My Special Friends Alex, Jose, and Carlos
By Bob Swartout
My life was forever changed by the children of Guatemala and Dorie’s Promise. I believe what Heather says is true, “When you open your heart to serve you see lives change … but you also see your life changed too.”
I know this because I’ve been visiting Guatemala since 2004. It was an honor to be there and see my niece Tana’s adoptions from Dorie’s Promise (it was called Hannah’s Hope then). That experience changed my life and opened my eyes to the great need in the country. Poverty, despair, abuse all combined to leave children without parents, homes, and hope. I knew I had to get involved!
My first opportunity to get involved started with a mission trip. It was on this trip that I met my special friends Alex, Jose, and Carlos. All three boys suffer from cerebral palsy as well as many other physical and mental disabilities. As soon as I met them, I knew where my heart was and where my efforts would be!
I got involved in their lives – assisting the special mothers (who are indeed very special) in caring for these boys. I helped with their daily routine -- bathing, changing, feeding, exercising and playing. Children with special needs often need more care and detail to make sure they are getting the physical therapy they need. I also enjoyed helping the older children with their homework and their English; they at the same time helped me with my Spanish.
One of the boys I have worked with, Carlos, has been in and out of the hospital since November of last year. My heart jumped this week when I found out that Carlos finally came home from the hospital. I was even more excited when Heather told me he would be greeted with a much needed oxygen concentrator that was donated by the Curran family of Portland, Oregon. My understanding is that Sue Curran heard about the need and connected with a friend who owns a medical supply company. Together they got Carlos the oxygen unit he desperately needed. When we all work together to serve GREAT THINGS HAPPEN!
I know Carlos was recently taken back to the hospital. My prayers for him are to get well so he can return to everyone who loves and misses him at Dorie’s Promise.
Since my first trip to Guatemala in 2004 I have returned at least twice a year for extended stays. I cannot visualize visiting Guatemala without spending time at Dorie’s Promise. My goal is always to spend 7 to 10 days there before heading out to work on special building projects in the countryside that serve other children in need.
I will continue to support Dorie’s Promise financially and personally as long as I am able to do so! Each time I return for a visit I get to see how the Lord is truly forever changing the lives of each child that has been able to call Dorie’s Promise home.