• GO HOME

    image001
  • Great Missions Trips for the Familiy

  • Partners of Hope

  • Other FCI Blogs

  • Archive of Posts

Author Archive

About FCI Team

Find more about me on:

Here are my most recent posts

Orphan Care through Missions

Monday, August 7th, 2017

A child get her lunch from Pastor Mercedez lunch program.

By Kelly Shank –

God has called us to passionately serve the world’s forgotten children through life-changing ministries.

Yire was brought to Dorie's Promise at only 2 months old. Heather Radu came to Guatemala seventeen years ago to serve children who were vulnerable and forgotten, helping hundreds of orphans be placed in loving families through Dorie’s Promise. In the years since international adoptions closed, we have become even more determined to remain in Guatemala and make a difference. We stayed because our commitment is to the children entrusted to our care and the country they will one day lead. God called us into missions as a way to support orphan care and we feel privileged to serve.

Children find their way into our home through a myriad of traumatic experiences and many will be with us for years.

Yire was brought to us at only 2 months old. Shortly thereafter his mother died, leaving him in our care indefinitely. Seven years later, Yire is thriving at Dorie’s Promise. The snuggly toddler with dark curly hair has grown into a bright little boy who enjoys playing with friends and going to school, just like your kids.

You might wonder how the missions program helps kids like Yire.Yire is now a bright eyed energetic seven year old.

Without trip participants we wouldn’t be able to sustain our home and offer the kind of care that changes lives. Trip participants help support our home financially, they provide much needed donations for our children, and they offer experiences we might not be able to afford otherwise. Even more importantly, those who meet our children often become long-term sponsors and are directly connected to the financial health of our home.

But what about all of the children who don’t live at Dorie’s Promise?

Missions helps us care for those children and their families as well. Throughout Guatemala other private organizations and government facilities care for children who make their way into the court system but the majority of the vulnerable children in Guatemala never make it onto any official records. Instead they represent those who are born into the cycle of poverty and whose families struggle to survive daily. Hunger, sickness, and lack of education are constant in their lives and they have few opportunities to change their life.

Imagine being born outside the Guatemala City landfill. From an early age you care for yourself because your parents work sorting recyclables day in and day out. If you’re lucky, your wood and tin home has a concrete floor and running water but that’s not guaranteed. On weekdays, you line up with other neighborhood kids to get a hot lunch from Pastor Mercedez at the feeding center. Hopefully you are in school instead of working. You don’t realize that life can be different.

The crowd getting a hot lunch from Pastor Mercedez at the feeding center.This is where missions helps our commitment to all of Guatemala, both in our home and in our communities. Our dedicated staff and teams allow us support local leaders and organizations that are working directly in these communities. We’re helping Pastor Mercedez feed more than 400 children each day so that their parents can work without worrying if they’re hungry. We bring much needed supplies to groups who tutor local children so that they have a better chance of finishing school.

Our goal is to improve the lives of the families so that they are able to keep their children in their homes. What we have learned is that these families love their children and most work hard to provide the best they can but the cycle of poverty is hard to overcome.

Slowly and deliberately we are learning how best to work with local leaders to provide opportunities for community change. We’re focusing on holistic healthcare, quality nutrition, and educational programs that aim to lift entire communities and begin changing the standard in Guatemala.

Fall Mission Trips

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

It's time to think about a fall missions trip to Guatemala

By Naomi Beazely –

Missions Opportunities in GuatemalaEven though summer is barely under way, it’s time for mission teams, families and church groups to start thinking about the possibilities of a fall mission trip.

From mid-October through early December, groups can take advantage of a discounted price, with the per-person cost lowered from $1,100 to $900.

The first discount opportunity will be from Oct. 21-28; the final week will be from Nov. 25-Dec. 2. We make this offer to encourage volunteers to come during a slower season. From June through August, we are booked every week, which slows down to one or two teams a month in the fall.

In the past few years fall mission teams have been able to provide valuable help to the community. And, teams typically smaller than groups coming during the summer. That facilitates more group cohesiveness, intimacy and one-on-one time with staff members and children. Plus, south of the border, autumn is generally more comfortable than summer.

The projects fall teams will be tackling has yet to be determined. It partially depends on how we far we get with the new school we will start building this summer in Palencia, about 45 minutes northeast of Guatemala City.

We have a new community outreach director, Bertha, who will be using the summer to assess the needs in the community.

