Tag: orphanage

Barbie Savior

Short term missions have long been a topic of debate in the mission world.  Are they really “mission” trips or are they vacations in a developing nation?  Are they worth the money?  Do they do more harm than good?  Are they offensive to local populations?  The questions go on and on.  I have no aspiration to settle the argument here!  I’m just trying to catch you up on some of the recent rumblings in the internet “mission” world.

One of the latest popular trends is Barbie Savior on Instagram, @BarbieSavior on Twitter and the blog BarbieSavior.com/blog.

Here is a quote from their “about” page:

Barbie Savior began in 2016 by two friends who were simply tired of the acclaim of the White Savior on social media. It began as a joke – a place for us to express our frustrations. Our little Instagram account, however, caused quite the stir. It was clear we struck a nerve on the age old topic of the White Savior Complex.

Together we have over a decade of studying, traveling, and working abroad. While this left us cynical and jaded enough to create Barbie Savior, we know full well that this issue – and these conversations – are so much bigger than us.

One post comments on the problems with visiting orphanages:

So many of us start out by volunteering in orphanages. We believe in the biblical and humanitarian call to look after orphans. It starts with our innate desire to do good, so how did we get it so wrong? How did the first line of defense for orphan care become so harmful? When did we decide it was the healthy, proper thing to do to visit orphanages and “experience” the African orphan? This industry, “orphanage tourism”, is detrimental in countless ways.

To see more blog posts in this program, please search #stoporphantrips on social media.

Another hot topic related to this on the internet is #LintonLies.  I’m not going to go into details on this.  A quick summary is Aspiring actress Louise Linton recently released an extract from her memoir detailing her experiences in Zambia as a young  white saviour idealistic volunteer.

I think anyone who has worked in missions for any length of time and/or worked in orphanages has seen mission trips that just made them want to puke!  Or at least cry.  Teams of youth bouncing around acting stupid.  Older teams that really just wanted to shop for deals at markets.  Teams that wanted to hold babies and children and tell them that they were going to take them home.  Teams photographing in an insensitive way that embarrassed the locals.  Teams that spent horrendous amounts of money to build a wall that the locals could do for a fraction of a fraction of the cost.

But…..there is always a but….

For all the “damage” and “waste” that an American short term mission trip can cause there are some very valid huge benefits and facts:

1) Many if not most missionaries get their “heart call” for missions by the seed planted on a short term mission trip.

2) Americans are criticized for lack of knowledge of other cultures.  Developing culture is not really taught in our schools and most people do not have an inborn desire to start studying them.  Most who develop a passion for this get it from visiting another country.

3) Most people do not really have a passion to give to a ministry unless they embrace it personally.  Short term missions are a great way to build loyalty.

4) I look at missions in a similar way to professional sports.  Millions of children learn a sport and play on a “little league” team of some sort.  Hundreds of thousands of those children will play their sport at a high school level.  Thousands of them will play at a college level.  Hundreds will play at a professional level.  A few will become Rock Stars in their field and be forever remembered.  The same applies to missions.  Many will go on a week mission trip.  Only a few will make life long commitments.  Those life long people may be sickened watching the stupidity of a short term team but they need to realize that everyone starts somewhere.  I got weeded out of sports by the 6th grade.  I’m still battling through high school in the mission arena.

5) Orphan ministry – I don’t have room to go into that here (maybe later).  When we told a long termer on our first trip that we wanted to adopt he said “So you want the perfect child.  Girl, healthy, infant, light skinned”.  In other words – a trophy child that we could show off.  If you know our family or have read my blogs, you know that is NOT what we got.  I wish I could tell that long termer who we adopted and tell him that I am still offended by what he said – although at the time he said it, it was probably true.  You see, some of us learn from our short term trips.  Some of us don’t.

6) Missions as a whole is very messy.  Sometimes it is downright shitty (sorry but it fit).  Whether discussing long term, short term, misionation trips, styles of mission agencies, approach, orphanages – they are all messy and no one has all the answers.  We are a broken world but we have grace, mercy, love, hope and vision to try to learn a better way!

7) Go on a mission trip.  Don’t be a Barbie Savior.  Just go and serve.  Study another culture. Give to a missionary.  Cry for the lost. Adopt a needy child.  Just do something!


