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Fall Mission Trips

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Fall/Winter Trips: Book Now!

Fall and Winter are a great time to visit Guatemala

As summer draws to a close, so will the busiest time of year for mission trips to Guatemala. However, with many schools now scheduling fall breaks and more people working independently or with flexible time schedules, you may want to consider booking a trip to Dorie’s Promise during the next few months.

Throughout September and October (including Oct. 31 to Nov. 7), the normal $1,100 per person charge will be discounted to $900. Missions Coordinator Naomi Beazley says the discount helps sustain our program by encouraging visitors to come during a slower season.

Missions Director Pablo Villigran calls Guatemala the “country of the eternal spring,” with pretty weather throughout the year.

Our mission driector Pablo with Brayan at Dorie's Promise.“Fall and winter are the rainy season for us, but mornings are normally sunny,” Pablo says. “Plus, with global warming we’ve had drought conditions this year, which kept weather fairly sunny during the last rainy season.”

Sponsorship Coordinator Charity Danielson says a mission trip to Dorie’s Promise represents a life-changing experience. In addition, coming in the fall or winter will mean volunteers will be able to participate with smaller teams.

“Smaller teams make for more intimacy and group cohesiveness,” she says. “It also allows for more one-on-one time with our staff and children. Fall and winter months are generally much more comfortable too.”

Special projects are planned for upcoming months as well. Dorie’s Promise just finished building a school and Pablo is searching for another community in hopes of building one this fall.

The children of Dorie's Promise love spending time with missions teams.Until he finds a specific location, volunteers will be visiting a community in Palencia, about an hour from Guatemala City. The plan is to bring in donations and help repair the homes by installing new roofs, concrete floors, stoves with ventilation systems, and water filters.

Since this community is so far away and up in the hillsides of Guatemala, they rarely get teams coming in to help, Naomi says. Not only is it quite a commitment to go out so far, the dirt terrain makes for slow going.

“The team will be taking our new van,” she says, “but then will need to transfer to a city bus to get the rest of the way. I did this trip on my last visit to Guatemala. This is a very quiet community with beautiful land and humble people.

“They will be so blessed to have families and teams come this fall and winter if we can get more people to visit.”

To find out more, click here.

Alejandra’s Forever Family

Wednesday, August 26th, 2015

Alejandra with her forever family.

By MJ Zelya-

Alejandra came to Dorie’s Promise by court order in March 2010, when she was only 25 days old. When we received her she was very tiny and suffering from several health problems — predominantly acute respiratory illnesses.

Little Alejandra in March of 2011.We were sad to know that she had been abandoned by her mother. What we didn’t realize at the time was that she also had an older brother who was sent to another home. He was adopted by a Guatemalan family when he was 2 (he is now 8).*

Alejandra received good care at our home, and after many treatments to control her health conditions she was getting sick less often. Dr. Castro has helped her come out of the crisis, and she began to grow stronger.

A couple of weeks ago, The CNA (Central Adoption Authority) informed us that they had a family for Alejandra, the same family that adopted her brother from the other home!

After all the paperwork was completed, they granted the family and Alejandra a period of time to get to know each other. They came every day to visit her at our home and spent time getting to know more about Alejandra. When the CNA was sure that Alejandra was ready to leave, Alejandra was finally reunited with her brother and went to live with her adoptive family on August 7, 2015.

She was so excited! She knew she was going home with her Forever Family. She took her backpack and the gifts she had received from school and said good-bye to the Special Mothers and the children at Dorie’s Promise.

As you know, our home is a place where children who come into our care and protection will never be the same. Whether they were with us for a short time or a long time, there is always a change — a change that will remain with them as they become adults. We know each child was rescued from their previous situation for a reason and that God has worked everything together according to His plan. That’s why we’re called Forever Changed!

Alejandra in June 2015; shortly before being adopted.When we know one of the children is leaving Dorie’s Promise, it fills us with sadness — but also with a sense of satisfaction. Such is the case with Alejandra. She’s been with us almost since the day she was born. We will miss her a lot, but we know that having a family is her heart’s desire.

