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Posts Tagged ‘Dorie’s Promise’

Poverty in Guatemala

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A boy wandering in the trash at the Guatamal City dump.

By MJ Zelaya-

As the trucks come into the dump working rush to sort through the rubble.Not only does Africa contain some of the poorest countries in the world, but there is also one country in the Americas, a very small country called Guatemala, where people exist and live in inhumane conditions.

And it’s hard to say this when you are talking about the country where you were born.

Poverty can be defined generally as a situation in which households or individuals do not have sufficient resources or skills to meet the needs of those individuals. In the national survey of living conditions in 2011, more than 13 million inhabitants, above 50% of the population in Guatemala live below the poverty line— with more than seven million people living in extreme poverty.

And it’s why thousands of Guatemalans decide to emigrate to other countries, risking their lives simply to seek better opportunities. Poverty in Guatemala is cataloged in two ways, from “poor” to “extreme poverty.” People living in extreme poverty live on $1 a day. That dollar is supposed to cover their basic needs, and in reality they have only one: eat to survive.

A vicious circle is created over generations that is hard to escape because you have such limited options: without education the new generation follows the same pattern… work hard to get the minimum to eat and survive, or die.

Children, like this girl are the most vunerable to poverty's effects.It’s a daunting but very real scenario. Just walk around the cities of Guatemala — you can see people in need in the streets, poor people trying to get by with God’s help, needing Him to be true to what it says in Scripture: give us today our daily bread (Mathew 6:11).

A lot of those who are better off try to indulge being islands, keeping to themselves — no matter what is happening around them, they are only satisfying their OWN needs and forgetting God’s heart — to help the poor.

And that’s why Forever Changed International supports those in need, working to meet the many needs Guatemalans suffer. 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. Apply for a trip today!

Coming to Guatemala is a real eye-opener. The suffering will change your mind and your point of view. It will show you how many are truly hungry, and that you have been privileged to be born and raised in a country with a multitude of opportunities —a very different life to live. Even more so it will help you gain a kingdom perspective. One mission tripper put it this way, “Seeing their hearts for the Lord displayed with Dorie’s Promise children, the communities we visited and with our team was very impacting on us. Every person on our team has expressed the positive life experience our time at Dorie’s Promise has produced.”

A home in the ghettoBut poverty is affecting many things in our country: starving children are being exploited physically, emotionally, and sexually — a reason why Dorie’s Promise, our orphan home in Guatemala, is so important.

Dorie’s Promise Guatemala changes the lives of those most vulnerable to poverty’s effects – children. They come to us lacking the emotional, physical, mental, and, most important of all, spiritual fundamentals they need to break free from the cycle of poverty. You have the opportunity to lift a child out of poverty and into a loving home by becoming a sponsor! Sponsorship does more than just provide them with the basics of life – food and shelter.  Your sponsorship fills their life with love, hope, education, and care.

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.

Mission Program Updates

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Missions Team - Von Hausen

My team has learned what it means to have compassion for others. The kind of compassion that enters your gut and compels you to do something.

By Pablo Villagran-

Mission Program Updates - Phot provided by Cayce DossettGod has been so merciful and faithful in every single step of this program. We have learned to give Him the glory for everything and in every moment. He has shaped this program into what He wants it to be. We have learned to trust the Lord and to know He is the pilot — we only have to enjoy the ride.

Teams have come with us and have connected with our kids here at Dorie’s. Our kids have learned to make friends and to trust people again. They love to have “missioners,” as they call, them around. They often come to me to ask if any are coming because they know they will be able to receive and give so much love and attention. Our mission program has become very important for the kids here at Dorie’s.

I would love to thank every person who came this last summer and loved our kids. Some relationships and connections impacted them in many positive ways.

Unfortunately, our missions outreach was affected by the news that the community of Linda Vista was removed from their territory. They had been fighting a legal battle for their land for more than two years, but in the end they lost the land— the buildings as well as about 100 families were removed. It was a tragedy for us. We couldn’t do anything about it, but we know that God is in control. Of course, the families were devastated. In past years, whenever there is an eviction, many people die trying to defend the land. But the Gospel was deep inside these people’s hearts and no one fought — they all left there in peace, not in tragedy.

