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About Heather Radu

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Minds At Work

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Maria Jose, 11, has studied at El Shaddai for four years

What a difference a few years can make in the life of a child. Now just multiply that change by the number of children at Dorie’s Promise whose lives are changed daily through the gift of attending a private school! The transformation in their young lives is truly amazing. What started with only three of our children attending private school has multiplied to 15 in just a few short years.

Thanks to you and your generous support these past few years, we see and experience firsthand what it means for our children to have an opportunity to attend a private school.

Here is what Maria Jose, 11, who has studied at El Shaddai for four years, has to say about her education:

“I love to study at El Shaddai School because I have two teachers who are very smart and help me a lot with my doubts. I love my teachers and I admire them because they are smart and show me gratitude. My favorite classes are Arts, Spelling, Math, Computer lab, Robotics, Bible Studies, and Sports. In my school I have learned many things, but especially God’s love and how He takes care of us. I would like to keep going to this school because one of my dreams is to be a good teacher, pastor, and gymnast.”

Brayan doing homework.A private education means better teachers, positive influences, spiritual guidance, and the opportunity to see what life is like outside of Dorie’s Promise. Our staff tells us time and time again how these children’s lives are being changed and how much interest and enthusiasm they have for school today — how it shows not only academically, but also in their spiritual and emotional lives.

The only time we will send a child to a public school is when they first arrive at Dorie’s Promise, so we can get an idea of how they perform in a school setting. We have experienced firsthand how poorly the public schools operate and therefore do our best to get our children integrated into a private school setting as soon as possible.

Our Child Development Director takes great care as she creates individualized education plans per child. She takes into consideration their natural talents, academic strengths and weaknesses, and whether they have learning disabilities. Based on this information, children are placed in the school setting that best suits them.

Take, for instance, 12-year-old Ana Lucia, who arrived at Dorie’s Promise July 2014 with her sister, seven-year-old Fabiola. The girls’ older brother was caring for them after their mother died of cancer. He was then arrested for drug dealing and murdered while in prison. This is when they came to live with us. Fabiola was enrolled in public school and was thriving even with class sizes close to 40. This January will be her first year attending private school.

Here is what Ana Lucia has to say about her new life and education…

“Living at Dorie’s Promise means a lot of things to me; I have many mothers taking care of and concerned about me; I have food every day; I have a beautiful bedroom to sleep in. The good thing is that my little sister is with me and we are very happy. This year I again started school and I have good grades. I would like to learn English to speak with the missionaries and also would like to learn computer skills … I would like to go a school where I can learn more.”

12-year-old Ana Lucia, arrived at Dorie’s Promise July 2014 with her sister, seven-year-old Fabiola. As you can imagine sending 15 of our children to private school and providing onsite child development, tutoring, and school does not come without a cost. Would you be willing to invest in our children’s lives in this meaningful way? To give our children the exceptional education they deserve, we need your help.

As I shared in the letter I wrote to you in July, we have had less mission participants this year, which has lowered the amount of income we use to run Dorie’s Promise. Giving our children an exceptional education experience will be the first thing we will have to cut if we are not able to raise the funds to keep it in place. Of course, we want the best education we can possibly give our children … but that can’t come at the expense of feeding, housing, and caring for them.

The school year in Guatemala runs from January through October. We currently have 15 children of school age who are excited to start private school in January.

The average cost of sending a child to private school is $1,700 per year. This amount covers tuition, books, uniforms, after-school activities, tutoring, supplies, and transportation. The total cost for the 15 children ready to attend private school this January is $30,600. The cost to continue to employ a full-time Child Development Director as well as preschool teacher is $25,000 per year.

Imagine being able to give your child a life-changing private education for only $140 per month.

I would like to invite you to help us give our children an EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION experience through your kind giving. Our goal is to raise $55,600 by December 31.

Jennifer loves going to school.The children are growing so fast and we understand that someday they will be leaving us and try to find their place in the world. Our goal is to give them the tools to have a full and meaningful life outside our home.

