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Independence Day

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Independence Day

By Alejandra Diaz –

Guatemala’s Independence Day observance doesn’t arrive until Sept. 15. However, many of our mission teams and financial supporters live in the United States. So at Dorie’s Promise, we feel a special kinship with Americans celebrating their independence this week.

Some of the Dorie's Promise Children dancing.We always enjoy the opportunity to wish our many partners in the United States a happy Fourth of July.

In Guatemala, we understand what a special day Tuesday, July 4, is for U.S. citizens. This year, they will celebrate the 241st anniversary of their Declaration of Independence from England.

The parallels between the States gaining their freedom and Guatemala breaking away from Spanish colonial rule are unmistakable. For nearly 300 years (1523-1821), Guatemalans faced the same kind of outside rule as the colonies that became the United States.

Like Americans, we too love to set off fireworks, wave our blue-and-white flags, and celebrate with singing, marching bands and belting out our national anthem.

It isn’t just Guatemala that commemorates Central America’s liberation from Spain. Our neighbors in Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua join with us in lively celebrations.

That includes a “running of the torch” relay that begins in Guatemala City and ends in Costa Rica’s former colonial capital, Cartago. This tradition attracts large crowds every year.

A child at Dorie's Promise does a dance.Ironically, your Fourth of July also comes just days after our Army Day (June 30), which we have celebrated for the last 136 years.

The day, which includes a parade in Guatemala City, is observed in remembrance of those who have served or lost their lives fighting with the Guatemalan armed forces.

While we don’t have any official celebrations at Dorie’s Promise this week, we love to mention the holiday to visiting missionaries in early July. We join our liberated hearts with yours as we say, “Happy birthday, America!”

English Tutor Helps Children Improve Their Language Skills

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

Learning English at Dorie's Promise

By Alejandra Diaz –

Several of our older students who are receiving tutoring in English from Paul Stickland.Early last year we included a blog on our website about our older students who are receiving tutoring in English from Paul Stickland, an Englishman who has been living in Guatemala for eight years.

I am happy to report that Paul is still coming twice a week, and the classes are proving quite beneficial to our children.

We have around a dozen students taking the class; some days it is more and some days less, depending on their school schedules and other activities.

To show the progress they are making, students in the class are getting good grades at school. They ask their teachers more questions, and feel more confident about speaking English with visiting mission team members. This confidence stems from an increased vocabulary, helping them with conversation.

Paul lives close to Dorie’s Promise and saw our children walking in the park many times. Finally, he decided to come here to offer his help teaching English.

Before retiring, he worked as a banker, and his office supported three charities for children. Each time Paul visited them, he met bright and happy children, and saw how important it is for children to have a loving home and good education.

“I would always come away full of admiration for the people who helped them,” he recalls. “The experience here has been incredibly rewarding. The children are always keen to learn, and their progress has been truly remarkable.”

We deeply appreciate Paul’s volunteering to help us with these classes.Not only does he try to make the classes fun by asking silly questions to help students practice their English, Paul has warmed up to them. Last December, he organized a nice Christmas party for the children, and sometimes has brought donations for them.

Sometimes Paul will help them with a special presentation they need to make at school and give them a chance to practice it before the class. Learning to speak English has helped considerably, and when they have a question, they will bring their school books and ask Mr. Stickland about it.

Besides their improved ability to carry on conversations with visiting missionaries, the kids are learning not to be shy. They realize if they want to learn English they need to practice and take the risk of making mistakes.

We deeply appreciate Paul’s volunteering to help us with these classes. They are a great help because they offer our children a great education without having to invest our limited resources.

The English classes are a symbol of the help each and every volunteer missionary makes to FCI’s ministry. Your efforts are appreciated and stretch our resources much further than they would go without your help.

Gymnastics Boosts Girls’ Confidence

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

The girls from Doire's Promise who participated in the gymnastic classes last fall.

By Alejandra Diaz –

Three of our students get ready for their final performance.Even though Guatemala just passed the halfway point of the 2017 school year, our girls are already looking forward to their Gymnastics Vacation Course this fall.

A dozen of our girls participated in last fall’s course. About 100 students overall were involved in the classes, which start after the school year—which begins in January—ends in October.

Our children participated for the first time two years ago, but were eager to enroll again last year because some of the girls are very talented. (To see some photos from the classes, click here.)

