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Posts Tagged ‘short term missions’

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!

Families are Taking Advantage of Late Summer to Aid Some of Guatemala’s Poorest

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Come and serve the children of Dorie's Promise

By Heather Radu -

Changed Lives at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaSummer is here, and Forever Changed International would like to highlight the work of families who will be traveling to Dorie’s Promise Guatemala this August. The month of August is a good time for families to travel to Dorie’s Promise because there is a higher volume of available slots just before school begins. A number of families have already taken advantage of this opportunity.

While June and July typically see a high number of mission trips to Dorie’s Promise, August is actually a good month to visit Guatemala. Many of the same benefits that are available in early summer are still available in late summer, but the smaller number of travelers means that individuals get to take a greater amount of time enjoying them.

The people of Dorie’s Promise Guatemala also face many of the same needs in August as they do in early summer. There are, however, fewer people to attend to those needs when August comes. This means mission trips that include entire families are more feasible, as there is space for each family member.

The mother and daughter team of Nancy and Shannon Wylie will be coming to serve at Dorie’s Promise in August. They will travel from North Carolina, for the opportunities to minister to homeless children, serve in the orphanage, and bring food and aid to disadvantaged communities, such as Linda Vista.

A family mission trip is an excellent experience for first time mission trippers, but it also works well for those who have visited before. Kaelyn Tarsa, who has raised an additional $675 dollars in order to provide food, water filters, and a bunk bed for Dorie’s Promise, is returning to Guatemala with her father, Stephen. Her positive experience has left her eager to return.

Serve with us this summer and change the lives of orphans.“My experience with Dorie’s Promise has been a week of clarity,” she said of her previous trip. “While in Guatemala I realized that no amount of money could give me such purpose and fulfillment than helping others.”

A family mission trip is an opportunity to strengthen the family bond. Parents and children who serve alongside each other this August will build enduring memories. They also invest time and energy in what they believe is truly important, ending summer on a positive note.

To take advantage of service opportunities at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala, go to our missions section. Late summer trips are still available in both August and September.

Families on Mission

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

We are especially blessed when teams made up of family members visit.

By Heather Radu -

Nearly 500 volunteers will visit Dorie’s Promise this year, with many due during the upcoming summer months. While we appreciate all the missionaries who come to help, we are especially blessed when teams made up of family members visit.

Two of these units arrived in Guatemala on June 7. They include Krista and Chris Barry of Superior, Colorado, and their four children: Hunter, 18; Cade, 16; Brayden, 11; and Caysen, who will celebrate his ninth birthday during their visit. This will be Hunter’s last vacation with his family before he goes to college.

Families on MissionsThe other family team will come from a rural community just north of San Antonio, Texas. Kristi Perkins and her husband, Greg, will be joined by oldest son Greg, 24; Greg’s fiancée, Lindsay, 21; daughter Erin, 22; and daughter Ellen, 17. One other son is unable to join them because of college summer classes.

This is the Barrys first mission trip. Krista says they are “super excited” about the opportunity to get involved in another culture and make a difference.

Although Krista says she had long wanted to go on a mission trip, time and financial constraints prevented that. However, after a close friend and her family came to Dorie’s Promise last November, their collective memories inspired Krista to follow through on her dream.

“I was impressed by how powerful the trip was for each of them individually and as a family unit,” Krista says. “It was truly inspirational to talk to each one of them about their experiences and how the Guatemalan people—as well as the leaders from Dorie’s Promise—impacted them.

“The most powerful thing about their stories was the sincerity and love that was evident not only in their words but their emotions. It was after that that I became determined to find a way to give this gift to my family as well as myself.”

The Perkins family has long supported missionaries in other countries and sponsored needy children in other countries, but this is their first mission trip.

The Perkinses decided to come after Luke and his best friend, Willie Ebrom, visited Dorie’s Promise in December of 2012. Luke had to squeeze the trip in between receiving his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University and starting a new job.

“After Luke and Willie came back with all their stories, I donated money to Dorie’s Promise and continue to be a supporter,” Kristi says. “Through the reports of others, we have understood the importance of the work of God’s people in countries that are less fortunate. Now we are ready to see it first-hand.”

