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Posts Tagged ‘short term missions’

“New” Ministry with Forever Changed International

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Pablo - Our Missions Director

By Heather Radu-

There are so many new things going on with Forever Changed International that it gets hard to tell you about all of them—I don’t know where to begin!

First, no, we are not giving up on our traditional areas of service—ministering to the wonderful children at Dorie’s Promise and serving the poor at the dump in Guatemala City. We are expanding!

One way God is helping us expand our ministry is by bringing new, excited people into it. Pablo Villagran is our new mission leader, and he is bringing fresh energy and ideas to the work here. He will be heading up some of the best service projects we have had the joy of undertaking. Pablo has been around Forever Changed since he was young, so he knows that our heart is to help the underserved people of Guatemala City. And that is his heart, too.

Pablo on the left - with a Mission GroupThe people of Linda Vista are one of these underserved groups we will be happy to serve under Pablo’s leadership. Many there just need a place to raise their families. There are, however, few jobs in the area, so crime levels have gone up. Still, it is a place where children play on the streets regularly. Our aim is to help them grow up in an environment that is healthy and safe.

If you are as excited as I am about Pablo and about ministering in Linda Vista, I encourage you to come to Guatemala City this summer. Come alone or on a trip with others you know. We would love to have your help!

One thing I want to stress, though: Early and mid-summer fill up quickly, and we are often left with no one to help us in the later months like August and September.

Please consider booking a trip to Dorie’s Promise Guatemala during August or September. We are always grateful for the help mission trippers give us, but we will be even happier to see you during the time in which we have the greatest need. We look forward to seeing you, and we pray that God blesses your summer no matter where he might send you!

Come in August (Or September)

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

The Kids at Dorie's Promise Guatemala

By Heather Radu-

Guatemala is a beautiful country full of amazing people. There are many who struggle with need, but I truly believe that to visit Guatemala is to love Guatemala.

Many of you already know this! You have come to Dorie’s Promise, perhaps more than once. You have met our children, and they have won your heart.

The children play soccer at Dorie's Promise GuatemalaIt may be that you are considering another visit to Dorie’s Promise this year, and I think it’s a great idea. If you want to experience Guatemala in a new way, I would love to make a suggestion.

Come in August. Or September!

This two-month stretch is actually one of the best times to come to Guatemala, and there are almost always vacancies. You get the benefit of seeing Guatemala during one of the best times of year while also helping Dorie’s Promise when we need it the most. Please consider stepping into these gaps.

And when you do come, be prepared for some wonderful new things! First, we are thrilled about our new mission leader, Pablo Villagran. Pablo has known of Dorie’s Promise since he was young, and now he has developed a passion for seeing the mission program grow. He has some truly life-changing opportunities in store for you if you choose to come.

One of the most amazing opportunities you will have is to minister in the community of Linda Vista. You may already be familiar with Linda Vista and the needs the people there face. About 100 families live there, and most of them are squatters in very small homes. Poverty is such a severe problem, and crime is an unfortunate reality. The children of Linda Vista face an uphill battle as they get older.

Pablo our Missions Director - Serving GuatemalaBut we have the chance to help turn the tide. Our vision is to establish a long-term mission relationship in Linda Vista and raise the standard of living there. We want to help build a community that can provide adults with employment and children with a safe, healthy place to learn and play.

I can’t encourage you enough to come and get involved. Please pray and consider a mission trip this year. And don’t forget to sign up so our ministry can keep going strong through the months of August and September!

God is working at Dorie’s Promise. Take an opportunity to join Him.

Meet Naomi Beazely Our Missions Coordinator

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Meet Naomi Beazley Our Missions Coordinator

By Heather Radu -

Meet Naomi Beazley Our Missions CoordinatorOur missions coordinator, Naomi Beazely, is close to me. She is my sister-in-law. Stepping into this role after Pablo Villagran became our missions director, she brings a wealth of experience to this position.