These are children who have come from the city dump, off the street, or abandoned by family members who are unwilling to give them the care every child needs and deserves. We shelter them, feed them, love them like they are our own — but we also want to continue to give them the gift of EXCEPTIONAL EDUCATION that will impact their lives in so many different ways … both now and for many years into the future.

Again, thank you for all you do for our children. It is your heart and passion that drive this ministry forward and allow us to change the lives of the children in our care. I hope to hear from you soon. Everyone on our team would like to see us meet our goal of raising $55,600 as quickly as possible so we can make sure our plan for 2016 is solid and ready to execute. Help by giving today.

God Bless,
Heather Radu
Founder

A Great Need… Support Forever Changed International Today

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Our children need you now more than ever before.

Founder Heather Radu

By Heather Radu –

I want to share something that’s weighing on my heart with you. 

Since we started Forever Changed International, it has been our goal to see our home sustained 100% through child sponsorship. Monthly child sponsorship gives our children the most reliable source of income to fund the home and therefore provides them the most secure future possible.

Over the years, we have been diligent in asking those who support the ministry to become monthly sponsors of our children. Currently, 70% of the children are sponsored.

To cover the remaining 30%, we look to friends who give generously AND to our missions program’s donation fees. This year, our missions program is down in numbers. We are forecasting 160 less mission trip participants this year than last. Unfortunately this year, both spring and summer trip numbers were much lower than in years past. A few large teams were unexpectedly unable to participate.

This means about $160,000 less coming through our doors — funds that are necessary for us to maintain the level of care we are currently providing our children.

Honestly, we have been talking about the possibility of this kind of thing happening for years. It is impossible to know for certain that the same number of participants will serve with us as planned each year. Every time we talk about sponsorship, I want you know we are looking at our mission program and saying, “We can’t rely on this as a steady income source.”

Again, our goal is to see our homes 100% funded through our monthly sponsors. All other income would then be available for administrative and potential growth expenses. So, all of this to say…

The income we rely on to run Dorie’s Promise is down and is expected to be down for at least the next several months. WE REALLY NEED YOUR HELP!

Would you consider a special gift to the ministry today?

Give a gift today to help these boys living at our home in Guatemala.There are so many ways to help us at this time.  I have listed a few options here:

  • Give a special gift today.
  • Become a sponsor.
  • Contact Charity Danielson, our sponsorship coordinator, at 360-836-7626 or to find out how you can help us spread the word to friends and family about our sponsorship programs. Monthly sponsorship is the most secure way to care for our children!
  • Contact Naomi Beazely  to find out more about planning a future mission trip to serve with us.
  • Pray for our ministry and children — that we will continue to be able to serve for years to come.

I don’t know what you could do given the urgency of this post. Would you pray about it and give as God leads you?

Whatever you do, please know that your help is needed, and needed immediately. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Our children need you now more than ever before.

Thank You for A Great 2014

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Thank you from the children of Dorie's Promise!As you watched the video I hope you noticed the bright and happy smiles of our children. Having just been in Guatemala, I can tell you that our homes are running better than they ever have. I’m so proud of our team and the hard work they are doing to care for our children. But I have to tell you that, at the same time, our bank account for operating Dorie’s Promise is lower than it has ever been before. We need your help. The end of the year is coming soon. This is the most important time of the year for us. Would you consider a special gift over and above anything you have done in 2014? Every contribution matters! Please do what you can. Together we can raise the children of Dorie’s Promise and give them opportunities to grow and thrive.

You can give online up until the last minutes of the year.

For the Children,
Heather Radu

Donate Now

Year-End Giving

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

Luis, Lester and Brandon - Donors make their smiles possble.

We can’t thank our Sponsors and Donors enough for their generosity this past year! We praise God for all that we were able to accomplish because of YOU – our faithful partners who help us so generously. Thank you for giving to our children and home.

