Sunday, April 23, 2017

Our Week in Review

We had an amazing week in Colima.  It was a week that touched the hearts of every member of the team as we contributed about 600 hours of labor to jobs around the orphanage and, most importantly, shared countless smiles and hugs!

In addition, the CenterPoint team was grateful to bring a ton of donations to Hogar de Amor, including:

  • Over $7,300 in project supplies and cash donations
  • 587 pairs of socks and underwear
  • 151 tubes of toothpaste
  • 201 toothbrushes
  • 381 packs of crayons
  • 121 coloring books
  • 56 bath towels
  • 79 washcloths
  • 170 hand towels, kitchen towels, and dish rags


Thanks again to everybody who was a part of this trip - those who supported the trip financially, who prayed faithfully for the trip, who stayed in the U.S. and kept homes running while the team was away, and who donated supplies for the kids of Hogar de Amor. Your support means so much to us and to them.

Reflections from Mexico - Sasha

i got to spend a week in mexico with people and my family to help an orphanage. in the morning we would do activity's with the kids for about two hours. there were three stations sports, crafts ,and games. after that we did are jobs, like we did screens, making curtains, curtain rods to hang the curtains on. we made a patio we painted the roof and the walls we did electricity on the security lights. we made a door for the apartment the house parents lived in. we made a new sink we got rid of some old toys and sorted clothes.

Leading activities
Enjoying lunch

after that at around 4:00 or 4:30 we walked back to the hotel some of us would hop in the pool and then we would either go out on certain days or have market meals. one day we went down town to a mall and we could by stuff. i bought a bracelet a churro and some ice-cream and earrings. and we left there around four a clock on Wednesday night we had a party with a pinata. and after we had cake because it was my moms birthday. after we ate cake we did worship karen taught them a lesson then we prayed then we went back to the hotel.

on friday we always say by to the orphanage then go to the beach for 2:00 hours then we head back to the orphanage and on saturday we pack up and we hang out until the bus comes. we ride the bus to the airport then we take the plane back to utah!

oh yay! one more thing the trip felt very special to me because i never got to spend time in a orphanage with kids before and i learned that since the kids don't have families its very special to them that people come down to them an spend time with them. it means a lot of them. one of the cool things in mexico is that i met a girl named maria jose and esmerelda got along with me very fast.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Reflections from Mexico - Jamie

The most powerful part of our relationship with Hogar de Amor has been watching how my heart, my family, and our relationships have grown and changed over the past five years. It astounds me to realize that my youngest son, Ben, has been visiting Hogar de Amor every year for over a third of his life!
9-year-old Ben at Hogar de Amor in 2012
13-year-old Ben still loves to play with the kids at Hogar de Amor!

Every year, I get more joy and deep satisfaction out of our relationships with the staff and caregivers of Hogar de Amor. 

Keep in mind that I am a card-carrying, Type A achiever. I'm a doer. I'm always busy, always producing, always striving. There's some great stuff about those personality traits - I think one has to be a bit (more than a bit?) hyper-organized to successfully bring 28 people to Mexico and home again. But there's some junk that comes along with it.

Over the years, God has redirected my heart and energy away from what we "do" in Mexico. I still relish bringing down scads of donations. I still enjoy fixing stuff around the houses and working hard to make the orphanage more pleasant and more functional for everybody who lives there. But the reality is that the curtains we sew will need to be replaced in a couple of years and the walls we repaint will get scuffed again. What we "produce" in Mexico just doesn't last.

What lasts are the relationships we forge. Seeing the faces of the church staff light up when they see us because we've built a foundation of respect and support for their ministry - that lasts. Being a familiar face to the kids and giving them some fun, special childhood memories - that lasts. Telling the caregivers through our words and actions that they are loved, supported, prayed for, and valued in good times and in hard times - that lasts. Bonding together as a team and experiencing deep community with the CenterPoint folks - that matters. Worshiping together with our Mexican brothers and sisters, praying together, crying out to God together, and experiencing what it means to be the worldwide body of Christ - that lasts.

I'm a doer. Verses like 1 John 3:18 make sense to me:
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.

What God's doing in my life is adding to my "doing" a deeper understanding of verses like 1 Corinthians 13:13:
Three things will last forever — faith, hope, and love — and the greatest of these is love.
It's not the action that lasts forever, it's the love - the relationship.

I am so grateful that at Hogar de Amor I get to be a blessing to the team, the kids, the caregivers, and the church staff. And I am so grateful that I get to be blessed and changed by the depth of the relationships that God has made possible in that amazing place.

Reflections from Mexico - Lee and Cindy

Early in the fall of 2016 Cindy and I were presented with the opportunity to fulfill one of our “Bucket List” goals, serving a mission where we’re doing work and experiencing what it means to love others as Christ would. Some friends and family thought we were crazy to have this as a “Bucket List” goal, but as they’ve heard the stories and seen the photos some have said they’d like to join us if we do it again, we say WHEN WE GO AGAIN.

