Join our Summer Service Trip

Interested in going on a service trip this summer? 

Heart4Children is taking a team July 2-10 to serve at Niños de la Luz (“Children of the Light”) boys home and school near La Ceiba, Honduras. We need a small group of volunteers who love to work hard and play hard to join us.  The ministry will involve hands-on projects such as painting or building as well as Bible-teaching and mentoring activities. Much of the time is spent communicating God’s love to the children by interacting with them in games, crafts, or sports.  It is helpful to have Spanish speaking individuals go with us, but not necessary.  It is required, however, that team members are 18 or older unless accompanied by a parent.  The cost is $1,650. per person, and it includes all transportation, lodging, and meals. It also includes two nights lodging on the island of Roatan at the end of the trip.  Please contact us immediately if you are interested so that we can start the application process with you. Contact Tamara Cook tamara@heart4children.com

 

School Expected to be at Capacity for 2016!

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A small team of 4 just returned from Honduras on Monday.  They went to Ninos de la Luz to help kick off the new 2016 school year.  It was a week of inservice for the teachers, with time spent on classroom management, fresh teaching ideas, and creative ways to implement positive reinforcement.  We also met with the leadership team of the school and laid out the goals for the 2016 plan.  We are excited about the new school year and anticipate enrollment being at capacity (120 students).  The boys from Ninos de la Luz, as well as boys and girls from the surrounding communites, will start on February 3.

These new students need your help to get a quality education!

To sponsor a child:  CLICK HERE

My Life is Nothing but Trash

My wife, Tamara, and I just returned from one of our many trips to Honduras since 2003.  For me it was my sixth one this year.  Our work with Heart4Children/Ninos de la Luz has brought us many experiences most folks have never imagined.  On this last trip I was impacted once again by a "chance" meeting.  Here is the story:

We were eating at a restaurant, sitting by the window.  As we ate our hamburgers I notice a little boy, obviously very poor, at the window motioning for something to eat by bringing his dirty little hand to his mouth.  I signed to him that I would come out with food in a few minutes. As we left I went back to the counter and ordered a “to go” order and carried it with me outside.  When I came outside he was waiting for me, as I expected.  However, he had a very small corner of a hamburger in his very dirty hand and the following conversation took place:

Me: “My name is Jim. What is yours?” Him: “Juan.” Me: “Where did you get that hamburger?” Him: “Basura (the trash).” Me: “Would you like a new one and some fries and soda?” Him: “Yes of course.” He quickly swallowed the last bite of the trash burger and took the bag with a very big smile and thank you.  Me: “What have you had to eat today?”  Him: “This.”  Me: “Where do you live?” Him: “Basural (trash dump).  Me: “Do you have family?”  Him: “Yes a brother and sister.”  Me: “Do you have parents?” Him: “Only my mother.”  Me: “Where is she?”  Him: “Sick.”  Me: “Where is your papa?” Him: “Dead.”  Me: “Can I come visit your house?” Him: “No!”  Me: “Why,”  Him: “It is very dangerous.”  I have met untold numbers of hungry and very poor children over the years, but this boy just hit my heart as if he were the first one.  I told him to remember me and look for me in the street.  I also told him, “Someday I will come visit you at your house.”  I gave him a hug and told him, “Good-bye” and he sat down where he was and had half the hamburger eaten before I walked 10 steps.  I thought to myself, “Juan’s life is nothing but trash!” 

I know the place where he lives.  I plan to go there on my next trip.  I did not take a picture of him because I never want to exploit his poverty.  I hope to get a picture of the dump village where he lives on my next trip.  Many people have asked me why we spend our time, money, and life in Honduras when we have poor people right here in the United States.  Of course, it is our love for Ninos de la Luz, but it is also because the poverty we have here in the U.S. does not compare to the poverty in the poorest countries of the world and Honduras is one of the very poorest.  According to the World Bank and Unicef the percentage of the population living on less than $1.25 per day is 17.9% and the per capita personal income is just $2,070 per year of which 60% of that income is controlled by the richest 20%.  And, this in a country where the cost of living is about equal with the US for food and clothing.  Housing is cheaper, but your floor will be dirt and your walls and roof made of what you can find. The US per capita income is over $50,000 and we have 0% of our population living on less than $1.25 per day.  Our wealthiest 20% control 46% of that income.  http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/

I must admit there are many times when the burden of working with Heart4Children overwhelms me.  There are days and weeks when I am just exhausted of the stress and burden.  I wonder, "Where is God in all this?"  And then, I am working down there and I have a meeting like the one with Juan and I am reminded that it is a worthwhile effort.  There are so many Juan’s and “Juanets” just in our little area.  We need to bring more of them into our home and school.  We need to be the love of Jesus to them.  We need to practice “pure and genuine religion,” taking care of the widows and orphans and not being corrupted by the wealth and comfort of our western world riches!  We need to continue fighting the battle of raising funds – something we dislike and to be honest are not very good at doing.  We need to remember, our worse day is a day Juan can only dream of having!  That's where God is in all this!

