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Archive for the ‘Missions Trip Blog’ Category

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!

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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.

Praying For the Children of Dorie’s Promise: It Makes A Difference!

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Maria Jose and Franco with Dorie's Promise Director Alej

Maria Jose and Franco with Dorie’s Promise Director Alej

By Kim Palmer –

I am happy to share my connection with the children through prayer, visits and sponsorship.

I have visited Dories Promise six times now. After my first visit to Dories Promise, my life has been Forever Changed. I have seen first hand the power of prayer, God hears our prayers!!!

I miss the children so much, the best way for me to connect with them when I am not at Dories Promise is through God and prayer. I pray for the Special Mothers, the great team there- Pablo, Abel and Jessica and the sweet amazing children! I pray in groups for the Special Mothers and other staff, they all work so hard and give so much love to the children and really make it such an amazing week for all of us who come to visit!

When I pray for the children some are really weighing on my heart, I get tears in my eyes sometimes when I pray for them. I say group prayers for the children but a lot of individual prayers for the children also. There has been one of the children that I really have been praying extra for, all my visits there was so hard to get her to smile, she really wanted a forever family. My last visit there she was hugging me and I didn’t want to let go I wanted to take her pain away. God heard our prayers, Maria and Franco were adopted! (See story)

Maria was one of the three children that I sponsor through the sponsorship program. One of the reasons I chose her was because my heart could not stop aching for her, I wanted her to smile again! The sponsorship program is great, I really appreciate all the updates on the web-site, another great way to help us stay connected with Dories Promise.

I know the sponsorship program really makes a difference for these children. I pray every day for these amazing children, pray for health, peace and happiness.

I look forward to my next visit to Dories Promise- the children are always on my mind and forever in my heart!

Memories Of Our Time At Dorie’s Promise

Friday, August 14th, 2015

Anita McCafferty with Sheily

By Anita McCafferty

My name is Anita, and I wanted to share with you some thoughts my husband Michael and I put together about our mission trip to Dorie’s Promise Guatemala.

Make tortillas in GuatemalaAs a child therapist, I wondered about the impact that the often fleeting relationships formed during short term mission trips would have on the children. But after experiencing the mission, it became clear that although our individual time spent was limited, the children were experiencing a continual, common message from all those missioners with whom they spent time. This message was that they are important, they are valued, they are special, they are loveable. As victims of neglect and abandonment, this becomes a corrective emotional experience which heals their wounded self-concept and self-esteem.

Although our time was only a brief instant in their lives, the significance and impact of our time there is made up of moments, moments that can last a lifetime for each child and each moment is a building block in their lives. For example, I can recall the triumph in the eyes of Lester when, with my husband’s help, he finally conquered his fears on the jungle gym, or Franco’s excitement at hearing his own whistle sound fill the air when Michael was teaching him how to whistle. These moments were building blocks for their self-confidence.

Our first moment in meeting the children was a memorable one. We entered the baby’s room to meet Valentino, Sheily, and Dulce. When Sheily heard Michael’s voice, she threw herself down in the crib with uncontrollable fits of crying. We were told that because of the past experiences in her young, vulnerable life, she was afraid of men, and Michael had to retreat out of sight. Our hearts opened up to her and we were able to witness the beginning seeds of trust in men by the fact that she lit up when she saw Michael and reached out to him to be held by the end of our mission.

We wondered what we could possibly contribute besides financial support to such a wonderful program which was sensitive to every need of the children: physically, socially, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually. We realized we could offer these healing moments of affirmation to each child we encountered with the crucial message that they are loved and lovable, valued and valuable.

Helping to feed the babies at Dorie's PromiseSpirituality and Christianity consistently colored the daily atmosphere of the orphanage, as well as our mission experience. It was impressive that no meal or snack went by without an expression of thankfulness to God. My image of little Alejandra at McDonald’s on our outing to see Christmas lights in the city with her hands held up in a thankful prayer to God before she took that first lick of her ice cream cone will always remain in my mind as an example of this. Moreover, our daily meditations lead by Pablo before our mission day began and after it was over attested to the team’s desire to assure that this time was spiritually meaningful and provided an opportunity for spiritual growth through prayer and reflection.

