Unexpected Blessings~ Johanna Doblado

This week’s ROOM contributor is Johanna Doblado, director of ROOM’s Scarlet Project and Orphanage Care programs in Honduras. Johanna has been mentioned most recently here as the wonder woman that she is. She also shared her heart for the cause worth fighting for on an earlier blog. She continues to inspire, encourage, and push us all to excellence in the Lord. We are grateful for her!

It has been 764 days since I joined the Reach Out Orphanage Ministries family as the Scarlet Project Director.

764 days ago I first learned that Foster Families existed in Honduras.

764 days since I learned how I could be a part of this movement.

I heard ROOM’s passion for this ministry on my first day at work, and soon after, ROOM`s passion for the babies and kids of Honduras became my passion as well.

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 Every single day after that has been a learning experience for me. 764 days later and I am still learning. I am still being shaped by our Almighty Father.

I look back on this time and it feels as if a lifetime has gone by– a lifetime of struggles and tears and laughter and joy–it has already been a lifetime of blessings. Blessings that come from our Lord when we least expect them, but when we need them the most.

I look forward to the lessons and experiences that are ahead of me, but I cannot move forward without looking at what has shaped me thus far. Some of the lessons learned have been easy: how to become a foster family, how to change a billion diapers in one day, how to feed a baby, how to love a child wholeheartedly. Some of these lessons are hard: how to change a blowout diaper, how to comfort a child that has IVs in his/her arms, how to love a baby with your whole heart but also with open arms, how to face the abuse of a child and mirror the strength that child needs you to mirror.

Throughout these 764 days, the Lord has been working on many things in my own life through ROOM’s beautiful ministry, and I have been able to see and experience more than ever the fullness of unexpected blessings. The types of blessings that come when we least expect them to because they are wrapped in the hardest moments of our lives. The blessings that take our breath away because they show us our Heavenly Father’s love in a fullness that the weight of it takes all of us out of the way. Blessings that prove to us, time and time again, that the Lord of all earth knows every single child by name, knows their hurt, their pain and has put everything in place for them to come into our loving family and change our lives forever.

In our line of work it is easy to lose the one thing we need the most….hope. Hope is what keeps us going; hope is what fuels our work even when that work sometimes feels like it is endless–and, in reality, it is unending–but our hope comes in the shape of kids. Our hope has a name: Alex, Angel; Estrella, Jesus, Fernando, Deysi, Mili….and on and on it goes.

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Every single person who has ever read our blog, or prayed over one of our beautiful kids, or given to our ministry in any way has been touched and changed right alongside us. You may have been touched by this same hope (the evidence of our God not forgetting us through the reminder of these kids) that keeps us going.

My desire for this amazing ministry comes in the form of kids….all the kids that I have yet to meet and whose names I still do not know. The kids whose faces I have not seen. This, and this alone, keeps me going in a world where children are abandoned every single day. Each and every one of these kids are my blessings, some expected and most unexpected; they shape me more and more each day.

Many times during these 764 days, the enemy has tried to take away the power of these blessings and tried to take away the truth laid out to us by the Lord, which is that we are His and He is in control. ROOM has taught me to rely on the Lord and trust His control… but more than the ministry itself, the kids I have been blessed to serve have taught me that He is in control.

These children have been the vessels for over 90% of the unexpected blessings I have seen in the last two years. We stand before you today as ministry that stands for being above reproach. We are a ministry striving to follow the Lord’s guidance in all we do.

Many times we do not know what the Lord has in store for us next, but we strive to be ready for whatever may come.

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Honduras is a country in great need of warriors to come alongside us; to pray with us and for us. We need warriors who will stand with us FOR these kids who have no other voice advocating for them. We cannot promise what is to come, but we can assure you that your heart will overflow with blessings. We want others to experience these unexpected blessings that come from serving these little ones.

If you are interested in joining our team, please consider making a donation to our most recent campaign: Become Part of the Story.

We need more people to come alongside of children like those mentioned above in our Story Blog. We need you to become part of Reach Out Orphanage Ministries’ story! Will you partner with ROOM for just $10.00 a month? Our goal is to bridge a $71,700 budget gap by the end of March. This is possible if just 600 people agree to partner for just $10.00 a month!

Visit out our Razoo page where you can select to become a monthly partner, or make a one-time gift.  Or send a check to Reach Out Orphanage Ministries, P.O. Box 5882, Concord, N.C. 28027.

