Meet Jorge (Chivo)

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Chivo 2016

Chivo has been at Casa Hogar Elim (CHE) for almost eight years.  He lives at the Volu, which is the CHE campus for teen boys and young men.  He is a quiet, humble servant leader.  He is known as the maestro, or master, for concrete and other types of construction, because he is such a skilled worker with perseverance and an attention to detail.  He attends college studying administration, he’s a talented soccer player, and a trusted friend.  He has a steady faith in the Lord and amazing potential to serve God and others for many years to come.

How old are you?  19

What is your favorite color? Blue

Do you have brother or sisters?  What are their ages? Yes, Pati is 18 years old and Mario is 7 years old.

Who are your best friends?  Marcos, Chicopues, Chuy, Mayel, Fidel, everyone.

What do you like to do in your free time? I like to play soccer and I like to play freestyle.  I also like to draw all different types of drawings.

How long have you lived at Casa Hogar Elim (CHE)? I have been here almost 8 years.

What jobs do you do at CHE? My main job is construction and I am currently working on the new soccer field.

What do you like most about your job at CHE? I like sheet rocking and painting.

What is most difficult about your job?  The most difficult job is leveling the roofs during construction since it’s all concrete and takes patience.

What are you doing now for your education? I am studying at the university. 

What are you dreams for the future? After I finish school, I would like to own my own construction business. 

What do you like most about CHE? I like living with friends. 

What is your favorite verse? I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

How has the Lord worked in your life in the past and how is He working now?  He has sought me and I am thankful for all He has done.  

I am thankful to Mama Lupita for everyone she has supported at Casa Hogar.  I have learned so much from working and my education.  I want to continue in my studies.

Caring Hearts Transform Kitchen

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paloma washroom

Large sinks for washing dishes

You have heard it said, “The kitchen is the heart of the home.”  But what if that kitchen is old and dreary, has appliances that don’t work, backed up plumbing, and cramped spaces with little ventilation?  Unfortunately, until just a few months ago, this described the kitchen at Casa Hogar Elim.  Each day for every meal, the older girls in charge of cooking and cleaning faced this less than ideal atmosphere while preparing and serving meals to about 70 children.

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Stainless Steel refrigerator and freezer

paloma stove

New stove and gas range/ griddle

Thanks to a generous donor who had a vision for what the kitchen could be, all that has changed.  The Preston Trail CHE leadership team met with Mama Lupita to find out how to best remodel the kitchen with the donated funds.  After months of careful planning and hard work, the kitchen was transformed.  A licensed plumber supervised the plumbing work to make sure it was redone properly.  New lighting was installed along with extra ventilation and fans.   A quality industrial grade gas range, oven and ventilation hood replaced the old worn out ones.  The CHE girls can now fill a large industrial grade refrigerator with fresh, healthy foods, and a large industrial grade freezer with meat and other frozen items.  Stainless steel sinks and counters line the walls in the cooking areas and dish washing room.  The space was reconfigured to provide a workable, open cooking area, convenient and organized pantry, and a breezy and natural light-filled dish washing room.  The donations also provided for new heavy duty cooking pots, pans, dishes and utensils.

paloma pantry

Large, open pantry

Paloma, the young adult in charge of the kitchen, can’t stop smiling.  She can now work and enjoy cooking for all the children in a bright, upbeat environment.   Come see the new kitchen and try Paloma’s mashed potatoes and Mexican beans!   You will see that she knows what she is doing in the kitchen, but mostly you will get to witness her heart for the Lord in “the heart of Casa Hogar Elim!”

                                                            

Meet Cinthia

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Cinthia grew up at Casa Hogar Elim (CHE) . She is a  hardworking, no nonsense young lady,  and she has a great sense of humor.  She can be seen around CHE taking charge and caring for children.  She has a knowledge of what needs to be done to keep things moving forward at CHE.  She makes frequent shopping trips to get all the supplies and food needed to keep the children fed and their needs met.  Cinthia married her sweetheart, Edgar, last year, and together they  stay with and care for a group of young boys in an area of the orphanage.  Mama Lupita depends on Cinthia to help manage certain aspects of the orphanage.   When observing and speaking with Cinthia, it is apparent that her faith and trust in the Lord  are the driving factors in her life.