Lucky, our home’s teacher, says of Alejandra, “She is a very smart girl. At first it was difficult for her to adapt to school. We needed to work hard on her motor skills and language. The hard work paid off, because we’ve heard great comments from her school. The teacher said that Alejandra was always willing to learn, help, and share with her classmates.

“Something that was very impressive for a girl of her age is that Alejandra always wanted to do homework. If she did not bring homework home, sometimes she cried because she wanted to do something. She enjoyed doing pages of letters, painting, and cutting.”

When we see our children so happy to learn, being responsible, and grateful to God, the purpose of this ministry shines through. It’s a challenge, a responsibility, and a big commitment. But I have always thought of it like we are helping God here on the earth to do His work, taking care of His flock. That’s why we joyfully receive the children who come here — because God has a purpose for their time with us!

We wish Alejandra a happy life full of love with her new family!

*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008

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.

Meet Sheily: A Little Ray of Sunshine

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Sheily is a little ray of sunshine.

By MJ Zelya-

Sheily will turn two later this month.Sheily came to Dorie’s Promise when she was 2 months old because she was abandoned by her biological mother. The last we’ve heard is that her mother is alcoholic and homeless. Because her biological family abandoned her and she was declared adoptable and CNA is looking for a Guatemalan family* to adopt her.

When Sheily was born she was suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. This has caused her some developmental troubles such has being slow to gain height. She also has sign of emerging attention deficit hyperactivity. Yet with the loving care given to her at our home her development is getting better, and she is gaining weight.

Despite of the circumstances; she is a little ray of sunshine!!!

At first, she ignored people in order to avoid contact. After all the affection she has received at Dorie’s, she has become just the opposite. She waves at everyone that passes in front of her. As soon as she hears a song, she starts to dance and jump around. She has become a little parrot, she repeats everything!

Sheily outside with her Special mother going for a little walk.She is turning two this month, and she might not seem that age, but she has the skills! Through the early stimulation program, the Special Mothers help her learn new skills in the mornings and afternoons. Now she walks around the Home by herself, supervised of course, and whenever she enters a room she greets everyone.

Like most two-year-old’s when she is sleepy or hungry, she gets a little bit grouchy. She loves to play with balls, stuffed animals or dolls with José Carlos and Dulce. They love it when the Special Mothers let them be together in the same crib. It’s their little play date!!!

She is a loving girl and loves to be hugged and kissed, and she needs your support. When you sponsor an orphan like Sheily you help us provide the love and care that she needs. Care that goes beyond just providing for daily survival, we provide the children at our home the kind of care any parent would want for their own children. Sponsor Sheily today!

*International Adoptions in Guatemala closed in 2008

 

Special Mission Trips

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

The children showing affection.

By Bradley Burck-

Thinking you want to go on a mission trip to Guatemala but don’t exactly have the money. Now you can go! This fall we are offering a discount of $200 per person on the following weeks.

•  8/29/15-9/5/15
•  9/5/15-9/12/15
•  10/17/15-10/24/15
•  10/24/15/10/31/15
•  10/31/15-11/07/15

Bring yourself… or your family… or your youth group… or church small group. The price is right! We need you to come and visit. These weeks are wide open right now and your visit will help us financially be able to run Dorie’s Promise.

Come and enjoy playing with the kids, helping people in the surrounding communities, and generally enjoying a beautiful time of the year in Guatemala.

Make sure to email Naomi Beazely or give us a call at 360-836-7626.

Seeking the Forgotten and Needy: Missions at Forever Changed International

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

There are 40 children in this community called “el Trapichito,” who had been receiving classes under a tree, but later moved into someone’s garage for class.

By Pablo Villagran –

Serving together at “el Trapichito.”During the time we have been doing missions in different communities around Guatemala we have learned so much. Our goal has always been to serve people and to display God’s love and grace in everything we do. As our connections have grown in the last few years, we have reached out to more areas. Currently we are working with 6 different communities that are located in Guatemala City and in a town called Palencia close to the city.

At Forever Changed International and Dorie’s Promise the focus is on changing the lives of children, and we want to keep that same vision in our projects outside our home. So we constantly seek the forgotten children of Guatemala and we try to change their situation.

