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Posts Tagged ‘Orphans’

Meet Jennifer : A Bright, Happy Girl

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Jennifer's lived at Dorie's Promise sinceshe was an infant.

By MJ Zelya -

Jennifer is a beautiful, optimist, happy girl.Jennifer’s mother entered the Promise of Life program in 2007. She was going to give Jennifer up for international adoption*. It wasn’t completed because her mother abandoned the program early.

From the very beginning, Jennifer has shown that she is intelligent. When she came to us, she did not speak Spanish — instead she spoke the Mayan language, and it was very difficult to understand what she was trying to say. But she learned Spanish very quickly, and we were able to get her in to the preschool program right away.

Now Jennifer is one of the best students in her classroom! She has wonderful grades and loves to speak English. She enjoys going to school and coming home to share the new things she’s learned. She attends El Shaddai Christian school, a private school where several of our children have been given a chance to better their education. Jennifer brings home what she’s taught about the Bible and good values and is influencing her friends at home at Dorie’s Promise.

Lorena, supervisor of the house, says, “Jennifer is a beautiful, optimist, happy girl.

In addition to being a good student, Jennifer likes to play with dolls and play soccer! Her favorite part of the day is when she does homework with her tutor at Dorie’s. She LOVES hamburgers and Coca-Cola.

Get to know Jennifer better.She’s adventurous and she likes to discover new things, and invent new games. Her favorite color is yellow, and she loves listening to Christian music, especially Kari Jobe.

Carol, one of our special mothers, says, “Jennifer is very responsible, especially with her schoolwork — she works very neatly and is good at organization. She is a natural-born leader.”

Jennifer yearns to be part of a Forever Family. She is eligible for adoption to a Guatemalan family. We know God has a plan for her and pray that He provides just the right family — one where she can continue to grow and learn and be loved.

Until then, Jennifer is in good hands at Dorie’s Promise. She loves the staff, and they all say she is a very polite girl. Dorie’s Promise Guatemala is a place filled with love and care for Jennifer and all our children. It is a place where joy is a daily experience, and orphaned children find safety and security. Most of all, it is a place where children who have never experienced love can grow up knowing that God loves them no matter what and has a plan for their lives. Join our family by sponsoring Jennifer today!

 

*International adoptions in Guatemala closed in 2008

Fighting Poverty and Bringing Hope Through Community Projects

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Serving the poor in Guatemala City.

By MJ Zelya -

Since our ministry began in 2000, Dorie’s Promise has served many needy people in the communities of Guatemala City.Working in the local communities around Guatemala City is a benefit and an alternative measure to help those who do not have the resources to care for themselves. Guatemala is a poor country where eight of 10 people live in extreme poverty, and poverty is especially harsh in rural areas. According to the World Bank, many families live on $1-2 per day. It is difficult to imagine being able to take care of basic needs with that amount of money. As a Guatemalan citizen I can tell you: that amount would barely be enough to cover three meals a day for one person, I cannot imagine how entire families survive on it.

The vulnerability and risk that exist in communities of extreme poverty obstruct opportunities for everyone in building lives of their own. It is increasingly difficult to visualize any other type of life because of the basic limitations on food, education, and medicine.

According to the Human Development Report of the United Nations, Guatemala ranks at 125 out of 187 countries — leaving it in the bottom third of all countries.

That’s why in addition to providing a home and care for children who have been abandoned or negligently treated by their parents, we want to bring blessings to those in need in the communities surrounding us. At the same time, we know the problem of poverty, and a lack of resources means more children will need care. Many of those children will be sent to state orphanages, who are themselves struggling with resources.

Working in the community moves us forward. As we help improve the living condition of people in poverty, we know the aid we’re providing will have a positive impact on the community, and ultimately society, breaking the cycle of poverty.

A team prepares the ground for a cement floor.Since our ministry began in 2000, Dorie’s Promise has served many needy people in the communities of Guatemala City. Our focus in these service projects has been to help people by giving them what they need to improve their living conditions. Sometimes it’s as simple as giving them a water filter (so need in areas where purified water is not found). By pouring a cement floor we can help make their home a sturdier living environment. By providing a family with a pila (a kind of sink) where they can wash their clothes and dishes, we help multiple generations live cleaner, healthier lives. All of this work changes lives.

And even more than that: In putting faith into motion, we demonstrate the real love and hope they can find in God. We’d love for you to join us in this effort — to experience work that makes a real difference. We conduct trips all year long. It will be worth your time to spend a week with us.