James 1:27: What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of the orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world.

Luke 18:6: But Jesus called the children to himself saying to the apostles, “Allow the children to come to me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times"

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, ….” Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities

As I reflect on these words, they seem to eerily fit what the last several months have looked like for Heart4Children and Niños de la Luz.  Before May, we were working to complete the final legal merger of our two organizations into one in Honduras.  Bill and Mary were working with us and attorneys in Honduras to unite us legally as we had been in heart for over a decade.  Even our chosen name, “Heart4Children of the Light” (“Corazón para Niños de la Luz” in Spanish) reflects our union.  It was a time of growth and new beginning. We were looking to expand and increase the number of boys we could bring into our home and ways to improve our school and continue to minister to the children of our village, Armenia Bonito.  Two couples were considering joining in with us in ministry.  One couple was considering going to live and work full-time in Honduras and the other to come along side Jim and Tamara here in the States.  It was indeed "the best of times."

In May, everything would change.  Bill Kwiatkowski, the founder of Niños de la Luz became ill with a lung infection and entered ICU at the Veteran’s Hospital in Connecticut.  After a hard battle with the infection, he passed away on June 8.  Although Niños de la Luz is God’s project, to say Bill was the backbone of the project is truly an understatement.  His wife, Mary, obviously entered a time of grief and mourning.  The boys in the home, who considered him their father, did as well. We all did.  The bigger-than-life guy who was always there, was gone.  These were truly the worst of times!  Yet, hope springs eternal.  The hope placed in a loving and caring God, who himself experienced the death of his Son, still remained.  Here is a link to Children of the Light's (Niños de la Luz) latest newsletter for you to hear, in Mary’s own words, her journey through these times.

So where are we now?  The word "recovering" comes to mind, as well as the phrase, “moving forward.”  Recovering through the grief process and moving forward in ways we never imagined.  It is both the best and worst of times.  The couple, Ken and Cathy Morey, who was considering moving to Honduras to work full time, has indeed heard God’s call to go.  They have started raising their funding and, thank God, are one third of the way in just one month.  You can read their letter by clicking here to read in their own words their desires and plans.  We could not have imagined a more perfectly suited couple to help us in Honduras.  Even before the passing of Bill we needed full time help as the burden of the boys’ home and school was more than one couple could bare.  With Bill gone, that need is even greater.  Although we have had part time volunteers working with the project, we have recognized the wisdom and, we believe, God’s direction of moving our organization toward working with full time workers who are coordinated and directed through Heart4Children of the Light.  The Moreys have agreed to work directly through our organization filling specific roles and needs and remain accountable to the leadership of Heart4Children of the Light.  We believe this is a wise direction for us and truly God’s working.

The second couple I mentioned above has also agreed to join Heart4Children of the Light. We are working with them to clearly identify roles and responsibilities.  Soon we will be introducing them to you as well.

So, what is the purpose of this post?  Well, all mission organizations say it is because we need your prayer support as we move forward.  And it is true for us as well.  We know that somehow God uses the prayers of his people to accomplish his will.  We get that.  However, we want to be up front about the fact that we also need your financial support.  We have historically been rather poor at asking as an organization.  However, our needs have grown beyond our finances, and we need help.  The Moreys have budgeted to live on $2,500 per month in Honduras.  If you are familiar with other mission organizations, that is a small amount compared to most.  Part of the reason is Heart4Children of the Light’s overhead is so small.  We are primarily an all-volunteer organization here in the States.  The overhead cost to send the Moreys to Honduras is 5%.  So, 95% of every dime you give will go to directly support them as they minister alongside Mary to the boys in the home and the children in the school.  Not a bad bang for your buck.