The children of Dorie’s Promise get so excited to meet new team members each week. Our hope is that the children you meet with will become your forever friends! She will be going to homes and getting to know people. Our projects there will be based on the needs of each family, be that for floors, stoves, roofs, water filters, bunk beds, or prayer. Our goal will be to find a place to eventually build a community center.

As many of you know, Pablo Villagran departed this spring as our Missions Director, so teams will be seeing new faces when they arrive in Guatemala City.

In Pablo’s place, we have hired four Mission Team Leaders: Pablo, Adriana, Larry and Melissa. To take the pressure off the leaders, we will have two rotate every other week.

The transition to new leadership has been going really well. We’ve received important help from Abel, our long-time driver who also assists mission leaders with large teams. A jack of all trades, Abel has been a blessing by training community leaders how to do community projects with FCI’s mission teams.

If your church or mission group is interested in coming this fall, I can plan trips quickly—a month or two, depending on the person. However, flights tend to get more expensive the closer you get to your travel dates, so the sooner a mission team plans its trip the better.

For more information, send me an e-mail.

Generous Donation – “We Wanted to Help.”

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Photo Provided By Bryan and Rachel Kreitz

By Heather Radu –

Photo Provided By Bryan and Rachel KreitzBryan and Rachel Kreitz were among 18 members of a mission team that came to Guatemala on spring break in March. Although it was the Houston couple’s first trip to Dorie’s Promise, it won’t be their last.

That’s because the children at our home captured their hearts. In addition to planning a return trip next June, they recently made a generous donation of 1 percent of their sales during May.

It was the first business-related donation made by the couple, who purchased Trinity Legal Discovery in Houston nearly two years ago.

“It was my wife’s idea,” Bryan says. “She wanted to start giving back to community groups and charities. I asked, ‘What do you want to do for the first month?’ and she said, ‘Dorie’s.’

“We fell in love with those kids. It’s a tough road for them and we wanted to help. We took downloadable pictures off the web site and put stickers on our boxes. So during May, every box of client documents we sent out had pictures from Dorie’s Promise on them.”

The Kreitzes learned about us through some friends who made their first mission trip to Guatemala last year. Bryan and Rachel were eager to come after hearing about Dorie’s Promise; ultimately, they helped assemble a team from various places. It included six children age 12 or younger.

The trip touched the couple in a dramatic way. As the owners of a small (14 employees) business that includes constant cash-flow pressures, they saw that what they face isn’t that tough compared to the poor in Guatemala.

“We were dealing with people who live in an eight-by-eight-foot home and four people sleeping in one bed and they weren’t complaining,” Bryan says. “There’s a week’s worth of food in our refrigerator, and they may not eat more than once a day.”

Photo Provided By Bryan and Rachel KreitzThe team completed a number of community projects in the town of Palencia, where we are building a school. Among their efforts: delivering two weeks of food to a soup kitchen, 50 water filters and two sets of bunk beds to residents, and completing two house extensions.

The trip also impacted their nine-year-old and 12-year-old daughter. Back home, the couple still discuss their visit as they remind their children of how much more they have than kids in Central America.

“It was great to see them get outside themselves,” Bryan says. “It was eye opening for all the kids. One of them talked about wanting this and that, but the second day he said, ‘Mom, I don’t want anything. I want to help these kids.’ She started bawling.”

In addition to helping in the community, the spring break team spent a lot of time with our kids—playing soccer, throwing a football around, going to a trampoline park, and attending church together.

The team was especially impressed with the care and attention offered by our Special Mothers.

“The kids wanted to be loved on and you can tell they are,” Bryan says. “These kids need our help and a dollar there goes so much further. I look at it as being able to help one kid at a time.”

Needless to say, supporters like the Kreitzes make our work a little easier.

Three Lives Dramatically Impacted By Medical Care At Dorie’s Promise.

Monday, April 24th, 2017

DOctor Castro is a beloved member of the team at Dorie's Promise

By Dr. Francisco Castro (Medical Director) –

Second of two parts

In my last blog, I talked about our success last year with the child care program at Dorie’s Promise. Today, I want to relate personal stories about three children whose lives have been impacted dramatically by Forever Changed International.

Doctor Castro checks on Josue

Doctor Castro checks on Josue after a surgery in 2015.

The first is Josue, who will celebrate his fifth birthday on July 3. His life started out with little promise after his mother abandoned him on the street just two days after his birth. A firefighter rescued him and took him to a hospital in Guatemala City.

Through a physical exam and imaging tests, a pediatrician discovered serious birth defects that required urgent surgery.

