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Good Enough is Not Good Enough (#GrowDeep)
by Julie Cramer
Posted on Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Orphan Outreach is celebrating a decade of care for orphans and vulnerable children, and 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. When Mike Douris welcomed Rey Diaz as Executive Director of the ministry, it didn't take long to understand why he had chosen the former pastor and missionary. Rey's commitment to orphan care, coupled with his genuine passion to see everyone engaged in service, energizes all who are around him. 

“You’ll hear Mike Douris say it a lot—‘Good enough is not good enough,’” Orphan Outreach Executive Director Rey Diaz says. “We tend to justify poor conditions with statements such as ‘At least they are in an orphanage and not on the streets,’ but scarcity mentality hurts the kids.”

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As missionaries in Honduras, Rey and his wife—Orphan Outreach field partners at the time—strove to reach the high standard, a difficult feat. On the other side of the field, now, Rey says that he sees why such an ethos for excellence is necessary. “When you’re in the field, the philosophy can be that the bigger the number the better. If you have a school, for example, you believe more students means more success. But having 10 kids who do well in school and graduate are better than having 100 who end up returning to the dump.”

One best practice of Orphan Outreach that Rey admires is its dogged determination to empower nationals. Looking forward to the next decade of ministry, Rey captures its mission in three words: mobilize, advocate, empower.

“While all our programs look different, our mission in each is to mobilize others to respond to God’s passion for the orphan,” he says. “We advocate for the vulnerable, speaking up for the rights of the child so that they are protected. We advocate for best practices and empower national programs through the local church. As we go forward, God is guiding us to go deeper in every country to expand our impact. We only want to go where God wants us to go.”

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No matter where God sends the Orphan Outreach team, Rey encounters “amazing” children in every country. In the Pune valley of Northern India, Rey met a young man whose father had abandoned him as a child because of the family’s great poverty. In the orphanage, the boy heard the gospel and became a follower of Christ. Years later, he was preparing to return to his father and family to share his faith—an act that is illegal.

In Honduras, Rey met 9-year-old Jose who his family sponsors and who is the same age as Rey’s son. “I asked Jose what he wanted to be and he said the same thing my son always says: ‘I want to make video games.’ We have a contact with Microsoft and connections in the tech world. As his father and mother, my wife and I are going to do everything we can to make it happen. Jose doesn’t have the same network,” Rey says. “The Orphan Outreach team wants to be his uncles and aunts and networkers and extended family so that he has the same opportunities as my son.”

In Kenya, he met a girl with an autoimmune disorder. “Her whole body is covered in scabs,” Rey says. “We do everything for her as if it’s our own child. We have gone the extra mile to make sure she has an opportunity to get an education. We’ve taken her to see specialists. We’ve helped her mom get a job. The daughter of Beth Galway, our director of finance and administration, is battling cancer. We make sure her family is taken care of. She can work from home. That’s how we treat our own, and this Kenyan girl is also our own. We must ask ourselves, ‘How far would we go for our own children?’ That’s how far we go for every child.”

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When Rey is home with his own children, he reads with them, watches movies, goes to the park, and swims. His own pursuits include basketball and football, and HBO shows Breaking Bad and The Wire. “My wife won’t watch any of those,” he says, laughing. “Sometimes we all watch Teen Titans. He makes time to spend one-on-one with each of his beloveds. On Fridays, he has “double lunch,” first with his son at school, and then with his wife. A few hours later, he picks up his daughter and the two go for scoops at Baskin Robbins.

While the family traded the lush misty landscape of Seattle for the flat dusty fields of North Texas, Rey says that McKinney is now home. “We traded the number two best place to live for the number one.” And the pie at Spoons, located in the town’s historic district, can’t be beat. Nor can his role with Orphan Outreach. “I’ve jumped into a team that’s been working together for years. They have been so welcoming. I always prayed that I would be part of an incredible team. This is a dream opportunity for me.”

Are you ready to join Rey and the Orphan Outreach team in serving orphans well? We're ready to share all the ways you can bring hope to kids in every country we serve.

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