ROOM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.  All donations are tax-deductible.  Learn more at http://www.makeroom.org/

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Learning the meaning of Psalm 68:5

This week’s ROOM contributor is Erin Williams. Erin is serving as a long term volunteer with ROOM Honduras under the leadership of Joey and Kellie Weed. Erin has brought new life and new energy to ROOM’s orphanage care programs. She has an eager heart and willingness to learn. We are so thankful to have her to serve the children through ROOM’s ministry programs. 
Psalm 68:5 has recently taken on a whole new meaning to me. The God of the universe–The one who created me, chose me, and saved me–is also a father to the fatherless! Let’s think about that for a second; I can probably think of so many other things that He could be doing, seeing that He is God and all.  But no, He’s a dad!  He’s the one who kisses every boo-boo, cradles us in the big, perfect hug that only a father has, and always has the best stash of band-aids to make the pain go away. It’s probably a good thing I’m not God because I highly doubt I would take time for those simple things. But I’m so thankful that He does.
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Every day in San Pedro Sula, I meet kids that aren’t quite as lucky as I am. Some do not have running water. Some do not have two loving parents; some do not even have one loving parent. Others bathe in a river. They see riding in a car as a luxury.  They see fresh fruit and vegetables as a special treat.  And, more humbling, many do not know the saving grace and abounding love that I receive from Jesus on a daily basis.
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For some crazy reason, God thought I was able to love these kids. He moved me a world away to do just that. I get to play games (and by play- I mean lose). I get to act out charades (which is quite challenging in Spanish if you were wondering). I get to laugh and cry. I get to experience the pure joy that lights up their eyes when they learn something new. I get to wrap my arms around them every day and God allows me to radiate His beauty and walk in His presence with them. I get to learn their names, learn their fears, and help them forget, if even for a second, the struggles many face every day.
Here, I see Psalms 68:5, I see God, the Creator of the universe, the King Almighty, being Daddy God and Father to the fatherless.
Now, let me introduce you to Deysi.
She loves to make noises with her mouth. She craves kisses, clapping, bath time, and slow dancing in the kitchen. She dislikes being by herself, eating baby food, and being hot.
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I am lucky,  because I get to step into this girl’s life everyday. I get to sit by her crib and listen to her soft breath tones as she’s sleeping. I get to soothe her while she cries. I get to be the reason she laughs. I get to love her, the best way I know how, every single day. How did I get so lucky, right?  
When I look into Deysi’s beautiful eyes, I see God staring at me through her. I see greater love than I could ever put into words. And then, I see Psalms 68:5; I see God, the Creator of the universe, the King Almighty, being Daddy God and Father to the fatherless all over again.
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We love that through Erin’s commitment to service alongside of ROOM she is learning and deepening her understanding of the character of God. We are so grateful for her willingness to step into so many stories that need the promise of hope, redemption, and love that is rooted in the cross.

If you would like to read about more stories like Deysi’s, we invite you to join us over on our special blog series where you can learn how you can Become Part of the Story.

If you would like to contribute to ROOM’s orphanage care programs please visit our Razoo Page.

Or mail us a check at Reach Out Orphanage Ministries to PO Box 5882, Concord NC 28027. All donations are tax deductible

ROOM’s Wonder Women: Johanna Doblado and Brittany Bethel

Instead of a traditional blog post this week, we want to translate and share a publication from the San Pedro Sula, Honduras Rotary Club.

Two of ROOM’s leaders have been named among “the most successful and inspiring women” by Rotary International.  Everyone at our agency is overflowing with pride.  We are honored to have these women on our team, and thankful to the San Pedro Rotary Club for spotlighting their influence, which often goes unnoticed.

Johanna Doblado has been with ROOM Honduras since 2014.  She is our Scarlet Project Director, managing foster families and Transition Homes and overseeing medical and therapeutic treatments for abandoned children in ROOM’s care.

Brittany Bethel has been a member of ROOM’s Board of Directors since 2013.  She currently serves as our Board Chair.  In this role Brittany provides direction and leadership for our ten-member leadership Board, which directs ROOM’s international ministry.  In addition to Brittany’s leadership at ROOM, she is the full-time Church Relations and Overseas Administrator at Carolina Cross Connection.  


 

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“During this week the Rotary Club of San Pedro Sula, Honduras interviewed successful and inspiring women to share their thoughts on personal challenges and successes.  We are using the hashtag #wonderwomen to describe them.”

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“Brittany Bethel:  Administration and execution of mission trips for youth and adults in Honduras and in the United States

It is important to provide opportunities for people to understand cultures throughout the world in an extraordinary way.

Financing your dreams is always challenging.  You must involve other people to participate in your dreams in a proactive way.

I am constantly learning.  If you learn to listen to others and hear their ideas, you will enrich the person you are.  Learn to talk less and listen more.”

 

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“Johanna Doblado, Director of Foster Family Project

I work with abandoned children who need to be placed with foster families or temporary families while they await adoption.

The key to success is having a solid team to start with.  Trying to do everything yourself is not good for you, or for what you are trying to accomplish.