Since we were regretfully unsuccessful in convincing our fellow parishioners, our family, and our friends to join us, we attended this mission as a team of two. We expected that the energy expended toward us would not be as great since it was just the two of us. I can attest to the fact that all the efforts put forth by the staff was as accommodating and sensitive as if we were a group of twenty. Paolo put forth preparation each day in his daily meditations with increased insight into our spiritual needs as the week went on. Abel was fervent in his goal to keep us safe and was like a “grizzly bear mom protecting her cubs” when we were out in the community.

We were able to bring along some donations with us to be spent toward the mission and Paolo was vigilant in accounting for all he spent, itemizing each day where the money went (i.e. food for the profoundly poor outreach families, feeding centers, Christmas decorations for the children at the state orphanage, bunk beds and cement to made an extra room for a needy grandmother and her grandchildren, varnish to preserve the tables in a community center, as well as outings for the children of Dorie’s Promise). When we returned home, we were able to give those who generously gave a clear picture of how they contributed.

Very proud of his tigger puppet.Besides working to help the special mothers in daily chores and care of the children and participating in the outreach projects, we PLAYED lots of soccer, played with play-dough, enjoyed several craft projects, and many more fun activities. I noticed when we entered one community, the playground was empty. By the time we finished our service project, the word had gotten out that Paolo and Abel were in town and the children began to gather for a highly anticipated soccer match. What energy and joy the mission brought to the day of these children, as well as an affirming message of them being valuable!

The unity of the children at Dorie’s promise was impressive, many of them strangers who bonded as a family. The younger sat on the lap of the older and the older spontaneously nurtured the younger, all the while learning what a loving, nurturing relationship is. This other-centered nurturance was one that many may not have experienced in their family lives and were being taught in the orphanage by the special mothers and staff. We witnessed love, respect, and cooperation throughout our stay by staff and the children. Even the older teens like Brayan sat and made Winnie the Pooh hand puppets with the younger children with as much enthusiasm. They played soccer together with all ages, combining in a loving family atmosphere of mutuality.

Not all our craft projects were successful. The felt butterfly pins we made with the young girls at the state orphanage would not stick together because we brought the wrong glue. It was a disaster! Glue was everywhere and after the project, as we toured the facility, we saw butterfly antennae, wings, and spots all over the ground. We felt disappointed. Suddenly the girls passed us by with huge smiles on their face, proudly wearing their butterfly pins as if they were priceless pieces of jewelry. We realized that in that disaster of a project, they found beauty and we had reached them by just giving them our time and effort . . . those MOMENTS that build self-worth and affirm their value.

Michael making puppets with the children at Dorie's PromiseThe quality of care given at Dorie’s Promise was like being in an oasis in the desert. The children are well taken care of, and their program is individualized and sensitive to the unique needs of each child. The exposure to the community, wrought with poverty and violence, made us appreciate the blessing of this program for the children who are fortunate enough to be there.

It is a program of HOPE . . . for each of these children are given a chance to be in a caring environment that attends to their physical growth and safety; their intellectual development, promoting aspirations and dreams for their future; as well as providing a spiritual atmosphere pivoting around the love of God and gratitude for his blessings.

We look forward to the newsletters we receive and marvel at the growth of the children already since our mission there. We know they probably don’t remember us now, but we feel confident that the common message of worth given by all the missioners by carving out time for them will have a lasting effect on them and help them to continue to grow into God-loving, giving adults who will in turn open their loving hearts to others.

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

A Dorie’s Top 10 List

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

"We were blessed through our trip to Dorie's Promise."

I would like to mention some of the specific ways we were blessed through our trip to Dorie’s Promise.

The children showing affection.1. The humble, Christ-like hearts of Pablo, Abel, and Jessica. They were so gracious, helpful, and caring. We especially liked the morning devotions and evening debrief times.

2. The access to our own kitchen stocked with some of our favorite foods when we arrived. Granola bars, peanut butter, coffee, fruit, ramen noodles, mac and cheese.

3. The way the special mom’s welcomed us into their lives and routines.

4. The church service.

5.  The humble and thorough maintenance staff who even folded our laundry for us once!

6. The ability to visit and play with the children during different parts of the day.

7. All of the amazing outings we took – State Orphanage, Paradise, Galilee, the Dump, Antigua…..

8. Safe and comfortable accommodations. I couldn’t believe I had the privilege of going on daily walks without safety concerns.

9. Tasty meals.

10. Just the right balance of service time and free time.

Thanks so much for all you do.