We know many organizations fight against poverty, and that there is a lot of competition for your dollar when it comes to helping people like those in Guatemala rise out of poverty. Making a trip to Dorie’s Promise isn’t just doing a good thing, it’s doing something that really matters!

Amelia Home With Her Forever Family After 8 Years at Dorie’s Promise

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Amelia with her adopted family the Rachors of Flint, Michigan.

By Heather Radu -

The Rachor’s visited Amelia many times over the years.The subject heading of Cinda Rachor’s recent e-mail said it best: “She’s coming home!!!” “She” is eight-year-old Amelia, who spent most of her life at Dorie’s Promise until Cinda and her husband, Jim, secured the approval of Guatemalan officials to take Amelia to their home in Michigan.

Although it was a bittersweet moment, at a farewell dinner on Amelia’s final night (May 29) at Dorie’s Promise, she and her mother offered their “thank you’s” to the Special Mothers and staff who cared for her.

Director Alejandra Diaz was pleased to see this moment arrive, saying as Amelia matured and grew more aware of her situation, she displayed more anxiety.

“We know that she is going where she belongs,” Ale says. “She was so original and different that we are going to miss her. She was always so kind and full of love for the Special Mothers. Each of those moments will remain alive in our hearts.

“For the other children, it is difficult to see her leave and know that they need to stay. However, they are so happy for her, especially the older ones who really understand what this means.”

Cinda says that while Amelia’s adoption proved quite challenging, the Lord continually provided in the midst of situations that appeared desperate and daunting.

“We’ve seen Him meet us at so many times when we thought we were at a dead end,” Cinda says. “God always said, ‘I’m in charge. I just need for you to keep following. Allow Me to lead and I’ll keep leading. I’ll allow Amelia to get home and I have a bunch of cool stuff to show you in the meantime.’”

Cinda and Amelia during a December 2013 visit.This “cool stuff” included Cinda and Jim Rachor getting a first-hand look at Dorie’s Promise, which in 2008 inspired them to start bringing mission teams to Guatemala twice a year.

Made up of mostly teenagers from their church (Central Church of the Nazarene in Flint, Michigan), when some of the teens reach college age they return with classmates and friends. This helps spread awareness of our work far beyond Michigan.

In addition, as interest at Central Church grew, Cinda persuaded their youth pastor to lead a trip. A team of 30 will arrive on June 14, followed by another team of 30 led by the Rachors a week later.

The story of this family’s perseverance over so many years inspires me and other staff members at Forever Changed International and Dorie’s Promise.

I knew Cinda was special the day she called repeatedly to see if we would take Amelia, who had been in foster care.

The agency handling her adoption wanted to send her to another orphanage. However, after hearing from a fellow church member about our home, Cinda insisted Amelia be sent to Dorie’s Promise.

After hearing the urgency and concern in her voice, I couldn’t refuse her request, even though at the time we had little space available. I knew she would leave no stone unturned to bring Amelia home, even though that required eight years and four different attorneys.

Amelia in May 2014 shortly before going home with her Forever Family.The Rachors visited throughout the year, coming on Christmas, Amelia’s birthday every October, and with mission teams. They built thick books of documents and photo albums to verify their interest in providing a home for this little girl.

Cinda and Jim finally experienced a breakthrough last September when they found an attorney willing to argue their case with Guatemalan government authorities as well as officials at the U.S. embassy.

“For the first time someone who had power said, ‘We’ll help you get her home,’” Cinda recalls. “Before it was always: ‘We’re sorry but there’s nothing we can do.’ In front of my children I had a meltdown and cried tears of joy. This attorney said, ‘I can help you, but you have to have the support of the U.S. embassy.’”

The Rachors obtained that support despite many difficulties, including a lack of proof of Amelia’s background. Although she arrived here as an infant, no one knew how she entered the foster care system. Not even private investigators could find any traces of her family.

However, that is all behind us now. Amelia is home, with a younger sister (Hope, 7) from Guatemala whom the Rachors adopted six years ago. Amelia will have five other siblings, ranging from Annagrace, 13, to Steven, 21.

“When we first saw Amelia’s picture, we said, ‘That’s who God has sent to be our child,’” Cinda says. “Like your own children, they don’t have to earn it. They’re your family. They’re a gift. It’s your job to advocate for them and protect them, the way Christ advocates for us.”

Without a doubt, the story of Amelia’s adoption is one of the happiest we have seen in many years.

New Gift Registry Up and Running

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Children playing with toys at Dorie's Promise - An orphanage in Guatemala City

By Heather Radu -

So many mission teams ask what they can bring to Guatemala that it inspired us to create a gift registry to streamline the giving process. It will enable volunteers and supporters to stay abreast of current needs while simplifying our record-keeping.

