On Friday, November 16, FPD hosted a Dress Down Day to benefit Casa Hogar, an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. Casa Hogar has held a special place in the hearts of many FPD students. For years, FPD ninth through twelfth graders have chosen Casa Hogar as a summer or spring break mission opportunity. While there, they help build, clean, assist staff, and, most importantly, minister to the kids. We wanted to touch base with two students who went last summer, Mary Daniel Windham ’21 and Jansyn Samples ’19, about their experience.
How many years have you been helping at Casa Hogar?
Mary Daniel – Last summer was my first time visiting Casa Hogar. I plan to go back this March and in July.
Jansyn – My first mission trip to Casa Hogar was in the summer of 2017. Since then I have been back in March 2018 and July 2018.
Why did you feel drawn to work with this particular organization?
Mary Daniel – My sister has been to Casa Hogar multiple times and my mom has been once. My sister always comes home with so many stories and wanting to go back. My sister encouraged me to go this summer. Honestly, I was really nervous that I wouldn’t fall in love with it, but after being there for a day, I realized that it’s impossible not to love.
Jansyn – Casa Hogar is such a special place because of the clear and apparent reflection of God’s love, and His will in the lives of the staff and children there.
What does the FPD team generally do while working at Casa Hogar?
Mary Daniel – Spending a week at Casa Hogar includes so much. This summer we did would do a couple hours of construction which included moving rocks into a dump truck. Later in the afternoon we would play soccer, volleyball, or any type of games with the kids. Two days we visit the beach with the kids and on Sunday we go to church, which a very cool experience because we are worshipping the same God but in a different language. This year we had to opportunity to do the world’s longest zip line over water, it was amazing. We also visit The Market which is where we can buy souvenirs. During the week days, it’s mainly about creating relationships with the kids.
Jansyn – A typical week at Casa Hogar for a summer team includes a fun Sunday at church in the morning and an afternoon trip to the beach which is always loved by the kids. Monday-Thursday typically include construction in the morning until around noon and then “siesta” (nap) time where we have fellowship with our team followed by a fun game or activity with the kids in the afternoon. We end each day in the courtyard playing volleyball or soccer with the kids and just enjoying laughs and time with all of Casa Hogar.
What do you feel you have gained from the experience?
Mary Daniel – The Lord taught me so much in a week. It was amazing to see Americans interacting and having conversations with people who speak a different language. One of the older boys, Osvaldo, shared his testimony with us one night. Listening to the life he lived before he came to the orphanage was eye opening. I believe that you can learn something different from every kid at Casa Hogar. Over the week I got to learn some of the different stories of the kids and hear about how they have transformed over the years. Personally, I gained the idea of loving others like Christ loves. He loves us unconditionally and it’s something we do not deserve. These kids love everyone who walks through the doors of Casa Hogar. They taught me that no matter your background or others background, we should love everyone.
Jansyn – The biggest impact that Casa Hogar always has on my life is the increased nearness to God and strengthening of my faith when I return home. Being able to serve, love, and live life with the kids at Casa Hogar have been the best weeks of my life and are such a testament of God’s goodness and faithfulness in all situations.
Why do you think it’s important for students to be involved in missions?
Mary Daniel – I love the fact that FPD requires at least one mission trip. It’s crazy how in just one week, you can realize that there is so much more than the life we live in Macon. There are so many people in the world who are in need. Going on a mission trip can set someone’s soul on fire for Christ.
Jansyn – Going out into the world and serving others is such a reflection of the love Jesus showed all people throughout his entire life. Getting out of your comfort zone and every day routines is essential in opening your understanding that there is a whole world outside of Macon, Georgia, much of which is a lot less fortunate than us.
Video: Casa Hogar Mission 2018