Nothing should be taken for granted.  We should value every moment and circumstance in our life.  God allows things to happen for good, even when we don’t see the “whys” or the purpose immediately.”


 

Original story credit: Club Rotario, San Pedro Sula.  To read the complete story in Spanish, visit the San Pedro Rotary Club’s Facebook page.

To learn more about Reach Out Orphanage Ministries, the ministry these two world-changers advocate for, and to make a financial donation to support their work, visit our ROOM Website

Re-entry~ Bekah Holten

This week’s ROOM contributor is Bekah Holten. Bekah serves as a ROOM volunteer in many different facets. She has served as a caregiver in our transition home, as a respite care provider for many of our foster families, a fundraiser, a teacher, and as support staff in orphanages. Bekah pushes herself to excellence in every area of her life; she has traveled fearlessly, studied diligently, and ran endlessly. We are thankful to have her as part of our ROOM family. This blog touches an issue that many missionaries have struggled with at some point: re-entry.   

As my time in Honduras neared an end, I began praying for direction. I wanted a job where I could feel fulfilled; one that would allow me to stay in the U.S. and fulfill my dream of a cute little apartment with view of nearby mountains. However, God made an investment in me when I went to Honduras.  He sent me to the mission field with a strong faith which was nurtured by many spiritual mothers and mentors, bible studies, and sermons.  While on the mission field, He provided for me and blessed me.  Then I returned home.  I felt strongly that God was looking for the return investment for all He had poured into me.  I questioned myself daily: How would I go about returning what was invested?  How would I transition back into life in America fully, while also continuing to share what I learned from the mission field? I felt strongly that He wanted something else of me.

bekahI believe this way of looking at re-entry from mission work isn’t wrong, but it was skewed in my brain.  I felt like a tool used by the Lord, rather than a daughter of a father who deeply loved me.  Once again I was placed in a position where I felt I needed to rise to the occasion and prove myself to others.

Genesis 22:17-18 says “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore.  Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”  Because Abraham obeyed the Lord to the point of offering his only son from his most loved wife as a sacrifice, he was promised abundant blessings and in return he was able to bless.  I was blessed with the opportunity to go to college and learn Spanish so I could serve in the hospital by Anthony’s side (a toddler in the care of ROOM’s transition home who battled childhood leukemia), be more effective in the orphanages and create stronger relationships with the people I served.  I believed my returning was another call to action.  I had seen the injustices and I had experienced loss first-hand, now what was I going to do to make a difference?

This call to action was suppose to make me feel closer to God.  More connected to the servant heart of God, but all it did was left me feeling empty and abandoned by the very One with whom I wanted to feel closest.  I related closely to the words of Mother Teresa, “In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss, of God not wanting me, of God not being God, or God not really existing.” hola yallAn article I read in The Washington Post said “In time, Mother Teresa began to understand these feelings of God’s absence as a way of identifying with Jesus’s feelings of abandonment on the cross and also as a way of entering more deeply into union with the poor, who also often feel abandoned.”

Could God really use this feeling of being unwanted to further my relationship with Him? Was he less interested in using me as a tool to help others, but rather drawing me closer to His heart?  I would love to tell you I have the answer to this, but I don’t think an answer is what I will receive; rather, I believe it will be daily devotion and obedience like that of Abraham’s that will bring me closer to the heart of God.  We are the closest to God when we obey him and obedience isn’t a life of service but rather a life of devotion.  John 14:21 says, “Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me.  And because they love me, my Father will love them.  And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”  After leaving the mission field I felt distant from God, I desired Him to reveal himself to me and his plan for my life, but I didn’t know how to communicate with Him.  I clung to this verse that if I obey His commandments He will reveal himself to me, but I missed a major part.  I missed the part that involved my loving Jesus.  I knew Jesus was sovereign and real, but I doubted his goodness and therefore his love for me.  

bekah 2Today, I am back on the mission field in a different capacity.  I am teaching English at the bilingual school Abundant Life Christian Academy in Yamaranguila, Honduras.  This opportunity to serve, once again, is a blessing and a challenge.  Each day I am forced to look to the Lord for guidance as to how to teach these young minds while pouring the love of Christ into them.  I am challenging myself to make drawing near to the heart of the Lord my first priority and then out of the abundance of the love the Lord has for me, let that overflow to my students. 

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If you know of a missionary transitioning from the mission field, please consider reaching out to them during this tough time of reflection. More than likely they will need compassion and patience as they process all that they have seen and experienced. 

If you would like to contribute to ROOM’s orphanage care programs please visit our Razoo Page.

Or by mailing a check to Reach Out Orphanage Ministries to PO Box 5882, Concord NC 28027. All donations are tax deductible