Missions Coordinator Naomi Beazley and I came up with the idea last year while helping teams arrange trips. Numerous people asked, “What are some needs at Dorie’s Promise?”

Education Bundle - Elementary $75.00

Education Bundle – Elementary $75.00

Since the situation changes regularly, we often needed to check with Director Alejandra Diaz before calling people back, sometimes on the verge of their trip. We decided that by posting a list on our website, teams could have the latest information at their fingertips.

After a recent “soft” launch, we are informing our network of supporters about this option. Our current list includes seven priorities — totaling nearly $47,000. The most expensive is a Toyota microbus (for $36,000), while the lowest-priced item is a supply of size 2 diapers (for $246).

We are thrilled to announce we have received our first donation of $460 toward a computer lab, which will cost a total of $3,340. A team from Northwest Community Church in Mundelein, Illinois, that visited March 15-22, included the money in a generous gift. It will also buy our children shoes and Christmas presents and three coffeemakers for our staff.

Naturally, we don’t expect someone to provide all the funds for a particular item. We will combine any size donation with others designated for that purpose. If additional gifts are received after we have raised the money for a specific item, we will contact those donors to ask where they prefer we use it.

We are also working on a group registry to facilitate mission projects in the community. The logistics aren’t yet complete, but by early summer we hope to post a listing of needs in Guatemala City.

Girl Bundle - (0-3 months) $50.00

Girl Bundle – (0-3 months) $50.00

This idea stems from similar inquiries from volunteers who wanted to know what kind of help they can offer to Guatemala City residents during their stay.

Through the group registry, they will be able to plan that work in advance. It can be tasks such as putting in bunk beds, pouring a cement floor in someone’s home, or installing a pila (a watering station used to wash clothes and dishes).

On the registry website, you can find lists of other needs at the orphanage — things like appliances, children’s toys, clothing, shoes, health and hygiene items, and educational resources.

This registry will save teams time and the logistical problems of transporting donations, since online gifts will enable our staff to purchase items locally. We hope friends like you are as excited about this new system as we are … to see our gift registry, click here!

Find Out For Yourself – Visit During Spring Break

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Come Spend Spring Break in Guatemala

While many will spend their spring break serving themselves at beach parties, the pool, and the mall, we want to invite you to something different — something life-changing.

Something for Everyone

Serve Orphans in GuatemalaOur trips aren’t just for church groups or college kids. People of all ages have come to our home to help with the work God is doing.

Debi Johnson and her kids recently returned for their second trip to Dorie’s Promise: “We had an amazing week of seeing God move! The teens in our group were so inspired by Pablo’s love for Christ, we won’t ever be the same after this week!” (Read more about Debi’s experience…)

After her son Christian completed three trips to Dorie’s Promise, Debbi Cryer, a 52-year-old mom, was interested and decided to come see for herself. “I have been intrigued and often wondered, Why do people keep returning here to Dorie’s Promise? Why multiple trips? What is the draw? How has it captured their heart in a way that you can’t forget about the kids, special moms, Pablo, Jessica, and Abel, and the rich presence of Jesus that dwells here? NOW I KNOW!!!”

Seconds and Thirds

“We have many new blessings at Dorie’s Promise. Our kids are growing and becoming what God created them to be — their lives are being Forever Changed!” says Pablo our Missions Director. If it’s been a while since your last trip, consider coming again … with new improvements to the facilities, new children, and seeing old friends, it will be worth it.

Cinda has been to our home nine times and still says, “Every time we come to Dorie’s Promise, God shows us something new. Every time!” (Read more about Cinda’s experience…)

We don’t place a limit on how many times you can visit us. We believe in building relationships, and that, in turn, God will use those relationships to build passion for His Kingdom into our hearts.

Short Term Missions You Can Do With Your FamilyKatie experienced this for herself as well. “I truly thought it would be a while before I could manage another trip to Guatemala, but after hearing all that I shared with him, my husband wanted to experience Dorie’s Promise for himself. We were back six months later.” (Read more about Katie’s trip…)

Wayne Hanson hasn’t been able to get enough either. We asked him, “What is it that keeps you coming back to Guatemala?” His answer: “The connections we have made with the children of Dorie’s, especially the Najera children. We have also found all of the people in Guatemala we have met to be kind and appreciative of the help we can give. Many of them, even though they have nothing, want to give back to us.” (Read the full interview with Wayne…)

These are just a handful of the people who have been blessed by being a blessing to us and the people they have served in Guatemala. I want to invite you to be part of what God’s doing here too. Together, we can do a lot — there is an urgency for spreading the love, mercy, and forgiveness of the Gospel. Spring break is a great time to come and visit us!

