Orphan Outreach NewsApologetics and Adventure (#GrowDeep)
As Orphan Outreach celebrates a decade of care for orphans and vulnerable children, we're inviting our US-based staff to share their thoughts about the ministry and its mission - and we're giving a sneak peek into their lives and loves. This month, you'll get to know Missions Coordinator Sarah Herbek, an orphan care advocate with a love for apologetics and adventure.
(Special thanks to Elise Diaz for her contributions to this #GrowDeep devotional!)
(In part one of this interview with Orphan Outreach President Mike Douris, insight is provided on what led to the tragedy at a Guatemalan government orphanage and what is needed now for lasting change to take place in caring for orphans and vulnerable children. Both parts of the interview are also being broadcast by Mission Network News on Christian radio stations around the world. We are thankful to them for their commitment to sharing this important story).
(We are grateful that this article is also being shared by Mission Network News with Christian radio stations around the world).
The afternoon rains have not yet begun in La Paz, Honduras, where Austin South is serving with a team of missionaries from the United States. As the Director for Asociacion Manos Extendidas, the Honduran NGO partner of Orphan Outreach, South has seen the country he calls home struggling to provide care for orphans and vulnerable children.
To read "Big Faith - Part One," click here.
If you’re anything like me, your faith journey is a roller coaster ride. Some days are better than others. Some days I feel like I have absolute confidence God is with me, for me, and working through me. Other days, I feel God is absent, silent and I’m all alone. I wish, pray for, and honestly yearn for a deep, unwavering, and steadfast faith in God no matter the circumstances. But so often the life creeps in and skews my view of God.
As Orphan Outreach celebrates a decade of care for orphans and vulnerable children, we're inviting our US-based staff to share their thoughts about the ministry and its mission - and we're giving a sneak peek into their lives and loves. This month, our President and Founder Mike Douris takes us back to the beginning - and shares his vision for the future.
The children look up at the young adults and smile. They may not speak the same language and they may not look like them, but the children feel safe and loved. The young adults were once foster children and feel a connection to the orphaned children that needs no spoken words. For a moment, they all forget about their trials and tribulations and allow themselves to feel the warmth and joy of the Christmas spirit.
In 2017, 52 teams will travel with Orphan Outreach on short-term mission trips. Of those, 36 will work in Central America. The remaining teams will travel to India, Kenya, and Eastern Europe to serve orphans, orphan graduates, and vulnerable children. While the number of teams serving in these regions is growing, they are locations that some believe are simply too remote, too costly, or too dangerous.
Col 2:7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
As Orphan Outreach celebrates a decade of care for orphans and vulnerable children, we're inviting our US-based staff to share their thoughts about the ministry and its mission - and we're giving a sneak peek into their lives and loves. First up is Ronne Rock. She manages feature stories and social media for Orphan Outreach, and she's been leading mission trips since 2009.
She sits in the small suite of offices now filled to the brim with co-workers, supplies, maps, calendars, and photographs of the faces representing thousands of children supported by Orphan Outreach ministry partners and donors. Tiffany Taylor Wines, Director of Marketing & Development, was there when a small band of passionate people first met together to launch the global ministry 10 years ago. The original team had all worked in orphan care ministries, and all felt a similar call to serve in a rich and meaningful way.
Marcela and her friends run, laughing, down the rutted dirt road and through the gate to the small brightly colored house and the smiling women who welcome them with open arms. Inside, the fragrance of a warm meal fills the room as the children gather to learn a lesson from the Gospel of John. For the third grade girls, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons are a welcomed treat.
I love Christmas season, but I will confess: I find the whole idea of gift-giving quite challenging. I stare at my shopping list and ask the same questions each year.
He’s traveled to Russia more times than can be counted, and the country continues to hold a special place in his heart. Orphan Outreach President Mike Douris remembers the first conversations with the Department of Education shortly after the Soviet Union fell. Government-run orphanages were filled to capacity with children who not only had been rescued from abuse and neglect, but also who had been placed by parents struggling to survive. “In the early days, we were asked to provide guidance on basic childcare, to share best practices for the orphanages," he reflects.
Worldwide, 37 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Two million are children. In fact, the United Nations reports that 400 children contract the virus daily, mostly from mother-to-child transmissions (unaids.org). Yet children under the age of 15 are 50% less likely to receive antiretroviral treatment as people 16 and older.
The tables spilled out from the main ballroom into the sunroom of Brook Hollow Country Club in Dallas on Thursday, December 1st, as the 8th Annual Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) luncheon filled the venue with heartfelt laughter, tears, and the hope of Christ-centered care for orphans and vulnerable children.
Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” Psalm 82:3-4 ESV
In Psalm 68, the psalmist calls God “a father to the fatherless,” who “sets the deserted in families” (vv. 5–6 mev). Even before the Incarnate Christ called his first disciple, God had established himself as a family man.
One of my favorite things to ask kids as I travel around the world is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Today, our Executive Director Rey Diaz offers up a special prayer for the United States and its leaders. It is a beautiful reminder of our hope and our purpose - and the beauty of being adopted into the most majestic of forever families.
In 1836, George Mueller and his wife, Mary, opened up a home for orphan girls at 6 Wilson Street in Bristol, England. Soon, they had rented other homes and expanded to 140 children, both boys and girls. The neighbors complained, and George bought land in 1849 in Ashley Downs, Bristol, to build a larger orphanage.
Every day after classes at the local technical school, Yana, 18, treads the long dirt road home, careful to place her crutches just so. Born with a neurological disorder, she has never known a different way to walk through the world. Nor has she ever known what it is like to have a family walk alongside her.
Each year, around 50 short-term mission teams travel with Orphan Outreach to serve in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Kenya, Latvia, and Russia. The teams are as diverse as the countries they visit – traditional churches, individuals from across the country, like-minded groups and organizations. All share a similar passion – to care for orphans and vulnerable children.
Most volunteers and churches that get involved in orphan care go to bless children with the hope of making a difference in their lives. Understandably, those who serve are rarely thinking, “is what I am seeing best practice in action, is this program in the best interest of the children, where on the continuum of care does this program fit, or is this a program I – or my church - should support?”
The colored pencils and Crayola markers were piled high.
Given the opportunity, would you spend tens of thousands of dollars building a high school—with a swimming pool—in a semi-arid, sub-Saharan African village? Well-meaning Westerners did—and years ago, I taught in that school. Every day, I walked past groups of students talking and laughing, with their feet dangling over the edge of the empty pool. A thin layer of rainfall from the wet season had puddled at the bottom, growing thick with algae and mosquitos. And every day, I wondered what on earth those builders had been thinking.
Imagine your name is Astrid. It’s weighty for a small girl like you. You’re seven, and the name you’ve been given meaning “beautiful goddess” seems far away from working in a dump in Chimaltenango, Guatemala. That’s what your days are made up of; twelve to fourteen hours spent digging through other people’s trash in search of enough something to scavenge that might help your mother bring in a few dollars for the day.
