Mission Fiesta

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The makings of Mission Fiesta, Inc. Thru the eyes of the Director

1. In 1986, I sponsored a child in Guatemala thru Compassion International. I wanted to visit him in 1988 but could not because of the civil war in Guatemala.

2. In 1989, I went on a very short mission trip (my first) to Mexico and it was at a home for children. I just wanted to go by myself but ended up planning a trip for 10 other people 2 of whom I had never met. Five were adults and five were teens.

3. In 1990, Compassion International planned a trip to Guatemala and I went. I met my sponsored child. I met Janet Hall from North Carolina on this trip.

4. In 1991, I returned to Guatemala (alone) for language & culture school and to visit my sponsored children. I had sponsored a second child after my first visit. Oh by the way, because of bad weather the plane had to force land in El Salvador at night and the airport was closed, but eventually I got to Guatemala.

5. I went on two other trips with Compassion International and visited sponsored children in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Janet Hall was also on the second trip to Guatemala.

6. In 1995, I talked a friend (Dan Ross),who also sponsored a child in Guatemala, into going to Guatemala with me. Actually I had to beg and make him feel guilty before he would go (just kidding Dan). A woman (Sol de Lehnhoff) who worked with Compassion International told me that God wanted me to visit a home for children called Casa Aleluya (formerly known was Mi Hogar II). I did visit (along with Dan) and left some money and returned home thinking that was that.

7. In 1996, I returned to Casa Aleluya with three other people (Janet Hall, Dan Ross and Hazel Watson - whom I had never met). We worked at the home and saw how much in need they were of about everything. It was quite an experience. We ate beans and rice almost every day. A plain egg sandwich became quite a treat.

8. In 1997 returned to work at Casa Aleluya. 150 children with a very small staff. The staff (Mike and Dottie Clark) was exhausted and in need of a rest. I along with the other three (yes they returned also) agreed to oversee the operations of the children's home so Mike and Dottie could have an over night break away from the home. Little did we know that overnight breaks in Guatemala last four days!! We praised God, especially when we saw the Mike and Dottie returning from their break.

We observed much in our time at Casa Aleluya. We saw many needs and people trying to meet those needs. Food, clothes and shelter were needs of great importance and people started coming and providing for those needs. This was great. Our little group saw another need. The need to have some joy and to know that God loves each and everyone of us and that we are special in His eyes. He wants all of His children to have some 'extras'. We decided to have one big birthday celebration for all the children and staff , since the home did not have any extra money at the time for this type of need. We would have cake and ice cream and give each child a birthday card with $2 inside.

Friends and family (in the USA) wanted to donate and we had more money than we needed for cake and ice cream. We had enough for pizza and drinks and decorations. We had a wonderful Fiesta ! The children loved it and the staff was truly grateful. We had one fiesta for one home of 150 children.

Missionaries have a habit of telling other missionaries about what is happening in their ministries. The word spread and we began having fiestas at other homes and projects. We decided to call ourselves Mission Fiesta. Last year (2006) we had 14 fiestas involving 1,703 children and 343 staff.

We now call what we do 'Celebrando la Vida' which means Celebrating Life. This now includes Fiestas for the children, Siestas for the staff and Ventures for projects to benefit both children and staff. Mission Fiesta is now a not for profit corporation in the state of Ohio. We are now Mission Fiesta, Inc. This is an overview of our journey, there is much more to the story.

Looking back I can see how God has prepared the four of us for this type of work. I did plan to go to Guatemala to have fiestas, siestas, or ventures but God had a plan for me and my friends.

Director, Mission Fiesta

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