Find out for yourself why so many who come here are forever changed by the experience. Apply today.

Missions – An Infectious Passion

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Forever Changed International Missions

Guest Post By: Jeff Semler-

What is a missions trip and who is it for? Wouldn’t it be better to just send money rather than spend it on our own travel costs?

Every missions team member and leader faces these well-meaning, yet short-sighted, questions.

A long and not-so-straight road from Hagerstown, Maryland, led our 250-person congregation at Valley Grace Brethren Church to Dorie’s Promise in Guatemala City. Our story starts with stirrings in several hearts that blossomed into a shared and infectious passion.

Missions Team at Antigua GuatemalaBecky, one of the leaders of our first trip to Dorie’s, puts it this way: “I will start with Proverbs 24:12 — ’If you say, but we knew nothing about this, does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?’”

“Looking back, I think my life changed when in college I did a missions trip to Costa Rica. It was there I decided I wanted to adopt. Then, the adoption of Anna changed my life and gave me a heart for the country of Guatemala. That is why I am so excited to take people to Dorie’s Promise. I think when people see, God will work out the rest. I think He holds those who see very responsible for what they do with that knowledge. I strongly believe that Dorie’s Promise is an excellent place for giving individuals a heart for the least of these … and that heart will look different for each individual. I am so excited to watch our church grow in this partnership with Dorie’s, but, most of all, I am excited to see how God is raising up people who are changing the world because of their firsthand experiences.

From here, Becky enlisted three more ladies, and they made the first trip to Dorie’s Promise. Those ladies came back with passion and enthusiasm that became infectious.

Just like a pebble tossed into a pond, the ripple effect keeps on going. After that first visit, our church dedicated its Christmas offering to Dorie’s Promise and raised $6,900. Knowing that the congregation was committed, we added Dorie’s Promise to our annual missions budget to receive financial support regardless of a team eventually returning.

Reaching the ghettos of Guatemala City with Forever ChangedBut it did not stop there. In 2012, we sent a group of four, two couples including my wife and myself. A team of 14 traveled from our church in July 2013 to once again support the home and community. Committed to orphan care, our Thanksgiving/Christmas offerings this year were split 70% to Guatemala (Dorie’s Promise and Village of Hope) and 30% to the Boanerges Deaf Initiative in Uganda. Over the past three years, the original group of four has grown to 42 total visitors to Guatemala, multiple trips from church members, and an additional trip of Interstate Batteries representatives.

Families are sponsoring 13 children through Dorie’s Promise alone. Team members’ children have joined the cause. Caleb’s seventh grade class is currently selling popcorn and slushies to raise money for water filters. Last year, Rachel requested clothes to send with Kelly and Leslie to Guatemala instead of birthday presents because Aubrey had done the same thing and she thought it was a neat idea. The ripple effect is amazing….

In short, one visit to Dorie’s Promise by a team of four women has had far-reaching effects in three different countries on two different continents. God has moved mightily in our midst and continues to move. Two couples have adopted three children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the last two years.

So the answer to the original questions is an emphatic No. Going on a missions trip involves so many intangibles with little cost but with unbelievable value.

Meet Brandon – Dorie’s Promise Guatemala

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Sponsor Brandon Today!

 

By Arwen McGilvra & MJ Zelaya -

Brandon has been living at Dorie’s Promise since 2007. His mother couldn’t take care of him after Brandon’s biological dad passed away. Times were hard financially, and, because of the lack of economic resources, she decided to give him up for adoption.

Brandon playing on the playsetBack then, the adoption process lasted seven months to one year; but the law has since changed and now Brandon’s case is stuck in the government office, under investigation. We are praying for his case and for his adoptive family who is waiting to close the adoption and be reunited.*

Brandon is a handsome boy who can be restless and curious like many kids his age.

He loves to attend school — so much so that he cries if he isn’t able to go, like during a break or because he’s ill. It’s so wonderful to see him so attached to his education. He has learned many things in school and through the therapy he received. Medical care has greatly improved his hearing problem, and so his language skills have improved as well. It has made Brandon more of an outgoing, clever, happy boy.

He loves to play with cars, superheroes and toys and enjoys football. His favorite color is red, and he enjoys all kinds of food.

If Brandon wouldn’t have received the medical care, therapy, and education through our home, his life would be so different! That’s why we do what we were called to do: changing one life at a time!