Previously, Naomi worked with All God’s Children for five years and twice visited Guatemala in that capacity. She called her first trip to Central America “eye-opening.”

“I didn’t know what it all was about,” she recalls. “It immediately became a passion. I want to make this a better program with better communication, scheduling, and planning.”

A native of Oregon, Naomi completed community college courses after high school to prepare to enroll in a dental hygiene program. Instead, she got involved in ministry to orphans (and I am glad she chose this route.)

Naomi is married to my brother, Brian, and has two sons. Josh, 12, is in seventh grade, and younger son, Jake, 7, is a first-grader. They live near our headquarters in Camas, Washington.

Since so many of the teams going to Dorie’s Promise are from the U.S., it is more effective to have a coordinator living here instead of in Guatemala.

Naomi says she loves being able to offer help to so many people in so many different ways. When she assists teams with trip plans, she has the rewarding experience of knowing these efforts bless both volunteers and orphans.

Ironically, she is a mirror image of Pablo, the energetic, outgoing young man who directs our missions program. Naomi says Pablo is such an effective speaker — that he compels people to listen to him and is a favorite with mission teams — while she is content to stay in the background.

“I’m happy to do it,” Naomi says. “I feel like I’m able to use my attributes. I’m a very organized person. I may not be the best public speaker or the best at getting people excited, but when teams come and ask what they can do, I can help them organize their week. I enjoy doing something I’m good at.”

Naomi is especially pleased to direct mission teams to our new gift registry, which includes a list of significant priority purchases that teams (and other supporters) can help us acquire.

The registry page lists other, less expensive items that are needed at Dorie’s Promise.

Naomi appreciates how spending less time informing volunteer missionaries about essential supplies frees up time to better coordinate our overall program.

“I never thought I would get into this field,” Naomi says. “When I saw what we were doing, and how we were helping so many kids by bringing them to a home staffed by people they can trust, it made sense. There’s nothing else I would rather do. I’m lucky I get to do it.”

Getting Ready for Your Missions Trip

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Missions Trippers at Dorie's Promise Guatemala

By Heather Radu -

Dorie's Promise Gift RegistryBefore mission teams depart for Guatemala, you should make adequate preparations for your trip. One time-saving step is going to a local bank and exchanging U.S. dollars for Guatemalan quetzlas. The average person spends $50 to $100 on souvenirs, so plan accordingly.

One of the most common questions we field is what donations teams can bring, outside of what they need for mission activities.

While such gifts are not required, we appreciate any supplies volunteers bring, since they help lower the overall costs of operating Dorie’s Promise.

However, before your team departs, we advise checking our new gift registry. There we have identified leading priorities, such as a van for transportation and an entrance roof for our recently-renovated House 6.

microbusOther needs are listed there, such as appliances, children’s toys, clothing and shoes. A visit to the registry will help maximize your team’s effectiveness.

So does considering the practical nature of donations. Some volunteers have asked if they can bring T-shirts to give away in Guatemala City. Instead of that, we suggest giving money toward water filters that can provide residents pure drinking water throughout the year.

We are currently working on a group registry to help teams with advance planning for mission projects in the community.

While we are still determining what area can benefit the most from this assistance, we hope to have this registry active soon. As with the gift registry, teams will be able to go online for details on available projects.

Naturally, if anything is unclear, we welcome your calls, but we hope the gift and group registries will reduce the time needed for trip planning. After all, we want you to make more than one visit!

While you can review questions-and-answers on another page, here are some of the more common inquiries:

Able greeting Missions Trippers for Dorie's Promise GuatemalaQ. What should I expect when I go through customs?

A. When you arrive in Guatemala City, you will go through Passport Control and then on to baggage claim.  Once everyone has their luggage, you will proceed to the line that is marked “Nothing to Declare.” Exiting the airport, you will be asked to give the customs officer your declaration form.