For me personally it was a crisis. It marked my life. I have heard from a good friend that crises refine your life. I think it molded my character to have more compassion for the homeless and the poor. The community is waiting for the government to get a new place to start a community again. Many were touched by this place and the people. They are the most rejected people in my country, and that’s where we work. I believe Jesus would have done the same thing. So I thank everyone for how you have invested in this place.

Aside from the changes in some of these plans, we have seen how other doors are being opened to new opportunities to help others in need. We are constantly working to help and support places that are making a big difference in their communities:

Panaroma of Guatemala CityThe first one, is Casa de Pan (Bread house). This is a feeding center that helps 260 kids who live and work in the dump of Guatemala City. Pastor Mercedez has shown many people what it means to work for the poor and to have compassion for the one who has less. Years before, she used to be one of those kids who would dig in the garbage to find food for her siblings because her parents, addicted to drugs, were not providing. She knew her purpose in life was to help kids who live in extreme poverty.

The second one is hogar estatal (a state orphanage). They currently have 700 children but only the capacity for 400. The kids living in these conditions are exposed to abuse. The state of Guatemala at some point looks like it doesn’t know what to do with them.

Our program is focusing right now on their facilities. We want these children to have a nice environment to grow in, and we are working with the kids, teaching them the Gospel and how it has changed our lives … and it could change theirs!

The third option: Luz del Paraiso (Light of Paradise). Located in Palencia, it is a place helping 60 children with food and tutoring classes. But the children here suffer malnutrition, poverty, and violence in their home life. The program is run by college students. We support this place and the homes around it with different infrastructure and water projects. They just received a land grant, for the next 20 years, donated by the municipality to do their project. We will support them as much as we can.

Luz del Paraiso (Light of Paradise)We have also started visiting an abandoned school in a place call El Palmar, Palencia. We realize that because it is far away, the help doesn’t get there … but there are plenty of opportunities for us to help.

It is clear there are many places that need your support. You can donate to give to a community, water, educational, or health project, and we will use it in the best way.

And that “best way” is to come on a mission trip. Every single week is different. But God has called us to help the poor.

You might have the idea that you are coming to give so much, but in reality you will receive much more in return.

I think God is opening doors to us to help people in need in different places. He has given us a Kingdom vision so that we can work with other organizations for the sake of that Kingdom.

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!

Special Mothers : The Heart Behind Our Home

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Dorie's Promise Special Mothers

By MJ Zelya-

A Special Mother play in the water with our children during a recent trip to the beach.Everyone who does the work of a Special Mother at Dorie’s Promise has an important role in the lives of our children that will be remembered for the rest of their lives. If not by a name, it will be by a loving gesture, good manners that have become a habit, polite character, and an appreciation of how valuable life is. But the top goal of being a Special Mother is to show our children that there is a living God.

We want them to know that God is our Father, that He takes care of us, that everything in life happens according to God’s loving plan. They can feel free to talk and pray to Him. All of us want to pass on faith in God and the hope He gives for their future.

Each of the Special Mothers, supervisors, staff, and drivers are motivated by the most important thing in this world: LOVE.

Love for the Lord and love for the children. As Scripture says:

If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

—1 Corinthians 13:3-8 (NIV)

The value of the work the Special Mothers and other staff do for our children is immeasurable. It’s not easy raising so many children of the same age at the same time, but because they have a foundation of love in their hearts, they can Two of our older children, Mirna and Brayan, with one of the Special Motherscontinue to work with joy despite the difficulties that are bound to arise.

When we do activities with the children, one thing that touches my heart is the way they act like a family — protecting each other, worrying about each other, looking out to make sure no one is missing out. The children at our home show the fruits of love as they grow. The love we give them they not only return to us, but also show each other. Life hasn’t always been easy or pleasant for these children, yet they find that Dorie’s Promise is an oasis where they have everything they need: food, toys, a nice bed, medical assistance, protection, and people who genuinely love and care for them.

