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In June, 10 high school students and four chaperones from Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church will travel to Honduras to volunteer at Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) orphanage near Tegucigalpa.
The parish has sponsored mission trips to NPH in Honduras annually for 12 years. NPH, translated Our Little Brothers and Sisters, is made up of about 500 kids, up to age 18, and their adopted “abuelos” who are brought into an environment of unconditional acceptance, sharing and work.
“When talking with the pequeños you lose sight of the fact that these kids are orphans because they are so happy at the ranch and seem like they aren’t missing anything at all,” said a former IHM missionary.
The children are not adopted and siblings are not separated, instead they remain at NPH ranch supported financially by outside “padrinos,” or godparents. The kids are educated through ninth grade and also learn a trade. NPH as an organization has rescued more than 15,000 orphans in nine countries throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
On the mission trip, students help around the ranch with chores, such as making tortillas, collecting eggs, working the crops, cooking and various other chores. In the evenings, they share meals with the kids and engage in activities like soccer games or reading or just spending time with the orphans, often forming strong bonds.
In the past, missionaries have been amazed at the sense of family provided for the children and they return with a greater appreciation for their own lives, adding up to a very worthwhile trip.
One young missionary said her life was “profoundly affected by seeing how little the orphans possessed in material goods and yet, they were more joyful than anyone I had ever met.”
To support the orphanage and the students’ passage to Honduras, the missionaries are hosting two fish-fry dinners at the IHM Parish Hall at 3700 Canyon Road.
The community is invited to come out from 5-7 p.m. today and March 6 to enjoy a meal of English style codfish, rice, coleslaw and an ice cream sundae bar. Ice cream was generously donated by Baskin Robbins.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids and are available at the door, from the Honduras missionaries or from the IHM office (661-8303). Donations are also appreciated. Ten percent of the money earned at all fundraisers is donated to the children of NPH in Honduras.