One step a time, and with a lot of perseverance God has allowed us to meet people in need and effectively supply their needs. These needs aren’t always material things- sometimes they are in need of love, grace or validation, and we have the responsibility and privilege as ambassadors of Christ to serve them.

The main project we have this summer is building a school for a community that lives in extreme poverty.

There are 40 children in this community called “el Trapichito,” who had been receiving classes under a tree, but later moved into someone’s garage for class. We noticed that there was a big need for school Serving the communities around Guatemala Cityfacilities but the local government didn’t have the funds. We started working with the municipality of Palencia, members of the community and Forever Changed to provide these children a better future by building a better school. We are hoping to complete a school that will have 3 classrooms and bathrooms by the end of the summer.

All of this is possible because of the generosity and support of many people that believe in changing the future of some of the children, they may have never met, in a community called “el Trapichito.” But we need more help and more people to get involved in order to keep the work moving forward.

Besides this project we also continue to provide help to other communities with different types of projects like concrete floors, stoves, bunk beds, pilas, water filters, clothing, hygiene supplies and many other things. God always amazes me that when these community projects open doors, the Gospel of Christ comes in and people are changed. It shows that in God’s eyes we are all the same and that He cares so much about our lives.

These projects open the door for the Gospel of Christ.We change lives forever with our children here at Dorie’s Promise and we want to spread that change into every community that we visit. God loves everybody!

Come and visit us this fall! The following mission trips are discounted $200 off per person! Don’t miss this chance to serve with us and see our projects firsthand. Apply Today.

o   8/29/15-9/5/15

o   9/5/15-9/12/15

o   10/17/15-10/24/15

o   10/24/15/10/31/15

o   10/31/15-11/07/15

 

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.

Our Prayer Team: Get Involved Today!

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

A special mother saying prayer with one of the children.

By Prayer Team Coordinator, Arwen McGilvra –

A boy at our home praying.Our prayer team is an important extension of our ministry. As is says in Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.*”  In my Bible the passage this verse is found in is called Love in Action. It starts out with the admonishment  “Love must be sincere.*” Romans 12:9.

Prayer is a way you can put your love for orphans into action.

God hears and answers your prayers from afar. His power isn’t limited by proximity. Praying for our home in Guatemala doesn’t require you to be physically present. That’s way we want to invite you to join our prayer team. When you join you’ll receive a monthly update from our ministry outlining some of our current prayer needs.

Here is an excerpt from our latest prayer letter:

Join with us this month in praying:

  • For the Lord to provide enough to fulfill the needs of Dories Promise’s and all of our children.
  • For health and wellness for all of our employees.
  • Praise the Lord for the Mission Teams coming this summer. Pray that they would see blessings in their lives for everything they had given to our children.
  • For the Lord to protect and bless the life of Alejandra Diaz, our director in Guatemala.
  • For the Lord to help us solve every hard situation that may come our way and that we would always trust in Him during those situations.
  • Pray for the Lord to protect our children and our drivers on their rides to school and other locations around town.
  • For guidance for the new staff members on our team. Pray that they would have wisdom in the care of our children.
  • Ask God to heal our children who have had chronic health issues. Especially pray that Josue’s would heal completely, and for Efrain’s eyesight.

Get Involved Now

*emphasis by the blog author.

Extracurricular Activities: Karate Classes

Friday, June 12th, 2015

The Sensei with his students at Dorie's Promise

By MJ Zelya –

Karate helps our children learn respect and self-discipline.Part of the responsibility as a home-shelter for our children is to ensure not only intellectual development, but also good physical and emotional development as well. So besides education, developing the children’s physical abilities and motor skills is one of our priorities — including extracurricular classes … like karate!

Karate is useful in many ways. It can serve as a method of self-defense, and is also one of the most complete physical and mental sports for young people, encouraging bone and muscle development. The children have fun while learning discipline, tolerance, and respect.

The benefits of this martial art include:

  • Improvement of psychomotor coordination.
  • Development of skills, reflexes, and reactions.
  • A boost in energy.
  • Development of discipline and respect for those around us.
  • An increase in concentration.
  • Helping the child know how to control himself.
  • Improvement in values, such as tolerance and responsibility.
  • Helping generate confidence.
  • Development of strength, balance, speed, and flexibility.