The tears fall as Maria steps inside the room and sees the stove for the first time. A prayer has been answered. Eleven cinder blocks and galvanized steel mean healthier days ahead. Soot clings to the walls and to her skin, and a grandchild’s constant cough reminds her of why she prayed. She has longed for better days for her community, and this day alone has seen six stoves installed in homes near the Ravine in Chimaltenango.
In the jungles of northeast India, cheers can be heard in the distance as the van slowly winds its way along rutted mountain roads. As it rounds the corner, children begin dancing in front of the old school that’s been transformed into a safe harbor for healing and community. Their welcome is an expression of their gratitude and love for the people who have traveled more than 30 hours to visit for a few precious days. For the children of Gan Sabra HIV Home, family looks a lot like the world.
Tucked away from the cheers of the children at the Community Care Center in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, the Harpers sit together and laugh. They have become used to the afternoon rains that darken skies and fill the air with the fragrance of the fields. This is the fourth year for Connie and Joe to be part of the mission team hosted by KVNE, a Christian radio station in East Texas. With their daughter Hali by their side now, the threesome calls Guatemala their second home.
We'll let you in on a little secret. We celebrate every moment of your journey to care for orphans and vulnerable children and their families. We read your stories and share your photos. Your joy is ours too. And that's why we're sharing two very special things today - a prayer from Benjamin Weaver, and words from Annie Horrocks. Both traveled to Manali, India, with Orphan Outreach to serve at House of Grace.
“The Jewel of Western India,” or “The Land of Legends,” Gujurat state stretches for nearly 1000 miles along the Arabian Sea, with its northern edge shouldering Pakistan’s border. It is the birthplace of Mahatma Ghandi, and more than 60 million people call it home. In the village of Anand, 20 girls and their caretakers—Mainesh and Snehlata Parmar—share the Elwyn Parekh Children’s Home.
We are honored to share the stories of those who serve with us around the world. Katie Schaefer lives in Washington, but her heart has found its home in Guatemala. For the past three years, she has traveled with her church to Cerro de Oro, where she has built homes, taught students, and ministered to the women of the community.
According to Huntington Bank’s Annual Backpack Index, the cost of back-to-school supplies has climbed over the last 10 years—up 88% for elementary school students alone. According to the Index, parents can expect to pay per child:
Orphan Outreach & Honduran NGO, NICO, have teamed up to give children exactly what they need to thrive
"What’s in the best interest of the child?" is a question at the forefront of governments and orphan care ministries around the world. And in Honduras, the two groups are coming together to find the best answers.
Earlier this year, we shared the story of Westport Church in Oregon - and the impact of orphan care ministry on a church and its people. But what is the impact of a church and its people on the ones they serve? A letter from Lucy at Gan Sabra HIV Home in Aizawl, India, says it all.
In 2009, a group of mothers and daughters traveled to Guatemala for what they thought would be a week of serving the poor. That single short-term mission trip changed the lives of each person on the trip – and the lives of hundreds of others in the United States and around the world.
Cesar Eguizabal is best known by individuals and churches serving in Guatemala as the Missions Coordinator for Orphan Outreach. He also serves on the board for the Alianza Cristiana para los Huérfanos (ACH) – Guatemala’s Christian Alliance for Orphans. Eguizabal and the alliance are supported by a growing number of churches and NGOs – including Asociación Niñez con Futuro (Orphan Outreach's NGO in the country) – as they work to provide resources and education, and to encourage more Guatemalans to serve orphans through family preservation, foster care and adoption, and by caring for those who have been rescued from abuse and neglect.
With the stamps of numerous countries inking her passport, Lee Hageman anticipated nothing out of the ordinary when she and her husband, Paul, traveled to Kenya with Orphan Outreach in 2013. As the director of donor development at 91.3 WCSG, Cornerstone University Radio, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lee had the chance to take 15 listeners to the East African nation.
Orphan Outreach has served in Latvia for a number of years, and most of the support has come in the way of mission teams and sponsorships working with their in-country NGO. The ministry efforts have been fruitful, and yet for Dace Rence and other Latvian nationals, something has been missing. “We’ve been trying to meet children in their need, to minister to them, to share the Gospel, but most of all, what we’ve always wanted was to get the local church involved.”
It's a special day at Candlelight School in the Matopeni slums of Nairobi. Alice Afwai has welcomed the team from WCSG radio in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and another guest is on his way. Tears fill her eyes when Ellis, the first Candlelight student to attend university, walks through the gates. To her, he represents the dream she and her husband, Fred, have for all 384 students. She believes every child deserves to shine.
Join Orphan Outreach and other individuals in serving children in Honduras. The team will be serving children and staff at the San Jose Orphanage in L
Join Orphan Outreach's president Mike Douris on this medical mission trip that is open to both medical & non-medical professionals. This team will
It all began with fire and water. In the summer of 2015, members of Women for Orphans Worldwide focused their attention on the families of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Much work had been done to provide education for the children, but more work was needed to keep those families intact. Clean stoves and drip water filtration systems were installed in homes once filled with the choking smoke of open fires, and plans were set in place for a community care program that would provide more extensive support.
It’s Wednesday, and the afternoon sky looks like cotton candy against crystal blue. Soccer teams blur the fields in practice as workers stoop over land nearby to harvest greens and purples and golds.
Adoption has been closed to a number of countries, including the United States, since 2013. And while domestic adoption is on the rise, the journey is slow because of the incredible difficulties Russian families face after the adoptions are finalized. Natasha Votyakova of Orphan Outreach's Russian NGO says, “We still don’t have enough preparation, we don’t get enough training before the adoption, and not enough counseling after the adoption.”
Orphan Outreach adds Joseph’s DreamCoat, an adoption financial assistance ministry, to its services.
Life was running smoothly for Jay and Jennifer Kassing. Both from the Midwest, they had settled in Dallas, Texas—known as “Big D”—and were raising a big family under big open skies. So the thought of making their family any bigger had gone long flown the coop.
A view of Honduras from factual sources can appear bleak. It has the world's highest murder rate. It is the world's second poorest economy and 65% of it residents live in poverty. But a closer look shows something else entirely.
We would like to extend a very special "Thank you!" to everyone who attended our 3rd annual Children's Hope Dinner. It was truly a most special evening, and because of the overwhelming generosity of so many, more than $100,000 was raised for ministry to orphans and vulnerable children in the countries we serve! Our friends at Lovell PR shared this media release today!
They consider him a big brother, a trusted friend, a mentor. For the children at Gan Sabra HIV Home in Aizawl, Mizoram, India, Givorgy is a welcome presence. He and the rest of the team at Westport Church in Oregon have become more than visitors to a faraway land.
We are honored to share once again the words of Timothy Martiny, friend and fellow missionary in Guatemala.