Kim and John with Brandon when they adopted him.In late July, the staff will enjoy a special reunion with another family from Charlotte, North Carolina. Kim and John Vonder adopted their son, Brandon, from our orphanage in December of 2005. This time the Vonders are bringing their daughters Alli, 17; and Holly, 14.

Since the girls were too young to travel internationally when they adopted Brandon, Kim and John jumped at the opportunity to take them to experience their brother’s birthplace.

“Our journey did not end with Brandon’s adoption,” Kim says. “That was just the beginning. We consider it a privilege to serve the children at Dorie’s Promise. Our wish is that God will use us in some small way to minister to these children, who are precious in His sight. They are most worthy of our time and resources.

“This will be our first international mission trip, but we have served many groups in Charlotte. There are so many areas of need right around us; we just have to open our eyes and hearts to see those needs and be willing to go where God calls.”

Mission Coordinator Naomi Beazely says many families work on their own bonds while serving others. This helps them grow closer and develop a deeper appreciation for the blessings of family, she says.

“There is a special thing that happens when they work together,” Naomi says. “They realize they depend so much on each other’s affection without even knowing it. I think when a community sees this kind of caring, they are more open to receiving help and prayer.”

Which is why we like to say that dreams really do come true at Dorie’s Promise.

The Year of Jubilee

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Forever Changed International - Guatemala Orphans

Part seven of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

If I asked you to tell me what a “jubilee” is, what would you say? A party? Or maybe a dessert that usually involves cherries? It’s not a word we use often these days, but it is actually a beautiful example of how God cares for those who are in need.

In Leviticus 25, God told Moses to establish a “year of jubilee” in Israel, which was supposed to occur every 50 years. A major part of the year of jubilee was the forgiveness of debts. In Israel, just like today, there were people who fell on hard times. Maybe this was through their own mistakes, maybe it was through circumstances they could not control. God did not tell Moses to treat either case differently.

Any one of God’s people who had gotten into debt was set free, and everyone who had to sell their ancestral home to pay debts got their land back. That meant that if your father had to sell your home to pay debts, after 50 years it would be returned to you. Can you imagine the celebration that would come along with that?

You might be thinking, “This isn’t ancient Israel, so what does this have to do with us?” We don’t have “ancestral lands” anymore, do we?

But before we flip our Bibles out of Leviticus, we need to ask what this teaches us about who God is, and what we need to do in response.

God’s mercy is put on display through the year of jubilee. God is so incredibly forgiving to us, and He not only demonstrates this through the year of jubilee, He also gives us a chance to take part. We live in a world where things have gone terribly wrong. The first design was perfect, but it is broken. In His mercy, God is setting things right again. What a privilege it is to participate in that with Him!

When you help those who are in need, you are working in the spirit of the year of jubilee. You are saying along with God, “There are broken things in this world. Let’s set them right again.” And that is a task in which any Christian can be proud to take part.

My Call? Your Call? – It’s God’s Call!

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

 Forever Changed International - August, 2009 - Image by Brad Person

Part six of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

The more I learn about Jesus and what He has called us to do in this world, the more I am convinced Christians should be helping people in need.

After all, giving to the poor and the weak is encouraged throughout the Bible. But I’ve learned something else over the years I’ve worked with the poor. Not everyone has to serve in the same way!

You might think that is an obvious point, but I can’t tell you how important it is to let it sink into your heart. You see, we humans love to imitate each other. We love it so much that when we find someone we admire, we try to be like them. We want to imitate their walk, talk, even their style of dress.

In some ways this is good. After all, St. Paul told the Corinthians to imitate him (1 Corinthians 4:16). But Paul did not mean that God wanted them to do the exact same things Paul did all the time. In fact, God has different plans for each of us. So if your friend is working in a soup kitchen, but you have a passion for literacy, don’t feel like you have to do exactly what your friend does. And don’t try to make your friend join your literacy program either.

God will work through you both where he wants you.

There are examples of this scattered through the entire Bible. King David and Nathan the prophet had different ministries in Israel, but both were needed. The apostles and the deacons in Acts had different jobs to do in the church, and neither group was condemned. So don’t feel guilty if the desire God has given you differs from people you really respect. We can each love and serve God the best by doing what He has planned for us.