We want to ask you one last time for 2014 to give a special gift to our home. Help us end the year on a strong note. Help us to continue investing in the lives of those who need it most.

You can contribute up until the last seconds of 2014 for this tax year…

Also I wanted to take a moment to let you know about an upcoming opportunity to designate IRA funds to a charity of your choice.

On Wednesday Congress passed a bill, which is now awaiting President Obama’s signature, enabling you to transfer up to $100,000 from your IRA to a qualified public charity. The transfer will be made free from federal income tax and the gift qualifies for your 2014 required minimum distribution (RMD).

This opportunity is retroactive to January 1, 2014 and reauthorizes the IRA charitable rollover through December 31, 2014.

As we look ahead at the next 12 days that remain in the year, will you prayerfully consider taking advantage of this great IRA option and make a gift to help support the children of Dorie’s Promise?

If you have questions about this new way to give we’d be happy to talk to you. Please call 360-836-7626 or email us.

God Bless,

Heather Radu

Can God Use My Mess?

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Change Life

Part eighteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

Heather Radu with BrayanI love reading biographies of great Christians. Learning about how others have stepped out in faith and how God used them is very encouraging. Or maybe I should say it’s encouraging most of the time. On one hand, seeing how others served Jesus is encouraging, but on the other hand sometimes I doubt I could do what they did. They almost seem perfect!

The truth is that no Christian has ever been perfect. Any follower of Jesus, past, present, or future, would tell you the same. Still, we sometimes get intimidated by the amazing lives other Christians have read. We might even think, “I can’t get out there and serve the poor for God. I’m too much of a mess.”

Let me encourage you: God specializes in using messes! Paul used to persecute the church right up until the moment Jesus called him. Peter denied he even knew Jesus after three years of serving alongside him. The disciples messed up and misunderstood Jesus over and over again. Read the gospels—it isn’t pretty!

In spite of all these things, God used these men to do an amazing work. They have influenced lives for 2000 years and all across the globe. If God can do that, he can certainly use you and me to minister in our own back yards.

When you have the opportunity to serve others, do not let your troubled life serve as an excuse. Do not say, “I’m just too sinful for God to use me.” Instead, if you follow God’s will by serving where he has called you to serve, your heart will start to change. You may just find that your love for your sins is shrinking while your desire to know God and serve him keeps growing.

Remember, God does not ask you to become perfect before you serve the poor. All he asks is that you love him, and you love them. When this is true, the light of God’s love will shine through and overwhelm your imperfections. They will still be there, but they will not dominate you. They will not control your actions. In fact, those imperfections will give you the opportunity to point the glory for your work back to God where it belongs, and that is what every Christian should aim for.

The Switch and the Samaritan

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Serving the Poor

Part seventeen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

Founder Heather RaduGod loves you all the time. He does not quit for a day, hour, even a second. I think that is one of the most beautiful things about being a Christian. God’s love never changes. When I show love to people, the quality of that love sometimes depends on my mood. Sometimes, unfortunately, my mood is not the greatest. I think this is true of most of us, isn’t it?

Sometimes when we serve the poor in our communities, the love we have for people has a sort of “on/off” switch. When you go to the community center, or the food pantry, or wherever you serve, you are “on.” You talk with people, you help fill their physical needs, and you share the love of Jesus with them. You might even develop a sort of friendship with the people you meet there.

The sort of ministry described above takes a lot of energy. When you are exhausted after a long day, the temptation to flip your switch to the “off” position is very tempting. You might walk down the street and see a man laying on the sidewalk and think, “I’ve done my part today. Please, God, send someone to help this man.” Then you walk on by.

Does that scenario sound familiar? It should because it is very much like the parable of the Good Samaritan! In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells us about the man who had been robbed, and how the respectable people passed by because they were too busy “serving God.” They did not have time to get their hands dirty. But truly, getting their hands dirty was exactly what God wanted them to do.