We spent eight days traveling, working on building projects, repairing facilities, getting to know some orphans and caregivers, and experiencing God’s love to an extent we did not expect. Seeing the caregivers giving all they have to the children was a beautiful thing. Our preexisting thoughts of orphanages were of caregivers just doing their jobs and trying to get through the day. The caregivers at Hogar de Amor truly LOVE these children and invest their lives making the children's lives full and with hope for the future. We found out that children do not “age” out at 18 years old, the orphanage remains invested in their lives and help some of them through furthering education.

This being our first experience visiting Hogar de Amor we were instilled with a love for the children, caregivers, and a desire to spend more time there. While we were there I met one couple that went down planning to spend a month there, and now 13 years later they are still there. We feel that spending time there changes your perspective on life.

Reflections from Mexico - Mark

Over the last couple of years we have experienced some very difficult and low times in our lives. We have had to take time to grieve this, rest and wait on the Lord. I believe God has begun to bring us to a time of new beginnings and building new.

I felt quite deeply that there was something in Mexico that I would find or that I would encounter the Lord and his help with some of the unanswered questions or empty parts I've still had. He did not disappoint, but I realized encountering Him there was not about me, which was so awesome! I saw how much love He has for our brothers and sisters in Mexico, their hospitality toward us, His love of all of the children who are more like our own than one can imagine until you meet them. I was overwhelmed by joy and I guess recognizing that He was there with us, that He was there all of the time. I fell in love with it all and especially the little kids.

I am so grateful for His mercy and how he took such good care of us all while we were there and let us taste of His goodness and some deliciousness only Mexico can give. :)

I guess in a beautiful way my heart was broken to see His beauty and how Jesus holds everyone at Hogar de Amor in His hands!

I am taking away that Jesus has a new beginning for us all, in His perfect time, when the most difficult things in this life try to take us down. I am going to invest in learning some Spanish this year, anticipating the 2018 trip and I'm praying about serving in children's church with the little kids. :)

We are so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this trip!!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Reflections from Mexico - Julie

Sometimes words are hard to find. Especially how to sum up a week at Hogar de Amor. There is a song that comes to my mind:
For the children of the world
Every single boy and girl
Heaven plants a special seed
And we must have faith for these

Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in the Father's eyes
Like the Father, may we see
That they have a destiny

And give them the light of love to lead
through the darkness around us now
To a place where hope is found.
It brings such joy to spend a short week with these special little ones. We leave better people then when we arrive. God is so very evident in the lives of the kids and caregivers and it is a privilege to witness His loving hand touching lives.

I am grateful for lessons learned and the opportunity to play and connect with the children of Hogar de Amor. They fill my heart to the brim :)

Another wonderful trip!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reflections from Mexico - Rex and Lensie

Once again Rex and I have been blessed by our Heavenly Father. What unspeakable joy to serve the people of Mexico. The Colima team from Utah was also a great pleasure to serve alongside.

I am always overwhelmed by humanity's love for one another, when we walk by the measure of faith given to us. Oneness is the Father’s greatest desire for us all. Working and serving along side of the team the Lord assembled was refreshing. We all came together as the body of Christ. Praise the Lord!

One of our favorite things is the be with the kids. Seeing their hearts opening to complete strangers. Seeing how the Holy Spirit connects our hearts with theirs is amazing. The party with the kids is always a highlight of the week.

The week goes by so quickly. You wish that you could take everyone home with you. Or to stay longer and forge those relationships more. Time is a short commodity here, especially when you have a young boy Aldo following us all the way to the van, and standing there just looking and wanting us not to leave him. If that don’t give you a love for humanity I don’t know what will! Bless the Lord oh my soul! Our hearts are changed forever! Thank you Jesus! Then Edjar the little boy with the broken arm, I know he treasures the hat Rex gave him. And the little girl Anayeli who put a heart sticker over her face on the photo. We know love is all that is needed. So blessed to know our Heavenly Father loves us so much!

Also Josue and his mother Isabella, whom we had the privilege to serve and bond with in Palmarito at La Familia home. You never forget the heart of a child.

Now that we have returned home to the states and our homes, my prayer is the team will remember to pray for the children and caregivers. Ponder the orphans and widows all over the world. Jesus said he would never leave us as orphans. And now these three things will last forever faith, hope, and love and the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13).

We are so grateful for everyone the Lord has put in our lives. Our own mattress too!

Birds of a feather flock together.

Love to All! God is good!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Reflections from Mexico - Marcia

I can’t believe this is my fifth year going to Hogar de Amor. Each year I make curtains for various houses using my sewing machine skills. This year, the house parents at Casa Golondrinas asked for new curtains to help block the sun. They were very happy with the results.

