Fresno aids Mexican children’s home

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Extensive repairs completed during summer mission trip.

Recently, the Fresno Citadel Corps sent a work team to Culiacan, Mexico, to effect repairs on The Salvation Army’s children’s home program facility. Several team members had worked jointly with the Pasadena Tabernacle Corps in past summer work teams and were inspired to form a local team this year. Captain Richard Larson led a group of nine soldiers and a contractor friend for the ten-day effort.

The physical condition of the property required extensive attention. Local contractors were hired to perform masonry and tile repairs on the concrete buildings, and all the windows in the boys’ dorm and all-purpose room were replaced. The outdoor restroom facilities used by the girls and program participants were water sealed and repainted inside and out, as well as re-wired and fixtured. The roof of the officers’ quarters and adjacent program kitchen/dining room was also water sealed. The electrical panel of the main facility was switched out to bring in additional circuitry for major appliances like air conditioning.

Team members repaired surfaces and repainted the main building’s exterior, as well as the interior kitchen, dining room and pantry. The gas line was moved for the stove, and other appliances were moved into the newly renovated kitchen. In the boys’ dorm across the street, the team replaced the back third of the roof, repainted the interior rooms, and repaired numerous light fixtures and switches. In the course of this ten-day effort, two truckloads of trash and debris were removed and dumped.

Thanks to donation support, all the mattresses, pillows, curtains, trashcans and dishes for the program were replaced. Each child was given new packs of underclothing, and dressers were purchased for the girls’ dorm. Play equipment, games and videos were purchased for the benefit of all the children, and their courtyard was repainted, re-lighted, and cleaned up. There was a hair-cutting day in which the officers were shown how to provide this service for the children, and then given the needed equipment.

The team was very impressed by the ministry of Cadet-Lieutenants Raul and Itzel Ramirez. Working as surrogate parents for approximately 20 children, this young couple had clearly provided strong spiritual leadership. Members were blessed as they observed daily Bible lessons and heard the children praying together regularly and spontaneously. The cadets have done well in creating a true family atmosphere for these voluntarily placed foster children.

A serendipity of the trip was the safe delivery of the couple’s own first child on the last full day of the team’s presence. Anticipating a little girl, God surprised them with a son they named Raul, Jr. The family will return to training school this fall.

Despite challenging sleeping arrangements, severe heat issues, and supply and equipment purchasing difficulties, team members faithfully went about their duties. Many tasks were accomplished, but the property needs far exceeded the time available. Supplies for other painting and plumbing tasks had to be left behind for the cadets and their replacements, Captains Moises and Mariana Cerezo. Much of the equipment brought into Mexico by team members was left behind for the program, along with other items purchased during the stay.

This was a first time experience for about half of the team members, and God graciously blessed their step of faith in service. God permitting, there is enthusiastic support to undertake a spiritual service adventure again next summer.

Several members have gone on numerous work teams in past years and would be happy to share their experience in forming local teams. If your corps is interested in putting together a work service team, a guideline packet is available by contacting Captain Richard Larson at (559) 233-0139.

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