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Posts Tagged ‘Missions’

Maintaining Your Post Trip Impact

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

ost of our trip participants leave with a desire to share their experience with everyone they meet. But how can you put into words a life changing experience?

By Kelly Shank –

Mission Trips to Dorie's Promise are life changing!Thousands of people have visited Dorie’s Promise as part of our missions teams and many thousands more have been impacted by their stories after they returned home.

Visiting our home and experiencing Guatemala firsthand is certainly one of the most impactful ways to learn about Forever Changed International but don’t underestimate the impact you can have when you return home. People will see the impact of your trip and you don’t want to miss out on opportunities to educate others about how you were changed and the important work we’re doing in Guatemala.

The sights and experiences of Guatemala are eye-opening and energizing. Most of our trip participants leave with a desire to share their experience with everyone they meet. But how can you put into words a life changing experience? Before you begin overloading all those around you it’s important that you take time to do two important things: 1) Debrief and Process and 2) Refine your story.

Debrief and Process

Much like our nightly debriefs at Dorie’s Promise, processing your experience and return home will be essential as you begin to incorporate your Guatemala experiences into your normal life. The new memories, emotions, experiences, and perspective can be overwhelming because what you saw in Guatemala changes how you think about the life you return to. Find a friend or family member who is willing to listen to your stories, help you process what you experienced, and sort out how it impacts your life going forward. Don’t rush this very important process.

Refine Your Story

The children of Dorie's Promise can't wait to meet you.Your story is personal and although all of the intricate details are important parts of your experience, what you share will be determined by your audience. After you return home you will inevitably encounter people with a wide range of interest levels about your trip, ranging from polite acknowledgment to wholehearted interest. Your job as our ambassador is to tailor your story to best meet their needs. Combine your most impactful moments with their areas of interest to find authentic connection.

The secret of Dorie’s Promise is finding our people, those who truly understand what we do and are committed to helping us impact Guatemala. You are key to helping us identify and expand our tribe.

As you return to your normal routines we hope that you will incorporate us into your daily life. Here’s some easy ways to be an everyday ambassador for Forever Changed International and Dorie’s Promise:

  1. Share our stories on your social media. When one of these stories touches you—share it. Add your personal thoughts to help people connect even more. (Find us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!)
  2. Incorporate us into your daily life—pray for our children, the staff, and our ministry; wear your FCI shirt proudly as you go about your busy day; display pictures from your trip to remind yourself of your experience and prompt others to inquire.
  3. Join with family and friends to sponsor one of our children. Then share together each time you get a sponsor update.
  4. Be consistent. Keep sharing about our ministry.
  5. Be prepared. Be ready to answer questions and tell your story in a relatable way.

Ready to visit Dorie’s Promise? Why not consider taking advantage of our discounted travel weeks this fall?

Want to do even more on behalf of Forever Changed International? Consider becoming a Partner of Hope.

Orphan Care through Missions

Monday, August 7th, 2017

A child get her lunch from Pastor Mercedez lunch program.

By Kelly Shank –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fall Mission Trips

Thursday, July 13th, 2017

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

By Naomi Beazely –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, send me an e-mail.

Generous Donation – “We Wanted to Help.”

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Photo Provided By Bryan and Rachel Kreitz

By Heather Radu –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saying Good-Bye to Missions Director Pablo Villagran

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

Pablo with children from Dorie's Promise.

By Heather Radu –

Pablo recently joined the United Nations’ public information department in Guatemala City. We received news recently that both excites and disappoints us. We are thrilled over the possibilities opening up for Pablo Villagran, but are sad to see him depart as our Missions Director.

Pablo recently joined the United Nations’ public information department in Guatemala City. Though not an easy decision to make, Pablo is confident that this where God wants him to be.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity to work with Forever Changed International for four years,” says Pablo, who started with us as a ministry assistant. “I truly enjoyed my time here.

I have experienced many highlights, such as getting to be a part of children’s lives, working with so many missions teams, building schools, and supporting programs that will benefit hundreds of children in vulnerable areas.”

Moving forward, we will rely on four different mission trip leaders to coordinate volunteer missionaries’ visits. They will work in rotating teams of two or three, depending on the size of each group.

Missions Coordinator Naomi Beazely spent nearly two weeks in Guatemala to help facilitate the hiring and training of new team leaders. We have hired three motivated and passionate leaders. The fourth is expected soon.

“We have been able to spend time getting to know each of them personally,” Naomi says. “We have started training, and they are all excited to meet the teams this summer. As I go home, I am confident in our staff to continue to train and support them.”