In a small Russian fishing village, a young girl watches wistfully for the ship that will bring true love to her. Her father says she'll know it by its sails of scarlet - words given to him by a wizard years before. All the while, a young nobleman longs for her. When he learns of the legend of the red sails, he decides to make her dreams come true. Painting the sails of his ship, he sets out to sea just to return to harbor - and to love.
Best known as Olympic Gold Medalist, ice skating commentator and cancer survivor, Scott Hamilton will share another significant aspect of his life -- family and adoption -- at the 3rd Annual Children’s Hope Dinner benefiting Orphan Outreach, on Thursday, April 21. Supporting the organization’s work to provide for vulnerable children and orphans in some of the world’s most impoverished areas, Hamilton will reveal his touching personal story of being adopted as a baby and how he and his wife recently adopted two children from Haiti. The event will also honor Dallas humanitarian Paige Rippey Locke with this year’s Children’s Hope Award for her compassionate work with orphans.
One look at the photos reveals the celebration happening in Aizawl, India at Gan Sabra HIV Home. Lucy and the children have a Jeep to maneuver the rough mountainside roads, sudden rains, and crowds. For them, and for the family inspired to provide the funding, the Jeep is more than an act of kindness.
On a whim one day, in the hospital’s staff lunch room, Rhonda Lynn took a chance and asked her coworker, Alicia Hulse—who was virtually a complete stranger—if she wanted to go with her to Africa on a mission trip. Alicia’s response surprised her—and, over time, changed everything.
Guatemala is going through a change having put their former President and Vice President in jail for corruption - young and old, rich and poor took to the streets and said enough is enough! And they elected a comedic actor Jimmy Morales who has no political experience who graduated from SETECA seminary and promised an administration that would clean up corruption and restore hope for a new future.
We love sharing YOUR sponsorship stories as we continue to pray that every child will be sponsored in 2016! Thank you to Kristen Scott for this beautiful story that's all about family!
Throughout February, we're sharing YOUR sponsorship stories. Today, meet Amy Pearce!
At Orphan Outreach, we are committed to the health and well-being of our mission trip participants who travel with us around the world. We are aware there is growing concern about the outbreak of the Zika virus (which is carried by mosquitos). The virus generally causes mild symptoms, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women against travel to many Central and South American and Caribbean nations because there is reason to believe that Zika is related to microcephaly, which can cause brain damage in newborns, but a direct causation has not been identified. More research is to be done to determine causation. As of now we recommend women who are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant to consult with their personal physician on whether or not they should travel to Guatemala or Honduras.
One of the greatest joys of my life is hearing my son, Elijah, pray. You can hear his deep compassion and concern for orphans and vulnerable children in his voice. He ends every prayer with a plea to God “please help the kids with no mommy or daddy. Feed them. Love them. Give them toys.” He is only 8, thus toys are a priority.
Chimaltenango is a knotted hub of transportation located along the world’s longest road—the Pan American Highway, which threads through the Americas from Alaska to the tip of Brazil. Tucked into El Altiplano (“The Highlands”)—a region of mountains and volcanoes as well as canyons and valleys—Chimaletango is a place of contrasts. Most residents work as farmers—raising grain, sugarcane or livestock—or as artisans or merchants.
We have so much in common - far more in common than we ever could imagine. And for Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) Atlanta, a Saturday in Honduras revealed that theme over and over again as part of a week of compassionate care in the country chosen by the new chapter for ministry.
For Terri Tarwater, Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) has become more than an auxiliary organization for Orphan Outreach. It's a personal ministry for her and her family. One of its charter members, Terri says the seeds for the founding of WOW were actually planted long before mission trips were scheduled or fundraisers planned. WOW's prequel was written at a Dallas-area daycare center, when two toddlers met and fell in love.
Ella Varel is a freshman at the Episcopal School of Dallas, and is a student member of Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW). She traveled with Orphan Outreach to Guatemala, and we are honored to have her share her personal story today.
More than 250 people attended the 7th annual Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) “Be the Change” luncheon in Dallas, Texas to hear what a difference the WOW Dallas-area auxiliary members are making for orphans and vulnerable children in Guatemala. Donations made at the luncheon will be used to positively impact the five WOW-supported programs transforming the lives of hundreds of children in 2016.
Her tiny cottage is tucked away near the entrance to the Dar-Ul-Fazl Home (House of Grace) and Rainbow School. Auntie, as she's now known by all, never anticipated she would one day be living in Manali, a picturesque village in the Himalayan mountains. She never thought there would be a day when people around the world would visit her children or want to help her with their care. And she couldn't have imagined that, at the beautiful age of 73, God would be opening even more doors for her to share the Gospel by offering tenderness and safe haven to the vulnerable around her. "In my life, I have believed that I am doing what God has called me to do. I don’t have a lot to be proud about – education or wealth. But God has always been with me and given me favor."
When I was accepted to university, the first person I called was my mom.
Everyone calls her “Tia Lilly,” from the neighbors at the grocery store to the toddlers who waddle past her on their way to play with teams visiting from the United States. The teenage girls who she cares for every day say they want to be like her when they grow up. And her children’s home, Hope & Future, is a true image of its founder’s heart and soul. The home provides a safe and loving environment for more than 25 teen moms and children rescued from abuse, neglect, and trafficking.
She had no idea the impact a simple conversation with friend a would have on her life. But for Ellen Ratcliff, a veterinarian who traveled with Orphan Outreach to Kenya in 2014, a casual chat with Jim Clawson (fellow veterinarian and Orphan Outreach advocate for the Madeleine School in Bungoma) about the long-term benefits of short-term missions was the beginning of her own passion to get involved in orphan care.
Anita Spirek’s family of five sponsors seven children in Guatemala. The first child, José, inspired her resolve to never give up on even one. This is how their journey began.
When Kara and Olivia decided to join others in the Michigan area on a journey to India with WCSG Radio, they expected to be challenged and changed. But neither woman could have predicted the life-changing friendships that would be awaiting them.
The Orphan Outreach Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) team walked into Love the Child baby home in San Lucas, Guatemala, to deliver more than hugs and encouragement to infants and caregivers. One of their supply duffels was filled with pacifiers, pillows, training cups, bibs, bowls, wipes and toys - all generously provided by Piyo Piyo, a company founded by parents who care deeply about giving nothing but the absolute best to children.
At present there are more than 163 million orphans around the world. Tiffany Taylor Wines, Director of Marketing at Orphan Outreach, describes their situation: "The children we work with experience unimaginable tragedies and are often victims of violence, extreme poverty, sexual abuse, physical and psychological trauma, trafficking and malnutrition. These children count on everyone reading this article to make a difference in their lives. Every one child saved will impact the countries they live in."
In the Mathare slum of Nairobi stands the Patmos Junior School, a symbol of hope for one of the largest and poorest areas of Africa. The more than 300,000 children in the slum face unspeakable conditions - gross poverty, crime, violence, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic - and there is little opportunity for education due to severe overcrowding in the few public schools available.
