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