So, we believe we are realistic in our view.  We truly see the worst of times upon us; yet we see the best of times as well.  We see God for who he is.  A God we do not understand completely, who allows terrific pain in our lives, and yet gives us hope of the best of times as well.  A hope not founded upon feelings or our own strength, but upon the foundation of Jesus’ death on the cross and the power reflected in his resurrection.  Will you please consider joining us in prayer and financial support?

May you know God in your own best and worst of times,

Jim and Tamara

Shipping Container Project & June Update

Heart4Children and Ninos de la Luz Boys' home and school want to thank everyone for their over-the-top support for getting the container shipped to Honduras. This was such a huge task, and if it had not been for the outstanding help, it would never have happened! When we started the project we had never shipped a container before and had no money to ship it, but we did have a generous offer of a donation by Tomball's Concordia Lutheran High School of nearly 100 perfect lockers to be used in the new dormitory. What resulted was a coming together of nearly a hundred folks who each did a part in collection, organization, or donation of money.  The end result was a container not only of the lockers, but also thousands of dollars worth of other items needed in the new dormitory and school, and enough money to pay all shipping costs. There is even enough left over to fund a project that will be done by our team in July.  From nothing but an idea to much more than we could think or dream! Isn't that the way our God works? He moves in the hearts of people, and the world is impacted. So, from the bottom of our hearts, a great big thank you!

Our founders' daughter, Bethany Cook, will leave for Honduras to work at the boys' home and school on June 29. She will return on July 28. Please remember her during this time in your thoughts and prayers for physical strength, health, and safety.

Finally, we would like to remind you of our upcoming team trip in July. A team of 17 will leave on July 13 and return July 22. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as safety and health are always a concern.

Thank you for your years of support, and know that over 98% of every dollar you donated went directly to serve others - we are a 100% volunteer organization. And you may be surprised to know that over the last 5 years, Heart4Children has provided over $600,000 of support, plus untold physical item donations and project work. We are so thankful for all you are doing in partnering with us!

The Heart4Children Team

Shipping Container Arrives in Honduras

The container was loaded in Tomball, Texas by Concordia Lutheran High School students and other volunteers from the community and was unloaded in Honduras by the boys' home in Honduras!  A partial list of what was shipped:

Nearly 100 lockers donated by CLHS, Spanish books, 1 new desktop cpu, 2 used TV's, 40 new folding chairs, 2 folding tables, lumber to fix the swing, three couch covers, 2 metal trash cans, 10 plastic containers, 3 cpu's for parts, one wooden desk, one small foos ball table, 30+ pillows, 25 pillow covers, 2 rice cookers, cloths, 10 pair of new shoes, many towels, many sheets, toiletries, soccer balls, electronic dart board...extra parts, ping pong balls, and a new lawn mower!

Endurance

Each day here in Honduras brings a new adventure for the team to grab by the horns. Today was no exception. 

 

The most challenging, and least challenging thing in many ways is the language barrier. Although it makes communication difficult at times, it also allows the human spirit to speak.  It allows for smiles, joy, laughter and those knowing looks to speak in many ways that words simply cannot. You see, to be here and build very real connections with amazing people -- one doesn’t need words. For our words are insufficient in many ways as it is. To speak “human” you simply need a sense of humor, an open heart and kind eyes. The rest will come.

 

For those conversations that are had on a larger basis, well, we are immensely grateful for the translators. Miming and pronouncing words with a Spanish accent only gets one so far. Today, those conversations spoke about not giving up on the sometimes-difficult race of life and taking care of our bodies through exercise.  We learned and taught that we must prepare our bodies, minds and spirits for the future. We must exercise these facilities so that they are available to us when we need them.  Our opportunity is now, and we must endure.

 

While the group taught this lesson, we learned it as well. Tonight, unlike any other thus far, the group got together for a late night jog. We called on each other for mental and spiritual support, and we shared in the joy and pain of the human condition. This day, was yet another wonderful, painful, beautiful, hard and humbling day in Honduras.

 

-Bianca Manago

Hola from Honduras

(Pretend like you’re reading this on Sunday evening)

We had a wonderful day reconnecting and playing with the boys. It’s so refreshing to see these precious faces again. We started the day off with Todd and Squid sharing their testimonies, and Ray concluding the morning with an analogy of striving to win the World Cup. He explained how believers are to strive together to pursue Christ. It was a phenomenal and encouraging message.

We had a wonderful time getting to know these guys again. Some people had personal one-on-one time with the older kids and while others just played with the youngins. It’s amazing to see how open these guys are when we purposefully pursue and engage them.  

After a long day of loving on the boys, the Directors, we look forward to serving this week in whatever capacity the Lord has in store. Our teams will be focusing on a few different areas. Each morning we will start the day by having chapel with Ninos de la Luz Christian School. The chapel lesson will relate to the medical lesson that will be taught later that day. For example, tomorrow the medical group will be discussing nutrition. So in chapel, they will discuss how the Word nourishes our soul. Meanwhile, we will have a group painting the new dorm with a primer/sealer combo. After chapel, a group will go out into the schools of the local community and have a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the children there.

Please keep our team in your prayers this week as we seek to serve Ninos de la Luz and the people of Armenia Bonito. Pray that we our presence would be helpful, not a hindrance; that we would continue to develop deeper relationships with the boys at Ninos de la Luz; and that ultimately the Lord’s name would be glorified through us. We love you guys and greatly appreciate your support!

-Francoise Le & Samantha Young 

2012 Marathon Golf Tournament Supporting Missions

 

Its that time of the year! We are gearing up to take another team to Ninos de la Luz July 7-14th. We are so excited to share the project with them, and allow them to get involved in a hands on way tht is unique to our team trips. 

As you know, raising funds for any service oriented trip is often a challenge. There is an influx of request for sponsorship during the summer because it is the heaviest season of short term missions work around the world. As an organization we wanted to give our team an easy way to raise support, so we put together a Marathon Golf Tournament. 

Marathon Golf is very different from a normal golf tournament. Instead of having a group of players come out, there is only one golfer. This golfer will play an entire day of golf with the goal of hitting as many holes of golf as possible. As a team, our job is to find businesses, organizations, and individuals who are interested in making a bid per hole based on how many holes they beleive our golfer can hit in a day. 100% of the donations will go to send the team to La Ceiba Honduras to serve in the village of Armenia Bonito at a boys home and school called Ninos de la Luz. 

While in Honduras, our team will be focused on serving Ninos de la Luz and the surrounding village by focusing on education. We will be focusing on educating families and students on current issues such as young pregnancy, hygeine, and finances with the overall purpose of presenting the gospel. Generally these struggles pose much deeper personal issues which give us the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ by coming alongside and presenting hope to many who feel there is none.

We would love for you to partner with us in making this trip succesful!

Dwolla

We are excited to announce that Heart4Children is now accepting Dwolla payments! For those of you who do not know what Dwolla is, let me give you a little run down.

Dwolla is essentially on online payment platform very similar to PayPal, but way better! It is essentially like setting up a wire from account to account, but without the hassle, limitations and outrageous amount of time involved.

Remember the old donation process? Everything was done through Paypal. Don't get me wrong, Paypal is wonderful if you don't mind that every single time you donate, they steal 3% of what you are giving + a .30 cent transaction fee for every donation. Yeah! Bet you missed that in the fine print!

So, the Heart4Children team started researching how we could eliminate transaction fees. We pride ourselves on operating with only 2.8% expenses for the year, and we want to keep it that way! Dwolla has received recognition from some of the most notable names in the financial industry including: Forbes, BusinessWeek, and the New York Times. After hearing about them several times, we decided that it was worth investigation. This is what we found:

Cost to send money: $0.00

Cost to receive money in amounts greater than $10.00: flat rate of $0.25

Cost to receive micro payments (amounts less than $10.00): $0.00

Cost for auto withdrawal: $0.00

Cost for manual withdrawal: $0.00

Cost to open Dwolla account: $0.00

Okay! So they had us at $0.25 for any donation over $10.00. That may not mean a thing to you, but let me take a minute to explain to you what that means for us as an organization:

Lets just say that in 2012 we had 100 online donations of $1000.00 each, totally $100,000.00. With our old online donation system, the total in fees alone would be (hold your breath!) $3,030.00!!! I'm not kidding! With Dwolla, the fees for the exact same transactions is $25.00! Phewww that sounds much better!

I know what you are thinking, What's the catch?

I know it is hard to beleive, but there really isn't one. The only hassle is that you have to set up an account. You had to do the exact same thing with PayPal, but trust me, this one is much more simple and much more user friendly. 

How do I get started?