 

 

How old are you? 22

What is your favorite color? Blue and pink

What is your favorite food? I like everything, especially spicy food.

Do you have brothers and sisters?  Marcos is 18, Madeline is 12, Erick is 9, and Kriz is 8. 

Who are your best friends?  All my friends are equally great.

What do you like to do in your free time? I read the Bible and pray.  I like to learn about God and what He did while He was here.

How long have you lived at Casa Hogar Elim (CHE)? I have been here 17 years.  I was six years old when I came here, and I remember that I cried a lot, but Mama Lupita hugged and hugged me. 

What jobs do you do at CHE?  I take care of a group of boys from the ages of 8 to 12 at the orphanage.  I also help Mama Lupita by working in the church, I do a lot of the shopping, and I work at a school with children three days a week.

What do you like most about your job at CHE? I like everything.

What are you studying in school?  I am in school now and would eventually like to become a lawyer. 

What are you dreams for the future? My dreams are to keep working at CHE and help here.  When I become a lawyer, I can help with legal issues here.

What do you like most about CHE? I love everything about CHE: the children, Mama Lupita, and God.

What is your favorite verse? I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

How has the Lord worked in your life in the past and how is He working now?  I have learned that God blesses us every day.

Meet Anya

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Anya, 20 years old

Anya has grown up at Casa Hogar Elim  (CHE) and continues to work and live there. She is a unique young lady who has a twinkle in her eye, charming dimples and a gorgeous smile. She can be seen around CHE working hard and taking care of children. She keeps order during mealtimes by making sure the children are minding their manners and following rules. She is “no nonsense” when the children need guidance, but she is patient and compassionate when they need extra care and love. She was instrumental in building the jewelry business at CHE and is creative with a talent for design. She has a sweet, quiet spirit, and her apparent love for the Lord is contagious.

Interview:

How old are you? 20  

What is your favorite color? Green

What is your favorite food? Chinese

What kind of music do you like? I love all music but especially “reggeaton”.

Do you have Brothers and sisters? Yes, Lorena is 22 and Bryan is 18.

Who are your best friends? Dulce Maria, Chita (Jessica), and Paloma.

What do you like to do in your free time? I sleep. I also like to go to eat and to the movies with my friends.

How long have you lived at Casa Hogar Elim (CHE)? I have been here 17 years.

What jobs do you do at CHE? I clean, make dinner, serve breakfast, and take care of the children.

Is making meals for that many children difficult and how do you maintain order while they are eating? It is very easy to cook for that many because I have lots of experience doing it. Maintaining order can be difficult, but if I tell them they will have to clean the dining area, they all behave themselves.

What do you like most about your job at CHE? I like everything, but mostly I enjoy taking care of the children.

What are you studying in school? I plan on going to the university and studying psychology because I would like to help people in the future.

What are you dreams for the future? I would like to get married, have a family, and help Mama Lupita here at Casa Hogar Elim.

What do you like most about CHE? I love spending time with my friends.

What is your favorite verse? I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

I love this verse because when I am working really hard and have lots of responsibility, it reminds me that Jesus is my strength.

How has the Lord worked in your life in the past and how is He working now? In the past He has worked very well in my life, and now He has been working in my life even better. I am teaching classes about God to children every Friday. The children are from 2 to 15 years old. I specifically teach them about what God can do in their lives. I love teaching the classes!

Out with the Old, Getting Ready for the New

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Cute boys enjoying spaghetti night

What room do you use most in your casa? Ask anyone at Casa Hogar Elim, and you will find out that the kitchen is the most popular and busiest room there.  While the older girls and young women have been doing a tremendous job serving and preparing food in the current kitchen, it needs space that is more efficient, updated plumbing, and well-functioning appliances.  Thankfully, a generous donation provided sufficient funds to meet these needs and give CHE a first-class kitchen.

A contractor began demo work in April on all the existing kitchen space.  He removed walls, old appliances, sinks, and counters to reconfigure space for more efficient workflow.  Unloading groceries into the pantry will be quicker and the dishwashing area will  have better ventilation.  The plumbing will be improved by adding new drains and water lines, and a professional licensed plumber will inspect the plumbing before and upon completion.  The electrical system in the kitchen will be updated; a new stove with separate griddle will be added, as well as a new refrigerator and freezer.  To top it off, there will be new stainless steel tables and countertops, sinks and faucets for washing, and new shelving and racks for storage.