The young man sits in the prayer room as the afternoon sun casts its golden light on the lush mountains outside. His frail teenage body looks suddenly so small on the bench. “I want to tell my story,” he said. He looks over at Lucy, the sprite of a woman in jeans and t-shirt with smartphone and Bible by her side. She knows his story well, and she prays he’ll be given time. Just a little more time.
Orphan Outreach interns return home changed, and charged for their next challenge
There’s something special about companies who believe in doing well by doing good.
She greets visitors at the entrance of the House of Grace (Dar-Ul-Fazl), a beacon of light tucked into the steep Himalayan hillside high above the crowded streets of Manali, India. Joy is the director of the children's home that provides complete care for more than 70 orphans and a quality education for 100 village children.
If you’ve stopped by the Orphan Outreach offices this year, you may have been greeted by Kari Munsell, a Dallas Theological Seminary student who served as an intern. She organized the vast library of Bible curriculum used by mission teams and assisted the missions department in preparing teams for their journeys. And she was a much-appreciated source of encouragement and support with special events.
Pastor Andy Fuqua of Pontiac Bible Church in Illinois traveled with Orphan Outreach to Guatemala. While there, he experienced a once-in-a-lifetime moment - one that was shared via Periscope with cheering friends in the United States. We are honored to share his personal story with you.
We are honored to share this guest post from Timothy Martini, a missionary in Guatemala who has worked with Orphan Outreach to provide computers to the ministries we serve. Timothy and his wife set up vocational training programs and teach classes to disadvantaged children in orphanages and schools, in the hope they will develop skills that will benefit them for life.
Chris Lemke sits on the steps of the Rainbow School, watching the children of House of Grace teach mission team members from Michigan how to play cricket. It's a view that never gets old for the Executive Director of Radio for Cornerstone - serving WCSG and Mission Network News. This is Chris' third time to India with Orphan Outreach, and he is more convinced than ever that engaging radio station listeners with ministries that provide tangible hope is the best way to open hearts to the transforming power of God's love.
His perpetual smile is contagious, and to the children living at House of Grace in Manali, India, Anand Lal is a bit of a super-hero. The boys see him as a role-model - strong in faith, successful in career, selfless in love. The girls see him as the type of man they'd like to marry someday - caring to his wife, protective of his 2-year old son, and committed to faith and family.
An unfinished brick warehouse sits precariously above the colorful neighborhood streets carved into the mountainous jungle landscape of the Aizawl district of Mizoram, India. Inside, separated only by splintered wood and worn curtains, five families live and work. All are refugees who have escaped the human rights atrocities of Burma, and all now sit for hours each day at large looms, weaving traditional Mizo fabrics sold by vendors at market. Water is available from a nearby stream, and a few bare light bulbs struggle to illuminate a building that offers little in the way of creature comforts. For Liana and Haemi, a husband and wife with three young boys, this week is a better week. "We have some fresh vegetables from a garden I planted on the hill," he says with the hint of a smile. And this week, they have sold a good amount of their hand-loomed fabric. The couple fled Burma in 2011 to find sanctuary. Shortly after finding their home in Aizawl, both battled constant sickness. They finally went to a doctor, and both tested positive for HIV.
Like many other moms in the world, I spend half my time in a grocery store reading labels and searching for “clean” items to feed my family. For me, the term “clean-eating” has always meant consuming the least processed, least added to, most organically grown foods. For families in Guatemala, the term has a completely different meaning.
Ten years ago Immaculate was born to a single parent in the slums of Kenya. To make matters worse, she had a deformed right leg and skin infection. This year she received medical attention for the first time in her life, thanks to Tom Wekesa, a Kenyan native, who acts as Orphan Outreach’s hands and feet in the country.
A group from Tabernacle Presbyterian Church were some of the first people to meet Lourdes, Teresa, the staff and the children of Little House of Refuge after Orphan Outreach President Mike Douris said a resounding "yes" to partnership with the children's home in Xela, Guatemala. Josh Allen reflects now on what he's learned as he's returned again and again to the place that holds his heart.
We are thankful for Renae Neibergall's beautiful insight as she serves at Gan Sabra in Aizawl, India. Take a moment and allow her words to sink deeply into your day.
The first thing you notice about Rey Diaz is his ever-present smile. No matter where the journey takes him, from impoverished communities in Kenya where family preservation and education is the priority to orphanages in Central America where Orphan Outreach ministry teams are ensuring vulnerable children are given hope through safe, secure, Christ-centered care, his smile offers comfort and encouragement to everyone he meets.
Oftentimes, we wonder what the long-term impact of short-term missions is on those who journey with Orphan Outreach. Amy Haroff shares her story of a life forever changed by one week. Have you ever fallen in love? I don’t mean with a person; I mean with a people, with a culture. I first fell in love with the people of Latin America in 1996 when I studied abroad in Mexico. The flame was fanned in 2000 when I vacationed in Costa Rica and then again in 2008 when I spent four months serving in Mexico. My love kept calling me back, and in 2012 and 2013 I went on week-long mission trips to Guatemala through Orphan Outreach. The thing of it is, after that second trip, I came home with an unsatisfied heart. One week was not enough. I knew without a doubt that God was calling me to go for more than just a week or a few months. He wanted me to go for a whole year, and he had been preparing me for this possibility for quite a while.
Sasha Elichev understands orphans firsthand because he is one. Born in a small town on St. Petersburg’s outskirts, Sasha was the middle child—sandwiched by an older brother and a younger sister.
Everyone calls her “Tia Lilly,” from the neighbors at the grocery store to the toddlers who waddle past her on their way to play with teams visiting from the United States. The teenage girls who she cares for every day say they want to be like her when they grow up. And her children’s home, Hope & Future, is a true image of its founder’s heart and soul. The home provides a safe and loving environment for more than 25 teen moms and children rescued from abuse, neglect, and trafficking.
The Jubilee School in Honduras has a message for parents: You are vital to your child’s educational success.
“Have you ever heart of a GERUND? I know you’ve used one, and more than likely just didn’t know it! The definition of a gerund is a verb form ending in ‘ING’ and used as a noun.”
She's an ambassador for her country, and she loves those who love orphans. And with rare exception, her presence is as much a part of an Orphan Outreach mission trip to Guatemala as volcano-dotted landscapes, Rosa de Jamaica, and families dressed in ropa tipica (traditional clothing that honors the heritage of the country and its people). Nelly's brightly colored kiosk sits just behind the fountain in a crowded market in Antigua. In it, shoppers find purses, backpacks, blankets, and more. "See what we have created for you this year," she says as she pulls out beautifully woven oven mitts and and a newly designed amenities bag. She is an energetic entrepreneur who remembers faces and is always asking customers - or, "my good friends" as she calls them - what they would like to see in her store. "I then pray and God gives me the ideas." Nelly's ideas have found their home in the hearts of mission trip participants, donors, church partners, and ministry supporters.
