Originally posted at http://blogs.christianpost.com/
“Today’s blog is contributed by Brian DeVos, Vice President of Children and Family Services at Bethany. Brian is the father of 2 daughters and a husband to Kristy. He has been blessed by the gift of adoption and a loving family in many ways, and is a passionate advocate for children growing up in loving families.
I recently traveled to Guatemala. Though it is a beautiful country in a Caribbean-like environment, it is also filled with extreme cases of poverty.
Guatemala’s civil war that ended in the late 1990s had a devastating effect. Many mothers became widows and many more children were orphaned. Poor water supplies and nutrition placed families in desperate need, and violence and death became a reality. Many victims were children, and girls and women became targets for trafficking due to a lack of education and employment. Living on an average of $2 to $3 dollars a day, many children and families are still at extreme risk—the threat for abuse, illness, trafficking, and violence are everyday occurrences.
Family preservation services are few, and in the poorest areas the family unit is completely broken. Protection systems are just beginning to re-develop, but very slowly. International adoptions remain at a stand-still because of various problems plaguing the adoptions system and process. Guatemala also needs a quality foster care program as hundreds of children wait for families in orphanages.
Bethany partners there with Pray American’s Manos de Jesus program because we believe every child deserves a safe and loving family. God has called us to assist in strengthening and supporting the least of these—the widow and the orphan—and we provide support to parents so they will not feel forced to relinquish their children to orphanages or pay “coyotes” to take them to North America.
On my recent trip, we visited a single mother and her three children—two with cerebral palsy— who had been abandoned by the father. Through our One Family sponsorship program and partnership with Manos de Jesus, we provided walkers to prevent the two boys from being cut on their hands as they crawled on the ground. We also met with a grandmother who is caring for three granddaughters. Their parents died and no other family member would step in to help. She will now be able to support them through a micro business we recently launched in partnership with Manos de Jesus. Her granddaughters are also learning how to run a business and support themselves. Without this program, they would likely be on the streets, involved with drugs and prostitution.
One Family brings the hope and love of Jesus Christ to these families with tangible assistance, confirming He is alive and present in their lives. They meet a caring Christ who provides the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of both the giver and the receiver. They know and believe they are loved, and they receive immeasurable hope.
I experienced transforming love in seeing these families thrive, many whom show great faith. My self-centered life was transformed as I realized Bethany’s mission to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus to these families is my mission too. Isn’t that why we’re all here?”
For full article click here: