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Baptist Children's to Establish Orphanage in Guatemala

February 28, 2014

By J. Blake Ragsdale

Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) is taking exciting steps to widen its mission and vision internationally.

BCH is partnering with North Carolina Baptist Men and International Indigenous Community Development (IICD) to establish the Good Shepherd Children’s Home, an orphanage in Quetzaltenango (Xela), Guatemala. The orphanage will serve children who belong to a people known as the Quiché – the largest indigenous Mayan group in Guatemala.

“We had begun seriously considering options for serving children internationally,” says BCH?Chief Operating Officer Keith Henry. “As we were going through this process it was clear that God was preparing the way.”

The Good Shepherd Children’s Homes will be an affiliate of BCH. BCH is providing the benefit of its 128-years of child care expertise to implement the appropriate policies and procedures at the new orphanage. BCH’s involvement ensures that Quiché children will receive the highest quality of care.

Henry and Brenda Gray, BCH?executive vice president, development and communications, traveled to Xela last summer to survey the building to be used for the orphanage and to see conditions firsthand.

“Pregnancy among Quiche’ girls, as young as 10 years old, is a major concern. Malnourishment, neglect and abandonment are rampant,” Henry says. “The building for the orphanage is structurally sound, but there are a lot of improvements to be done before we can open.”

North Carolina Baptist Men and WMU North Carolina are partnering with BCH to help establish the home. Baptist Men is already mobilizing volunteer teams to tackle the necessary work. Projects include masonry work, plumbing, kitchen and living area renovations, electrical work, and painting. More detailed information can be found under the Guatemala projects section at (www.baptistsonmission.org)[http://www.baptistsonmission.org]. The goal is for the home to be ready to accept children in early 2014.

“Partnering with our Baptist Men and WMU makes these efforts extra special,” Brenda Gray says. “We encourage groups, who desire to go and help, to contact us immediately.”

A number of people are involved in significant ways, but one special family whose sacrifice nears the top of the list is the Moons. Anthony, Darcy and their two children have sold their Missouri home and belongings to serve at Good Shepherd Children’s Home.

The couple was first introduced to the Quiché people in 2011 when they traveled to Xela on a church mission trip.

“We fell in love with the country the moment we arrived,” Darcy Moon says.

The Moons made several more trips to the area. Each time, their connection became stronger and they began to pray about God’s will for their future.

“Our prayers were answered in October 2011, when our family was offered the opportunity to become full-time missionaries in Guatemala,” Moon says. “It’s our vision to see these precious children and the people there come to know Jesus Christ.”

The Moons will serve as the on-site directors for Good Shepherd Children’s Home. The family of four, and their dog Lily, arrived in Xela on November 21. A living area located inside the orphanage serves as the Moons’ new home. In the coming year, the orphanage will also become home to a number of Quiché boys and girls in need of a caring haven.

Blackwell, who led a successful partnership between BCH and an orphanage in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the early 90s, is unsurprisingly excited.

“To be able to expand BCH’s vision of sharing hope...changing lives and extend the hope of Christ to the children of Xela, Guatemala is a blessing beyond words,” says BCH’s president. “Like a biblical pillar of fire, God has led in this journey, and we will follow Him for the sake of His honor and glory.”

Interested in helping Guatemalan boys and girls?

Join the Tie That Binds - Binding hearts TOGETHER for children in Guatemala.
Help Guatemalan boys and girls by donating your gently-worn neckties to any of Baptist Children's Homes' 19 locations across the state.

ATTENTION: NC Baptist Men and WMU NC
Bring your gently-worn ties to the Baptist Children’s Homes booth at the NC Baptist Missions Conference on March 21-22, 2014 at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, NC. Your donated ties will be sold at the WMU Missions Extravaganza April 4-6, 2014 at the Ridgecrest Conference Center.

Each necktie purchase will help provide the necessary start-up funds for the Good Shepherd Children's Home in Xela. It will cost $95,000 in funding for the orphanage's first year of operations.

Learn more at www.bchfamily.org/guatemala. For additional information or to give, contact Brenda Gray at 336-474-1230 or bbgray@bchfamily.org