Although they only have the chance to take formal lessons in October and November, every time they have the chance to practice at home, they do it! Sometimes we have to caution them to watch out for other people when they do their tumbles, flips and other moves.

These gymnastics classes have made a huge impact on our girls, improving their school work and self-confidence. We have seen big changes in their outlook and attitudes.

They have shown themselves they are able to do great things. The girls felt so good when they made their presentations at the final show and everyone congratulated them.

After all, taking part in the gymnastics classes requires a lot of effort and self-discipline. These sessions demanded a lot of practice and meant they had to demonstrate a daily commitment to improve.

Not only do these classes show the kind of achievements that are possible with hard work and dedication, they emphasize the value of child sponsorship.

Several of the girls from Dorie's Promise performing iat the end of their gymnastic class.It is only because of the support of so many generous donors that we can take the girls to these vacation courses. Indeed, we would really love to find a way to give them the opportunity to participate in gymnastics year-round to allow them to further develop and use their talents.

Since the costs of shelter, food, clothing and other necessities require so much of our resources, it is only when children receive full sponsorship that monies are available to sign them up for additional opportunities.

Our goal is to meet all our ongoing monthly expenses through child sponsorship, which will enable us to be much more flexible in our operations.

If you would like to help our children take part in things like the gymnastics course and other character-building and educational exercises, consider becoming a child sponsor today.

A Connection with Merary

Monday, May 8th, 2017

By Alejandra Diaz –

Merary at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaWhile numerous donors have visited Dorie’s Promise, a couple of our most avid supporters have yet to come to Guatemala. However, Christina and Patrick Wallis are saving for the mission trip they plan to take with their five children.

The couple started following FCI after sensing a strong attraction to missions and short-term possibilities where they could serve as a family.

After discovering Dorie’s Promise in online research, they signed up for email updates and started a mission trip savings account.

Then, a few years ago, Patrick found himself repeating “Merary” at work. Later, the couple discovered several references to this name in the Bible and recognized the Holy Spirit was speaking.

“One day we got an email about a new girl at Dorie’s, whose name was Merary,” Christina says. “We both immediately knew that was the Merary we had been praying about. Immediately, we began to give and help support her.” (Learn how you can sponsor Merary too.)

Christina, Patrick and their children—Carissa, 17; Grace, 14; Elyse, 13; Hannah, 11; and Levi, 6—pray for Merary regularly. After learning her name means “bitter” or “sad,” their prayers included the request that she would know joy and happiness.

Recently, the Wallises learned they can correspond with the girl and plan to start writing her letters. As adoptive parents, the Wallises would love to take Merary into their family. Since Guatemala has closed internal adoptions they realize that isn’t possible, but they want Merary to know that she is loved.

Merary loves to color.Through the Special Mothers, Patrick has sent her pictures of the family and money to buy special gifts. In turn, we have sent them photographs of Merary enjoying the gifts.

Christina says they have read her profile online and watched videos of her, as well as keeping Merary’s picture on the refrigerator and their phones. “I know she likes most food, but not onions,” Christina says. “She loves jokes and to make people laugh—very much like our family does.”

The spiritual connection that originated with the Holy Spirit leading Patrick to repeat Merary’s name has dramatically affected the Wallises faith, which continues to grow.

“I think of how specifically, how personally, and with great detail the Lord worked to make sure Merary knows she is loved,” Christina says. “There is a God that loves her and He took great effort to communicate with a family across the world about her very existence.

“She can also know there is a mom, a dad, and siblings out there who know her name, who care what is happening to her, and love her because she is precious.”

Needless to say, these kinds of stories are an incredible blessing to us!

Changing Lives Every Day!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Sisters Ana Lucía, 13, and Fabiola, 6

By Alej Diaz-

Meet Fabiola, age 6.Some weeks ago I attended a hearing for two of our new children, Ana Lucía and Fabiola. During that hearing I realized one more time why we are here … why we serve at Dorie’s Promise … why it is so important to open our hands and our hearts to those children who have nowhere to go.

Ana Lucía 13, and Fabiola, 6, entered Dorie´s Promise in July. When I met Ana Lucía, I could see her joy for life, her enthusiasm to help others, and how protective she was of her sister. I had no idea of her past or what life was like for them before they came to live with us.

As it turns out, they were living with their mother in a very poor community close to Guatemala City, but at the end of last year their mother got sick and was diagnosed with cancer. Just six months later she passed away. Ana Lucía and Fabiola were able to stay with their oldest brother, who was 17 at the time. After two months, their brother went to jail, and the girls had nobody to take care of them. They went to live with a neighbor and stayed with her for some time.