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. 2 Corinthians 1:4 MSG
Orphan Outreach volunteer and trip leader Courtney Nowakowski shares a very personal, heartbreaking look into the the harsh reality for many young women who are caught in the tangled web of trafficking. We've removed names and locations from this article to protect the girls. In every country Orphan Outreach serves, there is a Red Corner. Would you pray for the Lord to open doors for ministry to those girls?
Amy Haroff journeyed with Orphan Outreach to Central America as a short-term missionary, and her passion for the children she met transformed her life. She now serves full-time at Jubilee School in Honduras. We asked Amy to share what the future holds for young women in this poverty-stricken land.
The day had already been a long one by the time we arrived at the public school in Cerro de Oro, a small Mayan village on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The bus we were on struggled around the sharp curves and treacherous gravel roads that bore the scars of torrential rains and mudslides from seasons past. We were weary, but hopeful of what was to come. This would be a first for an Orphan Outreach mission team - spending time with the middle school students to talk about their worth and their dreams. Others had come to this village before to deliver groceries, pray, provide humanitarian aid, and do sports camps, and we too were going to walk the rugged pathways with the deacons of a local church to visit homes and offer whatever hope and care we could to those living with so little. But today, we would simply sit and listen and encourage.
A story of anger, heartbreak, determination, sacrificial love, and restoration
Our own Tiffany Taylor Wines has been nominated as part of the #SheIsNoble project. #SheIsNoble is inspired by the story of Christina Noble, a contemporary Irish heroine who escaped the slums of Dublin to rescue a million lives on the streets of Vietnam (learn more about the project). Larisa Kline shares her story:
Jimmy Wayne, country music singer, songwriter and author, returned to the Children’s Hope Dinner on April 16, 2015 for the debut of a video about his recent trip with Orphan Outreach to Guatemala. Jimmy shared his inspirational story of growing up in the foster care system. His testimony is chronicled in his recent New York Times best-selling book, Walk to Beautiful. Jimmy has never forgotten what it feels like to be homeless and without parents. In his role as an advocate for vulnerable children, Jimmy has become a valuable partner of Orphan Outreach. When he traveled to Guatemala, he visited orphanages and shared his testimony, becoming a source of hope and inspiration to the children.
April 16th's second annual Children’s Hope Dinner benefiting Orphan Outreach will bea joy-filled evening featuring a performance by New York Times best selling author, acclaimed country music artist and child advocate Jimmy Wayne, and honoring philanthropic activist and Children’s Hope Award recipient Cindy Brinker Simmons. Receiving the esteemed Champion of Hope Award, four local surgeons are being honored for their heroic efforts in helping Gersi Ordonez, a young orphan woman, smile again. The event supports Orphan Outreach’s unique programs providing vulnerable children around the world with basic survival needs and education.
The ravine sits at the end of a dirt road on the outskirts of Chimaltenango. Every day, families come to dig through the mountain of garbage in search of hope. Generations have worked the dump like a farmer works a field. They look for anything that might be transformed into a little money for food and shelter. Vultures try to stake their claim, and feral dogs fight for scraps while hands dig through the stench of refuse. Small children, sun-weathered mothers and silver-haired grandfathers move quietly in the patchwork quilt of someone else’s nothing to find something.
In the beginning (of Orphan Outreach), was Amy Seale.
A powerful message from Mike Douris, Founder and President of Orphan Outreach:
In the '90s, in a Guatemalan village riddled with gang violence, death, and trash, the soft, delicate face of a toddler named Gersi met the hard wrath of a cruel world.
It was the third day of our visit to the Ravine School in Chimaltenango, and the air outside still hung heavy with the ashen remnants of Fuego’s volcanic fury just days earlier. The dust mixed with the smoke from fires burning just down the road – fires that were a constant reminder of the heritage of the students who now carefully listened to their teachers and dreamt of brighter days.
The sound of singing is the first thing that greets Orphan Outreach mission team members walking the rutted orange clay roads toward Madeleine School in Bungoma, Kenya. As they round the bend, the team will be met by smiles, hugs, and dancing as they join the parade of students, women, and school leaders celebrating their arrival. For Jim Clawson and Carmen Scroggin, the greeting has become their special “welcome home” to the small rural village that now holds their hearts so tightly. The husband and wife from Addison, Texas, have done more than visit this place - they’ve adopted it, and are sharing it with their world.
Kristy Simpson recently joined a team that served for two weeks in Guatemala, where she spent time with orphans and vulnerable children in Xela, Santiago, Cerro de Oro, Chimaltenango, San Lucas, and Guatemala City. She also met the families that have been transformed by Good Shepherd Academy and the Ravine School. Her perspective on child sponsorship is a powerful one.
The term ‘kwid preu 'kweu’ now spelled ‘quid pro quo’ appeared in Latin first and English in the 16th century meaning literally, “getting something for something”. It is used in diplomacy, economics and in modern day slang meaning - I will do something for you if you do something for me.
Arriving home from a mission trip can be overwhelming. We experience so many emotions and trying to put into perspective what we saw and how the Lord used us on the trip. As days and weeks go by, we begin to get back into our normal routine and the days become filled with busyness. The mission trip can begin to seem like just a wonderful memory - it's easy to lose sight of how the Lord used you and I on that trip and the children whose lives we touched.
“LORD, you know the hopes of the helpless. Surely you will hear their cries and comfort them. You will bring justice to the orphans and the oppressed, so mere people can no longer terrify them.” Psalm 10:17-18 (NLT)
It was just a simple thing at church — let’s collect shoes for orphans in Russia. That simple project taken on by our small inter-city church was just the beginning of something God was going to do that would completely change my life, and the life of my family.
Brayan is such a quiet one, a hard working one. The story of his arrival at Little House of Refuge is kept tucked away, but there have been hints – hints of a harsh, hurtful life that no one should ever have to live. He’s safe now behind the cinder block walls and iron gate that muffle the sounds of trucks on the highway and the blaring of political ads from loudspeakers and the music from a nearby bar. Some may look at the orphanage and name it “no place for a young man to live,” but when I see his eyes light up, I know he has a different name.
She works behind-the-scenes, focusing on the smallest of details around the world. For Katherine Cheng, prayer, cute sticky notes, and coffee are invaluable companions at Orphan Outreach's headquarters in Plano, Texas.
Introducing new Missions Coordinator, Sarah Herbek
Sometimes God places in our heart the desire do big things for little people in far away places. We dream about all we will see Him do there, the lives He might change using us as His tools—and then we remember we have to book airfare.
2014’s theme for Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW) has been “Count on Me,” and the auxiliary organization’s charter chapter for Orphan Outreach celebrated the impact of those words at their sixth annual luncheon held recently in Dallas, Texas. Nearly 300 women attended to learn more about the Guatemalan ministries supported by WOW and to honor outstanding work done by students on behalf of orphans and vulnerable children in the Central American country.
