First Trip Impressions by Paytyn Larson
Capstone Missions is an amazing and inspiring organization. I was fortunate to join this delightful group of people in June as they traveled to Tijuana to work at Hacienda de la Inmaculada and St. Joseph’s Home. When we first arrived at the border, it was night, and I was overwhelmed at the sight. There were so many lights and an abundance of houses that were run down and cluttered together. I was immediately thankful for my home and the country I live in.
The day after we arrived was Sunday, and we started out by going to a lovely restaurant for breakfast followed by mass at a beautiful church. Sunday was a fairly easy day as we planned out the week. Then on Monday we got down to business at the Hacienda building two rooms for the older boys. There are more than 50 kids living at the Hacienda so this would allow for the older boys to have their own personal space. We also completed some smaller projects such as installing ceiling fans in the chapel, organizing and cleaning in the toddler area, and clearing out the soccer field and outside play spaces. We were only there for a week, and I was amazed at how much we were able to accomplish. Everyone brought their best self and worked as hard as they could from dawn to dusk. Everyday my team inspired me to do my best, not only while there but at life in general.
I also spent time with the children, and they were all very sweet. We played games like tag and soccer, but my favorite game was when we tied balloons to each other’s ankles and tried to pop them. I was amazed at how happy the children were despite their situation. It was great to see how some of the volunteers and workers have been such an important part of these children’s lives. Some of the volunteers have been helping since the children were infants and many are like family to these kids. It made me realize these missions really are important.
Every morning all the volunteers would meet at the Castro’s house where the gentlemen were staying. The men would prepare us a delicious breakfast to start out our day. Afterward, we would gather in the family room to sing, pray, and share our thoughts. One of the things we talked about was where or in whom we had seen Jesus in the previous day. This was one of my favorite parts. I loved hearing everyone’s personal thoughts. I immediately saw Jesus in each person that volunteered with me. I felt very blessed that everyone welcomed me even though I was the youngest to ever participate on a mission. I strongly encourage anyone to accompany Capstone on a mission trip, as they are so helpful and inspiring to the children as well as the volunteers.