided we couldn’t stand it any longer and in December of 2021 I joined three missioners from Texas and flew down to Palmarito to show our faces and let Juan Francisco and Silvia know that we had not forgotten about them. All four of us tested NEGATIVE for Covid on our trip back to the States.
Then in March of 2022, I joined a mission team from Oklahoma to travel to La Familia, and once again, all ten of us tested NEGATIVE for Covid on the trip back home. Our work projects while at La Familia included giving the dining room its first coat of paint in two years and changing out all of the hardware and installing automatic closers on all of the exterior doors.
While we didn’t have time to paint the casita that houses the swings and sliding board, we did purchase the paint and got a commitment from Chucho and some of the boys that they would get the little house painted after we left for home.
The Federated Church Mission Team from Kingfisher, OK purchased the services of “Taco Man” who brought all the fixings needed to prepare a taco meal for both the mission team and all of the children and staff. What a great treat, especially for the kids. Little Cristofer ate ten tacos — I counted!
Jazmin is staying at the casa for a few days until her nursing job begins at a Puebla hospital. Jazmin wants to specialize in anesthesiology, but before she can fulfill that objective, the hospital wants her to spend two years working as an intensive care nurse to gain the experience she needs before moving into her specialty of choice.
Josué and Rodolfo have entered engineering school twice only to have the school close because of Covid precautions. Now they are getting ready to return to Puebla and begin their studies again.
Isabel is a senior at the University of Colima and is currently seven months pregnant. She and her husband, Gabriel, are staff members at a Casa Hogar in Colima where they have an apartment. Daniel is doing extremely well at the University of Colima and Fernanda began her freshman year at the University of Colima this past Fall.
The casa is really in great shape. The next time you visit, I believe you will be impressed with the improvements that have been made to the property. The casa received a donation that was sufficient to install solar panels on the roof to reduce the cost of electrical power, install approximately a quarter acre of pavers on the parking and laundry area of the property, install railings on each of the balconies and complete the perimeter wall on the lower side of the property.
We are currently studying the possibility of replacing the 15-passenger van, which gets very poor gas mileage and is costly to keep in good repair. We will let everyone know if or when we will need donations to fund that expense.
Finally, we are proud to report that the church Juan Francisco pastors that meets each Sunday and each Thursday evening on the second floor of the casa has almost fully returned to the attendance levels it experienced before Covid came along. We all enjoyed an enthusiastic worship service of singing, prayer and preaching on the Sunday we worshiped there.