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Posts Tagged ‘serve orphans’

Behind the Scenes: Doc and Mirna

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Doctor Castro with children from Dorie's Promise Guatemala.

By Kelly Shank –

IMany children who live in our home have endured malnourishment, abandonment, and abuse.f you’re a parent you understand how scary it can be when your child is sick, that helpless feeling when you don’t know what is wrong or what to do. Now imagine multiplying those feelings by 40 children. Describing how important Dr. Castro “Doc” and Mirna, our nurse, are is almost impossible. They play a critical role in the care we give our children and help us maintain the overall health of our home so we can continue to accept new children.

If you have the chance to chat with Doc you will soon understand that his focus is on the total health of our kids, not just the physical. In his mind, the physical health of our children helps unlock the emotional and spiritual health of our kids too.

Many children who live in our home have endured malnourishment, abandonment, and abuse. He believes that physical health and the relief of physical ailments support the other therapies our children receive and help them recover. He helps them become physically strong so they can then focus on their emotional health.

Several very special children have called Dorie’s Promise home because of the daily care given by Doc and Mirna. Those who have been with us for many years will remember Alex. Although confined to a wheelchair and non-verbal he had an infectious smile and loved to be around people. Doc and Mirna made sure that Alex experienced life to the fullest. Josue, Efraim, and Lester are all also thriving in their own unique ways today thanks to Doc.

Thanks to the love and care given by Doc and Mirna we continue to welcome children with difficult medical conditions that other homes are not able to accommodate.

Learn more about Doc and Mirna.

Doc:

Doctor Castro in his office at Dorie's Promise,Doc really has been a lifesaver at Dorie’s Promise. Early in his tenure with us he was able to combat an outbreak that sickened many children by working around the clock to care for our children. In the years since he has established an outstanding medical care program for our children. Having dedicated his career to Pediatrics, he now focuses on caring for the most vulnerable children who do not have access to medical care. In additional to his work at Dorie’s Promise, he also provides medical care in several rural villages and is our coffee guy. If you meet him, he’ll be sure to tell you about his coffee, it’s the second best in the world!

Mirna:

Mirna assists Doctor CastroConsistency and compassion are two traits that help children thrive in our home. With her genuine love of our children, Mirna has embodied these traits over the last twelve years. Being one of nine children, and mother to three daughters herself, family is very important to Mirna. Her love for our children shines through every day as we greets everyone with a smile. Working in our home is more than just a job for her. Children come into our home with many fears and problems but slowly they begin to heal. Mirna is humbled to be doing the work for which God has equipped her and to have part in caring for vulnerable children. Outside of work you will find Mirna using her nursing skills to care for those in her community or spending time with her family.

We are so thankful for Doc and Mirna’s commitment to our children. You can help support our medical services by making a one-time donation towards medical care today (leave Medical Care in the comment field) or joining us as a monthly sponsor.

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.

Ten-Year Employees Recognized

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

The employees who have been with Dorie’s Promise for 10 years or longer. We couldn’t have done it without them.

By Heather Radu –

Founder, Heather Radu recognizes the long term employees.One of the most joyous occasions of this spring was honoring—and saying thanks to—all the employees who have been with Dorie’s Promise for 10 years or longer.

We couldn’t have done it without them. They have stayed with us through the years and even in the most difficult of times, have been there with a smile.

Their names are Lucia, Diana, Marleni, Ingrid, Mina, Mimi, Juanita, Noemi, Lucky, Ismelda, Oscar, Abel, Doc and Ale.

Showing what kind of caring spirit they have, on their night of recognition they also thanked me for the opportunity to be part of the organization. They gave a special thanks to God too because, here at Forever Changed International, they found their real calling for life.

It is difficult to over-estimate the value of our long-term employees to the stability of the ministry, the smooth operations at Dorie’s Promise, and the security our children sense from seeing many of the same faces day after day, year after year.

It was a big moment for me, too, as the occasion reminded me of how I hired some of them in 2000, when the home just opened.

Later, when we were living in Guatemala, some of them were part of our family. Literally, since they pitched in and helped us raise our own children. Though now grown, our kids retain many fond memories of their time at Dorie’s Promise.

After these many years, it is not just the hard work or a salary that keeps those people with FCI. It is because we have become a family and, by seeing them working every day, I can tell they are passionate about what they do. Our children are lucky to have people who really care about them and love them.

