By Arwen McGilvra-
Wayne Hanson from Creston, Iowa, can’t get enough of Dorie’s Promise. He has visited us four times, bringing his family along on his most recent visit. They also support us throughout the year in prayer and giving. Recently we had a chance to interview Wayne on his special connection with our home.
How did you find out about Dorie’s Promise? About three years ago, I started praying to find a place to visit on a mission trip that would allow us to bring our teenage children. I found Dorie’s Promise online and contacted Heather. It seemed a good fit for where God was leading me. We prayed about it and felt the urging from God to go.
Who joined you on your latest trip? We had a group of 18 people traveling together, including my wife Michelle and I and four of our children, Elizabeth, Melissa, John, and Emily.
Aside from our orphanage, where have you ministered while visiting Guatemala? We love to go to Juanita’s ghetto, the city dump ghetto, and this year we went to City of Children orphanage — it was a great fit for us to minister there.
What is it that keeps you coming back to Guatemala? 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 that 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.
We know you have a special connection with the Najera siblings; why are they so special to you? We aren’t sure if we could pinpoint the exact reason God has knit our hearts together with Mirna, Ingrid, Anna, Maria, and Abraham. It happened on our first visit to Dorie’s Promise.
Before arriving there that first time, we picked children to partner with as our Forever Friends during our stay. We didn’t know much about either of them at the time, but it ended up that my wife chose Mirna. Once at Dorie’s Promise, through the time we spent with them, God opened our hearts and Mirna became very special to us.
We were blessed to be a part of helping with Mirna’s Quinceañera. This is an important part of her heritage, and we wanted to experience this beautiful tradition with her. It was a beautiful and tender moment when we were allowed to take her shopping for her dress. Something she had never been able to experience before! Just the kind of thing we take for granted in America.
As a blended family with nine children, ranging in age from 31 to 15 years old, we have watched God do incredible things in the lives of our own children. He has brought healing over the issues of being in a mixed family. We know God is able to do the same for Mirna, Ingrid, Anna, Maria, and Abraham.
It is incredible how God works! We feel like these five siblings are another part of our family, as our children have also adopted them into their hearts.
We can’t explain why, all we can say is that we love them and there is a reason God has made a place for them in our hearts. What is that reason? Only time will bring God’s plan about. We are just being obedient and are loving them and praying for them as long as God gives us the opportunity. It is one of the hardest things we’ve had to do; love them and say good-bye when our hearts want to bring them home with us! However, we will continue to make these trips as long as God provides.
What impact have these trips had on the members of your family?
Melissa (19): This was my second trip to Guatemala and Dorie’s Promise. Each trip has brought a new experience. When I left last year, I knew God was calling me to ministry, but I wasn’t sure where. This year I felt God’s call to serve in Guatemala. I am going to college and working toward a double major in Spanish and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). I knew my heart was in Guatemala after last year because of the children and staff at Dorie’s Promise and the places we visited. This year I have come to call it home and know that God has a plan and a ministry for my life with the Guatemalan people.
Elizabeth (21): This year was my first trip to Guatemala and to Dorie’s Promise. Many of my family members had been there multiple times. I was blessed to join with five of them this year. I am a college student majoring in Sociology with minors in Criminology and Women/Gender Studies. Since declaring my major and minors, I would feel anxious whenever I was asked about plans for a future career, because I had no idea where I was headed. Throughout the week at Dorie’s Promise, God opened my eyes and my heart to the people of Guatemala.
God used all the different aspects of our trip to speak to me: the projects we took part in, the children at Dorie’s Promise and at the City of Children, our devotions, and our leaders and guides. I see now that God has a mission for me and that it involves children. My heart breaks for the children of Guatemala. My hope is to return to Dorie’s Promise and Guatemala next summer.