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Posts Tagged ‘short term missions’

Seeking the Forgotten and Needy: Missions at Forever Changed International

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

There are 40 children in this community called “el Trapichito,” who had been receiving classes under a tree, but later moved into someone’s garage for class.

By Pablo Villagran –

Serving together at “el Trapichito.”During the time we have been doing missions in different communities around Guatemala we have learned so much. Our goal has always been to serve people and to display God’s love and grace in everything we do. As our connections have grown in the last few years, we have reached out to more areas. Currently we are working with 6 different communities that are located in Guatemala City and in a town called Palencia close to the city.

At Forever Changed International and Dorie’s Promise the focus is on changing the lives of children, and we want to keep that same vision in our projects outside our home. So we constantly seek the forgotten children of Guatemala and we try to change their situation.

One step a time, and with a lot of perseverance God has allowed us to meet people in need and effectively supply their needs. These needs aren’t always material things- sometimes they are in need of love, grace or validation, and we have the responsibility and privilege as ambassadors of Christ to serve them.

The main project we have this summer is building a school for a community that lives in extreme poverty.

There are 40 children in this community called “el Trapichito,” who had been receiving classes under a tree, but later moved into someone’s garage for class. We noticed that there was a big need for school Serving the communities around Guatemala Cityfacilities but the local government didn’t have the funds. We started working with the municipality of Palencia, members of the community and Forever Changed to provide these children a better future by building a better school. We are hoping to complete a school that will have 3 classrooms and bathrooms by the end of the summer.

All of this is possible because of the generosity and support of many people that believe in changing the future of some of the children, they may have never met, in a community called “el Trapichito.” But we need more help and more people to get involved in order to keep the work moving forward.

Besides this project we also continue to provide help to other communities with different types of projects like concrete floors, stoves, bunk beds, pilas, water filters, clothing, hygiene supplies and many other things. God always amazes me that when these community projects open doors, the Gospel of Christ comes in and people are changed. It shows that in God’s eyes we are all the same and that He cares so much about our lives.

These projects open the door for the Gospel of Christ.We change lives forever with our children here at Dorie’s Promise and we want to spread that change into every community that we visit. God loves everybody!

Come and visit us this fall! The following mission trips are discounted $200 off per person! Don’t miss this chance to serve with us and see our projects firsthand. Apply Today.

o   8/29/15-9/5/15

o   9/5/15-9/12/15

o   10/17/15-10/24/15

o   10/24/15/10/31/15

o   10/31/15-11/07/15

 

Families Are Welcome: Come See For Yourself

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

Come Spend Spring Break in GuatemalaBy Charity Danielson-

The video below was prepared by two families who visited Dorie’s Promise last year.   The insights and reflections they share about their time in Guatemala will touch your heart. Perhaps you will also be inspired to come for a visit yourself.

As this video shows, there is something for everyone in our missions program– something each age group can give.

A trip with Forever Changed International allows you to minister in a multitude of ways. The children at Dorie’s Promise are eager for play, for affection, for your time together. In addition, you’ll spend time at the state orphanage and it will be obvious to you why we exist– to provide opportunity for these little ones who are so desperate for attention and affection. Our outreach to the inner city makes way for connection with children living in the ghetto – whose parent work from sunrise to sunset scavenging about in the city dump searching for bits of glass and metal to sell on the streets so they can care for their family. During your trip you will meet the pastor who runs a feeding program near the dump. By faith, they feed these children a mid-day meal each day.

Your family will be able to reach out to impoverished children and families, providing necessities; water filters, clothing, toiletries along with prayer and love. Your kids will remember it forever. You will too! Time with our missions staff in Guatemala will result in growth, and spiritual refreshment as it is an opportunity to completely focus on the love of Christ and what it means to serve. I hope you enjoy the video and prayerfully consider if the Lord is calling you to join us soon.

An amazing adventure and life changing experience awaits you.

Missions With A Purpose

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Come visit Dorie's Promise Guatemala and share the love of God.

By Pablo Villagran –

I want to encourage you today to come on a mission trip...I get the idea that sometimes people think mission trips are designed for particular people who have everything together and live a life morally correct and, as a result, like to help others.

I think missions at Forever Changed International is for anybody who is willing to humble themselves and let God work. There isn’t any specific skill or ability you need in order to come. It is all about loving our kids, the people of Guatemala, and God. But there is a first step we all have to take. You have to begin with the decision to COME.