Ana Lucía had to work in the mornings in order to earn money for her and her sister — she would to sell candies in the street or outside a big mall close to where they lived. She and Fabiola would attend school in the afternoons.

Meet Ana Lucía, age 13.In June of this year, these neighbors they were staying with decided they couldn’t take care of the girls anymore — she simply didn’t have enough money or resources for the girls and her own family. As a result, they were taken to Minor’s Court — and it’s how we in turn received a phone call asking if we had space for two girls aged 13 and 6. We said yes. And from my perspective, this is when the girls’ lives started changing.

We are so blessed to have the opportunity to make a difference for them. They are gaining weight, eating well, sleeping in nice beds, and will go to school next year. Most importantly, they are learning about God and are experiencing His love every day through the Special Moms and the entire staff at Dorie’s Promise.

Once again, we believe this is the reason for the children’s home of Dorie’s Promise: to passionately serve the world’s forgotten children in Guatemala City. To accomplish this mission, we need your continued prayers and support — we even have a special sponsorship opportunity to help us provide open beds so we can take in more children like Ana Lucía and Fabiola.

We praise God for these changed lives! And we pray we can continue changing lives every day!!

Meet Our Staff – MJ Uses Many Talents to Serve Others

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

MJ has worked at Dorie's Promise for the last 8 years.

By Alejandra Diaz, Director –

MJ is a valuable part of our staff.When I think about the good times and difficult times we have had at Dorie’s Promise, I can clearly see MJ close to me in all those times. One thing I have always admired about MJ is that she’s willing to help whenever necessary, even when doing things that are not her favorite. Not only is she willing to help, she always puts in her best effort.

I have known MJ since she came to Dorie’s Promise — I have seen her grow as a partner in ministry, as a person, as a woman, and, most importantly, as a Christian. Working at Dorie’s Promise changes your life, and that’s what’s happened to her. She has been here for eight years, and during those years many changes have happened in her life, both good and bad. But one thing has kept her strong: her faith. This faith has not only impacted her personal life, but also the lives of many people around her, her family, her friends, and the children at Dorie’s Promise.

MJ started working for us as an assistant, but through the years she has become more than that … she is now the finances and legal assistant and supports many other parts of our program. She is also good at decorating and organizing, so whenever there is such a need, we know who to ask.

For me there is no question that we are part of a big body, as the Bible says in Romans 12:4-6: “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly…”

In this body each one of us has a special function. I can see how God has used MJ’s talents in many different ways to build up His body.

During the past 8 years MJ has work at Dorie's Promise and we've seen her grow and flourish.Lesly, our receptionist, says, “MJ is a very responsible person who can be counted on for her support if you need it. Her passion and commitment to her work makes a difference in our organization. She is always willing to go the extra mile on her tasks in the legal, financial, and marketing department, and she always takes time to talk with the children. She not only takes care of her own kids, but also takes care of the Dorie’s Promise children as her own. The love she feels for children who are at our home is undeniable!”

The other staff agrees. “MJ is a hardworking, responsible, careful, attentive, and organized person,” says Special Mother supervisor Marleny. “Always worried about the children’s care, if they have what they need, no matter if it’s legal, spiritual, or material. As a co-worker, MJ is a supportive colleague, educated, a good listener, cooperative, and friendly.”

Of her work with us MJ says, “I know God has a purpose for my life and for the lives of our children. I love to see the process of their lives being transformed through God using this ministry. My job is to serve God in the work He is already doing, and while I’m here I feel that I am helping change the lives of children as well. It fills my heart with joy.

As a ministry, we are blessed to have staff like MJ who are so dedicated to our home. The work is not always easy, and I know MJ and the other staff would appreciate knowing that you are praying for them. Leave us a comment, or send us a quick note to encourage our staff.

Cozy & Comfortable

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

 

By Alejandra Diaz-

Future visitors to Dorie’s Promise who notice children wearing decorative flip flops will be seeing tangible evidence of a recent outreach by Girl Scout Troop #633 from Hough Street School in Barrington, Illinois.

As part of the troop’s 2012 international outreach, the fifth-grade students also fashioned colorful plastic plates for our kids. The project concluded with a late March visit by troop leader Beth Bach, her family, and 12 other team members.