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.

A Taste for Being Wronged

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

A Taste for Being Wronged

Part thirteen of our new 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 RaduLoving junk food is easy, isn’t it? In America any supermarket or gas station is sure to have an unbelievable selection of junk, usually wrapped up in a brightly colored package. When we were children those treats were nearly irresistible, weren’t they? Crunchy chips and sticky, sweet candy bars were like treasures.

In comparison to junk food healthy food can seem pretty unappealing, at least at first. If you are a junk food junkie, you have to train your body (and your taste buds) to prefer the good stuff. Once you do, though, you will feel healthier, and you will be able to appreciate a wider variety of flavors. In other words, you will be better off in the long run.

Living out the gospel also requires us to make some choices that leave a bad taste in our mouths. For instance, did you realize that following the gospel requires us to cultivate a willingness to be wronged? Think about what Jesus taught us in Matthew 5:39-42.

But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

Jesus does not tell us to strike back or defend our rights. Instead, he said to give, and to be even more generous than the one who is doing wrong to us expects. That is not popular advice!

When you are ministering to the poor, you will be taken advantage of. You will be wronged. Greedy people will come along to take what they should not have, but when that happens you should be encouraged. That means you are doing something right. Continue to serve those people (but make sure those who are truly in need are being served as well). It could be that your generosity—your willingness to be wronged—will finally show them where they are going wrong. After all, that is exactly what Jesus did for us!

Maria Jose and Franco : A Very Special Pair of Siblings

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Maria Jose and her brother Franco

By MJ Zelya-

Maria Jose is very protective of her younger brother Franco.Maria Jose and Franco are siblings who entered Dorie’s Promise by court order because their birth mother abandoned them (and their younger sister Hilary) at a relative’s house. Their aunt couldn’t keep them due to the lack of economic resources, so they were sent to our home. At first the three of them came; Hilary’s birth father now has custody of her. For Maria Jose and Franco’s case, the judge decided to leave them at Dorie’s Promise because they don’t have relatives who want to support or take care of them. However, just recently they have been declared adoptable*, and the CNA (national adoption agency) is looking to place them with a loving Guatemalan family.

They are very special and loving kids. Anxious to be adopted, they say they want to be part of a family that will give them love and education, but they do not want to be split apart. Pray with us for a family to be found that will take both of them in and provide them with plenty of love and care.

Franco is an active child with a free spirit. He is all boy: running, jumping, and climbing. He also enjoys playing soccer. If you visit Dorie’s Promise, he will be delighted to play against you.

Maria Jose is also very active. She is very responsible and loves to help the Special Mothers with the chores. Besides that, she likes to play dolls with the other girls.

Maria Jose and Franco playing together in the backyard of Dorie's Promise“Maria Jose is a loving girl, smart, active, and very protective with her brother,” says Special Mother Lorena. “She loves to do crafts and share with us what she has learned at school. She is very spontaneous when she is talking; she always wants to be the first to answer when someone is asking a question. She is becoming more mature and secure in herself.”

Marleny, another Special Mother, says of Franco, “He is a smart boy. Sometimes he gets a little bit angry, but he is learning to control his impulsive behavior. He follows instructions perfectly and is usually very obedient. He is a big brother for the other kids. Franco is always on the lookout for his sister and wants to spend time with her.”

Lucky, a teacher, adds, “Franco is a bold, intelligent, and very independent boy. He also has a special sensitivity to what happens to others. Maria Jose is a smart girl. She likes to pay attention and read books. She is very clever.”

While they wait to be placed with a Forever Family, we are privileged to take care of Maria Jose and Franco. You can help us care for them by becoming a sponsor. You’ll get regular updates on how they are doing, including pictures, video, and written updates. You’ll be a part of our extended family at Dorie’s Promise. Prayerfully consider becoming a sponsor. By choosing to do so today, you are helping us meet the educational, emotional, welfare, and spiritual needs of both children — while helping change their lives for eternity!

 

*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008