I think one of my favorite writers explains it very well:

Charity means “love, in the Christian sense.” But love, in the Christian sense, does not mean an emotion. It is a state not of the feelings but of the will; that state of the will which we have naturally about ourselves, and must learn to have about other people.

—C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

So it’s more will than feeling. Sometimes we don’t get to “feeling” right away, but it’s also part of the will to make the decision of loving others.

Through working in the communities around our home you will meet some of the most impoverished people on this planet.The Bible says that Jesus said in Mark 12:30-31:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.

So the love we have for others comes from our main love. The love of God.

I want to encourage you today to come on a mission trip. If you have been receiving a lot of seed (Word of God), this is a good time to put your faith in action and plant some of it. As Scripture says, be doers of the word, not just good listeners (James 1:22). God has called everybody to care for the poor, the orphans, and the widows.

God did not call perfect people to fulfill His Word. We can see many examples of people who didn’t have everything together, but rather did it because of the great love they receive from God.

A Dorie’s Top 10 List

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

"We were blessed through our trip to Dorie's Promise."

I would like to mention some of the specific ways we were blessed through our trip to Dorie’s Promise.

The children showing affection.1. The humble, Christ-like hearts of Pablo, Abel, and Jessica. They were so gracious, helpful, and caring. We especially liked the morning devotions and evening debrief times.

2. The access to our own kitchen stocked with some of our favorite foods when we arrived. Granola bars, peanut butter, coffee, fruit, ramen noodles, mac and cheese.

3. The way the special mom’s welcomed us into their lives and routines.

4. The church service.

5.  The humble and thorough maintenance staff who even folded our laundry for us once!

6. The ability to visit and play with the children during different parts of the day.

7. All of the amazing outings we took – State Orphanage, Paradise, Galilee, the Dump, Antigua…..

8. Safe and comfortable accommodations. I couldn’t believe I had the privilege of going on daily walks without safety concerns.

9. Tasty meals.

10. Just the right balance of service time and free time.

Thanks so much for all you do.

Rachel Clyne

A Great Week of Ministry

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Ministering to the poor in Guatemala City.Last year I had the opportunity to go on a one week missions trip to Guatemala with Dorie’s promise.  I was part of a group of 13 people from our church. It was a great week of ministry and life change for all who went.  Here are some highlights.

1) It was well organized. From the moment we arrived until we left we followed a well planned schedule and always knew what to expect and what was expected of us.

2) It had a balance of information, service and rest. We learned about Dorie’s Promise, the challenges of the poor and orphans in Guatemala and had the opportunity to serve in meaningful ways.

3) It was a spiritually enriching time. We had group devotions every day, many opportunities to pray for and with those in need and time to debrief every evening.

4) It is well staffed. I can’t say enough positive about Pablo, Abel and Jessica. They are true servants of the Lord and were very effective leaders.

There is much to commend about this missions trip. I highly recommend it to any who are interested in going on a missions trip.

In His grace,
Ward Cushman

Love Lived Out

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Love Lived Out~ by Lyn Finnegan
1 Thessalonians 1:3  We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lyn's son with Lester at Dorie's PromiseRecently, I traveled with my son, Ben and his friend to Dori’s Promise in Guatemala.  It was quite the adventure because my son found Dori’s Promise on the internet.  We wanted to go on a mission trip before my son graduated from high school, so we needed a group that would take just us.  This made things a little uneasy, especially for me as a mom, to step out and go with a group we knew nothing about.  On our adventure, what we found was a true treasure.  We found a place like 1 Thessalonians above says, that worked in faith, labored in love and persevered by their belief in Christ. 

After much prayer and multiple conversations with the people at Forever Changed International, we decided to jump in with both feet, live on faith, and trust God to take us where he wanted us to go.  One month later after signing up, we found ourselves in Guatemala where we met Pablo, Jessica, and Abel, our leaders.   They were so jovial and friendly. They showed us Christ’s heart. We loved them.

I am so thankful we took that step of faith.

A Selfie in GuatemalaI believe success is achieved by those leading you.  The leadership team in Guatemala was outstanding.  Abel was full of humor, love and friendship.  Jessica was beautiful, and the light of Christ shone through her. Pablo was on fire for God and demonstrated what it means to follow God fully.  All three were committed to their mission and to us.  They showed us their hearts for the people of Guatemala, for the orphan’s and for the struggles they face day to day- not only those living at Dorie’s Promise, but in Guatemala City. They were incredible examples to each of us for what it means to lay down your life for others and live for Christ.

Not only was I impressed at their vision and how they carried it out in their community but also for the work being done at Dorie’s Promise.  I have adopted from China and wish my daughter had been cared for like they care for their orphans! They teach them about God, character, respect, and responsibility. Furthermore, I saw hardworking, Christian women taking care of the kids with love and devotion.  I know first hand how difficult it is sometimes dealing with the baggage these children unfortunately bring with them.  These women have developed a strong sisterhood through Christ to do what they’ve been called to do.  It comes out in the way they share laughter between both themselves and the children.  These women are on the front line fighting for each of these small souls to know Christ and then to make Him known to others.  They are Princess Warriors!

A family in GuatemalaDorie’s Promise was a place my son, his friend and I found a bit of God’s heart unfurled. I would recommend this trip to anyone.  Abel, Jessica, and Pablo spoke God’s word into each of our hearts just the way we were supposed to hear it.  It’s amazing when that happens. For that, I am truly grateful, especially for the bond my son and I were able to share his senior year, a memory forever.  I would sum it up by saying, if you go to Dorie’s Promise, you will find a mix of Francis Chan’s Crazy Love and David Platt’s Radical being lived out. Just go!

Lyn Finnegan

Words Cannot Explain

Friday, March 20th, 2015

Tacarra: and one of the children from Dorie's Promise I’m so glad I had the courage to listen to my spirit the night of September 11, 2014. For whatever reason,  I could not sleep that night. Exhausted from the constant restlessness, I reached for my smartphone and Googled “causes of insomnia.” I quickly learned how stress and anxiety could be the culprit of my sleepless night. What could I so stressed and anxious about? I wondered. A million and one questions began to flood my mind about my life and its purpose:

  • Am I doing the right type of work?
  • Am I surviving or thriving in life?
  • Will I ever be enough for him or will I be single forever?
  • Am I worthy and do I matter?

Clearly, I had and still have a lot of exploring to do to get to the bottom of my restless spirit. I then had an aha moment and figured out that the best way for me to begin to heal myself was to first become a blessing for someone else in need. It also didn’t hurt that I was itching for a vacation as well so I decided to get the best of both worlds by signing up for my first mission trip!

Tacarra chilling with the children and Special Mother of Dorie's Promise.Little did I know that my life would be forever changed in the most positive ways moving forward.

Words cannot explain the immense feelings of pure love, genuineness, caring and compassion I felt directly from the open hearts of Pablo, Abel, the special mothers and the kids while there! It was almost as if they knew me and we’ve met before. Like we we’re long lost friends reconnecting or something. It was the most beautiful feeling! And for the first time in my adult life, I felt like I mattered. I felt that my presence mattered and that my life was worthwhile. Powerful revelation  and life changing stuff for a 28 year old who was working hard climbing the corporate ladder and trying to find her way in life.

My experience in Guatemala revealed to me just how emotionally and spiritually improvised I was. I was living a life without love and that’s no way for anyone to live. I’m forever grateful for this new found awareness and awakening. It took me 28 years and a mission trip to learn what these kids are blessed to live day in and day out.

Dorie’s Promise is a very good thing and they are doing an incredible job raising the world’s forgotten children. I felt forgotten too, just didn’t realize it- so glad they remembered me. And trust me when I say that these kids are receiving all the love, nurturing, care and attention needed to thrive and overcome ANY obstacles life may  throw their way. After all, love conquers all as they say.Out to the movies with some of the teens from Dorie's Promise.

As for me, nowadays, I look forward to receiving my quarterly updates from Dorie’s on the beautiful child and my personal forever friend I’ve chosen to sponsor, Yire Abraham. That little boy single handedly made my life better. I will always love and appreciate him for what he did for my soul. Most importantly though, I cannot wait to see my little forever friend again! I just request Pablo and Abel to have the cupboard stocked full with plenty of Chiky’s and Nutella for my next visit!!!

Tacarra Christie

My Mission Trip Experience

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Nine years ago, my husband and I first went to Dorie’s Promise on two occasions – one was to meet our new son whom we would adopt just a few short months later, and the second was to bring him home. His name is now Matthew James. During that time period, I knew that one day I would return to Dorie’s to do mission work and that hopefully, it would even become something my family could do, once everyone was a little older.

