My life is forever changed by the children of Guatemala.

I felt the call for short-term missions when I was seventeen years old after a local missionary invited me to visit Guatemala. At that time in my life I chose to ignore it. Instead, I chose to pursue an education and a career. After my first year of teaching, I truly made God the Lord of my life and it was then I could no longer ignore the call to short-term missions. I gave up the extracurricular responsibilities that were keeping me from going on a mission trip and began my search for a mission group.

At the same time I desperately longed for a child of my own. I prayed for God to satisfy this need and he answered by leading me to several adoption conferences. It was at one of them I saw pictures of the Guatemalan children living in poverty, without so much as a clean water source in their villages. I gazed at a picture of a little girl with long black hair, big brown eyes, and tears streaming down her dirt covered face. I had no idea why she was crying, but I knew I could help. I felt God say to me, "I don’t want you to adopt right now, but here is something you can do until I open that door for you." I searched for a way to get to Guatemala to love these children.

Both searches led me to Dorie’s Promise in Guatemala City. Since beginning that search, I have visited the children of Guatemala five times on short-term mission trips and am currently planning the sixth. On each trip, not only have we visited the children of Dorie’s Promise, but we have also visited surrounding villages and towns seeking to help orphans in their distress. The first time I saw Dorie’s Promise, I knew it was a safe haven for the kids we saw in the city, villages, and towns. The living conditions inside the walls were comforting, nurturing, and both physically and spiritually life-giving.

When I returned home from the first mission trip, I shared the experience with friends and several churches in my small community. Many quickly realized that God was calling them to help as well. Some of them became sponsors, some began to pray daily for this ministry, and some began to give financially to the fundraisers we continually organize for the children of Guatemala. All were blessed to learn of such a wonderful place for these children to grow up.

The staff, including doctors, orphanage directors, special mothers, mission directors, and maintenance crew, humbly serve the children living there and eagerly welcome us, knowing that we share a common purpose. The children desperately seek the love that God has planted in each of his believers. I consider it a privilege to share that love with them. I am forever changed.