Beth’s daughter, Peyton, 11, represented the troop. In addition to Guatemala, another member and her family went to Rwanda over spring break.

“The highlight for me was witnessing how happy the kids at Dorie’s Promise are,” Beth says. “It’s a phenomenal home and the children are entirely blessed. My daughter most enjoyed playing with the kids and doing crafts with them.”

Beth learned about Forever Changed International last November while investigating short-term mission trips. FCI proved to be the best option. That led to her troop choosing Dorie’s Promise, as well as Africa, as places to bless and visit.

At their February meeting, members collected donations of basic necessities for African children. For Dorie’s Promise, each girl chose a particular child to create a plate and flip flops for; they also sent blank plates and undecorated flip flops for older children to work on in March.

During their visit the team had the older children design flip flops for the Special Mothers, which gave them an opportunity to thank these incredible women with a special gift.

“They were just thrilled with them and eager to choose a pair,” Beth says. “What a special touch it was to have the kids present them.”

In addition, the team helped children create fun bottles. They filled them with rice and small items that would get buried in the rice, but surface as kids moved the bottles. They also made juggling balls by filling balloons with rice.

However, Beth says the kids ultimately had more fun playing in a shallow box of rice. Their other special activity: a Splash Day of playing in water, which Peyton enjoyed too.

The mission included a huge boost for Dorie’s Promise. The team delivered 40 blankets (valued at more than $3,500) for our nursery. They were donated by Barefoot Dreams of Southern California.

Founder Heather Radu had requested the blankets to replace worn-out bedding. Since Beth couldn’t afford them, she wrote to Barefoot Dreams CEO Annette Cook to request a donation.

“I had no idea that blankets, which inspire the whole nursery décor, were so expensive,” she says. “God truly touched (Annette’s) heart. They were impressed with FCI and more than eager to help. They were even more touched when I sent them the follow-up photos.”

If you would like to make a similar impact on the world, contact us for information about a mission trip.

Setting a Record

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

By Alejandra Diaz-
 
As a sign of the growing interest in mission trips to Dorie’s Promise, in early March we hosted the largest team to ever visit. Grace Christian School of Bennington, Vermont sent 24 people to Dorie’s Promise—8 adults and 16 high school juniors and seniors.
 
The group renovated a house for a poor family in the ghetto, as well as distributing donations in the ghetto, the city dump and a state-run orphanage.
 
“We were really excited to receive such a large group,” says Missions Assistant Pablo Villagran. “We wanted to make them feel at home. It was a challenge because we did not have enough space, but we thank God for providing a solution.”
 
The family they helped included two children. Their father hadn’t worked for a month because he had been caring for his seriously-ill wife.
 
Pablo calls it a “blessing” to have such a large number of hands to work on various projects, noting that many team members pitched in without even being asked for help.
 
“Another advantage of having a large team was to see how God changed so many lives on just one trip,” Pablo says.
 
The younger children were excited to see so many visitors. Often, there aren’t enough missionaries for one-on-one time with the kids, but on a trip to the zoo one team member accompanied each child.
 
Still, there were obstacles. Renovating a small dwelling made it difficult for helpers to move from one side of the house to the other, Pablo says. Arranging transportation and getting everyone to the site on time presented logistical problems, too.
 
“Debriefing was also a challenge,” he recalls. “Sometimes it was quite long due to the number of people who had questions and comments.”
 
The volunteers gave high marks to their visit. Leader Jennifer Morse had served as a coordinator for two previous missions to other places. She ranked this one as the most organized, enjoyable, life-changing trips she has ever taken.
 
“I would advise other teams planning to come to bring plenty of items to donate to needy people,” Morse said. “I would also let them know that they need to be prepared to be changed forever— because this trip will change those who are willing to be open to God.”
 
Volunteer Emily Steadman says the greatest thing she experienced was love. Although she says the children come from bad situations and their lives aren’t picture perfect, Emily still saw numerous happy, beautiful faces.
 
“It didn’t matter that I was different, my friends and the children took me in like one of their own,” she says. “That’s something you don’t feel in the United States—complete acceptance and love. The people of Guatemala are filled with love, joy and contentment for what they have.”
 
If such comments are tugging at your heartstrings right now, contact us for more information on arranging a trip to Dorie’s Promise.
 

Special Mother Nohemi

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

By Alejandra Diaz-
 
While each woman who cares for the children at Dorie’s Promise deserves the name of “Special Mother,” occasionally we spotlight a particular one to provide a close-up of those who play a key role in our work.
 