Partners of Hope: Growing Deeper wth Dorie’s Promise

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

Dorie's Promise Guatemala - Partners of Hope

By Heather Radu -

Being involved with the ministry at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala is a constant blessing. We feel that way, and we know that many of you feel that way as well. We hear reports of tremendous blessings that mission trippers experience, and we also hear about the wonderful connections that people build with our children. While both of those things are wonderful, there are still those who contact us and ask, “how can I be more involved with Dorie’s Promise?” or “how can I help the children a little bit more?”

partners of hopeWe are thrilled to say we have a great new answer for those questions. We are excited to introduce our Partners of Hope program. Partners of Hope will provide Dorie’s Promise, our children, and you with benefits that will grow the ministry and our relationships.

The requirements for becoming a Partner of Hope are very straightforward. The first step is to come see us at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala. Come for a summer mission trip (this year would be a great time)! Once you arrive you will meet—and come to love—our children, which leads to the next step: becoming a sponsor. Just become a monthly sponsor, and get five others to sponsor a child (there is not time limit on this—find other sponsors at your own pace). Next, get twenty new people to come to Dorie’s Promise on a mission trip (no time limit here either). Once you accomplish this mission, congratulations! You are a Partner of Hope.

The things you do to join the Partners of Hope program are a great benefit to us. Once you become a Partner, benefits start coming your way. For instance, A Partner of Hope will always have his or her mission fee waived during any Forever Changed International mission trip. That is almost enough to join on its own!

Become a Partner of Hope today!You will also have a picture bio on our new Partners of Hope webpage. We are excited about your contribution to Dorie’s Promise, and we want people to know about it! Additionally, if anyone contacts Forever Changed International looking for speakers on missions and orphan care, we will be glad to give them your name. After all, you will have demonstrated your dedication to both already! You will also have the chance to represent Forever Changed International at events (we’ll give you a Partners of Hope polo shirt to wear).

We hope you can see why we think the Partners of Hope program is going to be so great. Everyone will be blessed as a result, and we will be able to support our children in ways we hadn’t been able to before. All our connections with each other will be strengthened.

Please pray, and consider joining our Partner’s of Hope program today.

The Boundary-Breaking Gospel

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Forever Changed International

Part Five of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

People are people. We all have our needs and wants, things we like and dislike — pet peeves, bad habits. As we meet and get to know each other, we get to find out what we are really like. This can be good … or bad. Sometimes it can be very bad!

For instance, my bad habit might overlap with your pet peeve. Maybe that thing I do without realizing it is the one thing that gets on your last nerve. Or maybe my choice of vehicle or what I do with my money is offensive to you. And maybe your choices bother me too. Then we end up being divided. This problem can get even worse once we cross cultural or socioeconomic boundaries.

The hard truth is, though, that none of these things really matter (in the deepest sense). Our annoying habits, dislikes, and cultural differences should all be overwhelmed by the fact that we are all made in God’s image. Every human being has dignity and needs to be treated as such. This can have a huge impact when you are ministering to people in need, even in your own community.

If you are like most people, when you help the poor you do it with the best intentions. You want to give people what they need in order to survive. But sometimes we are so focused on filling an immediate need that we forget to slow down and value the people we meet along the way. We get a good feeling, but those on the receiving end feel like we are saying, “We’re here to save the day, but you have nothing to offer.”

Bottom line: We need to make sure we recognize the humanity of the people we serve. What are their names? What is their history? What are their likes and dislikes? As we ask these questions and really communicate, those old socioeconomic boundaries just might start to crumble. That is, after all, what the Gospel does. It not only breaks the boundary between us and God, but it crosses the boundaries and brings healing between different people groups. As you minister, make sure you get this part of the Gospel right.

Serving Others in the Real World

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Working together

Part Four of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

Sometimes—and I am guilty of this as well—people have a rosy view of serving others. We get the idea that we’re going to go out and do something like work in a food pantry, or at a local mission. Or maybe we’ll start a new ministry in our community. Then, once we get things off the ground, people will overflow with gratitude. Lives will be changed!