My first opportunity came in March of 2014. I’ve been sponsoring a few children at Dorie’s ever since Matthew’s adoption, and keeping in touch with Heather Radu and the organization from time to time. My new position as Orphan Ministry Director led me and a wonderful team right into the hands of Dorie’s Promise so that we could potentially make just the slightest difference in the lives of the children living there, and the amazing people in the community whom we assisted. Well, the biggest difference was not what we could do for all of them, it was what they could do IN all of us!

From the start, we were placed in the hands of an outstanding team – Pablo who is wise beyond his age (Mission Director), Jessica who is so intelligent, sweet, loving and caring (assistant to Pablo); and of course, wonderful “servant’s heart” Abel (who was our driver 9 years ago, and remembered me the moment he saw me this time). We still feel like family to this day with the entire team and miss them greatly. Next, spending time with all of the children who we see in our videos and photos was heart-warming and inspiring. Each of those kids has a purpose from God and what a blessing to us to spend time playing with them, braiding their hair, reading books and watching movies, and seeing the smiles as we presented some gifts. And Lastly, we were not prepared to be as astonished by the love and faith of the locals in the community that we assisted with various projects and shared meals with, as well as the special needs children at the State Orphanage who just loved upon us and showed us that God truly is in each and every one of them! I personally came back with a changed perspective.

One of the special things about this trip was that my dear friend Rosa (who is 70 and very much family to me and my family) was with us. Rosa is from Mexico originally and we spoke about doing this trip ever since Matthew was adopted. Having that desire become a reality still warms my heart. Rosa was the biggest blessing to everyone on the trip since she spoke the language fluently and connected with the people in ways none of us could. She knows we plan to go back together!

I’ve always been impressed with Heather’s work and with Dorie’s Promise and their philosophy of orphan care. But doing “mission” work brought my admiration so much higher than I ever expected. They are so well planned, so thorough in the details, and keep care and safety of the teams to the highest level. I highly recommend you grab your team (large or small) and book a trip to Dorie’s soon!

Gerianne Cygan

Wauconda, IL

Part of the Family

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Here's our"family" photo with Jennifer taken in June 2014

By Kari Janusz-

Friends, Brayan and Wilmer together during one of the Januszes trips to Dorie's PromiseOur family first began receiving newsletters from All God’s Children International sometime around 2004. To this day we have no idea how we got on the organization’s mailing list, but I believe strongly that God placed us there. At the time, I had already been praying about adoption, but my husband Chris (who is adopted) was not quite there yet. I would lay out the newsletter on our kitchen table with the photos of children in the hope that God would soften his heart.

In December 2005, Chris asked me to go to Starbucks on a “date” and to bring my adoption information with me. So there we sat, discussing the possibility of opening our hearts and home to another child. I had already prayed about which country I felt God leading us to adopt from, but asked Chris what country he thought we should pursue. He looked up over my head for a second and said, “Guatemala*.” About a year later, he told me that when he looked up, he saw a sign advertising Guatemalan coffee, and knew that God was speaking into his heart. Chris and I both had ministered to Hispanic teens in New York City and knew that we felt at home with the culture.

I made a promise when we brought Wilmer home to the United States back on March 16, 2008. I promised the Special Moms of Dorie’s Promise that I would not forget them, that we would be back. Now, I am sure that they had heard that before, but we don’t make promises we can’t keep in our family. So in February 2009, we were on a plane to Guatemala on a mission trip to Hannah’s Hope/Dorie’s Promise. We continue to visit Dorie’s because of our desire to expose our son Wilmer to his culture, to maintain the friendships forged when Wilmer was growing up there, and because of our deep love for the country and her people. Guatemala and Dorie’s Promise are forever a part of our family, because they a part of our son Wilmer.

We feel strongly that God has called us to continue to support the place that raised our son for the first five years of his life. It is also important for us to continue to give opportunities for other children to be impacted by the tremendous love and care given at Dorie’s Promise by the Special Moms and staff.

Sponsorship allows us to see how the children are growing when we are not there.

Wilmer with Mama Noe, one of the Special Moms who raised himWilmer had a sponsor when he was at Dorie’s, and she reached out to me after we brought Wilmer home. This awesome woman had saved some of the drawings Wilmer did for her when she was sponsoring him. She sent those drawings to us, and we have framed them and hung them on our wall. Her impact as a sponsor continues to bring joy to Wilmer’s heart every time he looks at the pictures he made when he was young. Sponsorship has lasting impact. Even our 16-year-old son Caleb knows of the importance of sponsorship — he supports one of the teens at Dorie’s.

