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My First ‘Casa’ Trip

Forever Began When I Met You
December 14, 2020
Called To Write
December 16, 2020
I was new to Hillside Church when, one routine Sunday morning, Bill Caulkins’ enthusiasm for the upcoming Casa trip literally reached back to my chair and catapulted me into participation. “Casa” is an orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico. This was a mission trip to repair and improve their buildings.

In hindsight, I suppose I had reservations about many things related to my going but whether or not I would go was never one of them. Being self-employed, in a one-man business, I was concerned about how I could handle the loss of a week’s income. I wondered how I would fit in with this group of strangers, bunking with them in a foreign land, under crude conditions and without my own vehicle or means of escape if it became too uncomfortable. Not really being very social, and having a hard time accepting people with their foibles, I feared that I might be bored or miserable, or become fatigued with the constant need to be accommodating and gracious.

My construction skills were a given. That aptitude would be of great value to the mission itself. My ability to speak survival Spanish would also prove to be an asset. But would I really make a significant contribution and what would it be like?

In the end, these were worldly and distracting questions; distractions from the truth. God doesn’t often speak to me in ways that I can be sure about or that I recognize as “His certain will”. I actually often pray that he use a baseball bat to get my attention when he really has something to say to me. In fact, I have only distinctly ‘heard’ His will twice in recent years. This was one of those. The message was clear. God was calling me to go to Casa.

From the moment we drove out of the church parking lot to the moment we got back, the trip was a peak adventure for me, a lifetime experience ranking up there with my riding a Harley over the Alps or sailing a 35' ketch to Hawaii and back. It was full and rich and consumed by rare and intimate fellowship with people who, though I didn’t know it then, would become very special, close friends - at least for a season.

The combined experience of seeing the children, and their adult caretakers, living in such poverty while at the same time feeling the goodness and the blessing of doing God’s work for them was a roller-coaster of emotion that several times a day, every day, would send me from weeping to overwhelming joy and back to tears. I want to go again. I know it wouldn’t be the same as my first time but that it would be special in its own way. Mostly I know that it is a very tangible way that I can give my most precious possession, my time, in a way that satisfies me and glorifies God.

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