The project leaders are working on finalizing equipment, details and delivery, and they expect the kitchen to be completed by this summer.  Mealtime is already a happy occasion at CHE, but now it will be even better! Check back in two or three months for the amazing  “after” pictures!

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Dishwashing area before renovations

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Kitchen before renovations

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Cooking before renovations

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Kitchen during demo stage

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Kitchen during demo stage

Meet Chuy

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Chuy is one of the young adults who makes a positive influence at CHE.  He helps keep things running smoothly at the Volu where the older boys live, and he is a good role model for them.  He trusts the Lord with his future, and he know that he must work hard to reach his goals.

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How old are you? 26

 What is your favorite color?   I like black, red and white.

What is your favorite food?  My favorite food is pizza.

What do you like to do in your free time?  I like to read books.

How long have you been at Casa Hogar Elim (CHE)?  I have been here 10 years.

What work do you do at CHE?  I clean and cook some at the Volu (boy’s dorm) and I do nursing as well.

What do you like most about your work at CHE?  I like the nursing because I get to help when the children are sick or injured.

What is the most difficult part of your job at CHE?  There are a lot of kids here, so it is probably getting the chaos under control.

What are you doing now for your education?  I finished my studies at nursing school.  Now I am working on my bachelor’s degree and then I will do an internship in nursing.

What are your dreams for the future?  I would like to work in a hospital in pediatrics, or physical therapy and maybe in the United States.

Do you have siblings?  Yes, Chima is 24 and David is 16.

Who are your best friends?  Marcos, Chivo, and Chicopues.

What do you like most about CHE?  I like everything.  Mama Lupita is a great example and I like the work here.

What is your favorite verse? Hebrews 12:28-29   “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” 

I like how God  is love, but he is also a consuming fire.

Meet Paloma

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Paloma and Gladys

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Paloma working in the kitchen

Paloma is a hard-working young adult at Casa Hogar Elim.  She has been at the orphanage for about half her life.  You only have to visit with her for a few minutes to witness her obvious love for the Lord and her dedication to all those who live at Casa Hogar Elim.

How old are you? 24 years old

What is your favorite color? Silver

What is your favorite food?  Mexican and Chinese food

What do you like to do in your free time?  I like to read, draw, and paint.

How long have you been at Casa Hogar?  I’ve been here about 12 years.

What are you in charge of at Casa Hogar?  I take care of Gladys, a special needs young adult at Casa Hogar.  I make lunch and dinner every day for 60-70 children.  I work in the office some, too.

How did you learn to cook?  I have been cooking for about 6 years.  I asked Nydia, who is one of Mama Lupita’s daughters, to teach me to cook, because I knew nothing about cooking.  I watched and learned from her for about 6 months before I got it all down.

What is the most difficult part of your job here at Casa Hogar?  It is taking care of Gladys.  She is heavy and I have to pick her up a lot.  I bathe her, feed her, and when she is sick, I nurse her back to health.  I keep her clothes and sheets washed.  It is a lot of work.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? Taking care of Gladys may be the most difficult part of my job, but it is also the best part.  I love her a lot.  She is like a sister to me.

What do you like most about Casa Hogar?  I love the children.  Each one is special.  Jeff is good and he loves me like a mother, but I do have to discipline him at times.  Carlitos calls me “Palomitas” and asks me many questions all the time.  He loves me.  All the children are my brothers and sisters.

I love Mama Lupita.  She is very special to me.

What are your dreams for the future?  I want to do what God wants.  I want to serve God.

What is your favorite verse in the Bible?  I don’t really have one.  I love the whole Bible.

God is the person who is the most important in my life.  He gives me so many things and I will always be grateful for that.  Casa Hogar is a place I will always carry in my heart because Casa Hogar is my family.  Each one that is in Casa Hogar is my sister and my brother.  Mama Lupita is my mother.  These are things I never thought I would have, but God gave them to me.  Casa Hogar is one of the most beautiful things that God has given me.

Meet Veronica

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Veronica and Tota, one of the girls Veronica cares for

Veronica is 18 years old and one of dozens of hard-working teens and young adults at Casa Hogar Elim.  She is humble, quiet, and sweet, and stands out as a nurturing and consistent role model for the younger girls.  Veronica displays a vibrant smile and her heart for the Lord shows in her actions and love for those around her.