Mission trips provide such an awesome opportunity for people to bond with the children they sponsor. Personally seeing your sponsored child can make a huge difference. It changes the child from being a photo in your mind to a hug in your heart. Mission trips for our family provide us the ability to continue to grow the relationships that we already have with the children and staff there.

The bonds our family has with the children and staff are forever. Going back to Dorie’s is like going home. They are like family to us. The precious women and men who care so deeply for these children amaze us. Dorie’s Promise is a safe haven, an oasis for children and visitors alike. It is not just a house, it is a home. It is a place very hard to leave. That really is what sets Dorie’s apart from other places — it is a home. When God has His hand upon a ministry like this, you can feel His presence in such a palpable way.

If you want to find the kinds of connections the Januszes have, start by visiting our sponsorship section and reading about our children.

*International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008

The Long Term Impact of Missions

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Children of Dorie's Promise

 

The Scott's visiting the state orphanage while on a trip to Dorie's Promise.By Arwen McGilvra-

When we received this touching letter and donation from a teenager who had visited Dorie’s Promise Guatemala back in August 2013, it got us thinking about the long-term impact that supporting Forever Changed International has on our mission-trippers, donors, and sponsors.

Dear Forever Changed:

I just wanted to write a quick note telling this organization about how you have impacted my life. Going on a mission trip to Guatemala through Forever Changed was one of the greatest trips I’ve taken. I truly am forever changed. I’m giving to you ($50) because I feel this is how God wants me to give to Him, by giving to Forever Changed. I saw what you do for the kids at the orphanage, and those kids are precious. I saw what our mission group was able to do for the people we visited, and I even made friends I will never forget. I hope I can go back, and I hope this money helps. 

Dannae Sribnik

Obviously for this 14-year-old, the impact is still strong. And she’s not the only one. Our post-trip surveys are full of comments about the impact a mission trip with Forever Changed has on participants. In fact, many come back for repeat trips.

Returning to the dump had a significant impact on one mission-tripper: “I recognized a lady who lives at the dump/ghetto. Last year she had given me a bracelet she was making. This year when she saw me her face lit up, and I knew she recognized me also. It meant a lot to see that she, one year later, would recognize me. She remembered my face because of God’s love shown through us.”*

Holding a baby at the state orphanage.Another expressed why so many become sponsors after visiting: “The breadth of your programming is definitely the most impactful part of the trip. By connecting the dots of how your children come to be there and the pieces of Guatemala that connect to their plight, the need is better understood.”*

One of our donors, Helen Beidel, recently passed away. Before she died, she requested that in lieu of funeral flowers, donations be sent in her memory to Dorie’s Promise. A steady stream of donations flowed in for about three months. In the end, her family and friends donated $2,500.

When Rebecca Scott, Helen’s daughter, adopted her third child from Guatemala back in 2008, her mom traveled with them to Guatemala to pick her up. Later, the Scotts found out about Dorie’s Promise through their friends the Ratcliffs, who had adopted through our home**.

“They told us about the mission trips, and we immediately knew we wanted to go on one with our family. My mom was very sick at the time and was so sad that she couldn’t go with us, but she gave generously for us to be able to go,” says Rebecca. “When we got back and told her about our trip, she immediately wanted to send money to the pastor who feeds the children every day near the dump (and whom we had helped). She was so thrilled that we got to return to Guatemala and serve in that way.”

“After she passed away, and we talked about where to have people donate, we immediately thought of Dorie’s Promise and Forever Changed because of how much it has impacted our family. We knew she would be thrilled to have money go to y’all.”

The impact goes on … we regularly receive letters and comments telling us how lives have been forever changed by interaction with our organization. Here are just a few:

“It has forever changed my life.”

“I thought at first the name ‘Forever Changed’ was ambitious. But it was a reality. I am truly changed forever.”

“It was an amazing experience — they don’t only forever change the lives of the children and communities, but it has changed me and how I see the world and what I want to do.”

“Your name Forever Changed could not be more appropriate, for I am forever changed!”

Want to experience for yourself what they are all raving about? Get started here.

 

*Survey results are collected anonymously

**International adoptions from Guatemala closed in 2008