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Posts Tagged ‘serve orphans’

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!

A Fun Day Out At the Tennis Club!

Friday, December 18th, 2015

A fun tennis outing!

By Omar David –

Lucia playing tennis during the outing.I have been visiting Dorie’s Promise for four years and still come once a week to play with the kids.  You will find me there every Thursday afternoon for about 45 minutes.

I got to know about Forever Changed International while playing tennis with Dr. Castro.  A couple of years later he came to my place of work to purchase some items. I asked him then if he was still working at the orphanage and if there was anything I could do to help. He told me that they were short on vaccines and other medicines. At this point I told him I would find funds to get what he needed.

That was about 6 years ago, with the help of my church, family, friends and business contacts we have been able to cover the cost of most of the medications, vaccines and some medical equipment. With the help of others we have at times supplied produce, sugar, toys and clothing for the children.

Alex is having fun learning to play tennis.At times, I try to share special events with the kids; Thanksgiving dinner, Easter egg hunts, magic & music shows and of course an annual tennis day. Thanks to the local tennis club and the trainers there we just enjoyed our 4th year of this fun outing.

Once a year; we take all the children and Special Mothers to play tennis at the club. It helps break the monotony of their routine and it’s a good way for the children to learn a new sport while having fun and using up their energy.

I coordinated plans with the club president to be able to offer the children a tennis day. This year four tennis coaches were happy to assist with the activities. Because we had plenty of helpers we were able to organize the kids by age. They were fascinated to learn how to play and for many it was the first time they had picked up a tennis racket.

Playing a fun game with the tennis balls.We first showed them how they should use the racket. And then explained the basic rules. After that we had some competitions and games and finally an exhibition match was played between teachers to give them an idea of the sport.

After this fun activity, we met in the Club’s restaurant for hot dogs and a soda.

Nayeli Soto shared her experience afterwards, “I like sports and what I like about tennis is hitting the ball with the racket, running and playing the king of the court. It’s very fun!”

Luis also likes to play king of the court. He said,  “I also love to bounce the ball with the racket and try to keep it from escaping. It was a lot of fun!”

Dorie’s Promise is a very welcoming place, and the care that is given to children there is excellent. I really enjoy the opportunity to share my time with the children. And find it fulling to my soul to do so.

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.