I have often wondered if one week a year makes a difference in the children’s lives. We play games, organize crafts and give them lots of love and hugs. It seems that their needs are so great and we do so little. The answer came from Joel, a house parent at Casa Matriz.

I have quoted him as closely as I can remember. “Thank you for loving the children and playing with them. They often don't have happy memories of their childhood, but you have given the children something happy to remember.”

After those words of encouragement, we made a circle, with the CenterPoint workers in the middle. The children and Hogar de Amor adults surrounded us and prayed for us. There was not a dry eye in the place.

Yes, we make a difference. This year Scott and I decided to sponsor a child. Esmeralda touched my heart. She gave me one of her “scratchy eggs” and wrote “I love you”.

I carry all the children in my heart, I am so glad I can give back to this wonderful place.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Reflections from Mexico - Kim

I am so grateful for my biological and my spiritual family. I am learning from those who are more spiritually mature than me to be more compassionate. I am learning I have a lot of insecurities and I have misinterpreted situations and realized it was me that was the problem. I still struggle with what other people think but I know deep in my heart it matters what God thinks. I really do want to please God and I do realize God created every good thing and God loves people.

I want to be more like God and care about what God care about. I realize my own spiritual poverty and how rich in spirit those at Hogar de Amor are including the caregivers, children and the mission team. I thank all those who do all the organizing for this trip every year it really is a blessing to serve along with everyone and see all the completed projects. I want to continue to go to Hogar de Amor and learn new skills and work on speaking Spanish.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Reflections from Mexico - Jan

What a privilege and honor it was to leave our world and step into God’s world. You felt the Holy Spirit wrapped around our team from the time we left the Salt Lake City airport on April 1 until our return on April 8. Even when we all went our separate ways for home, there was a strong bond as we waved goodbye.

It amazed me how even though I didn't know Spanish language, how strong that love, bonding, and the spirit was felt among the children and caregivers, even though I did not know what to say.

What a blessing it was to be around “down to earth” people who did not have much, but so appreciated what they had physically and spiritually. They were full of joy, happiness and more than willing to share what little they had with us. There was a great deal of laughter, caring for each other and helping with anything needed, whether it be homework, or tying a shoe lace. We watched the teenagers in the orphanage assist the younger ones with homework; our team helped with homework also.

The joy, peace and happiness felt by playing with the children each morning, then able to serve in the afternoons by completing projects around the orphanage, knowing this made their lives a little easier, is truly indescribable.

I strongly witnessed when Christ said in Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus”. The whole week you saw and felt “oneness” with everyone. No matter who we are, where we live, language spoken, country we are from, we ALL have a heart, red blood flowing through our veins, cells, organs, etc. Basically, none of us can live 40 days without food, 4 days without water, 4 minutes without oxygen or we will all die (unless God has another plan for us). This is the same concept in God’s plant & animal world. Even a tree has a heart wood. “In the beginning God created...”, even the stars sang. I have heard all my life that if you are stressed, go hug a tree... I finally got it that the whole earth is radiantly alive with God’s Presence!!

In the church service on Sunday, the folks sang songs in Spanish, and I did recognize the word “hallelujah”. They raised their hands to worship and praise God, just like we do here in the USA. Hanging from the church wall were four flags I recognized: Jewish, the country of Mexico, U.S., and Christian flags. The Spirit is the same.

In reference to our CenterPoint team, it was a great joy to be around and serve with people who love the Lord and live it. They have open spirits in whatever was needed for the children, caregivers, projects and our team. By these examples from all and the overall experience, I have felt a change and more blessings. My family has always been raised to love and appreciate America, I can now share with them the experiences of Hogar de Amor.

Allow God’s Life to merge with yours.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Reflections from Mexico - Brock

Having the opportunity to go down to Hogar de Amor and help these kids and the caregivers has been life changing. There is so much to be learned from the kids down there. A lot of them come from very tragic backgrounds and have dealt with a lot. It’s amazing to see how happy they are even though life has been hard on them and they don’t have a lot. My dad has always quoted a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox which goes like this
“One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.

Like the winds of the sea
Are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
Tis the set of the soul,
That determines the goal,
And not the calm or the strife.”

These kids have an amazing ability to recognize and find joy in what they do have. Life has already given them plenty of reasons to quit and feel sorry for themselves but they choose to make the best of it instead. These kids taught me how to forgot about the gales and strife in my life and how to find happiness in what I have now.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Friday - Projects Complete!

We are so grateful and blessed to have been able to complete almost all of the projects that we set out to do this week.  There will always be more screens to repair and replace and more curtains to be sewn, but the majority of the necessary jobs were all finished.

 They installed solar flood lights on Casa Leonel, that will turn on automatically if anyone triggers them walking by. They requested these as an additional safety feature.
 There were also piles and piles of clothes to sort through, stack by size and label the shelves.  Now they can easily go in and rotate the clothes for the kids!