Where are your gifts?

Every time we visit an orphanage we take gifts for the children.  Soccer balls, cars, dolls, etc.  The children love them and run off to play.  The next time we go to visit, NONE of those toys can be found.  We ask “what happened to the toys that we brought?”

Some of the answers are: They broke, they were stolen, they are lost, they got kicked over the wall, the orphanage workers took them for their own children.   I think it is nearly impossible to keep toys in an orphanage.

Where are the gifts that God gave you?  Are they broken?  Were they stolen or lost?  Did you use them so hard that they were kicked out of your life – lost forever?

God has blessed you with so many gifts and yet you act like you don’t have any.  Prophets come to your church and you ask for more wisdom and gifts.  Maybe those prophets should ask what you are doing with the ones you already have.

Take a look around your house and see what is hiding.  You may be surprised at what God has already given you.

1 Corinthians 12:27-29  (NIV)

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28 And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles?


*On this trip to Guatemala, I bought Isaiah new Nike sneakers because his were duct taped together!  I never saw those shoes again and he didn’t remember what happened to them!  He did wear out shoes fast!

Ministry in Guatemala

I felt led to share this opportunity to give:

Casa A banner
Emiliana, our “grandmother” at Casa Angelina, was rescued a few months ago from horrible living conditions. When we found her she weighed only 63 pounds! She suffered from extreme malnourishment, which prohibited her from eating well the first two months she was with us. Because of this, she lost 4 pounds. She also suffered from bronchitis, gastritis, intestinal infection, arthritis, anemia and a very stubborn parasite that took months to get rid of. When we found her, she was in a wheelchair, unable to walk, feed or bathe herself and needed assistance going to the bathroom. 

Emiliana in the home and life we rescued her from.
We are so happy to report that God is miraculously working in her body! God has healed her in so many ways. She has gained back the weight she first lost and now weighs 68 pounds! She is off of all medication, and only needs supplements such as iron, fiber and multivitamins. Her bronchitis is completely gone, her gastritis is under control, she no longer has intestinal issues, and there are no signs of parasites!
One of the biggest miracles we are experiencing with Emiliana, is that she is on her way to being more independent! She can feed, bathe and go to the bathroom herself and can take a few steps with her walker! Getting her up and on her feet has helped her gain much needed strength in her legs. We praise God that He has given us the opportunity to sow into Emiliana’s life!

Watch this video of Emiliana walking!
We want to thank all of you for your prayers and financial support of Casa Angelina. Because of you, we are able to care for our widows and children. Below are some specific needs we have at Casa Angelina. We are trusting God to continue His provision for us. We want to send a big thanks to all of you, our faithful supporters!
Emiliana lives in an apartment at Casa Angelina that is connected to another house. This apartment needed a bathroom, which we were able to build with some extra material we had. Since we didn’t have all of the materials we needed, it ended up being a very rough finish. With winter coming and it currently raining so much, we would like to finish this bathroom properly for her. The total cost for this project will be $3000.00.
We have elementary, middle and high school students who are in need of graduation gowns for their upcoming graduation ceremonies. Each gown costs $16.00 and there are 20 children that will need them totaling $320.00. At the end of each school year, we have a graduation celebration for all the children, which will cost $400.00. We are asking for your help in raising a total of $720.00 by the end of October. 
All of the children at Casa Angelina are growing and are in need of pants for Christmas this year, especially our older kids. We would love to be able to give each child three pairs of pants. To be able to do this, we need to raise $1000.00. 
Each child needs a new bath towel. Towels costs $3.76 each, so we are hoping to raise $376.00 to be able to fill this need. 
Thank you again for partnering with us as we continue to care for these precious lives!
Everything we do of significance we do in partnership with others, and without your help we cannot fulfill our mission of saving children in Jesus’ name. We want you to be a part of this journey and join us in feeling the conviction of helping those in greatest need—the orphans and widows.
To find out more about supporting our children and becoming a partner in our ministry, please contact us at our U.S. office at theteam@whatmattersmm.org or by calling (719) 495-9494.

Thank you for investing your valuable time into being connected with what God is doing through this ministry.