The mother of five daughters and a son who has passed on, Mirna Nohemi Pena has been on staff for seven years.
 
“It is a privilege and opportunity to bless the children and myself,” says Nohemi, one of our supervisors. “I feel like a part of each of them. I am committed to give them special service, which I offer with happiness and responsibility.”
 
Nohemi says working with the children is a source of health and happiness. Not only do they make her smile, but seeing them grow into healthy young people stirs feelings of joy—and tears.
 
Not surprisingly, she likes everything about her job, particularly when she sees the blessings children get from visiting missionaries and the smiles that cross their faces whenever a team arrives.
 
This Special Mother’s favorite experience involved a young boy named Miguel, who later was adopted.
 
When he arrived, his tough background made him difficult to control. However, thanks to Mama Nohemi teaching him about Jesus Christ and good moral values, when he left he had a better basis for life.
 
This is happening with another boy at the home she is guiding, a task that gives her purpose. Brayan was also difficult to control when he came to Dorie’s Promise, but now recognizes rules and instructions. This progress and the positive role she played in Miguel’s life represent special memories.
 
“I felt a strong connection with Miguel,” Nohemi says. “He is one of the kids that I remember with love. One of my wishes is to see him and be able to talk to him. When he was adopted, I was sad he was leaving, but at the same time I felt happiness. I met his adoptive family and they were a great family.”
 
As a partial fulfillment of her wish, she recently got to watch a video of Miguel singing and playing music, which brought her happiness.
 
Nohemi’s dream is to continue serving at the orphanage, since she works here for more than a paycheck. She wants to leave an indelible mark on children and comply with God’s purposes for her life.
 
“Another dream is to see my kids growing and having a better future,” she says. “I want to see them grow and know that they are doing great things with their lives.”
 
Please pray for Nohemi’s family and that she will enjoy a long life. She hopes to have the opportunity to see her grandchildren grow up and be able to continue supporting her father.
 
Pray for Dorie’s Promise as well as we carry out this vital work among Guatemala’s needy children.

Clean the World

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

By Alejandra Diaz-

For the first time Mar. 12-14, we hosted a team from Orlando-based Clean the World. This non-profit organization collects bars of soap discarded daily by hotels before sterilizing and processing them into high-quality new bars.

This recycled soap is distributed to shelters and poor areas of the world where people need it. The Clean the World Foundation estimates it prevents one million deaths a year that otherwise would have occurred from hygiene-related illnesses.

While staying here, the six-member team distributed 12,900 bars of soap in Guatemala City and surrounding areas over a two-day period.

Among the facilities the group visited: a state-sponsored orphanage with 800 children. There they went to various classrooms to teach children about the importance of hand washing.

One member played a super hero while another acted out the role of a germ, with this drama presentation implemented at other sites. Children also sang a song about hand washing to the tune of “La Bamba.”

Our visitors came away impressed with Dorie’s Promise. So did soap drive coordinator Rosa Kingston in Orlando. “The organization is amazing,” she says. “The staff is so welcoming, warm and helpful.”

Volunteer Nick Kellock of Charlotte, North Carolina, agrees. He complimented our orphanage’s work as “outstanding.”

“It is incredible for me to see how they have been able to look out for these children, giving them a better life than they clearly had before,” Kellock says. “I am looking for the opportunity to spread the word about the great work that is being done here.”

Canadian resident Lois Helfling says she had the most amazing experience, going from the lifestyle she has known to one that children in Guatemala experience. She says knowing that the kids are going to be more conscious of hygiene and the difference a small kit of soap can make to them leaves her feeling good.

“It is an amazing effort,” Lois says. “The smiles on the children’s fades and the warm way we were received when we got here, which continued throughout our visit, was fantastic.”

We were thrilled to host Clean the World, which will send another team here in April. While they weren’t the first non-profit to distribute hygiene supplies here, we were pleased to connect with another group. They found us on the Internet while researching for a partnering organization.

One of the most exciting things is seeing awareness of Dorie’s Promise spreading. We had set a goal of hosting 300 mission volunteers during 2012. However, after reaching that number in our schedule during February, we increased that goal to 400.

If you are new to the Dorie’s Promise site and searching for a meaningful way to make a significant contribution in the lives of children, contact us today about taking a mission trip to Guatemala.