When Josue arrived at Dorie’s Promise, he still had a colostomy bag in place. We prescribed antibiotics, laxatives, special fluids and other measures, including reconstructive surgery, to correct his condition.

We later discovered that Josue suffered from urinary tract malformations, urinary infections, and kidney damage. After several operations, we discovered his bladder was not functioning. He needed another operation.

This brave, resilient—and loved—child will continue receiving antibiotics, urinary tests, and check-ups. Though he will need multidisciplinary medical interventions, thankfully Josue has the promise of a future.

Efrain is 13 years old and has been diagnosed with a condition associated with severe intellectual disabilities and physical abnormalities. Among them are blindness, small hands, and partial convulsions.

Other health problems he suffers from are chronic bronchitis, recurrent upper respiratory infections, and breathing difficulties. Efrain has received continuous pediatric care to address his needs since arriving at Dorie’s Promise in 2005.

This has included neurologists’ and geneticists’ assistance, physiotherapy, and pediatric surgeons’ interventions. He receives physiotherapy daily and a weekly visit from a specialized therapist.

This intervention delays, and improves, stiffness in Efrain’s joints and spine, and paralysis of his limbs. A cataract on his left eye was successfully removed in 2011; he now uses glasses.

Doctor Castro checks Lester.

Doctor Castro with Lester in 2010.

Last year Efrain underwent two successful operations by pediatric surgeons at Hospital Roosevelt in Guatemala. They corrected abdominal and adenoid problems, and removed his tonsils.

Nine-year-old Lester has been at Dorie’s Promise since before he turned two. He arrived chronically undernourished, which left him with short stature and a low IQ. He also suffered from chronic asthma, rhinitis, and middle ear infections.

Due to Lester’ s lack of progress in hearing and speech development, and upper respiratory infections, I decided to operate with a pediatric surgeon’s assistance, removing his tonsils and adenoids.

The operation last October was successful. Lester’s speech and respiratory problems (infections and allergies) are expected to improve gradually, enhancing his quality of life.

Stories like these demonstrate the value of your gifts to children at Dorie’s Promise. You are literally helping save their lives!

Personal and Medical Reflections

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Personal and Medical Reflections by Dr. Francisco Castro Medical Director

By Dr. Francisco Castro (Medical Director) –

First of two parts

Dorie's Promise Medical Director Dr CastroEvery year at Dorie’s Promise has been a special one, and this past year was no exception. During 2016, we provided shelter for dozens of kids, but much more than that as we met many other prerequisites for a happy life.

Our goal is to fulfill children’s needs in four basic areas: physical, safety, affection, and spiritual life. These are the most important needs to take care of as soon as an orphan arrives. Then, we seek to reinforce them in an individualized and continuous manner during their stay at the home.

Improved self-esteem and education are our other primary goals. Of course, we want to care for children’s mental and social aspects of health as well.

Most of the children remained at Dorie’s Promise throughout the year, although some returned to their immediate families or relatives. Only a few were adopted by Guatemalan families. Others came to us for the first time, from other homes or families, or from at-risk situations on the streets.

Many arrive in poor health, with most suffering from acute and chronic physical illnesses. Twenty percent of our child population come with special needs and permanent neurological damage.

In most, we found negative psychological and spiritual conditions because of abandonment, abuse and lack of love. Without exception, these kids are coming from backgrounds of poverty, which is the common denominator.

Dr Castro gives Silvia a check up at Dorie's PromiseThat doesn’t surprise me, since nearly 60 percent of Guatemala’s population lives in poverty and 43 percent of children under five are chronically undernourished.

Because of my experience and extensive reading, I have concluded that Guatemala needs more children’s homes providing the kind of care that Dorie’s Promise delivers. Foster care is still a weak, idealistic social program and adoptive families few in number.

Culturally and economically, adoption hasn’t been viable for many families or social programs. To recruit, maintain, follow up, and train families to do so means a huge financial commitment, or at least better organized, collaborative communities.

Our programs are not perfect. I am aware that there is a need to reinforce financially our health and psychological programs, as well as education, arts and sports. In addition to Special Mothers improving their love and care, we need the presence of more men to improve role examples and gender identity.

Yet, despite our imperfections I am pleased to say that—thanks to our friends in the U.S.  and Guatemala—Dorie’s Promise and FCI have successfully provided a good home to many children in need.

They have achieved happiness and have a much brighter future. They could have otherwise been lost to an unjust and dangerous environment. We appreciate your support.