Connected in Purpose,
The Team at What Matters Ministries and Missions

 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.”  -Matthew 18:5

PO Box 62820 | Colorado Springs, CO 80962 US

Abandonment #6

The new home.  This home had some differences from the last home but many similarities.  Some things were better and some were worse.  Some of the kids were nicer and some were meaner.  I’m not going to spend time describing the home in detail – it’s not important.  People (at Americans) are so obsessed with living conditions.  How nice is the home?  How good is the food? Do you have hot water?  How is school?  Do you have toys to play with?

Let me tell you, none of that matters.  I would have rather been back with my family in our little block house with no running water (except when it rained) than to be in a new luxury home without my family.

In my later years, I read about the Jews suffering terrible horrible conditions in the Nazi camps of WW2.  Those people faced disease, torture, starvation and death and yet they they wanted to live.  Think about that: why did they have the will to live?  I have everything now but I don’t.  What happened to me?  What crushed the spirit in me that the Jews thrived on?

I learned how to lie.  Lie about everything.  Survive without caring.  Survive without loving.  Lie about how I feel, what I want, what I did.  Lies and more lies.  Cover up.  Blend in.  I did what was expected and go with the flow.  Going with the flow people and people won’t suspect me.  Blend in and stay hidden.  Smile and everyone assumes I’m ok.  Don’t bring attention.  After awhile I didn’t even know who I was anymore.  Smile.  Smile and seem happy.  Smile and do what people want to see.  Lie.  Survive the day, the night, no one really knows who I am because I don’t know who I am.

Boys or girls thrown together in a room are not family.  They really aren’t friends.  We co-existed.  Tell me – if you know any orphans that came out of an orphanage, do they want to see other children that they lived with in the orphanage?  Most don’t.  I’m not attached to anyone.  I’m just surviving with a smile.


Abandonment, part 4

Part 4

Months went by at the orphanage but I learned that it really wasn’t an orphanage – it was a boy’s home.  In Guatemala, there are children’s homes where the children aren’t eligible for adoption and there are orphanages where some or all of the children are eligible (or are in the process).  When I was rescued from the streets, I was placed in an all boys children home.

I began to meet with a social worker which was followed by court appointments.  I didn’t know what any of it meant.  They asked me a lot of questions.  Some things I made up and some stories were true.  Some stories were blended together with stories from other boys.  Because of my age and confusion over the whole system I soon came to a point where I didn’t know what was truth and what was a lie.  All the boys had stories.  Which ones were true was up to anyone’s guess.

My meetings with the court were boring.  I often missed entire days of school while going out to these meetings.  No one told me what was going on.  Finally, the older boys told me – I was going through the process of abandonment so that I could be adopted.

Abandonment?  What did that mean?  I had a mother, a brother, and 2 sisters.  That much I knew and I wasn’t making it up.  If only I could talk to them.  This couldn’t be right.  Why would they abandon me forever?  I could understand a few months while we worked something out.  I could understand a couple of years until I could earn money.

What did all of this mean?


Abandoned, part 3

I soon got into the groove of living in the orphanage.  Things didn’t change much from day to day.  I slowly made friends with the boys in my room and our room mother, Josephine was nice unless we didn’t do our work.  I guess some people would guess that the worst part of life here was the conditions or the food.  That wasn’t it for me.  For me and I think everyone else it was the longing to be back with our families.

Volunteer helpers stopped at the home most days.  Some were Guatemalan and some were Americans.  The Guatemalans mainly helped with work around the home – laundry, cleaning, cooking, yard work.  The Americans came to play with us, teach in school, and do odd jobs around the home.   Sometimes groups of Americans would come.  They always brought gifts and candy and sometimes they took us on field trips.  Most of them did not speak Spanish but we learned enough English to understand what they were saying.

They always talked about taking us home.  We never understood what they were talking about.  Were they serious?  Were they really going to take us home?  All of us had been left by our families but we didn’t know if they were going to really take us or not.  We loved the attention and affection that the groups would share but they always left.  They said they would be back but they never didn’t.

The gifts they gave were either broken, lost, or stolen.  By the next day they were always gone.  Nothing stayed around the home for long.  Soccer balls were broken or kicked over the wall.  We learned to survive on very little and we learned to use our affection to get things but to guard our hearts at the same time.  None of us wanted to be hurt again.