Q. Who will be waiting for me at the airport?

A. One of our mission leaders, who will be holding a sign with the “Forever Changed” logo on it.

Q. How much luggage can I bring?

A:  For international travel, most airlines allow 1 carry-on and 1-2 pieces of checked luggage. If you have empty space and are wondering how to fill it, check our gift registry for a current list of supply needs.

To review all FAQs, click here.

New Opportunities When You Serve With Us

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Mission Trippers working in the community of Linda Vista.

By Heather Radu -

When people come Dorie’s Promise Guatemala, they are always excited to meet our children. They bring a blessing as they interact with them, and I know they also receive a blessing.

the Guatemala, in the community of Linda Vista.We will always provide ample opportunity for mission trippers to get to know the children, but we are also eager to provide other opportunities for service. That is why we are so excited to announce some new developments with our mission program—and we think you’ll be excited too! We have three new ways to come and serve the people of Guatemala on your mission trip.

A wonderful new chance to serve the people of Guatemala comes in the community of Linda Vista. Linda Vista has a large population, yet many of the people there are squatters. Many live in makeshift homes and have a difficult time finding work and proper nutrition. Crime is a problem in Linda Vista, but we are hopeful that through the help we provide people will be able to build a better, healthier, more life. It is with great joy that we off our visitors the chance to come and minister in Linda Vista.

A boy walking on the tracks near the Guatemala City dump.Mission trippers will also have the opportunity to join us for a daily feeding at the City Dump. Many Guatemalans, a number of them children, make their living by sorting through the garbage for recyclables and other items. In this way they are able to make a little money for their families. It is a difficult life, as food is not always easy to come by. Many times the food that is available is not healthy, and children tend to suffer the most from this. That is why we are excited for those who come to serve with us to take part in this feeding. You will get to deliver healthy food directly to the people who desperately need it.

Our last new service opportunity will be for people to help us remodel the facility we own just forty minutes outside of town. It has always been important to us at Dorie’s Promise to provide the best possible facilities for our children, special moms, and our visitors. From time to time that means doing the hard work of remodeling. Every mission tripper should come prepared to clean, paint, or assist in whatever capacity that is needed. A beautiful facility is a tremendous blessing to children who have come to us out of poverty.

So please, come join us this year at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala. Our children will be happy to see you, and you will have the opportunity to fill the needs of some people who suffer from genuine need.

We look forward to you blessing us with your presence, and we hope that you will take a blessing back with you.

Reach Out Missions Program is Growing

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Reach Out Missions is Growing

By Heather Radu-

Missions Director Pablo and a team visiting the ghetto.We are so blessed by everyone who comes to Guatemala City and serves through our Reach Out Missions program. The resources we get from the missions program create a small but steady stream of support for Dorie’s Promise Guatemala, our orphan home in the city.

And today I have some exciting news! The Reach Out Missions program is growing, and I believe sharing that news with our friends is really important. The growth in this program helps our work at Dorie’s Promise in ways you can’t even imagine. Sponsorship is still the most important tool we have to raise money to feed, house, and care for the children in our home. But our short-term missions program plays an important role. Each week, we get a small but steady stream of people committing to come to Guatemala. From each mission-tripper’s fee, we receive roughly $300 to help run the orphanage. Believe me when I tell you that without this we would be in real trouble.

So let’s rejoice together over the growth of the Reach Out Missions program and thank God for this unique way to introduce people to our children and the work of caring for them.

Here’s a little history so you can see how God has been working:

2009: 60 trippers
2010: 130 trippers
2011: 216 trippers
2012: 370 trippers
2013: 313 trippers

This year, we are on track to hit our goal of 450 trippers.

We are close to our goal already but we still need a little help. If you’re thinking of coming, do it! If you know someone looking to come on a great mission trip, tell them about us! Click here to begin an application.