A Message From Dorie About The Fire At Virgen de Asuncion Orphanage

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Dear Friends,

I am horrified and heartbroken for all the orphaned children who lost their lives in the fire in Guatemala as well as the hundreds who were made homeless. I visited this orphanage years ago and I remember thinking it was much like the one I grew up and was abused in. The worst of the worst has happened to these precious children and they desperately need someone to care. Please help Forever Changed bring some of these little ones into Dorie’s Promise by offering your support so we can give them God’s promise of a loving home. A place of safety filled with a future and hope. I know how lost they must feel and how much they long for someone to reach out and lift them out of this nightmare. It was something I felt and longed for too. I invite you to pray with me as we ask the Lord together to restore and heal each precious life. We are all called and commanded “to look after the orphan in their distress” James 1:27. This is a distress of disastrous proportions. Please reach out to help rescue them with me.

For His Glory and in His name.
Dorie

Yes, I want to make a gift today to help the children who survived the fire at Virgen de Asuncion!

Last Chance to Give for 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

A BIg smile from one of the children at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaPlease consider a special gift to help us end 2016 strong. Your gift will help us make sure that we are able to send the children of Dorie’s Promise to the schools best fitted to their individual needs and learning abilities.

The average cost of sending a child to a private school in Guatemala is $142 a month, or $1,700 per year — which covers tuition, books, uniforms, after-school activities, tutoring, supplies, and transportation. Everything they need to be successful.

We invite you to help us give our children this exceptional education, a chance most orphaned children will never have, through your kind giving. Maybe you could give a gift of $1,000 or $500. Maybe that’s too much. Maybe you are better able to give a gift of $50 or $100. Please give today, before the year is out.

Thank you for making a real difference in the lives of our children!

Why The Winter Months Are A Good Time To Visit Dorie’s Promise

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

A Mission group at Dorie's Promise

By MJ Zelya –

The children of Dorie's Promise Guatemala can't wait to meet you!When it’s winter in America, it’s the best time to visit Guatemala!

Going to visit the children of Dorie’s Promise — and help the surrounding communities in need while there — is the perfect choice if you are planning to travel and don’t yet know where to go during the colder months.

The weather is perfect because the rainy season has stopped, and the children enjoy playing outside and going on walks around the neighborhood.

Dorie’s Promise boasts plenty of reasons for you to say good-bye to your routine and do something different — something that will make an eternal impact on others.

You are not only sharing with the children, you are creating a bond with them; it will truly be an eye-opening experience, one that will change you from the inside out!

When you arrive in Guatemala, the first thing you will notice is the mixture of people and cultures. Guatemala is well-known for its diversity, but you’ll immediately realize that the people are warm and friendly — you will feel at home.Imagine it … loving children who don’t have parents, helping families that have nothing, bringing water and food to people who need it.

Throughout your time at Dorie’s Promise, you will find children hugging you and wanting to be your friend — taking you by the hand and asking to play with them.

But your impact is not only on the children’s lives, but also on the communities, where many people, in desperate need, are grateful for the help and time friends like you invest.

Alejandra our home director says:

In summer, our children are busy in school, a season when it’s difficult to have enough time to share with them. But it’s different in winter! They are on vacation, out of school, and there is plenty of time to have fun, do different activities, and plan special outings during the week.When you serve at Dorie's Promise you'll be working with some of the most impoverished people on the planet.

Through outreaches in our missions program you can make a real difference. The many children and families we serve throughout Guatemala eagerly wait for Forever Changed International to bring teams of people to share Christ’s love with them as well as provide them with what we would consider basic living essentials. Soap and a pair of shoes can brighten the eyes of a 5-year-old boy more than you can imagine.

We run trips all year long so come anytime.  We would love to have you join us for a week very soon! Apply Today!

Mission Trip to Dorie’s Promise: I Will Never Be The Same!

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Guatemala - By Sarah GillSarah GillGoing on a missions trip is life changing event. We often hear about the excitement and passion that a trip to Dorie’s Promise builds into the lives of those who visit. Below is an interview with Sarah Gill about her recent visit to Dorie’s Promise.

Where did you hear about Forever Changed International (FCI)?

I heard about FCI through my employer Lisa Le of Lovely Homes Realty. She had just gotten back from an event where she had met Heather, and asked if I wanted to go to Guatemala. My heart has always been for mission work, so I said yes.

What made you want to take a mission trip with us?

It had been six years since my last missions tip, and I was eager to go on another trip. I’ve always felt like my life was suppose to be about helping people, and this seemed like a good way to do so.

What was it like to travel to Guatemala?

