Margaret Aragon de Chavez Director CYFD Receiving Center
“Working with children in the Welfare System is very hard. Kids come to us with trauma, scared and often hungry. With the kind donation’s from your ministries we have been able for the last two years to offer healthy but yummy snacks to our children that walk in the door. Also if there has been a specific need you have always gone up and beyond to try to get it for us. Thank you for realizing that it truly takes a village.”
Fabiola Urbieta, thrift store supervisor
Five years ago I prayed for a place to work that freely worships God. My prayer was answered when I was gifted with a job at Orphans Exchange Thrift Store. The weekly Bible Study and influence of this store is teaching me to do business Gods way and to always have faith and pray.
My heart is especially touched that our eyes are opened to the needs of orphans worldwide and we work at finding ways to help them. One time Gary gave me a list of 60 kids in an aids orphanage in Africa with names, ages, favorite colors etc. in order to prepare clothes to send them. I felt I was loving and knowing each child personally.
One of the abandoned youth on work experience, who had never met his dad and whose mother had passed away, actually stole my car from the parking lot and when it was finally returned I could not afford to fix it. I still love and pray for this child every night. I am so thankful to God for this place!
Stephanie Gonzales thrift store worker
It has been a motivating experience for me to work at orphans-exchange thrift store because I know the good we are doing in orphans lives. I especially feel I’m doing something good when I get to encourage the abandoned teens that come here to work in the work experience program. Also I don’t attend a church so this has been my church. I take home to my kids what I learn in the weekly bible study. Working here I am motivated spiritually and my faith is confirmed.
Selena Pisco, Crisis Shelter, youth resident
You’re out reach to us definitely had a positive impact on my life. It kept me on track and filled my mind with positive things. The weekly visits distracted me from the downsides and temptations of life that were all around me at the time. The team brought excitement into the shelter like Piper the pet dog, and it was cool that sometimes you brought guests from the outside world into the mix. I always looked forward to Thursday nights. It was the best part of the week!
I also benefited from the work experience program at Orphans-Exchange. It kept me busy earning a little money and doing something positive at a time when I was needing to figure out how to live on my own.
Greg Foss, GPS team leader
Serving with the abandoned youth confined to shelters has brought even more healing to me than some of the children. I love that teenage age group and showing them that someone cares. Gods anointing is so strong when I’m with these kids that salt and light just flows.
They see hypocrisy so easily so being real and transparent and admitting to my weaknesses and shortcomings is so important. This helps them to feel comfortable and safe in order to vent and share their hearts and their wounds. In return I show heartfelt love and care in the precious time I’m allowed with them. This also leads to praying for them.
Being a driver of G-ride provides a safe place for honest conversation as well as an occasional laugh. In a short amount of time trust is built and then they open up and blossom! Many times as they reveal their deep hurts I am reminded that these are young people that our Lord and Savior loves deeply and wants to spend eternity with. I know I fall short but the Lord is so strong in me when I’m sharing with the kids and I know seeds are being planted on good soil.
Crisis Shelter, youth resident
FOTF has impacted me so much. When I was at the shelter, because I don’t have family, all I looked forward to was Thursday nights when they would bring us a meal and hang out with us. By coming every week and treating us like family, they have inspired me and made me a better person. Speaking for the other youth as well, we felt like we were at home when we really don’t have a home. Now that I’m 18 and emancipated Im so glad I still have the FOTF mentors to lean on providing me the tools of understanding that help me to be on my own.
Grace So Amazing Ministries
Being invited to this conference along with much more seasoned directors was very significant to my own spiritual growth and a rare opportunity to engage in important conversations relating to the breadth and scope of orphan care. The Bible study on “brokenness” was a highlight for me, what it means to be humbly and joyfully broken and poured out for the benefit of others. The conference attendees live lives of bringing God glory by loving the least of these more than self, not only to say “I am third”, but to genuinely live it out. It was an honor to be counted in their number and only in such a setting, could I have gleaned the priceless lessons and tools which the Lord provided. These will continue to transform the lives of the orphaned/vulnerable children our ministry serves for a long time to come. I am very grateful.
Our Own Home Children's Home
William and Holly Pheni
At the conference my wife and I were encouraged, inspired and refreshed by the teaching and testimonies, as well as by the rest we received. The conference was something we never imagined before; a chance to fellowship and share experiences with other people serving in the field of orphan care all over the world. We felt a renewed energy - physically and spiritually - to return to Africa and continue raising our children in the Lord. Our prayer is that this conference is able to continue spurring orphan care workers on in the call of Jesus to His children in every nation.
Rescue Ministries of Mexico
Lupita Paez/Sarah Drewes
In March 2015 we attended a conference for organizations dedicated to the rescue and help of abandoned children. The invitation came from brother Gary, who has been our friend for many years. We never dreamed of traveling to the other side of the hemisphere and meeting such beautiful and Godly people from places like the Philippines and Africa who ran children's homes. Their lives and testimonies and their warmth and openness to dialog really impacted our lives. We will always remember them with love and admiration. In a beautiful book titled ‘My time in Heaven’ from S. Richards, there is something that this brother mentioned - that the Lord told him with tears in His eyes: ‘My people have forgotten compassion’ ....and ‘Compassion’ is precisely what I saw in these beautiful people that came to the Conference in the Philippines. May the Lord bless them always as they work for His glory.
Still Waters Kid's Home
Linda Blackford Jacinto
In March 2015 when Gary invited me to attend the conference I wasn’t able to financially afford the cost and then of course Sweet Waters Kids Home wasn't even open and at that time it didn’t appear that we would ever open. Gary persisted that I should attend and he said he would provide for the cost by faith in God's provision. I attended the conference and that changed the course of life for me and for many people including at this time (its been 8 months since the conference) 10 precious little lives, ages 1-7 years old whom we have now taken in at Still Waters. During the conference I heard stories of how ordinary people were doing extraordinary things for God to help children in need. I received much prayer and encouragement that I could get the home opened. I went there discouraged and depressed but I left the conference encouraged and certain that the Lord's hand was in this home. Before the conference we had no administrator, no social worker, no license. After the conference, as we prayed, within weeks all needs were met! The lives of these children went from abused, neglected, and abandoned to loved, cared for, educated and safe because of that conference invitation and the prayerful support of the conference delegates.
Friends of the Fatherless
I found myself fortunate and honored to be a part of a god-led event where so many heroes of the faith were present. In asking the Lord to describe to me this gathering, I received only one word back: "river". Then going to scripture I read John: 37-39 describing the Holy Spirit flowing out of ones heart like a "river" of Living Water.
The delegates candidly shared their trials, struggles so intense that you would think they would turn back, but one theme rang true: they were not defeated or shaken from the task God has given them. By reliance and faith in God, they allowed the Lord each time to rescue them and move them forward, realizing that it is a work not just their own, but first His. The orphaned children they serve and love are first the Lords and He will not fail them.
Their hearts hold the river of LIVING WATER, allowing a distinct path for the Holy Spirit to give counsel, healing, rescue and needed comforts to a thirsty and parched community, the community of the world's precious orphaned children.