The human eye, “A window into our soul,” Shakespeare said. Our eyes can convey despair, detachment, hopelessness, surrender. But they can also convey joy, peacefulness, and hope. In March of this year, I traveled to Guatemala with a mission team from Indiana. We visited local communities and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Many families lived in wooden shacks with tin roofs that looked much like a chicken coop. As I stood in one home, my eyes scoured the tiny room where they lived. The Guatemalan family cooked on a table with rusty nails that sprang out of every corner. They had no running water, let alone clean water. Chickens and dogs wandered around, they too were starving.
Jaymie and Chris Grammer’s wedding looked like a page from a magazine. The September afternoon sunlight filtered through the windows as they took their vows and then danced with friends and family. They toasted to their future and hugged their guests - and then went home to pack duffels with medical supplies, soccer balls and school supplies. Their honeymoon destination? A mission trip to Kenya with Orphan Outreach.
My first trip to Guatemala almost 14 years ago was an eye-opening experience into Latin America. I remember thinking how beautiful a country, yet such a complex history. The challenges the people of Guatemala faced were overwhelming. One of our first meetings was with missionaries to find out which orphanages might need our help. The government orphanage in Antigua was discussed, and we were told not to go there because the care was horrible and girls were being raped and abused. I remember thinking, “That is exactly where we need to go.”
Immaculate’s father abandoned her long ago, and her fragile body wars against a rare disorder. But she’s learning about God’s love in the slums of Nairobi because of you.
John 13:34-35: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
A sound grows in the distance as children play in the yard near the kitchen at Madeleine School. Rarely is there any noise on the rutted roads other than the voices of the villagers as they walk to their homes or to the sugar cane fields to work. The hum of the motorbike is a joyful disruption as it turns into the entrance; the students rush to the gate to welcome Miss Elizabeth. She has become a welcome presence at the school since her first visit in September.
Julia Oseida, Orphan Outreach Guatemalan Missions Coordinator, works with national ministry partners each week. But even she wasn’t fully prepared for what she and the late summer WOW team found when they traveled to neighborhoods unseen by most who visit her country and the Ravine School in the town of Chimaltenango. “It’s always easy to fall in love with the students who attend the school. You immediately adore their spirit, joy, and the smiles they so willingly share. But what you don’t always see is the life they live when the bell rings at the end of the day. For Gerson, Selina, Fredy, and Marvin, that life is far harder than I could have imagined. Their willingness to welcome us in to their home was both humbling and full of hope.”
Orphan. This word usually creates a picture in peoples minds. What does your picture look like? Do they look hopeless? Unclean? Hungry? Sick? Could they look strong, loved, hopeful and confident? In my world they can. I think any child that is considered an orphan has had a hard story. A story that most people would rather not hear because they don't know what to do with the pain in creates in their hearts. Those children have probably felt hopeless, unclean, hungry and sick. But these do not define the orphan.
Elina is 23 years old. She lives in Jelgava, Latvia with her parents, two siblings, and a dog. “To most people, my life is really nothing out of the ordinary,” she shares. “But there is something that is very special to me. I’ve always loved listening to other people’s stories. Most of the time, they don’t realize how God is working in their lives. How He is arranging their circumstances. And how it is ALWAYS for their good. It’s not just a sentence in the Bible how all things work together for good to those who love God (Romans 8:28). And trust me when I say that I was no different.”
She stands - a picture of grace - in the doorway of the Candlelight School in the slums of Nairobi. This is holy ground for Alice and her husband, Fred, founders and directors of the place that offers far more than education for vulnerable children in the slums of Kenya’s capital city.
I pray for Shraddha when I open the refrigerator for milk. I close the door to bins stocked full of fruits and vegetables—and again I see her picture tacked there with a magnet. I have more than enough, but at times I wonder if the $36 a month I contribute to her care through Orphan Outreach’s sponsorship program is really making a difference in her life. How could so little do so much?
The picture you see above is of a little girl in the Candlelight School in a large slum in Nairobi, Kenya. We were there to bring aide and do activities with the students. We could tell that many of the children seemed lethargic and found out that the school had not had money to feed the children for several months. Many of these children do not eat at home and can go days without food.
I have many books recommended to me to read about orphan care, foster care and adoption and there are a lot of good works available – probably more now than ever before as the movement in the church expands to care for the orphan.
Micaela was one of the first children to arrive at Little House of Refuge. Her tiny body had been ravaged at the hands of male family members who were certain no one would ever discover their dark secret. Born unable to hear or speak, her silence was the perfect accompaniment to their repeated violent sexual abuse.
The people of Santiago and Cerro de Oro, Guatemala know the pain of tragedy and death first hand. On October 4, 2005, torrential rains from Hurricane Stan caused massive mudslides down the face of the volcano next to the village. Over 1,000 people died and the village was buried under volcanic mud, rock and debris. Now, the families remaining live in temporary housing in a field adjacent to the village as it is slowly being rebuilt. These families are in extreme poverty and most of the children do not go to school.
Misha Wines was adopted from Russia when he was an infant, and his start in life set the stage for his passion for helping others. Misha, a member of St. Monica Boy Scout Troop 412 and a junior at Dallas Lutheran School, completed his Eagle Scout project on a recent trip to Guatemala. This was Misha’s third trip to Guatemala with Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW), an auxiliary of Orphan Outreach. This summer alone, five trips to Guatemala were filled with WOW families and youth who reside in and around the Park Cities and Highland Park communities of Dallas, Texas.
LunaPads (a company that produces sustainable feminine products) is partnering with Orphan Outreach to provide starter kits to female students at the Madeleine Centre in the remote Kenyan village of Bungoma. These kits will be used in conjunction with a special class the young women will receive on how to care for their bodies as they mature. Each girl will be given a LunaPads starter kit.
I felt the weight of twenty-three tiny hands covering my head and back as I knelt on my knees in the small room at Gan Sabra HIV Home. The children had all gathered to pray for us before we began our journey home but, the low ceiling made it impossible to stand up straight. The was the same exact posture I was in just a year before—when God showed me a new part of His heart and called me to serve His orphaned children.
Stepping onto foreign soil and seeing the eyes of orphans for the first time is a profound experience for those who journey with Orphan Outreach. For many though, the journey doesn’t end there. For Ellie Bach, returning to Russia to care for the children there has become part of her heart’s journey. She’s met children terrified of the new world around them as they are removed from difficult circumstances and placed at the regional intake center to be evaluated and then moved to an orphanage. She’s watched her little friends grow and mature and struggle. And she’s seen the Russian government close orphanage after orphanage, moving children from familiar surroundings and caregivers.
Some of the most profound miracles are quiet, slow ones. In fact, they might slip by unnoticed by the crowds. But slow, quiet miracles are powerful. And for the more than 200 children attending Jubilee School in La Era, Honduras, they are life-changing.
We drove for what seemed like an hour up dirt roads, maneuvering through large pot holes in one of Kenya's largest slums, until we reached a small orphanage where 30 young children lived. It was my first mission trip to Kenya. We had come to the orphanage to meet the children that would travel to camp with us that week.
