Saint Andrews Team Builds 4-Space Carport

A 17-person team from Saint Andrews Episcopal in Downers Grove, IL worked tirelessly every day of their mission trip to La Familia to construct a carport to protect our vehicles from the weather.

La Familia now has three vehicles: a 15-Passenger Chevrolet Van, a 12-Passenger VW Diesel van and a small four-seater Chevrolet Spark to help reduce the gasoline expense on short trips to the market, etc.

Team leader, Steve DePeder was so committed to completing the carport before the mission trip ended that he hardly left the jobsite long enough to eat and sleep.  Juan Francisco, along with staff members Luis and Chuy and several of the older boys (both from Saint Andrews and from La Familia) were right there working with the adults as they moved trees to make room for the carport, as they bolted sheets of metal roofing to the frame and as they mixed and poured all of the concrete by hand.

Below are a few photographs of the work in progress as well as the completed project:

Post-hole diggers at work laying out the supports for the carport.

Above, staff members: Chuy and Luís and one of the older La Familia residents, Josué, are standing on the scaffolding as Deacon Tom and Team Leader Steve DePeder supervise.

The Finished Product!  Our thanks to the Saint Andrew’s mission team for all of the funds and for all of the hard work they contributed to this project.

La Familia Receives Gift of a New Car

Ever since we built the current La Familia campus in Palmarito, I have heard many people complain about how much was spent each month for gasoline. In Cuidad Serdan, our old location, the children walked to school. Missioners didn’t need a van to transport them because we could walk back and forth to the hotel from La Familia.

All of the children’s homes we compared gasoline expenses with were in small to large cities where ample and reasonably priced public transportation was readily available.

In Palmarito, however, we have to transport the children to four grade levels, some with classes in the mornings and some with classes in the afternoons. Our children are in kindergarten, elementary school, middle school and high school, which means a lot of driving the 12-passenger and the 15-passenger vans.

A quick trip to the food market cost $3.00 US dollars in fuel, and several of those trips are made daily.

We discussed this situation with Juan Francisco and Silvia and they agreed that the purchase of a small 4-passenger car that gets high gas mileage would be the best solution. Otherwise, we could not continue operating at our current level of expenses.

Next we had to find a donor, and we were very fortunate that a missioner who has made multiple trips to La Familia told me he would like to donate the car. God is so good! So the next time you travel to Casa Hogar La Familia, you will see a new Chevrolet Spark.

Nahun Gutierrez, the head pastor of our sister Grupo Amor church located in the City of Colima, was kind enough to do the leg work for us, handle the paperwork and see to it that all we had to do was ask someone to take a bus ride to Guadalajara and pick up the car and drive it back to Palmarito.

Juan Francisco volunteered to retrieve the new car. (See Photo Below)

We appreciate everyone’s generosity who make Casa Hogar La Familia such a terrific success story.

We especially appreciate our directors, Juan Francisco and Silvia Liliana.

God bless!

Embrace the Dream Foundation, Inc.

Bill Lee

Federated Church Visits La Familia

The Federated Church from Kingfisher, Okla. sent a mission team to La Familia in early March. This is the third year in a row that this team has traveled to La Familia. A tremendous amount of work was accomplished:

A blind lady in Palmarito who attends the church located on the second floor of the casa hogar had no gates to prevent stray dogs and unwanted visitors from entering her property, so the mission team built the gates and — with the help of Silvia and Chuy — found a contractor to hang them. Below is a photograph of the finished product.

Silvia wanted the bodega they use to store donated vegetables relocated to outside the casa hogar just to the left of the clothes lines, so the Federated Church team along with a contractor and several volunteers got started right away building the new bodega.   Below is a photograph of the beginning of the project:

The mission team’s female contingent put a fresh coat of paint on the columns in the dining room.

The Federated Church brought some of the wild west from Oklahoma to Quecholac as they joined with members of the La Familia gang to give the heavily fortified paint ball facility it’s first gringo customers. While there were a few bruises, they did not take away from the fun these well dressed soldiers enjoyed.