Karate help development of skills, reflexes, and reactions.Gaby, our Children Development Coordinator, says: “Our kids are very excited about their karate lessons. At first, I thought that only our boys were going to participate, but as the girls watched them, they became more interested. Our sensei agreed to have boys and girls. Now, most of our boys and girls are training in karate every Tuesday and Thursday. They are divided into two groups according to their age range.

“We have observed the benefits of karate lessons. Since they are exercising, they feel happier and healthier. They are learning self-control and discipline through the routines. They are also starting to practice meditation as a tool for self-control. This will help them all their lives to reduce stress and handle everyday situations in a better way.”

Thanks to our sponsors, we have the opportunity to give our children the tools to be confident, respectful, and in control of situations that they will undoubtedly face in the future. By becoming a sponsor you can help us ensure that we will be able to continue offering our children opportunities like these.

The Orphan Train

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

The Orphan Train on display at the opening gala for the Artisan Express.

By Dr. Cari Burck –

The trains base is being painted with some help from my son and his friend.I always thought I would be the mother and have a lot of children in my home. I had no idea God put that desire in my heart so that we could help start and run an orphanage in Guatemala. A lot of our family’s time, energy, and resources go to helping run Dorie’s Promise Guatemala. I help make the decisions about private schools, remodeling bedrooms, hiring chefs who understand nutrition, and coordinating care with our physician.

In many ways, I feel like the mother of the forty children we care for. I don’t get to hug on them and love on them face-to-face like I want. Still, I know they are getting everything they need to grow, thrive, and have the chance to be exactly who God created them to be in this world. My dream is that some of these children will grow up and solve the orphan problem in Guatemala.

Along with help from my friend, Michelle De Monnin—who owns De The Orphan Train on display in Hungtinton, WVMonnin’s Art Studio in Milton, Washington, we created The Orphan Train for the project. Originating as a fund-raiser for the new Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell Huntington Hospital, the Artisans Express project has become much more. The City of Huntington, WV teamed up with the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital and the Cabell Huntington Hospital Auxiliary to launch a collaborative art initiative called All Aboard! Artisans Express 2015.

Artists from throughout the Tri-State region applied their creativity to 40 fiberglass train engines that are on display throughout the city until fall. Afterwards, the trains will be sold in an auction to benefit the children’s hospital. Michelle helped take my idea for this train and bring it to life. She did the poster and designed the decals for the train. She is the co-artist for this project and I want to make sure she gets credit for that. She is also an adoptive mother of the most beautiful little girl from India, named Chloe. To say there is not a little bit of Chloe in this project just wouldn’t be true.

A lot of people came along side us and helped. My father-in-law, Don Burck, and my friend, Frank Schuler, spent time trying to figure out what we could do with the base. One of my favorite ideas from them was covering it with rocks.

My friend, Mike Emerson, at Huntington Steel figured out how to make the springs on the top of the train come to life. He also consulted on different ideas for the base. Without him, I think I would still be trying to apply coats of fiberglass to it. Mike finally said, “Just wrap the original wood base in metal and paint it.” I also need to give credit to the guys at Paris Signs for their work. Tony Wheeler there is a friend, helping take Mike’s concept for the springs to the next level. Paris also did the decals of the children and made the metal base for us. The painting on the base is—for good or bad—all mine and based on Michelle’s concept.

The Orphan Train on Display and Up CloseWhen people see my train, I want them to feel love for children.

I want them to be reminded that there are children everywhere who need them—especially in our region. There are so many ways to help. Adoption is the ultimate way to help, but not everybody can do that. Foster care is another way to help change lives. There are local kids that need you! I know adoption and foster care overwhelm people. That’s okay. Not everybody can do that, but everybody can do a monthly sponsorship or give a gift to an organization that cares for orphans.

That’s my message with this train: look around you and jump on the opportunities to change life for children who don’t have parents.

The train will be auctioned off later this year. You can bid on The Orphan Train here.

Read more about the Artisans Express project here- Public Art Inspires.