I recently returned from my third trip to Guatemala with Orphan Outreach. I always have such a hard time processing all that God has shown me and awakened in me during my time in Guatemala. I don't want to miss a single thing the Lord wants to show me, tell me and do in me. And He always speaks, always. His words are my life and have and continue to change my life.
I learned a few years ago that when forest fires occur, that although the fires are put out on the surface, many times the trees are actually still on fire under the surface, at the root. Forest fires can experience “hot spots” when the tree catches fire again, because the root was still on fire and was not completely put out. In order to completely put the fire out, you have extinguish the fire at the root.
“Pure and undefiled religion is this: to minister to widows and orphans and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27 - a verse that has motivated the church and believers to care for the most vulnerable since the words were written on papyrus many centuries ago. They reflect the heart of the Lord from Genesis to Revelation and into eternity as His love of those most in need define His essence.
The scent of lavender and hibiscus fills the air of the hallway, and laughter and conversation breaks the silence of the otherwise quiet hillside building. It’s afternoon in Xela at Little House of Refuge, and while the younger children enjoy playtime outside, a group of young women are hard at work taking care of special guests who have come to visit. And the fragrance and laughter and care might just be what saves their lives in years to come.
“The songs that I write come from God and the things that He lays on my heart.”
How computer technology is transforming the lives of children in Guatemala.
He’s going to be an attorney. She’s going to be a doctor. And they’re going to change history.
This morning the team visited Jubilee’s church; we were warmly welcomed and accepted. The church body stopped their service and greeted us with wide smiles and open arms, despite some not even knowing us. The people were so welcoming and genuine; it made me leave my comfort zone that I have only known. In general I’m not much of a hugger and I like my space, but today I just let go of my timid and shy nature and hugged away. The children there melted my heart; they were so precious and innocent.
Imagine being thirteen, in a strange city, hundreds of miles away from home, and your mom abandons you at a bus station, driving off into the night with her lover.
It happens every day. A woman transmits HIV to her newborn in utero, in delivery, or in breast milk. And according to UNICEF, other children contract the disease through unsafe injections and infected blood transfusions.
Two hundred students clamor into Jubilee School each Monday, eager to learn. On their way, they pass houses strewn loosely together with corrugated metal and scraps. Moto-taxis, buses, cars, people, horses, and chickens clog the roads, the dirt veins that form the heart of the poor neighborhood on the outskirts of the country’s capital, Tegucigalpa.
The first Children’s Hope Award Dinner, benefitting Plano-based Orphan Outreach, raised awareness and critically needed funds at the event held Feb. 27 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Gloria Campos (pictured below) of WFAA, a champion of adoption and foster care, served as emcee in her last hosted event prior to her retirement, and Event Chair Joyce Rogge says the entire organization is thrilled with the success of their first awards dinner.
Join Orphan Outreach in serving children in Latvia. This trip is open to individuals across the United States. Join this team as they travel to Latvia to minister and share the love and hope of Christ to children and families living in the Naval Port near Liepaja. The team will also deliver humanitarian aid to children in desperate need. Join this trip and experience priceless ministry time as well as devotional time with other team members.
“I really like vowels.” Raquel looks at Irene Salazar, the principal at the Asociación Guatemalteca para el Sindrome de Down in Guatemala City, and giggles. A shy 14-year old beginning her third year of studies at the school, Raquel has proven to be an exceptional student and a very willing spokesperson for the unique school that is changing the way people look at children with special needs in Guatemala.
The vultures circle overhead as smoke rises from the mountain of refuse and mixes with the dirt that falls like sandpaper on weathered faces. The days are long at the Ravine, a dump on the outskirts of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Families come here to sift through waste in the hopes of finding anything of value that can be reused or sold to provide for their own. It’s the hardest of lives, and the pain has been passed down from generation to generation.
It’s been a very good day for the second grade class at Precious Moments, located near the Santa Fe slum in Guatemala City. The students were introduced for the first time to the computer lab at their school and then received new backpacks filled with school supplies from Christ Church Plano and Monterey Church of Christ in Lubbock.
On the morning of her 42nd birthday, Edith Suazo Fernandez (a former nun) arrived at the newly constructed home for orphaned and abandoned children in La Paz, Honduras. The country’s president's daughter, the mayor, many of Edith’s family members and friends, and hundreds of residents had gathered on January 20th to celebrate the new San Jose home. Involved parties made speeches, teens tottered on stilts and formed a drum line to pound their joy into percussion. Then Edith cut the ribbon and opened the door to her long-awaited dream.
Serving orphans was a dream of mine, something that burned deep inside me, something I had felt was my calling for years. I finally had the opportunity to go on a mission trip this past December, along with my boyfriend, who was inspired by my passion for wanting to help and decided to join me. Traveling to a foreign country and meeting new people whom I had only spoken with on the phone or through email was scary at first, but the second we walked into the hotel the night we arrived a warm feeling came over us and we had instant friends. Having never been to Guatemala before we immediately felt at home.
We are so appreciative of our supporters that gave to the 2013 year-end needs. With your generous donations we were able to receive the entire $100,00
Join Orphan Outreach as we minister to orphans in Russia in July 2014! This team originated in 2010, when a group of listeners from WCSG, WAYfm and MNN traveled to Russia on a trip to serve orphans in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region. Since then, trip participants from those previous trips, along with new individuals from around the U.S., have joined this team and are returning again this summer! Additional individual team members are needed to help! During the summer months it is traditional for orphanages to take the children to camp outside the city. Unfortunately there are few planned activities and the children spend their days with little to do, adding to a feeling of helplessness. By visiting these children and sharing God's word, you will be able to make a huge impact in their lives. Click here to learn more about how you can be part of this team!
Join Orphan Outreach in serving children and families at Jubilee Centers In
On the night of his birth, Baby Moses was placed in a plastic bag to be discarded with the trash. He was born to a drug and alcohol addicted woman who makes and sells alcohol in a small store in the area. When a heavily intoxicated man came into her store to purchase additional alcohol, she handed him the plastic bag containing Baby Moses and asked him to throw it away. He never realized a newborn baby boy was struggling for life inside.
Outside the city of Chimaltenango, Guatemala, sits a trash-filled ravine. On any given day, around 100 people can be found searching and sorting for items to be resold at the weekend market. Admirably, these hardworking families labor up to 14-hour days to provide for their children in an honest way. Many of those children accompany their parents to the dump.
Born in Kotagiri, a small tea-growing town in the hills of Tamil Nadu state, Umashankar Shankardas should have grown up worshiping Hindu gods. His family’s last name literally means, “Servant of Shankar,” or “Shiva,” a primary Hindu god. He came from a family of priests, serving the major pilgrimage temples in the south of India.
I’ve heard it said that short-term mission trips can be damaging, that they are little more than easy ways for people to pacify an itch to be Santa Claus. In fact, I’ve had more than one person tell me that seven days have little true value in impacting real change in the lives of the poor and discarded, and that short-term mission trips should be abandoned for more “meaningful ministry.”
