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Posts Tagged ‘short term missions’

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


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.

You Don’t Need a Plane Ticket to Serve Like Jesus

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Dorie's Promise Guatemala

Part One 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 RaduI have always loved the mission trip season at Dorie’s Promise Guatemala. The children enjoy all the new people, of course, but I am always amazed at the impact it has on our visitors. They come expecting to meet people who need their help, but many of them are stunned by the level of poverty. They leave with a much deeper sense of compassion than they had when they arrived.

Many of those visitors return to Guatemala to serve, but others do not. I wonder how many of them lose that sense of compassion as they go back to the routines of every day life. It’s easy to do! We each have our own responsibilities, after all. I also wonder if those people think, “I’ll get back to Guatemala City one day, so I can serve people the poor.”

But there is something that we always need to remember: you don’t have to get on an airplane to serve people in need. There is no need to travel thousands of miles. You probably don’t even have to leave town. There are people in need right now, right where you live.

Please don’t misunderstand me. We love seeing people come to Guatemala City. If you have the chance, please take it! However, if that is the only time you serve the poor, you are missing out. Jesus always encouraged his disciples to minister to the poor, and in Acts we see that the Church took him seriously. They provided help for those who needed it most.

Jesus was right when he said, “you will always have the poor with you” (Matt. 26:11). That means that even if you can’t make a trip to Guatemala City, you can still find ways to help those in need. Just look around your community. There are probably already ministries like shelters and soup kitchens that need volunteers. I guarantee there are children who would be just as glad to see your face as ours are at Dorie’s Promise.

I want to encourage each person reading this to take the time to find where you can serve. You might find out that there is actually no one helping the poor in your community. Then you should thank God because you have quite an opportunity.

You get to serve just like Jesus would right in your own hometown.

“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.