You can help us continue to make that difference in Brandon’s life. Sponsoring one of our children provides them so much more than just their day-to-day needs. It provides them with safety, food, shelter… but most of all it allows them to grow up in a loving environment where they can be all that God intends for them to be.

*NOTE: International adoptions in Guatemala closed in 2008.

What is Life – A Reflection on Missions at Dorie’s Promise

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Missions to Dorie's Promise Guatemala

By Cinda Rachor-

Our family has been a part of nine mission trips over the last five years.

Cinda's group of 30 with the children of Dorie's PromiseThis past December, our team was comprised of 30 incredible individuals — 10 children and 20 adults. The youngest was 7, the oldest was 53.

Because Jesus has blessed us with forgiveness, unconditional love, and even many material blessings, we want to come and share that with Guatemala. It is so fulfilling to take new shoes, water filters, and school supplies to people there, but our goal is for them to know we bring them the best gift, the best news, of all…that Christ loves and accepts each of them!

Every time we come to Dorie’s Promise, God shows us something new. Every time! Sometimes I have been overwhelmed by the unselfish love the Special Moms give the children. Sometimes we are changed by what Pablo has shared in our time of devotions. Other times I have been moved by a need seen in a community and then compelled to come home and raise funds to be able to make a sustainable change.

This past trip we visited a love-filled community called Linda Vista. The cooperation of the residents and the grateful hearts of the people there made this day of service a highlight for many. We were able to build a complete cement stairway and sidewalk for the Linda Vista community.

Mission to the Ghettos in GuatemalaWe also visited Paradise, a poor but beautiful community in the countryside. Our day in Antigua was a reminder of the history and beauty of Guatemala. Lastly, we were able to take most of the children from Dorie’s Promise to an amusement park and had the joy of watching many of them delight in seeing zoo animals, eating ice cream, and riding a rollercoaster for the very first time.

Our team was impacted by the very fulfilling joy that comes from serving others in the name of Christ.

Many of us felt like we actually received more than we gave. We were thrilled to soak up the joy of spending a week where every day began with Pablo pointing us to Jesus and seeking His agenda. A week where we could serve, enjoying fellowship with the children and staff of Dorie’s Promise, as well as with each other. For many who ask the question, “What is the meaning of life?” this week was the answer.

Missions to GuatemalaAs we shared our gifts, our lives, and our transparent hearts with those at Dorie’s Promise and the communities we visited, many of men, women, and children there would hold on to us and, with tears running down their cheeks, thank us for coming. They thanked us for noticing them when they felt forgotten, for loving them when they felt rejected, for sharing with them when they were in need. For our team, this was humbling, fulfilling, and motivating.

Many of us came home with a better understanding of the question, “What is life, and how does Christ want us to spend it?”

A short note from Pablo:

We believe our first and main mission is to take care and love our kids. When we visit other communities, the city dump, or state orphanage, we bring Jesus with us, and our priority is always to pray for the people and to show them the love that God has given us. We are grateful for those like Cinda and her team who come to share in this mission with us.

2013 Video, Thank You Sponsors and Friends

Monday, December 30th, 2013

WATCH NOW – See how the Lord is using you in the lives of the children at Dorie’s Promise.

BE ENCOURAGED – See the smiles, and the joy in the children’s eyes. Their lives are Forever Changed by the love and care they experience at our home.

SPONSOR – Help us continue our work. Sponsor before 12/31/13 and see your sponsorship matched!

Drink coffee, help an orphaned child.

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

By Heather Radu-

We have always wanted to be able to share the coffee we drink at Dorie’s Promise with our friends in the United States. We have tried over the years to get the coffee here, but have always had trouble. Today, we have a way. We are now testing coffee sales. We have 150 bags of Forever Changed Coffee available. How quickly they sell will tell us if we want to produce more.

The coffee is made from Guatemala’s finest El Injerto beans. We have friends in Philomath, Oregon, who have owned a coffee-roasting business since the early 1990s. They have come alongside us, ordered the beans, and have worked diligently to match the blend, taste, and even smell of the coffee we serve in Guatemala.

I want to encourage you to consider buying a bag for yourself. Tell us how it tastes. Give us your feedback. But more than that…I want you to consider giving these bags away to people who don’t know about our work in Guatemala. This coffee is a fantastic way to introduce people to the wonderful children of Dorie’s Promise.

We are making each bag available for a $25 donation. You can order as many bags you want. But we do only have 150 bags available. If you love coffee and like to explore new tastes and blends, I want to encourage you to give ours a try. Think about it: Drinking world-class coffee and helping orphaned children at the same time. It’s really a fantastic way to help our children! Consider ordering some today. I look forward to hearing from you.