Join Orphan Outreach for a special Valentine's Day celebration. This team of individuals from around the U.S. will first serve at Little House of Refuge (Pequeno Refugio) in Quetzaltenango (Xela), teaching life skills and ESL, doing light construction, and spending quality time with the children who live there. From there, the team will travel to Chimaltenango, where they will serve alongside the young women of My Special Treasure (Mi Especial Tesoro) at the Ravine, a local dump. From grocery distribution to prayer and teaching, the team will have a unique opportunity to care for the vulnerable. And finally, the team will visit Cabecitas de Algodon to bring a smile, a song, and personal items to the elderly living there.
After Justin’s mother tragically lost her husband to gang violence, desperation set in, but she found hope in the form of her son’s education. Located in La Era, an impoverished community of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the Jubilee School actively seeks to restore joy, or jubilee, to the crime-ridden community.
Have you noticed? The aisles of big-box stores are becoming as packed with school supplies as a 64-count box of Crayolas.
Amber Patterson, a stay-at-home mom, lives in a small town called Social Circle, where the red dirt grows dusty in the Georgia heat. She and her husband, Larry, are busy entrepreneurs, homeschooling their children and running three businesses—an electrical company, a small farm of dairy goats (SweetLand Farm), and a soap business (SweetLand Soap). For them, life is hearty and chock-full of hustle-and-bustle days.
This June, history was made in the Central American country of Guatemala. For the first time ever, 300 pastors, seminary students, and NGO representatives gathered to address God’s mandate to care for orphaned and vulnerable children.
We twitter. We pin. We post. We instagram. We ride the media formerly known as the “worldwide web” like seasoned surfboarders. Now Orphan Outreach has a new way for you to connect your social media savvy with social justice: online child sponsorships.
Against the backdrop of political corruption, students at The Jubilee School in Honduras learned some valuable lessons that both their country’s politicians and citizens would do well to remember.
When Luisa Sicay lost her husband in a tragic accident seven years ago, she questioned how she could ever provide for the needs of her young family.
When a church youth group from Winnsboro, Texas showed up to “My Special Treasure,” a girls’ home in Guatemala, with iPod Shuffles in tow, they weren’t just some rich Americans bearing gifts—they were evidence of a God who listens and cares.
The work and witness of “Mi Especial Tesoro,” a healing home for once broken girls
Beautiful. Valued. Loved. Special. Pure. These words seem foreign to many of the girls living at “Mi Especial Tesoro” (My Special Treasure) home in Guatemala.
Getting to know our director in Honduras, Austin South
Much like a child’s connect-the-dot game, a lot of stuff we go through in life seems random. At least until God draws in the lines. And so it was with Austin South, our director/coordinator in Honduras.
“Two years ago a boy came. He almost did not speak. He was more like an animal. He did not look into your eyes and he was very hungry. We tried to invite him to participate, but he refused. Then I asked him to come and talk with me, so we had tea together. I asked him to share a little bit about his situation and he started to cry,” said Tatyana Tarasova, a social psychologist working at the Orphan Outreach-supported Day Center for children in Liepaja, Latvia.
Getting to know our Director of Russian Programs, Lena Vasilieva
Imagine if your own family, the people you trust most, and the ones to whom you turn for refuge, neglected you … abandoned you.
July 19-28, 2013
In 2010 a group of listeners from WCSG, WAYfm and MNN traveled to Russia on a trip to serve orphans in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region. Excite
The young, drug-addicted mother tested HIV-positive—and so did the baby girl to whom she had given birth. Stigmatized for having HIV, the mother abandoned her daughter at a rehabilitation center in Aizawl, India, fleeing further social mistreatment.
In Hebrew the word jubilee means a loud horn blast, a signal of something about to begin. Every 50 years the Israelites were to free slaves, give the land rest, and exonerate debt. On the Day of Atonement—when the nation feasted and celebrated God’s deliverance of them out of Egypt and his forgiveness of sins—the Hebrews were to rejoice in God’s freedom.
Every evening after 10 p.m. and every Sunday, a hush falls over Germany. No lawn mowers. No groups of children squealing on playgrounds. No loud music. The culture values these contemplative “quiet hours.” Perhaps it was during these hours that the vision of Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC) was born.
Four hours outside St. Petersburg is Tikhvin Transitional Home—a new transition home in the village of Tikhvin. For eight young adults who have “graduated” out of the orphan system in Russia, Tikhvin Transitional Home is a place to call home while they get on their feet.
It’s easy to find oneself overwhelmed when thinking about how to make a true difference in the world. We see pictures of children starving, orphaned, diseased, in need of shelter and clean water, and we feel helpless, sometimes to the point of inaction.
The kids at Gan Sabra AIDS Home gathered anxiously on the small, sunny balcony hours before our arrival.
Recyle Your Ink Cartridges through InkRecycling.org
Recycle your ink and toner cartridges and raise money to help us serve orphans. InkRecycling.org is a web servic
If you’ve ever traveled to another country and tried to speak the language, you know that many things get lost in translation.
Click here to download the 2011 Annual Report
Orphan Outreach has partnered with InkRecycling.org, an online ink recycling service, to raise funds for backpacks and school supplies for the orphans they serve in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Latvia and Russia.
The orphans in Nikolsky orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia will stay warm and cozy this winter, thanks to the 30 quilts they received from Quilts Without Borders, a non-profit national organization, this summer.
Women for Orphans World (WOW), an auxiliary of Orphan Outreach, launched its first Bike-A-Thon, called Wheelin’ for Orphans Worldwide (WOW,) in June and earned $2,000 during the 3 hour event.
A recycled laptop, a hemmed skirt, and an artfully designed room can change the world—particularly the world of 60 children at the Little House of Refuge orphanage in Xela, Guatemala. Their benefactors are three North Texas Girl Scouts who traveled with Orphan Outreach and Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW), July 29–August 3.
“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt 28:18–20).
Amy Corbin knows she is in Guatemala as soon as she walks out of the airport and takes a long, deep breath. “I know that sounds funny,” she said, “but the air smells differently. It’s not bad … it’s just Guatemala!”
In May of each year, "summer talk" begins. Friends and family share their plans for beach time, European vacations, and adventure travel. Like a child watching fireworks on the Fourth of July, an uncontrollable "ooh" or "ahh" escapes my lips in response.
Back-to-school is a time when parents make sure their children have all the supplies they need to have a successful school year. But for the millions of orphans around the world, school is not possible if they do not have someone who can provide for their basic educational needs such as school supplies, uniforms and backpacks.
Each year in the Russian Federation, 25,000 teenagers in the state orphanage system collect their meager belongings and head for the exits, too old to remain in the care of the state. Some are as young as 15, others nearly 18.
USA (MNN) — Over 100 partners and 2,000 individuals gathered together last Thursday and Friday to discuss how to address one issue: orphan care.
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