And you know, that may happen. Sad to say, though, it often doesn’t. Sometimes, even if we serve with the best of intentions, problems crop up. People are still not happy. I think of the book of Acts in chapter six, when the people of the church were serving widows. These women were in great need, and they were being served, but things weren’t perfect. In fact, there was a great deal of complaining going on because it seemed the money was not being distributed fairly.

If you go on and read the chapter, you will see that the Apostles settled the problem. But the whole episode reminds us that serving can be hard work. We don’t always get the thanks we think we deserve. In fact, sometimes people can act downright selfish, getting angry because we are not serving them the way they think we should.

Don’t be discouraged!

Those early followers of Jesus were not serving widows so they could get a pat on the back, and they certainly weren’t doing it so they could boost their own egos. They served because there were people who needed to eat. People who were made in God’s image. That is the reason why we do what we do at Forever Changed International, and I hope that is why you are serving in your own community.

So please do go out and serve, but remember you can’t control the reactions of others. You serve people because when you help them you are honoring the God who made them. And you know, then your service becomes an act of worship. And that is the most important thing any of us can do with our lives.

God’s Heart for the Poor

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

In one of the Ghettos of Guatemala City

Part Three of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

Founder Heather RaduBy Heather Radu-

If I said the word “prophet,” what picture comes to mind? Maybe a man in a robe and a long beard. What is that prophet doing in your mind? When most of us think of prophecy we think of telling the future. We think about things like Jesus returning and being totally free from sin. But prophets had another important job, didn’t they?

If you read through the Old Testament, most of the prophets brought messages about God’s judgment. People were doing things they shouldn’t be doing and worshiping things that shouldn’t be worshiped. But you know, I was surprised to find out one thing that really grabs God’s attention (in a not-so-good way). Oppressing the poor!

In Zechariah God says, “do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”  In Malalchi those who oppress the poor are listed right along sorcerers and adulterers. So God takes this sort of thing very seriously. In fact, in Psalm 68 God says he is the protector of widows, who were very likely to be poor in that culture.

In the past I’ve written about getting out and serving the poor in your community. I know there are opportunities in your town just like there are in mine. But what I want to do today is ask you if you have the same heart as God for the poor. When the poor were treated badly, God went prophets to let people know he was not going to put up with it.

I want to encourage you, if you are a business owner, to think about the poor in your community when you do business. How can the way you run your business help the poor, or at least avoid hurting them? God cares about the people who are the most vulnerable in our world, so I encourage all of you—follow his lead!

God Remembers Those Who Serve

Saturday, May 17th, 2014

281765_2249415801076_1418642244_2614985_425250_n

Part Two of our new Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu -

Founder Heather RaduDid you know that “remember” is one of the most important words in the Bible? All through the Old Testament God calls the people of Israel to remember how he had delivered them from Egypt. In the New Testament, Jesus calls us to remember his sacrifice when we take communion, and Paul takes the Galatians to task for not remembering the gospel. So remembering matters.

Sometimes I am amazed at the different people God calls us to remember in the Bible. Of course there are important people like Abraham, David, Peter and Paul, but they are not the only names we see in the Bible. God also tells us about those who served in small ways. In Acts 9, the widows of the Church were crying over a just such a person. Her name was Dorcas. She was not a public leader of the Church, nor did she write a book of the Bible. What she did do was live a servant’s life. She watched over these widows and made sure their needs were met.

Most of the time serving those in need does not grab headlines. There is nothing flashy about fixing an elderly man’s rain gutters, or whipping up a meal and taking it to a woman who is no longer healthy enough to leave her home. These things will not make you famous. Most people won’t remember anything you’ve done, but I know that those you help will, and I know that God will. After all, he thought enough of this kind of service to include Dorcas in the Bible.

Please consider getting out there and serving people who need you. I guarantee there are opportunities all around you. You may not see them right now, but Jesus reminded us that we will always have the poor with us. Pray. Ask God to show you an opportunity to serve those in need today. Remembering matters, so please remember that Jesus reached out to you whenever you were helpless. When we help those in need, we, like Dorcas, are following in his footsteps.