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.
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.
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.
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.
Day 3- First day to visit Jubilee School: What I did not see today was luxury cars, manicured lawns or nice houses. What I did not see today was an orderly drop off line, perfectly clean and pressed uniforms, or a beautiful campus. No frantic stay at home moms or professional dads.
We are very excited that more than 260 people attended the 5th annual luncheon to hear what a difference the WOW auxiliary is making for orphans and vulnerable children in Guatemala. Most thrilling of all, more than $50,000 was raised to help with the needs of the children in 2014!