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El Hogar: A heartwarming place is a reminder of God’s love

Carrollton students hug and congratulate children on the Barbie dance prepared for them.

Disclaimer: Names of residents of Misioneros Del Camino Orphanage have been changed to protect the children’s identity.

Misioneros del Camino is a heartwarming place that continues to change the lives of Carrollton Students. 

On November 2, Carrollton families traveled to Sumpango, Guatemala to visit the “hogar,” or home, of the Misioneros Del Camino orphanage. Misioneros is a non profit organization that helps orphans of Guatemala and, most importantly, provides a home filled with love and faith to abandoned children. 

Although I was dreading the cold weather and was nervous to travel, especially because I had just broken my foot a few weeks before, I quickly adapted to the weather and community, and I was able to participate in many activities. 

Right away, our group was welcomed by the wonderful children, staff, and cooks who made home-cooked and locally-grown meals for us every day. The garden was managed by some of the children and cultivated naturally, resulting in delicious produce.

After settling in, we went to go see the children and were immediately greeted by loving smiles and tight hugs. Before their arrival to the hogar, many of these children had been unloved, abused, neglected, starved, and scarred with cruel words and difficult experiences. Despite their painful pasts, their hope and excitement was evident to us through their leg squeezes and many “te quiero’s.” From the first day, I felt an overwhelming sense of joy and love in this home that continued to impact me throughout the trip.

Students Alessia Garcia-Amandi ’24, Kaitlyn Johnson ’24, and Natalia Cordero ’25, along with their mothers, planned, organized and helped to create a library for their IB project for which they collected over 200 books. We helped paint a mural in the library and installed shelves, books, bean bags, and cozy seating. When we surprised the children with the library, their faces lit up and it was so beautiful to see. The efforts of these girls did not go unnoticed, especially by these children.

One particular family that touched my heart was a family of 5 sisters who had been separated from their 2 older brothers as well. This family had just arrived at the home, which was evidenced by their distant and sad expressions. As we spent time with the younger sisters, ages 4, 6, and 9, they responded to the love they were given and quickly adapted. 

Don’t forget, God loves you more than anyone. 

— Resident of El Hogar

When I later spoke to the eldest sister, Maria, who was 16, I noticed she was disheartened. I approached her as she held her little sister by the hand. As I conversed with her, she responded to my questions dryly and said that she did not want to talk. 

I stirred up questions and other things I could say to make her feel better and, when I asked her to introduce me to her friends, she began to cry to me and said, “No tengo ni una amiga,” which means, “I don’t even have one friend.” She shared with me that her mother had just been murdered in her presence by her stepfather. She cared for her younger sisters and had taken over the maternal role in this family before they arrived at Misioneros. I told her that I was her friend and reassured her that I could help her make more.

By the end of the trip, it made me happy to know that Maria  considered me a friend. On day 3, Camila Uribe ’26 called me to say that Maria was asking for me, and another mother told me that she had said, “Isa is my friend.”

Although it came with more difficulty for Maria because of her greater understanding of the situation, all 5 sisters were more adapted the day we left than when we’d first arrived. At the beginning of the trip, it was really hard to get Maria to talk and loosen up. She never said anything except when she was asked a question. She spoke very quietly and avoided smiling. But, by the end of the trip, Maria was starting conversations, approaching people that she wasn’t comfortable with to hug them on the last day, and smiling with the other kids. I am so grateful for her and Misioneros Del Camino. These seemingly insignificant interactions had changed her life. She had made friends. 

One of the most impactful parts of the home was the influence it had on the children’s spirits. You could see a difference in the newer children, but not for long as the love of this beautiful home quickly spread to them as well. 

Even after all this pain, the children’s love and faith was stronger than anyone’s I have ever seen. One of the most amazing parts of this trip was that even though I traveled to Guatemala with the intention of helping these children, they ended up helping me more than I did them.

And I was not the only person that felt this way. Cata Pardo 25’ said, “I told a boy I loved him before bed and he said, ‘I love you more, but don’t forget, God loves you more than anyone.’” 

The way the children sang so passionately to God always and thanked Him for everything good in their lives was beautiful. This trip was a reminder to thank God for what we have, and to find God’s love in each other as these children do.

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    Paola ConsuegraDec 25, 2023 at 9:31 am

    I’m so glad you all went on this mission trip. The poor to be able to see the face of God in others and give to those most vulnerable. I’m proud of all of you ❤️

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  • A

    annie molledaNov 28, 2023 at 10:36 am

    Isa,
    I am so happy that you and your group had a fruitful time in Guatemala, ministering to the kids of Misioneros Del Camino. What a blessing to share time with these kids. It was truly an experience of love and compassion.
    May God continue to bless your future efforts and give you a heart that mirrors Him!
    Blessings,
    Mrs. Molleda
    7th grade Religion teacher

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