Exhilarating. Even on he plane I could not contain my excitement to land. Traveling throughout the communities as the week progressed was a real wake-up call. I had never seen anything like Guatemala before! My favorite thing about traveling to Guatemala was the kindness of the people, and the generosity of the culture.

What was your impression of the Dorie’s Promise?

It felt like I had found home. Aside from the very comfortable accommodations, it felt like a place that was full of warmth and kindness. There was so much love there!

What was your biggest take-away from the trip?

That there is much work to do in this world, and it can all get done if people are willing to lovingly give what they have.

One of the children living at Dorie's Promise, photo by Sarah Gill.Why do you think people should support Dorie Promise or sponsor one of our children?

There’s a quote from Schindler’s List that echoed through my heart during the week that I stayed at Dorie’s: “He who saves a life, saves the world entire.” If every person who’s able did what they could to help the forgotten children of Guatemala, they wouldn’t be forgotten. $35 dollars isn’t too much. FCI does so much for the children and the community with what they are given, imagine what they could do with more!

My trip to Dorie’s was so amazing, and it impacted me greatly. It made me realize that I don’t have to have my life in perfect order to help people, I just have to be willing.

Because of my trip, I have been inspired to take my own team to Dorie’s next year. My hopes are also high for seeing what else I can do to help the children of Guatemala, as well as others who have been forgotten around the world.

I am so thankful for my experience with FCI. I will never be the same!

# # #

Would you like to share your Dorie’s Promise Mission Trip experience on our blog? Email Us.

If you’d like to experience a missions trip like Sarah’s click here to watch our video and request more info.

Update On Extracurricular Activities: Karate, Ballet and More!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

THe CHildren of Dorie's Promise with their Karate Instructor

By MJ Zelya –

The children of Dorie's Promise in Ballet class.As a part of our child development sphere of care, the children at Dorie’s Promise participate in different extracurricular activities — things like karate, ballet, or tennis classes.

And we have even such improvement! They share and communicate better with each other, and their self-esteem has flourished.

In fact, one important facet of a child’s participation in extracurricular activities is the link to higher academic achievement, fewer behavior problems, and higher rates of success in adulthood.

For example, involvement in sports:

  1. Teaches children the concepts of discipline, effort, and teamwork.
  2. Creates healthy habits for life.
  3. Helps with hyperactivity in some children and can affect their school performance by increasing their concentration and improving their mood.The Karate Instructor visiting Dorie's Promise.
  4. Allows them to be better organized outside of school.
  5. Strengthens motor coordination and improves reflexes, providing greater strength and agility.
  6. Can be essential in the process of socialization, meaning an easy way to make new friends, improve relationships, and help them be more tolerant and accepting of different viewpoints.
  7. And it not only uses energy — but it lets them have fun!

One karate teacher explains some of his experience:
“When I started karate classes with the children of Dorie’s Promise, it was a bit difficult because I was used to starting a karate class with discipline and order. I understood that while children of Dorie’s Promise need to know the philosophy of karate on issues such as self-control, discipline, and respect, they also needed a class that was entertaining for them. Combining discipline with a game, always reminding them of the concepts of control and respect, I have seen remarkable changes — especially in Hans and Lester. They both have better coordination and control of their space. They have also improved in the areas of self-control. On one occasion, I asked Hans the meaning of control. He thought for a moment and replied that it meant ‘do not act crazy.’ I found that a very good response and remember them (in his words) at appropriate times.The children enjoy their Karate classes.

“In most children I have also noticed an improvement in their self-esteem. At first, Abraham Cabrera, Luis, and Jose Antonio did not like to demonstrate an exercise or a technique, but now they are the first to raise their hands to be an example.

“In all children I have observed, as is normal, increased strength, flexibility, and the ability to pay attention. We always play a game that I call ‘Sensei says’ — with the same rules as ‘Simon says’ — which includes karate techniques, and it has improved their attention and reaction time.”

The ballet teacher says:

The girls enjoy the opportunity to take ballet classes.“There has been a big change in their behavior, in discipline, in following instructions, and improvement in technique; their flexibility and ability are great; teamwork is something they have learned well instead working solo.”

Thanks to the support of friends like you, the precious children of Dorie’s Promise have a brand-new future awaiting them. No longer are they “orphans,” forgotten and alone, but rather part of a growing, thriving, loving family dedicated to providing them opportunities for success — physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

If you or someone you know wants to forever change a child’s life, become a sponsor now — simply click here to do so. Thank you for being part of lifelong transformation, one child at a time!