Pablo racing with some of the children from Dorie's Promise.Granted, these new leaders will have big shoes to fill. Pablo built an amazing community program by personally visiting different areas and creating relationships with various community leaders.

Naomi says such relationships built trust and an understanding of the need to better residents’ lives. Because of that, she is confident the foundation established since 2013 will continue to expand.

“We have been able to work with families by building up their spiritual strength, education and living conditions,” Naomi says. “Pablo was very successful because when he listened to the needs of these families, he not only thought of how we could help them immediately, but also how to help better their future.”

Pablo says working with Forever Changed International showed him the overwhelming needs within Guatemala and how much progress remains to be made.

During his time, Pablo documented many harsh realities, but also helped empower Guatemalans and bring solutions to those in need. His experience included working with the orphan crisis and helping children who suffered from abuse and abandonment.

“Dorie’s Promise helped me a lot in preparing for my new position,” Pablo says. “I have a hard time saying good-bye, so I will just say until next time.”

It is hard for us to say good-bye to Pablo too, but we wish him the best.

School Completed in Santa Elena

Monday, May 1st, 2017

At long last, the school that Dorie’s Promise and more than 25 of our volunteer mission teams helped build is nearly complete.

By Heather Radu –

At long last, the school that Dorie’s Promise and more than 25 of our volunteer mission teams helped build is nearly complete.Located in Santa Elena, about an hour from Guatemala City, there are presently 100 children enrolled there. When the 2018 school year starts next January, more than 260 students, ages 5 to 14, are expected to attend.

Located in Santa Elena, about an hour from Guatemala City, there are presently 100 children enrolled there. When the 2018 school year starts next January, more than 260 students, ages 5 to 14, are expected to attend.

FCI coordinated the project through city hall and community leaders. Construction started in April of 2016 and was finished in February.

The final touches will be installation of a retaining wall and drainpipe. Members of Bethany Lutheran Church in Connecticut have donated funds to purchase the materials.

Pablo Villagran, who recently stepped down as DP’s missions director, coordinated most of the project. This school is invaluable to the people of Santa Elena, who have been waiting for a school for more than 30 years.

In the past, residents took their children to another school across the highway. Sadly, several kids lost their lives trying to cross the busy road to attend this crowded, overpopulated school.

Sergio Mejia was the architect in charge of the design and logistics. The project became a reality because of the great financial support of Ronald Hille.

Because of limited storage space, a fluctuating number of masons, and changing weather, we decided to complete the construction in stages. We finished the foundation, walls and flooring for the first module before moving on to the second.

The steps for each module included installation of the roof, bathrooms and septic tank, doors and windows, perimeter, painting, and interior systems—lighting, electricity and plumbing.

Because of limited storage space, a fluctuating number of masons, and changing weather, we decided to complete the construction in stages. We faced challenges along the way. There was an agreement that FCI would be the benefactor, supplying all materials and coordinating the work. Meanwhile, the municipality was to provide much of the manpower. However, on some days only one or two workers came to the site, which slowed construction. We wound up having to hire a couple workers to help for six weeks.

In addition, after work had begun, municipal leaders pressed for changes in the design. We adapted the design to fulfill their requests.

Even though most of the construction is complete, the school will require ongoing maintenance. Among the recommendations are painting the classrooms annually to avoid moisture damage to the walls, cleaning the septic tank every two years, and applying waterproofing to the roof every five years to avoid oxidation.

Needless to say, the mission teams who supplemented the ongoing construction at the school, were invaluable to this effort. This is a great success for FCI as an organization. It is also a great motivator for our ministry to keep working on behalf of people living in vulnerable areas.

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

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

A Mission group at Dorie's Promise

By MJ Zelya –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alejandra our home director says:

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

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

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

New School in 2016 : Missions Project with Dorie’s Promise

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Missions Project with Dorie's Promise | Community Leaders Greet Volunteers from FCI.

By Pablo Villigran –

Boys outside of the school Dorie's Promise Missions Team Built in 2015.Our mission program has accomplished many things since I’ve been a part of Dorie’s Promise Guatemala, and now we are moving to a new level of help and service. While keeping our focus on the mission to help the forgotten children of Guatemala we are taking it a step further to focus on education.

We are building a new school this year. This will be our second school and with this school we want to start a training program for teachers, to help them implement better teaching techniques and teaching resources.

We have just started building the school. A team from Connecticut helped us with the foundation. We can’t thank them enough for their long hours of work.

Plans for the new school

Plans for the new school.