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Veronica and her friend, Pati

 

How old are you?  18

What is your favorite color? Green

What is your favorite food?  Enchiladas with chicken and queso.

What do you like to do in your free time?  Listen to music.  I like “la musica banda.”  I also like to rest.

How long have you been at Casa Hogar Elim?  I have been here 11 years.

Do you have brothers and sisters?  Yes, I have two sisters and two brothers.  They are Itzel who is 6, Ozvaldo who is 8, Carla who is 13, and Carlos who is 15.

Do you go to school and what are your dreams for the future? I go to the university in the evenings.  I would like to become a lawyer and help people who need money and don’t have resources to help themselves.

What is your job at CHE? I partner with my friend, Pati, and we take care of the girls ages 5-14.  When they are all here, there are 17 girls in my room.  I am there in the mornings when Pati is gone to school and Pati is there in the evenings when I am taking classes.

What kinds of things do you do to take care of the girls? I clean the room, help the girls with their hair, help them get dressed, keep their clothes organized and help with their homework.  We wash clothes and do laundry once a week.  At night before bed we often do devotionals, learn Bible verses, sing and pray.

What are some of the most difficult things and some of the most rewarding things about caring for the girls? One of the most difficult things is dealing with disobedience, but I enjoy seeing the personalities of the girls and helping them in different ways.  Tota loves me and clings to me.  Rosa Valeria is caring and sweet.  Jasmine is hard working.  Every girl is unique and special.

Who are your best friends at CHE? Lily, Pati, Yoland, and Fidel (who is like a brother to me.)

 What do you love most about Casa Hogar? Mama Lupita.  She has taken care of me since I was a little girl.  She teaches me how to care for the girls and how to work.  She loves and trusts God.

What is your favorite Bible verse?  Proverbs 22:6  – Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Meet Luis Enrique (Chicopues)

Luis Enrique  (Chicopues)

18 Years Old

How long have you been at Casa Hogar Elim (CHE)?  Eight years.20131012_191116

Do you have brothers or sisters?  I have two brothers.  Fidel is 16 and is here at CHE.  Carlos is 15, but is no longer at CHE.

What is your favorite thing about CHE?  Mama Lupita treats us well.

How is school going?  What are your favorite subjects?  I am not in school now, but I will start again in January.  I have two years left before college, but I am not sure in what I want to major.  My favorite subject is history, and my least favorite is English.

Who are your best friends?  My best friends are Marcus, Chivo, Chuy and there are more.

What do you like to do in your free time?  Board games and card games.

What job would you like to have one day?  Architect or engineer, but the math might be difficult.

How has God worked in your life and what blessings has God given you? I have a Bible and read it before I go to bed.  He has blessed me with Mama Lupita, and without her, I would probably be on the street and in trouble.

 

Dancing in the Rain

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The rain was cool, clean, and refreshing. The storm hammered down on the little orphanage without warning. I took cover on some concrete benches under a metal awning in the courtyard.

IMG_2745As soon as I looked up, I spotted him standing in the pouring rain – a child who had been been through a lot before he arrived at Casa Hogar.. His story troubled me and my heart ached for him.  How could any child survive what he had endured? 

And then he did a strange thing. He laughed, he twirled, he jumped and sang. He danced in the rain; it was joyful, exuberant, and unashamed dancing.  How in the world? Why?

I wasn’t dancing in the rain. I was sitting there and protecting myself, not wanting to get my hair, clothes and shoes wet.  The rain looked cold and uncomfortable. Plus, I had anxiety about things at home weighing me down.  The last thing I felt like doing was dancing in the rain.

But he had let his comfort and anxiety go in exchange for joy.  My only answer to the how and why is Jesus.  He is the author of joy and gives it freely to those who will embrace it. Mama Lupita had welcomed this precious child into Casa Hogar Elim and she had made sure he knew to whom he belonged. He exemplified simple childlike  joy. What a lesson and gift he was to me that day!

The next time it rains, I’m hoping I can dance. Maybe I’ll even throw my hands into the air and twirl and sing. Thanks for the lesson in letting go, my joyful Casa Hogar friend.

Luke 10:21

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”