Rachel Clyne

A Great Week of Ministry

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Ministering to the poor in Guatemala City.Last year I had the opportunity to go on a one week missions trip to Guatemala with Dorie’s promise.  I was part of a group of 13 people from our church. It was a great week of ministry and life change for all who went.  Here are some highlights.

1) It was well organized. From the moment we arrived until we left we followed a well planned schedule and always knew what to expect and what was expected of us.

2) It had a balance of information, service and rest. We learned about Dorie’s Promise, the challenges of the poor and orphans in Guatemala and had the opportunity to serve in meaningful ways.

3) It was a spiritually enriching time. We had group devotions every day, many opportunities to pray for and with those in need and time to debrief every evening.

4) It is well staffed. I can’t say enough positive about Pablo, Abel and Jessica. They are true servants of the Lord and were very effective leaders.

There is much to commend about this missions trip. I highly recommend it to any who are interested in going on a missions trip.

In His grace,
Ward Cushman

Love Lived Out

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Love Lived Out~ by Lyn Finnegan
1 Thessalonians 1:3  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lyn's son with Lester at Dorie's PromiseRecently, I traveled with my son, Ben and his friend to Dori’s Promise in Guatemala.  It was quite the adventure because my son found Dori’s Promise on the internet.  We wanted to go on a mission trip before my son graduated from high school, so we needed a group that would take just us.  This made things a little uneasy, especially for me as a mom, to step out and go with a group we knew nothing about.  On our adventure, what we found was a true treasure.  We found a place like 1 Thessalonians above says, that worked in faith, labored in love and persevered by their belief in Christ. 

After much prayer and multiple conversations with the people at Forever Changed International, we decided to jump in with both feet, live on faith, and trust God to take us where he wanted us to go.  One month later after signing up, we found ourselves in Guatemala where we met Pablo, Jessica, and Abel, our leaders.   They were so jovial and friendly. They showed us Christ’s heart. We loved them.

I am so thankful we took that step of faith.

A Selfie in GuatemalaI believe success is achieved by those leading you.  The leadership team in Guatemala was outstanding.  Abel was full of humor, love and friendship.  Jessica was beautiful, and the light of Christ shone through her. Pablo was on fire for God and demonstrated what it means to follow God fully.  All three were committed to their mission and to us.  They showed us their hearts for the people of Guatemala, for the orphan’s and for the struggles they face day to day- not only those living at Dorie’s Promise, but in Guatemala City. They were incredible examples to each of us for what it means to lay down your life for others and live for Christ.

Not only was I impressed at their vision and how they carried it out in their community but also for the work being done at Dorie’s Promise.  I have adopted from China and wish my daughter had been cared for like they care for their orphans! They teach them about God, character, respect, and responsibility. Furthermore, I saw hardworking, Christian women taking care of the kids with love and devotion.  I know first hand how difficult it is sometimes dealing with the baggage these children unfortunately bring with them.  These women have developed a strong sisterhood through Christ to do what they’ve been called to do.  It comes out in the way they share laughter between both themselves and the children.  These women are on the front line fighting for each of these small souls to know Christ and then to make Him known to others.  They are Princess Warriors!

A family in GuatemalaDorie’s Promise was a place my son, his friend and I found a bit of God’s heart unfurled. I would recommend this trip to anyone.  Abel, Jessica, and Pablo spoke God’s word into each of our hearts just the way we were supposed to hear it.  It’s amazing when that happens. For that, I am truly grateful, especially for the bond my son and I were able to share his senior year, a memory forever.  I would sum it up by saying, if you go to Dorie’s Promise, you will find a mix of Francis Chan’s Crazy Love and David Platt’s Radical being lived out. Just go!

Lyn Finnegan

Words Cannot Explain

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Tacarra: and one of the children from Dorie's Promise I’m so glad I had the courage to listen to my spirit the night of September 11, 2014. For whatever reason,  I could not sleep that night. Exhausted from the constant restlessness, I reached for my smartphone and Googled “causes of insomnia.” I quickly learned how stress and anxiety could be the culprit of my sleepless night. What could I so stressed and anxious about? I wondered. A million and one questions began to flood my mind about my life and its purpose:

  • Am I doing the right type of work?
  • Am I surviving or thriving in life?
  • Will I ever be enough for him or will I be single forever?
  • Am I worthy and do I matter?