Team Closet Clean-Out!

 Last year they had also painted Casa Leonel this beautiful bright and colorful green, however because of the height of the roof and no scaffolding, they weren't able to finish the underside.  This year we had scaffolding that allowed us to complete the project!
Team Pavers!

Pavers were needed on the back patio where they hang the laundry to dry.  During the rainy season, this was just dirt which created a huge mess to deal with.  Now, they have the pavers to keep everything nice and neat.
Team Curtains!

Many, many beautiful curtains were sewn and hung among all of the different houses.  These were done for the Senorita house!
Team Closet shelves

In the Senorita house, the girls were wanting shelves added to their closets that would allow them to separate their items and give them more space.  One girl also had a door mirror that she wanted hung in her closet.  The team worked hard to measure and cut the wood to create the shelves.  They measured 3 times and only had to cut once, they were perfect! :)

The inside of one of the closets.  She is very organized as you can tell and look how nice that mirror looks hanging back there.

Team Door Hanger/Wall builder!

There was also a beautiful wood door that was donated to the orphanage, and needed to have a frame constructed for it and a half wall built.  This is the room used by Armando, the facility maintenance worker.  He only had a curtain to separate his room, so he was extremely happy with having a door to his room that even locks!

Team Curtain Rods/Facility Sink Installers

 There were also many rooms that needed new curtain rods, so they were created from aluminum poles that were cut down to fit.

Team Screens!

 There were so many screens that are ripped or had large holes in them and needed replacing.  We were able to replace about 30 total, and there are probably another 30 to do next year.  :)
Team Cabinet!

 This cabinet had doors that were broken and didn't fit properly and is used to store the kids book bags.  We repaired the doors, and painted the entire cabinet with paint and a lacquer finish.

Team Photo 

 In addition to all of the work we were able to complete at the orphanage, we were also able to bless them with all of the generous donations that so many of you made possible.  Here is a listing of what was given on this trip.

  • 587 pairs of socks and underwear
  • 151 tubes of tooth paste
  • 201 tooth brushes
  • 381 packs of crayons
  • 121 coloring books
  • 56 bath towels
  • 79 washcloths
  • 100 hand towels/kitchen towels
  • 70 dish rags
Thank you to all who gave so generously of your money and donations that helped make this all possible.

It was time to say goodbye to all of the children and caregivers! Such a bittersweet time, these kids are so loving and just melt your hearts with all of the hugs they give out so freely.  They prayed for our team before we left and I don't think there was a dry eye in the group. 

Please pray for continued safety and traveling mercies tomorrow for everyone as we head to the airport on our journey home. 

A generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. ~ Proverbs 11:25

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wednesday and Thursday- Finishing up our Projects

Wednesday continued with fun activities in the morning.  In the craft area, the children all made really cool foam frames for the pictures that our professional photographer Sam, took for them with his polaroid camera.  We placed magnets on the back so they could hang them on their metal bunk bed frames. As orphans many do not have pictures of themselves, so they loved creating these to put on their beds.
Creative Artists

Sam the official photographer


There was also lots of music and games going on!

Karlie leading out

Juan having fun

Yum- fruit snacks
While Soccer or Futbol was also being played in the field. :)

We all continued on our projects until we left to head over to Casa Famoso who graciously provided us all a delicious lunch, of ribs and rice, bean soup and watermelon with a birthday cake to top it all off for Jamie's birthday! :)

Ben and Mark hard at work on screens

Lots of painting to complete

So many clothes to sort

Brick pavers being laid

Ryan finishing off the door and half-wall that was done
Beautiful new curtains for Casa Galondrinas
Delicious lunch
After lunch we returned to Casa Matriz and our projects until we stopped for the evening. Those who had any spare energy, headed into downtown Colima's shopping market for some souvenir shopping, before we all came together again at the Orphanage and had a party for the children. :)  There was pizza, spaghetti and another birthday cake for Jamie.  All the kids sang her happy birthday and managed to smash her face into the cake when she took the first bite!

Little Caesars for the win!!

Julie and Ashley

Push-up challenge

All the boys loved watching themselves in slow motion video

Lenzie is the arm wrestle champ!!

What ends a party better than 3 pinatas filled with candy?! The kids had so much fun taking turns trying to destroy them and get to the treats inside.  We even had some heavy hitters on our team that helped to that end. :)

Today brings our last full day of work at the orphanage and we are busily trying to finish up all of our projects they requested to help make life easier for them.  There is a whole lot of painting, patio paver laying, cabinet repair, sewing and screen replacement going on at a frenzied pace. :)

 Please continue to pray for strength and endurance for our team, as we put in long days in the very hot sun. It is very draining, but also extremely rewarding at the same time. 

"You are the light of the world.  A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16