On Sunday afternoon, the children as well as the adults put on their new t-shirts for a group photograph.

No mission trip would be complete (weather permitting) without a day at the Quecholac waterpark. The park has been expanded to include an aviary, four-wheel cart rides and a paint-ball battleground.

Silvia’s Christmas Letter

This is the Christmas letter I received from Silvia, our director at Casa Hogar La Familia located in Palmarito, Puebla, Mexico. I am late translating Silvia’s letter and getting it posted because I had a freak accident while visiting my daughter and her family in California. I’m okay now, but the accident prevented me from posting this BLOG as soon as I would have liked.

From Silvia:

Thank you very much for your letter. I hope you have had a very happy Christmas and New Year’s celebration. The children, the staff, Juan Francisco and I have been praying every day for Patti as she battles ovarian cancer.

Thanks to God we had a very happy Christmas. This time we were all together for Christmas. None of the children left the casa to be with local families this year. It was fun and nice to all be together. With the donations we received, we bought the children the gifts they wanted for Christmas AND we prepared for them a rich dinner with deserts, but the best part was we bought a live hog.

It was a lot of fun for the men (Chuy, Juan Francisco…all of the men of the house) to go get the hog and bring it to the casa. The following day, we had the hog slaughtered so we could begin roasted it over a fire pit. We hired a person to come and make chicharrones and carnitas for the children. We also cooked the ribs of the roasted pork in the oven in a mango sauce, chile habanero and a Bar B Q sauce. In addition, we made a salad, a carrot cake, bananas with chocolate, a fruit punch, etc.

We began our Christmas party all together by giving thanks to God for everything and everyone. We worshipped God together and after the meal, we exchanged gifts. Since Ale and Hadasa are the smallest children in the house, we all handmade a nice card for them. And after we exchanged gifts, we brought out the piñatas.

Aleksei, Daniel, Jazmin, Juan Carlos and our grandson, Josue (Gordo) son of Isabel were with us in the home. It was great fun and beautiful to all be together. We thank everyone for all of the support they always extend to us with so much love and for all of the grace of God we received in 2017.

The Christmas holidays gave us an opportunity to travel to Mexico City to visit Six Flags. The park was wonderful and a lot of fun. We were there all day and until 11:30 PM that night. We played all day and we got to enjoy all of the games, rides and mountains in the park. It was incredible and so much fun to climb with all of our children, even those who “almost died from fear” (ha, ha, ha, ha) but everybody enjoyed the games we played.

The members of my family who donated the funds for the trip were with us all day in the park and my uncle purchased all of us a VIP pass that allowed us to enjoy more of the park without having to wait for the train and without having to waste so much time standing in lines.

I also bought everyone one some food at a dinner buffet, so everyone was able to eat exactly what they wanted. I know this day at Six Flags was a day the children will never forget.

Yesterday the children started classes at school and thanks to God all of them began to work very hard on their classes.

Regarding Aleksei’s motorcycle accident while in college in Colima, he is much better. He is slowly recovering the mobility and strength of his arm and at the end of February, the doctor will tell us if he believes surgery is necessary to return his clavicle to its place. We pray that everything goes well and God will supply all that’s necessary for this. Thank you all for your prayers.

Forgive me for not having written sooner, but I have had some problems with my telephone.


Jazmin Urbina Gonzalez, Student in the Nursing School, University of Colima

We are blessed with so many success stories at Casa Hogar La Familia because the children there have grown up in a Christian environment with the love and affection of directors, Juan Francisco and Silvia, along with their brothers and sisters in Christ.

I am especially happy to share with you a group photograph of a nursing school class with our own Jazmin Urbina Gonzalez on the far left of the front row of the photograph below:

nursing students

I received a message from Jazmin yesterday. In her message she told me that she had just left the delivery room where she assisted in the delivery of two babies.


Jazmin is one of five children from the same family who grew up at Casa Hogar La Familia and all five are doing well.

We are already beginning to enroll mission team to visit La Familia in 2018. To see the dates that are still available, go to