It is worth noting that their efforts often lack the “glamor” of a mission trip or the excitement that many people associate with “ministry.”At the ceremony to recognize employees.

Every parent can understand the long hours, constant effort, training and worry that is part of raising a child. The same can be said of raising orphans, many whom come from backgrounds of poverty and abuse.

It requires diligence, patience of the highest order, and a willingness to devote your life outside of the spotlight, wondering whether you will ever see breakthroughs with children who struggle against enormous odds.

Why do they do it? In one word: love. Love of God and love for the children treated by many as outcasts.

Their rewards come in the form of caring smiles, words spoken for the first time, and children who achieve the kind of things once thought impossible. We can’t thank them enough for their devotion.

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!

Dorie’s Promise Students Participate in the School Science Fair!

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Students from Dorie's Promise participate in a science fair.

By MJ Zelya –

Ana smiling during a school activity.One of the things the children at Dorie’s Promise love the most is the chance to experience a wide range of different activities. We are especially excited when our children participate in fun school activities. The hands-on-learning they get from these activities helps them develop a lifelong love for learning.

Recently, the school held a Science Fair. The children were so excited! They couldn’t stop talking about it. All of them planning and thinking about what kind of experiments to do and if it’a going to work for them. They were happy, anxious, and enthusiastic- all at the same time.

We are glad to see them so excited for school, it’s really satisfying to watch them grow, becoming more responsible with their homework and see the effort they make to do their best.

Here some of them share their experience with their science experiments:

Fabiola – I did my presentation on making rainbows. The experiment was to use a disc and a candle to reproduce a rainbow. My friends and I worked together to prepared for the project. We worked through every step of the experiment. I was a little nervous, but with the support of my friends it encouraged me. In the end everything went really well.

Ingrid and Lucia – It was very fun for us. It was the first time we have participated in this kind of activity. Our experiment was to make a hologram with a box and a disc. The first step was to form the pieces of the disc into a triangle. A video is projected and the triangle shaped disc reflects the image. It was an unforgettable experience! The best part was sharing it with our peers and their parents, our Special Mothers and the others at home and our teacher. This have motivated us both to discover and learn more.

Silvia with her science fair gorup.Silvia – (For Silvia the fair meant a lot, because she is afraid of public speaking. The Science Fair was challenging for her, but gave her a chance to overcome her fears.) I was very nervous because I had to say a paragraph about the process of our experiment. We filled a water balloon with water and then had to keep it from exploding as we moved it closer to the fire from a candle. It caused my nerves to go crazy when I’d hear the explosion of a balloon, but I practice it a lot before we gave our presentation. I really wanted everything to go great. Having this experience gives me confidence and security in front of the school.

It’s incredible how all our children are growing, and it’s fun to watch them experiencing new things. Without the opportunity to attend to school they would not be getting opportunities like these that help prepare them for the future. Their lives are forever changing through this ministry! It’s because of your support that these children are preparing for a brighter future. Each year we need to raise over $50,000 to help provide exceptional education for our students. We are thankful for the many donors and sponsors who make this possible. Would you like to give a special gift for education? Go now.

Cari’s Kids

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Give a Gift to Orphans : Become a Sponsor

By Cari Burck –

Cari with her husband Bradley.I will never forget my first trip to Guatemala, when I made it my mission to get a little guy named Lester to smile. I loved on him, devoted attention to him, and acted silly. Before leaving, I snapped the first-ever picture of him smiling.

On that trip, I left a piece of my heart at Dorie’s Promise. Our support of the home gives my husband, Bradley, and me dozens of children in addition to the two who live in our own home. In a modest way, we are helping to solve the world’s orphan crisis.

As I flew home after a recent visit, I thought of ways others in North America can play a vital role in helping orphans in Guatemala. This is true even though it’s been eight years since the country curtailed international adoptions.

To start with, anyone can sponsor a child. Providing 24/7 care in a safe environment is expensive; it takes $1,000 a month per child to meet Forever Changed International’s standards. FCI asks for a minimum pledge of $35 a month, which means it takes multiple sponsors to meet each child’s needs.

Thanks to e-mail, Skype, and other modern communications, you can maintain regular contact with your child, too. You can find out what’s going on in their lives as you help feed, clothe, and care for kids like Mario, Fabiola, Yojana, Alex, and Dulce.

However, don’t restrict your involvement to instant messages or video chats. Think about coming to Guatemala. Over the years thousands have. All return home with a familiar refrain on their lips: “This changed my life.”