Clearly, I had and still have a lot of exploring to do to get to the bottom of my restless spirit. I then had an aha moment and figured out that the best way for me to begin to heal myself was to first become a blessing for someone else in need. It also didn’t hurt that I was itching for a vacation as well so I decided to get the best of both worlds by signing up for my first mission trip!

Tacarra chilling with the children and Special Mother of Dorie's Promise.Little did I know that my life would be forever changed in the most positive ways moving forward.

Words cannot explain the immense feelings of pure love, genuineness, caring and compassion I felt directly from the open hearts of Pablo, Abel, the special mothers and the kids while there! It was almost as if they knew me and we’ve met before. Like we we’re long lost friends reconnecting or something. It was the most beautiful feeling! And for the first time in my adult life, I felt like I mattered. I felt that my presence mattered and that my life was worthwhile. Powerful revelation  and life changing stuff for a 28 year old who was working hard climbing the corporate ladder and trying to find her way in life.

My experience in Guatemala revealed to me just how emotionally and spiritually improvised I was. I was living a life without love and that’s no way for anyone to live. I’m forever grateful for this new found awareness and awakening. It took me 28 years and a mission trip to learn what these kids are blessed to live day in and day out.

Dorie’s Promise is a very good thing and they are doing an incredible job raising the world’s forgotten children. I felt forgotten too, just didn’t realize it- so glad they remembered me. And trust me when I say that these kids are receiving all the love, nurturing, care and attention needed to thrive and overcome ANY obstacles life may  throw their way. After all, love conquers all as they say.Out to the movies with some of the teens from Dorie's Promise.

As for me, nowadays, I look forward to receiving my quarterly updates from Dorie’s on the beautiful child and my personal forever friend I’ve chosen to sponsor, Yire Abraham. That little boy single handedly made my life better. I will always love and appreciate him for what he did for my soul. Most importantly though, I cannot wait to see my little forever friend again! I just request Pablo and Abel to have the cupboard stocked full with plenty of Chiky’s and Nutella for my next visit!!!

Tacarra Christie

Missions Leads to Sponsorship

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Jessica with Alejandra, during her Nov 2104 trip to Dorie's Promise.I came down to Guatemala last November, it was a great trip.

Four months later I decided to sponsor Alejandra. I had been wanting to sponsor a child for a while. Financially, I knew it was going to be important to be at a spot where I could sustain the sponsorship and also truly be a part of the child’s life (letter, gifts, etc). I finally got to a point in my job that was going to work and I already knew sponsorship was going to be a priority.

Ever since I was 7 or 8 years old, God has laid on my heart to want to adopt a child. I am not married yet, but certainly plan to go through with that when I am. However, I didn’t want to wait till then to start being apart of a child’s life from an orphaned situation. When I found out about Dorie’s Promise from one of your board members, I was so excited to get involved. So, I helped get the process going to take a mission there (which we did in November).

While I was there with our team, something about Alejandra caught my attention. She reminded me about what I’ve been told I was like as a little girl. I felt I could relate to her and her personality in that way. She captured my heart and, since adoption wasn’t a possibility at this time (for many reasons), I decided to sponsor her.

I look forward to being a part of her life as she grows up and look forward to doing more as God provides. It’s so cool she has a place like Dorie’s Promise to grow up in!

Jessica Cross

My Mission Trip Experience

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Nine years ago, my husband and I first went to Dorie’s Promise on two occasions – one was to meet our new son whom we would adopt just a few short months later, and the second was to bring him home. His name is now Matthew James. During that time period, I knew that one day I would return to Dorie’s to do mission work and that hopefully, it would even become something my family could do, once everyone was a little older.

My first opportunity came in March of 2014. I’ve been sponsoring a few children at Dorie’s ever since Matthew’s adoption, and keeping in touch with Heather Radu and the organization from time to time. My new position as Orphan Ministry Director led me and a wonderful team right into the hands of Dorie’s Promise so that we could potentially make just the slightest difference in the lives of the children living there, and the amazing people in the community whom we assisted. Well, the biggest difference was not what we could do for all of them, it was what they could do IN all of us!

