The Miami Herald reports on churches and synagogues traveling to the world to offer their hands and their skills to help others. One featured congregation is St. Philip's, Coral Gables:
From St. Philip's, Blanca Farnadas led a team of 15 in June on its annual trip to Our Little Roses residential home for girls in Honduras. Within concrete walls with electric wire in the gritty factory town of San Pedro Sula, an average of 54 girls live on the welcoming campus, which includes a fountain, courtyard and chapel.
Girls attend its bilingual school or a public one and also receive medical and dental care at its clinics. Mrs. Farnadas first accepted an invitation to visit the home eight years ago, her first mission trip, by the home's founder Diana Frade and board chair, Bishop Leo Frade of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, and has returned ever since.
“We have a presence with the girls. (It’s) to know people are praying for them and caring for them and consistently visiting them. It’s like an extended type of family,” she said. “For me as a woman I see the potential these girls have. They will be able to fulfill their capabilities. To educate women, that will have an impact in this country.”
This year the team led vacation Bible school, tutored, baked pizza and cookies and took the children on beach and dinner excursions. Mrs. Farnadas, chaplain at St. Philip’s School, noted the need for more services for girls who are more neglected than boys in Honduras and are at risk for human trafficking and other dangers. And in addition to studying Christianity and academics, girls learn everything from job search skills to soccer to etiquette.
“Every year I find the ministry developing even more, the girls becoming more assertive, they are speaking more English…I see them more polished and growing up and learning more about the world versus their limited area…You sit one on one with them and they ask you what it was like to be a teenager. They are hungry for guidance.”
St. Philip's is in the Diocese of Southeast Florida.