At this point you might be thinking, “thanks for the guilt trip.” But making people feel guilty is not the point. What I really want to do is to remind myself and everyone who reads this that serving the poor, and loving people in general, is not a job we do. It is not a task we perform. Serving those in need should be a natural outgrowth of our love for God. When we love God, his love will fill us up and give us the strength to serve others without reverting to an “on/off” mentality.

I encourage you to seek The Lord every day and ask him for strength to love like that Samaritan.

Flourishing for Everyone

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Signs of poverty -l iving in a shack like this.

Part sixteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

A road through a poor neighborhood in GuatemalaOver 2500 years ago, the Jewish nation was conquered and many people were carried off to Babylon. Can you imagine how it might feel to be torn away from your home like that? You might feel bitter, or angry. You would feel like you were in a place you did not belong, and you would probably want to go home.

If I had been taken from my home, I would want God to set me free, and maybe to destroy the city of those who had taken me away! The surprising thing is that God did not want the Jews acting this way. He did not want them to be bitter toward the people and cities of Babylon. Instead, God told the prophet Jeremiah to tell people to work for the health of the city.

I think a part of living as a Christian is working for the health of our cities. Like the Jews in Babylon, we are strangers in this world. We represent Jesus well when we bring goodness to the places we live.

It would be easy at this point to start thinking about working with the local movers and shakers, and how much good we could do through influencing them, but it is important for us to remember the poor. If we make our city beautiful and line the pockets of those who are already wealthy, what good have we done? On the other hand, if we elevate the poor, we have helped those who genuinely need it.

So if we are determined to help our cities, how can we make sure the poor aren’t left behind? For one thing, it is important to make sure the poor haven’t just been run out of town or forced out of sight. That is a surface level change that ignores the dignity of those in need. Instead, ask for God to give you insight on how to develop relationships with the people you minister.

Another way to make sure the poor are not left behind is to be intentional in including them in your planning. They understand what they need better than we do because they are living in these communities full time. If you ask for their help you are acknowledging that they are genuinely valuable and made in God’s image. In that way you will help your city, and everyone in it, flourish.

Special Donation Through The Bronco Country Heroes Award

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Cayce Dossett with her team at Dorie's Promise

By Heather Radu-

Cayce Dossett  in Guatemala with LesterWhile it is impossible to rank the importance of a particular donation to the work of Dorie’s Promise, I am especially pleased by a recent $500 gift from Cayce Dossett.

A senior at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Cayce made her first trip to Guatemala last March. She and a friend joined nine other volunteers from various parts of the U.S. and Canada to make the week an unforgettable one for our residents.

The children especially enjoyed a day of music instruction provided by Cayce and her friend Andrew, who brought along a guitar, ukulele, and harmonica.

“I loved doing music with the kids,” says Cayce, who grew up in Winter Springs, Florida. “Pablo said they had never been able to do that. It was neat to help them learn some music. The Special Mothers are amazing, too. We got to hang out with them and see how they treat the children as their own.”

SCayce Dossett participating in the Broncos eventince she sponsors one of our children, we already knew Cayce had a special bond with our home. Still, we were excited when we learned she had designated her winnings from a pro football athletic competition to FCI.

“Train Like A Bronco” was held prior to a Denver Broncos’ training camp. It included 50 members of various military branches. Participants competed in the 40-yard dash, broad jump, cone drills, bench press, and vertical leap.

Cayce, a member of Cadet Squadron 34, was the winner among the female contestants. Fellow cadet Christopher Ryals won the men’s division.

The pair received their Bronco Country Heroes Award at Denver’s first preseason game at Sports Authority Field, the team’s home field.

Since National Football League telecasts are among TV’s most-viewed events, we are pleased that this year’s season includes a link to FCI. I would say I’m surprised, except that I’ve seen God do so many things over the years I really should expect it!

I’m also pleased that Cayce plans to spend her final spring break next March in Guatemala. She is recruiting other cadets and members of her Colorado Springs church (Woodmen Valley Chapel) to join her.

