The dream to offer the indigenous children of Guatemala a new future drives those who serve at Good Shepherd Children’s Home (GSCH).
“God desires to rewrite their future,” Dr. Vicki Grossman, GSCH director of operations, says. “His plan for each child is perfect, and we stand committed to help the children realize that new future.”
Fifteen-year-old Isabella is one such child. She came to the orphanage two years ago with only a second grade education. Since then, she has advanced three grade levels and has tested to enter the seventh grade. She has accepted Jesus as her savior and “loves the Lord and reads the Bible.”
One of the first children to live at the orphanage, fifteen-year-old Mateo came with his two sisters, Sophia and Camila. Their placement was not supposed to happen, and the siblings’ arrival caused confusion at the home. Despite the turmoil, the caregivers welcomed the children with open arms.
Mateo accepted Christ one week after arriving, and his life changed drastically. He hopes to become a pastor one day.
God has used Isabella and Mateo to establish the norm for life at the home. These two, along with Santos’s sister Sophia and Alexander, are part of a children-led leadership team that works directly with the home’s children to help them adjust and succeed. Many of the children have suffered extreme hardships before coming into care. They are grateful for the home but are often unsure and scared. The leadership team helps acclimate them to their new home and situation.
In a large part due to a generous donation by Providence Baptist Church in Harrisburg, all school-aged children are attending an excellent Christian school beginning this year.
“We believe the school’s high standard of academic excellence and, most of all, strong spiritual emphasis will make an eternal difference in the lives of these precious children,” Grossman says.
Guatemalan authorities are pleased with the care the children are receiving and say they have “never seen a home” like GSCH. Partnering with the government is key to the orphanage’s success.
The orphanage opened in 2014 and is an affiliate of Baptist Children’s Homes. The work is growing with the addition of the Westmoreland Family Children's Home. North Carolina Baptist churches and Baptist Men’s groups are providing volunteer services to complete the building.
“The children are amazed when we tell them they are a treasure to God.” Grossman says. “We tell them that God wants them. They are no longer alone, they are a treasure.”