Volunteer Perspective | Darin Dutcher
My love for the people of México and Casas por Cristo began while sponsoring a youth trip to Juárez, México. In 2006 I was given the opportunity to go to Juárez on a mission trip with Capital West Christian Church from Jefferson City, Missouri. I expected to see lives change in the youth we were taking, but I never imagined what was in store for me.
I noticed that the people we were building a small home for appreciated our help. Everyone we met in México was loving and thankful to see our help. But just like one of the Casas shirts I wear often says, “I need México, more than México needs me,” this first trip touched me deeply. I knew there was something on the trip that had given me a new sense of purpose for my life. I could not put my finger on what had happened exactly that changed me, but I knew I wanted to experience this life altering event again.
Three years later I went on another youth trip as a sponsor. This time we went to Acuña, México. We built a house with Casas por Cristo like we had previously, but this trip was different. The family interaction was not as deep. However, we attended the pastor of the family’s church in Acuña, and I immediately felt a powerful connection with the pastor and his family. At the end of the week we visited a local orphanage, and I met a family of three kids. Today, my whole family is still connected both with the pastor’s family and the kids I met at the orphanage. Despite the language barrier, our friendship continues to grow because of our mutual love for our God.
I have made 12 trips to Acuña, México from Missouri. I have been on 9 Casas builds, and my oldest daughter, Alissa, spent a summer being an intern with Casas. I have attended weddings, a Quinceañera, and family vacations in Acuña. To say Acuña is my second home would not be far from the truth.
During many of these trips, I have spent hours talking to Jason Laffan, Casas’ Director of Operations. We have talked about the vision the ministry has to open the door for local pastors and churches to share the love of Jesus Christ through service. Jason learned through our talks that I was a website and software developer. We talked about Casas’ goals to expand their use of technology and get a professional looking, functional website.
In October of 2016, Jason and I began to talk about the possibility of me volunteering to build the new Casas’ website. In the beginning of 2017, I started working with Casas’ staff to build a new website from the concept they had envisioned. This past summer we launched the new website and are currently working on new functions that will enhance the trips for teams by getting to know more about the families they will build for. I am so thankful to God for this opportunity to use my passions and talents to help expand His Kingdom.