Their mission is to help |

Their mission is to help

Rhonda Costa-Landers
Appeal Staff Writer

Submitted photoRev. Pat Propster, center, of the Calvary Chapel in Carson City, visited orphans including these children from the Ramar Orphanage in El Salvador, where church members helped care for children ranging from infants to 18 years old.

Asking themselves, “What can we do to help?” mission teams from two Carson City churches went out into the world on what became a labor of love.

Twelve members ” six youth, six adults ” from Calvary Chapel visited the Ramar Orphanage in El Salvador. Their mission ” to help Pastor Jose Hernandez and his wife, Corina, with 90 orphans ranging in age from infants to 18 years old.

Capital Christian Center went to La Mision, Mexico, with 14 teenagers and four adults. Each group came away inspired by the love for God each of the recipients of their work has, and the acceptance of their efforts to help.

“I had an expectation they wouldn’t like us (Americans) and would stay away from us,” said Pat Smith, 16, from Capital Christian Center. “But they came up and talked with us and interacted.”

Pat helped hang sheetrock and install the roofing.

“I feel differently now, after returning,” he said. “I feel better I got to help people who don’t have as much as we do. And that they still have love and know others somewhere else love them.”

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Capital Christian Center traveled with Open Arms Daycare. La Mision was founded by Pastor Daniel and his wife, Heidi. Its efforts are to educate, nourish and help kids who have been removed from their home when the single mother cannot afford to properly care for them. The same thing Pastor Daniel experienced as a child.

“He was taken from his mom when he was just 4 years old,” said Jeremy Morgado, youth pastor at Capital Christian. “Him, three brothers and one sister.

“What our group did was help build a two-story, 2,400-square-foot dorm. We helped with framing, putting up plywood, paint, stucco, three sets of concrete stairs and install the doors, windows and roof. All in about four days.

“Our goal was to serve these people. I am very proud of these kids who helped. Very proud. There was no whining; they just asked, ‘what can I do?'”

Alyssa Friend, 16, said she expected to work a lot, and expected conditions to be pretty horrible.

“But they weren’t,” Alyssa said. “I played a lot with the kids. I knew enough Spanish to talk with them, and they knew enough English to talk with us.”

Alyssa said she is more appreciative of what she has at home.

“And I’m more aware of what’s going on in the world ” that there’s more than just me.”

Missions director Chris Wood and his wife, Tatum, led the Calvary Chapel trip to the Ramar Orphanage. Tatum and three other women from Calvary Chapel went to the orphanage last year on a fact-finding mission to see how the church could help.

They returned with photos of all 90 children, each of which members of the church adopted and are supporting.

“The first thing was to get them off survival mode,” said Tatum. “Each day they would visit the local market and take the thrown away food to eat. It was very repulsive to me.”

“It was overwhelming for me, but the orphanage does a good job of filling the needs of the children,” said Brianna Simmons. “They have various homes on the property ” the orphanage, and homes in three phases to help addicts recover, regain and learn skills, and work back into the community.”

The group of 12 moved directly into the orphanage and stayed with the pastor, his family and the children. They awoke at 4:30 a.m. to begin laundry, which was an all-day job, for 90 youth ages infant to 18 years old.

“Our mindset is to do what the Lord tells us to do ” to reach their Jerusalem,” said Pastor Pat Propster of Calvary Chapel. “It was an incarnational ministry.

“We played soccer, played tag, washed their clothes and saw them off to school.

They didn’t expect us to do this. We even moved right into the orphanage with them.

“For me, it’s important for my own family and my church family to live the evangelism.”

Propster’s goal is to raise funds to purchase a commercial washer for the orphanage. They are currently using three household-size washers, which only work on the rinse cycle.

“He also wants to build a toddler room,” Simmons said. “There are 18 toddlers with only one bathroom. The girls shower at one time, and the boys shower at a separate time.

“Our goal is to help them do this at this time next year on our return trip.”

The school on the orphanage grounds is a priority for Pastor Hernandez. The children at the orphanage have been abused, most of them sexually.

“The pastor’s goal is to restore the innocence they lost,” Propster said. “Let them be children again.”

Chris and Tatum Wood, both fluent in Spanish, held monthly meetings with the youth to teach them Spanish and prepare them for the trip.

“We taught them how to be culturally appropriate and assigned each of them responsibilities,” Chris said. “The biggest change for them was the poverty they saw. Some of them cried they were so overwhelmed.”

“The kids were really smart and trying to understand English,” said 16-year-old Casaundra Propster. “One of the most fun things I did was spend time and play with them.

“We also did laundry every day, and worked right alongside them. It was difficult at times, but knowing what you were doing for them made it a lot easier.

“Those of us who went, our lives have totally changed. We are blessed we experienced something this big. We realize what we have and appreciate it.

“The most amazing thing is the way they worship. The don’t care what others think of them when they praise God.”

– Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.