She is sharing with them about the home, as well as the community projects completed by most of our mission teams.

Cayce Dossett with a new friend she made while on her trip to GuatemalaCayce’s mission trip included going to a state-run orphanage, pouring cement sidewalks, and painting a pool at a community center near Guatemala City.

“It was my first time going on a mission trip,” Cayce says. “I was impressed with how organized it was. It made traveling there easy. I felt safe the whole time and I loved being with the kids. I think I learned more from the people and the kids there than I helped them.”

We like to say that mission-trippers’ lives are changed by a visit to Guatemala. Cayce’s story is proof of it!

Gospel Words and Deeds

Saturday, September 27th, 2014

Efrain and Specail MOther.

Part fifteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

Founder Heather RaduI would love to live in a world that has been totally transformed by the Gospel of Jesus. I suspect you would, too. Imagine how much love, peace, and mercy would fill people’s lives! No one would steal, kill, or betray—it would be incredibly beautiful. Sadly, we do not live in that world right now. We live in a world that has been shattered by sin.

Part of our calling as Christians is to recognize that the world is shattered, but to also remember that God sent Jesus to repair it. One of the most important ways to do that is just go out and tell people about what Jesus has accomplished (and continues to do). But I want you to know that there are other ways to bring healing to the people we meet.

I think sometimes we forget that we demonstrate the Gospel just by bringing relief to those who are suffering. I cannot help but think of what Jesus said in Matthew 25. When we provide for the needs of the “least of these” it is as though we are doing it for him. We are living out the truth that his life teaches us. That is an essential part of the truth of Christianity.

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying we don’t need to proclaim the Gospel with words! That is absolutely vital because God has chosen preaching as the major way to declare his message. But what I am saying is that there are times when our words will not penetrate people’s hearts.

When people are suffering they often can’t hear your words. In fact, they may actively resist what you say. But if they can see your actions, then you have their attention. Once they are sure you care and that you are trustworthy, your words will have a much greater impact. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen or heard about hard-hearted people who were softened by someone who patiently lived the Gospel out before they spoke up.

I look forward to living in a world that has been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus. Until that reality comes to pass we can, through God’s strength, live in a way that shows what that transformation looks like. Then those who are in need will understand that Jesus is what they’ve been looking for all along.

Following the Way of Jesus

Saturday, September 20th, 2014

Following the Way of Jesus

Part fourteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

Founder Heather RaduDid you know we have not always been called “Christians?” If you read the book of Acts, Luke tells us that Christians were also called followers of “the Way” (Acts 9:2, ch. 19). If you think on those verse for a while, you might come to realize something surprising: being a Christian is not just about believing the truth about Jesus (although that is absolutely vital). It is also about following his example.

When Jesus graciously saves us, we are not called to relax and live a comfortable life. He didn’t, after all! Instead, we represent him and share his message. One of the things that Jesus did while he was here on earth was identify with the poor. In Matthew 8:20, he told his followers that he had no place to lay his head. Can you imagine? The God of the universe was homeless!

What does this have to do with us? Am I saying that we all need to be homeless and give everything away to the poor? No, of course not. Again, the book of Acts shows us that some people in the church had more money than others. The problem arises, though, when we who might be a little more well off begin valuing comfort over service. This is a huge danger for me, and for many Christians in the U.S.

Christians have to return to Jesus again and again. We need to be reminded that being a Christian should lead us into serving others, not because we’re better than them, but because we are just like them. When Jesus came to earth he became a human being he did not say, “I’m going to separate my people into the ‘upper class’ and the ‘lower class.'” This means that the playing field is even. No one is better than anyone else.

Since all this is true, we need to ask ourselves if we are truly imitating our Lord as we go about our daily lives. And the majority of the time, we will have to say ‘no!’ But even those moments can serve as a reminder that Jesus came down and put on a body just like ours so he could identify with us. As Christians (or followers of the Way, as Luke put it), we should always be ready to imitate our Lord.