Working on the foundation for the new school.The logistics for a project of this size are not easy. In order to accomplish this big of a project we are working together with the community members and mayor of Palencia, an architect, missions teams and the Forever Changed International staff. We understand that a building doesn’t come together without the work of many hand.

This new school represents a big change for the children of Palencia— a change for the better. Imagine after meeting in makeshift classrooms, under trees or in a garage, having a real classroom. For communities in poverty, education is a powerful tool for change in the lives of children.

There is no doubt that real change comes through the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that will always be our first priority. Yet as God opens doors for Forever Changed International to build relationships with communities, it also opens up opportunities for the Gospel.

Our Goal is to keep building the school and finish it by the end of the summer with help from all the teams who will be visiting Dorie’s Promise. If you’d like to be a part of the project we still have openings on the summer schedule.  You can apply online and begin your journey to Guatemala today. And please contact us if you have any questions.

You can also be praying with us for this project. Ask for Gods provision and guidance to be with us. Finally you can donate to the project, just write “Palencia School” in the comment section when you give. It is through partners like you that we can continue to forever change the lives of children!

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!

Taking The Experience Home: Farrah Carmen’s Story

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Farrah (Center) with children from Dorie's Promise.

By FCI Team –

Farrah ( on right) at the Miss Canada Globe pageantWe recently spoke with Farrah Carmen about how her experience at Dorie’s Promise inspired her as she competed in a recent pageant. Farrah used her mission trip experience in an essay as part of the Miss Canada Globe application process, and then advocated for Forever Changed International (FCI) before a panel of judges explaining why it was her charity of choice. When people like Farrah, and our Partners of Hope, share their passion for our children and home they help raise not only awareness, they also make caring connections for orphans. By speaking for orphans they are giving voice to those who typically have no voice.

We thank Farrah and all those like her who take their experiences on the mission field home with them – who invite others to be sponsors, who excite their friend and family into serving with us, and who help others give meaningfully. Thank You. (For more information about becoming a Partner of Hope click here.)

Interview with Farrah Carmen:

  1. Where did you hear about FCI or Dorie’s Promise?

I was researching different mission trips online, and I came across Forever Changed International during my research. Once I explored the website and the statement of faith I was happy to have finally found a mission trip I was serious about.

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

I was extremely interested in FCI because I wanted to travel somewhere new where I would have the opportunity to work with children. I was also inspired by Heather Radu’s life story and how she recognized the need for orphan care.

Farrah on her missions trip to Guatemala.Orphan care is close to my heart; myself having been a ward of the government, in my home country of Canada since the age of seven. I felt I would be able to connect with the children. I also appreciated the fact that Dorie’s Promise placed an importance on showing the children God’s love.

  1. What was it like to travel to Guatemala?

Initially I was scared to travel to Guatemala alone, but I was met at the airport by one of the staff who was really kind. Everyone was so friendly that I immediately felt at ease. There were fifteen of us serving together during the week I was at Dorie’s Promise. The next day, when we got to meet the children one of the little girls, Selene, jumped right into my lap. It was then I remembered why I was there.

Our group leader for the week was Pablo. He was funny and though he is young he really helped us connect with God and his love. Every morning we prayed and we were reminded about why we were there. I thought he was a great leader.

The accommodations were very clean and Pablo was so helpful. I felt from the very beginning that I had everything I needed for the week of serving God through Dories Promise.

  1. What was your impression of the Dorie’s Promise?

Farrah with Pablo in GuatemalaI couldn’t believe there was on-site pediatrician, so it was nice to see that the children were getting medical attention if they needed it. I was happy to see the ratio of Special Mothers to children, and that they really cared about the children of Dorie’s Promise. The children were so friendly. They were all so playful; it made me feel like a kid again. Even though there was a language barrier we still had so much fun, playing games together like “duck, duck, goose” and baseball. They are so special each and every one of the children at Dorie’s Promise.

  1. What was your biggest take-away from the trip?

My biggest take away from the trip was realizing the orphanage does not receive any government funding and it is solely supported through sponsorship. This made me recognize how important sponsorship is and how I can make a difference.

  1. Why do you think people should support Dorie Promise or sponsor one of our children?

I think people need information and awareness about what the Forever Changed International organization does. One way to achieve that, I believe, is through word of mouth, and I hoped by supporting Dories Promise as my platform at the pageant that a lot more people can see what how important it is to support the Forever Changed International organization.

Forever Changed International is a great organization that deserves recognition and the children of Dorie’s Promise also deserve the love, care, and medical attention that sponsors help provide.

Learn more about Farrah and the Miss Canada Globe pageant. or Become a Sponsor Today.