In one of Guatemala Cities ghettosWe’ve got new things in the works for our upcoming trips. Pablo has been working hard to identify some communities that are beyond desperate and that nobody else is helping. He is also looking at some regular lunch and dinner programs for those who work in the dump.

We think our 2014 trips are going to be some of our best ever! We’ve spent a lot of time planning and preparing, so please help us spread the word about our mission opportunities.

One note … Consider coming in August. We currently don’t have many people coming that month. It is the perfect time to come. Go on a great mission trip before the new school year starts!

Thank you again for being so supportive of our work with the children in our care and in the communities that surround our home.

P.S. Let me know if you’re interested in coming down this spring, summer, or fall. We would love to have you!

Mission Trips – Free Day; See Antigua, Do A Zip Line, or Visit A Coffee Plantation

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Free Day Adventure - Guatemala Missions

By Arwen McGilvra & Pablo Villagran-

A Missions Group Visiting Antigua GuatemalaDuring your week visiting our home, we take you to see Antigua, Guatemala, on Thursday. Antigua is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish-Baroque-influenced architecture, as well as a number of spectacular ruins of colonial churches. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.*

We will visit a ruin and do some shopping at the local market, where you will be able to get authentic Guatemalan goods for souvenirs or gifts for your friends and family. Colorful local crafts including blankets, purses, bracelets, ponchos, shirts, traditional shoes, necklaces, and machetes are just some of the unique items that you’ll find. You can learn even more here: Guatemalan Handicrafts.

People have asked us in the past: Is it safe at the market? Will the merchants take advantage of us because we’re tourists?

Firstly, there is a lot of tourism in Antigua, so security is a priority. They don’t want to have a bad reputation. At the same time, it’s a good idea to follow these tips whenever you are in a foreign country:

  • Getting ready for the zipline - Guatemala MissionsPick-pockets often have an accomplice who will jostle you, ask you for directions or the time, point to something spilled on your clothing, or distract you by creating a disturbance. Stay alert and stay with the group.
  • Wear the shoulder strap of your bag across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse-snatchers. Carry your wallet in the front pocket of your jeans.
  • Don’t rummage through your wallet or count your money in public — it advertises the contents and location to a would-be thief. Take only what you need when you go out, and keep money in more than one place.

Secondly, we have made friends at the market who we know will give you the best prices, but if you want to try other stores there you have to bargain with them. They may try to charge you three times the real price, but that’s why we’re always around you, making sure you get a decent deal.

Team Building during a Guatemala Missions TripDuring the day, we will also eat at a steak house, and we could also do things like zip line, ride horses, or see a coffee plantation for an extra fee. If you have been to Antigua before, we have other options for you if you’d like something different.

Pacaya’s Volcano — Pacaya is an active complex volcano in Guatemala. Pacaya rises to an elevation of 2,552 meters (8,373 feet). After being dormant for a century, it erupted violently in 1965 and has been erupting continuously since then. It is a popular tourist attraction and lies 30 kilometers (19 miles) southwest of Guatemala City and close to Antigua.*

Lake Atitlán — A fairly large lake in the Guatemala highlands, Atitlán is recognized to be the deepest lake in Central America, with a maximum depth of about 340 meters (1,120 feet). The lake is shaped by deep escarpments that surround it and by three volcanoes on its southern flank. Lake Atitlán is further characterized by towns and villages of the Maya people. The lake is about 50 kilometers (31 miles) west-northwest of Antigua.

These other two tours have an extra fee. Talk to our Mission coordinator in the U.S. for details.

Guatemala is a great place to visit, full of great stories and places that will make your time there unforgettable. Apply for a trip today!



Find Out For Yourself – Visit During Spring Break

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Come Spend Spring Break in Guatemala

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

Something for Everyone

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

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

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

Seconds and Thirds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missions – An Infectious Passion

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Forever Changed International Missions

Guest Post By: Jeff Semler-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Missions to Dorie's Promise Guatemala

By Cinda Rachor-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A short note from Pablo:

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