The most difficult part of the process is setting up your account, which takes all of 5 mintues. You can do this one of two ways:

1. See that icon to your left? Yes, the one that say "We accept Dwolla!", Click on it. It will take you to a HUB page, which is a fancy tech term for an online payment page. It looks a little something like this:

 

Once you have filled out the information, you can choose to Create and Account and it will walk you through the step by step process of how to get set up. Once you are set up, you can manage your transactions online at any time. You have the option of setting up multiple donations that will automatically transfer once a month, or you can manually send donations. 

2. Go online to www.dwolla.com and sign up through their website.

Once you have set up an account, there will be a couple of days down time in order to verify your bank account. Dwolla will deposit 2 transactions into your account and you will be required to verify the amount deposited. After verification you are good to go! You will be able to login from any computer, or download the app to your smartphone and make donations from anywhere!

They asked me for my bank info? Isn't that dangerous?

We asked the exact same question. If we are going to ask you to trust an online payment system, we have to trust them too! Here is what Dwolla had to say when asked about safety:

Lets Talk Safety

Yes, that was a bit long-winded, but we want you to have all of the information at your fingertips!

We are excited about this step forward. We like to think of it as - we are WAY ahead of the curve! Ideally we would like to see every single one of you start using Dwolla! So, what are you waiting for?!

 

If you have questions about how to use Dwolla, or would like assistance setting up an account, contact us at: accounting@heart4children.com

Effortless

Well the second day in Honduras is done, and looking back on the day I can't believe how quickly God has already begun to work.  Arriving in La Ceiba, Honduras a week ago, I wondered if things would change when the rest of the group arrived, and I must admit I had some fear that things may be uncomfortable since many of the group coming had never met the boys or been to Honduras before.  After today, I know I could not have been more wrong.  When the vans arrived at Niños de la Luz, everyone piled out to greet the boys.  Introductions were sealed with hugs not hand shakes, and everyone began to interact easily.  We had a Sunday church service together with the boys, and together we shared our hearts.  It wasn't formal or forced, but rather a time for us to talk about what God is doing in our lives in a real way.  After, we went and watched the USA vs. Japan women's world cup while eating countless pieces of pizza.  I came into the room after everyone else and found that instead of having the "Gringos" on one side of the room and the Hondurans on the other, people had integrated themselves willingly and effortlessly. Not only had they sat themselves next to people they were unfamiliar with, but I saw many making conversation and getting to know the boys more personally.  When the game was over, we decided a soccer game was next on the list, and soon a game was in progress.  Anyone and everyone was playing, and I loved seeing how quickly the people who had never been to Honduras before jumped into the game full force.  There was joking, teasing, and laughter between everyone, and I can honestly say that this is the first time I have seen a group come and be at ease this quickly.  It was amazing to see how God took an experience that for many would have been uneasy and difficult to handle and make it so effortless.  He orchestrated today perfectly and began to form relationships that I know will last far beyond this week. I am so excited to see what more is to come! 

-Bethany Cook

Bienvenido a Casa!

There is nothing better than traveling 6 hours, getting off the plane, and being greeted with a huge hug and the words 'bienvenido a casa' - welcome home! It was such a blessing to get to travel with Katie Roark and Bethany Cook - two girls that I love and admire for their willingness to serve, their obedience to the Lord, and their desire to love people well. 

We arrived in La Ceiba around 3:30pm on Saturday, made it back to Directors' house just in time for the afternoon rain and a quick run to the grocery store to pick up some food for the week. Driving anywhere in Honduras is one of the most hectic things I have ever experienced. They say "you have to drive aggressive" but aggressive really doesn't describe what is necessary to stay alive on the roads here. There is an invisible 3rd lane everywhere. At any point, anyone (car, bus, taxi, bicycle, motorcycle, human) can swing out and pass you in the other lane even if there are cars coming from the other direction. At one point in time I remember seeing 3 buses in 2 lanes. There are no rules, very few signs, and their traffic signals are different. You can only imagine how overwhelmed I was my first time behind the wheel. It is definitely going to take some getting used to, but we made it to the grocery store safely! 

I always forget that the cost of living here is the same as it is in the U.S. A small canister of oatmeal - $5.00, 2 large bottles of shampoo and conditioner - $15.00. More than 70% of the country in unemployed, and those that actually have jobs make somewhere around $4000/yr. If that isn't enough, employers here are required to pay 2 additional months of salary to their employees. Despite all of that, people are surviving. Their definition of survival is drastically different than ours, but they are making it work. We can't even imagine how hard it is to feed 22 boys, provide their shelter, and education on almost nothing. Bill & Mary never cease to amaze me.