All Smiles from Ingrid and Jennifer.It isn’t just helping the orphans at Dorie’s Promise that makes a difference. Participating in community improvement projects will help you get a better understanding of the conditions in the Guatemala City area. Making a difference in needy people’s lives will make a difference in yours.

Back home, you can take part in awareness activities. Churches have sponsored fun runs that not only raise money for FCI, but spread the message about our work. Others have sponsored garage sales or asked guests coming to their child’s birthday party to donate to Dorie’s Promise as their gift.

You can plan a fundraiser for your sponsored child’s community, too. Bake sales, yard sales, and dance marathons may seem like outdated activities. But when the purpose is helping the poor, old becomes “retro” and young people get as excited as their parents.

If your area gets blanketed by another storm this winter, why not use some of that time to read a book about global poverty or international adoption*? There are many titles that will increase your understanding of the deplorable conditions that have created the global orphan crisis.

When you take a reading break, consider jumping online to join FCI’s prayer team. Each month you will receive specific prayer requests and praise items. Prayer is an essential lifeline for this ministry. Or, if you just want to stay informed about developments, you can sign up for e-mail notifications.

Your help changes lives!Other ways you can help include:

  • Consider giving a special gift. You can check the gift registry for the latest needs, or consider placing one of the children on your Christmas gift list next fall.
  • Host a dinner. Invite good friends to your home, and after dinner make a short presentation on Dorie’s Promise. Tell others what this means to your life. You may attract another sponsor or two for the home.
  • Engage your church. Many need some kind of missions focus. Letting them know about our Reach Out Missions could light a spark among the members.
  • Tell others about sponsorship. Speak to the Rotary Club or other community organization. After all, if you sponsor a child, you’re an expert. You know what good this accomplishes and how it makes you feel.

Go ahead. Join my mission to let everyone know about the incredible things that are happening in Guatemala!

* International Adoption from Guatemala closed in 2008

Why You Should Visit Dorie’s Promise

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

Some visiting mission trippers with children at Dories' Promise.

By MJ Zelya –

Groups small and large are able to visit us at Dorie's Promise.Dorie’s Promise is a beautiful home that gives shelter to orphans and neglected kids in Guatemala City.

It’s located in a colorful, safe, quiet neighborhood that makes you feel like you are home. You will have the opportunity to spend time with our children and also meet many friendly and humble people in the surrounding communities.

I can tell you that it is an eye-opening experience from start to finish. After landing in our country, you will discover and see a completely different landscape than you are used to.

It will give you a chance to help many people in need and also get to know a little more of Guatemala and its culture.

So many of the children we receive at Dorie’s Promise come from some of the most impoverished areas in the country — some you will even get to visit.

Our staff has a special agenda scheduled for you and will be waiting for you at the airport. Over the course of your stay, you will visit the ghetto, garbage dump, and state-run orphanages.

All our visitors stay in our guest house, which has nice rooms and the capacity for 30 people in the event that you come with your church or school group. It is located next to our home, and the delicious food is prepared by our cook; transportation is also provided to and from our home.

One of the service projects that Missions Teams helped with last year was building this school in Palencia.Kathy Demers and Michelle Janssen, mission-trippers who have visited us before, share their experience:

We love the way the children are taken care of! Dorie’s does their utmost to provide a loving, fun, stable environment that is Christ-centered. We have visited Dorie’s Promise maybe eight or nine years; sometimes just for six days, other times for the entire week.

We keep coming back because of the fact that Dorie’s children are being loved and raised as well as our children back in the U.S. It’s not the mentality to “just get by” but rather to give the best to them because that is what we do for our own children, and it’s what God expects for them as well.

Generally speaking, since our first visit in 2008, it’s been awesome to watch how toddlers have grown up into young girls and boys of 10 and older. They have been loved, guided, prayed for, played with, protected, and hugged so many times by the wonderful special moms and other staff members. This is a REAL home for the kids! God bless them all!

Galatians 6:10 says: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

We truly believe that God has helped many abandon and abused children and communities through our ministry, and we would like for you to be part of it. It will give you the opportunity to feel, and know, how blessed you are and what it’s like to be a blessing to others too.

If you are thinking of going on a mission trip, please come and visit us! You will find everything in one place, and you won’t have to worry about a thing. Watch this video to find out more:

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!