From the start, we were placed in the hands of an outstanding team – Pablo who is wise beyond his age (Mission Director), Jessica who is so intelligent, sweet, loving and caring (assistant to Pablo); and of course, wonderful “servant’s heart” Abel (who was our driver 9 years ago, and remembered me the moment he saw me this time). We still feel like family to this day with the entire team and miss them greatly. Next, spending time with all of the children who we see in our videos and photos was heart-warming and inspiring. Each of those kids has a purpose from God and what a blessing to us to spend time playing with them, braiding their hair, reading books and watching movies, and seeing the smiles as we presented some gifts. And Lastly, we were not prepared to be as astonished by the love and faith of the locals in the community that we assisted with various projects and shared meals with, as well as the special needs children at the State Orphanage who just loved upon us and showed us that God truly is in each and every one of them! I personally came back with a changed perspective.

One of the special things about this trip was that my dear friend Rosa (who is 70 and very much family to me and my family) was with us. Rosa is from Mexico originally and we spoke about doing this trip ever since Matthew was adopted. Having that desire become a reality still warms my heart. Rosa was the biggest blessing to everyone on the trip since she spoke the language fluently and connected with the people in ways none of us could. She knows we plan to go back together!

I’ve always been impressed with Heather’s work and with Dorie’s Promise and their philosophy of orphan care. But doing “mission” work brought my admiration so much higher than I ever expected. They are so well planned, so thorough in the details, and keep care and safety of the teams to the highest level. I highly recommend you grab your team (large or small) and book a trip to Dorie’s soon!

Gerianne Cygan

Wauconda, IL

So Blessed Being Part of a Mission Team at Dorie’s Promise

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

I was so blessed being part of the mission team last week at FCI.  I would really love to tell you about it. I did fill out a survey very late our last night but feel I wasn’t able to express my trip the way I wanted to.

First off, I would like to tell you, what a wonderful job you ladies have done here. It was my first mission trip, ever. My name is Debbie, I am a 52 year old mom. My son, Christian, just completed his third trip. I have been intrigued and often wondered, why do people keep returning here to FCI? Why multiple trips? What is the draw? How has it captured their heart in a way that you can’t forget about the kids, special moms, Pablo, Jessica, and Abel, and the rich presence of Jesus that dwells here? NOW I KNOW!!!

The special moms are just that, SPECIAL!!!  The way they love and nurture these children is a lesson for all of us moms. Their love for Jesus is so evident. I loved hearing them teach the kids about him through song all day long and in their devotions.

The children are precious!!! I was amazed with their love and respect for their special moms, each other, and us too!! It’s hard to not want to take them all home.

But, I really need to tell you about the three leaders we had, Pablo, Abel, and Jessica. These three used their God-given gifts to complete a total package!!! I am so amazed by the way each of them led. It was apparent how important each one was in our total experience, they fit together like a glove. They worked well together and we could tell how much they loved each other. God used each of them in a big way this past week.

Let me start with Jessica. What a sweet heart she has! The activities she had planned throughout our trip seemed to be icing on the cake to draw kids together with our group. There wasn’t one time I saw her overwhelmed in her explanation of the projects or her implementation of them. Her kindness & tenderness toward us and the kids was admirable. She blessed my heart in several ways. I realize she’s the new one to the mix, but feel like you hired a gem that fills an appropriate need.

Next, Abel! What can I say about this man that works extremely hard in ALL he does?  He has one speed until things get done and yet, is never rattled. I was amazed by his work ethic, his love of Pablo and Jess, and how he served and loved us, too. This is definitely his God-given gift, as well.

Pablo, spirit-filled, Pablo. This young man is anointed!!! He is the definition of, 1Timothy 4:12, Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but, set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. He’s the real deal!! The devotions he provided everyday and talks along the way…The Lord’s spirit flowed in and through him. He challenged me, encouraged me, loved me, inspired me.

These three served us (the children of FCI and the people of Guatemala) with ALL their hearts. The time they spent with us and NOT with their own families, is mind boggling to me. They were with us 15-18 hour day! Is this required? I don’t know the answer to that…but, each served us until they felt their job was done, however long that took. NOW I KNOW WHY MY SON HAS RETURNED FOR HIS THIRD TRIP!!! Why pieces to our hearts are often left there…it’s the purest of love…God’s love that lives there, abundant and fulfilling!

Thank you so much for your obedience to this mission of FCI. You are on my prayer list, along with the organization as a whole, children, special moms, Pablo, Abel, Jessica. Praying for discernment as you move forward, vision for the future, and for your need right now. I can honestly say…I left my heart there, too. I am in love with everything about it. May the Lord continue to richly bless you, FCI, and your own families.

Thank you for letting me share what’s on my heart.

Love & Blessings,

Debbie