Our first full day at Ninos was yesterday. Mornings start early here, and the day ends late. We generally get up around 5:40am, and got home at 5pm last night. We are slowly getting used to the heat, humidity, and no a/c, but its surprising how quickly you adapt. 

Yesterday, Bethany started shadowing the second grade teacher that she will be filling in for for the next month while Katie and I started doing some smaller projects. The computer lab needed cleaning, mangos that had collected on the ground over the weekend had to be picked up, and there are always dishes to be done. We got to help Irma, one of the cook's, make a traditional honduran lunch called "huevos rancheros" - eggs in a tomato based sauce with fried rice and cabbage salad. After lunch we spent time with the boys. They are fascinated by computers, photos, videos - anything to do with electronics entertains them. 

We are looking for a full week getting ready for Jim and Bobby to come down Thursday, and the rest of the team to get here Saturday. We will continue to update you on what is happening here in Honduras! Thank you for all of your prayers - we know that the Lord is doing great things here!

 

Brittany Roark

Could Giving Up a Cup of Coffee Save a Child's Future?

Imagine you are an eight year old living in a third world country.  You have two paths possible for your life’s journey.  One path contains little or no education, enslaving you to a life of poverty.  The other path provides for a quality education, freeing you for a life of opportunities that will support both you and your family.  Now imagine you can be the one who decides which path this child takes for less than the price of a daily cup of coffee.

 

Many of you have thought about sponsoring a foreign child or perhaps you have already 

done so.  You may have wondered if there is a nonprofit organization that gives 100% of your donation directly to the designated project.  Heart4Children was set up for that purpose, and there are over 75 children in a small village near La Ceiba, Honduras, that are in need of sponsors.  These children have the unique opportunity to attend a Christian school right in their village, if they could afford to go.  Even though the tuition is extremely low, their parents cannot provide this chance for them.

 

Ninos de la Luz Christian School opened in this area two years ago with the goal of teaching children the love of God and His Word and providing them a superior education.  Public education in Honduras is severely lacking academically, and the schools are often closed due to strikes or political unrest.  Last year, schools were open only half of the "required" days!  

 

An opportunity for a good education is an opportunity for a better life.  It takes only $35.00 per month to support a child's education.  If you are interested, we can send you a picture of your child, and you can follow of his or her progress.  You can even visit your child if you would like to join us on our trips there!  The school is located on the grounds of Ninos de la Luz boys’ home, which was founded and is operated by Bill and Mary Kwiatkowski.  More about them, the boys’ home, and the school can be found on the website newheart4children.org. 

Please prayerfully consider this opportunity and pass this along to others that you think might be interested. 

Stepping Out

Four years ago this week I stepped out of my comfort zone and out on faith into the unknown. Not only was I leaving the Country for the first time, but I was heading into a third world Country on my first mission trip to Honduras. Saying I was scared is an understatement. Our days would always start at a little project known as “Ninos de la Luz” (Children of the Light) in La Ceiba. Home to 23 boys who would otherwise have no place to go. The Project is run by a married couple, Bill & Mary, who truly have a heart and desire for this Project. Ninos de la Luz changed my life and I fell in love with that place! I have been back four times. Three times with groups and most recently in June when one of my closest friends (Lashelle) and I went down on our own to have some one on one time with the boys and the Directors. We spent most of our time loving on the boys, letting them hang all over us and spoiling them as much as possible since we’re both professional Aunts and that’s what professional Aunts do. All the Padrino’s (Godparents) chipped in and bought the boys a WII and we had the sheer pleasure of surprising them with it. We also had the pleasure of putting it together so I hope it still works. Nonetheless, they HAD A BLAST playing with it. We spoiled them with five dozen Dunkin’ Donuts one morning and Pizza Hut on our last night, compliments of one of the boys Padrinos. The trip was way too short, but we absolutely LOVED and CHERISHED every single second of it. As much as we love them, they have impacted our lives more than we could ever impact theirs. For me, this trip was more about seeing the reality of La Ceiba and the Project that you don’t necessarily see on a group trip. As a result, I left more of my heart there than ever before. God changed my life when I stepped off that plane four years ago and He continues to every time I go. He calls us to love, but I didn’t know I was capable of loving this deep. I’m honored to serve a God who meets us where we are and remains the same through the joy of being there and the pain of coming home.

-Kim Beaty