Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina (BCH) is taking steps to widen its mission and vision internationally.
BCH is partnering with North Carolina Baptist Men/Baptists on Mission 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. “As we seriously began considering options for serving children internationally, we were approached out of the blue by Guatemalan missionaries Roger and Vicki Grossman,” says BCH Chief Operating Officer Keith Henry. “It was clear that God was preparing the way.”
Commissioned by the International Mission Board (IMB), the Grossmans are a husband and wife team who operate a medical clinic for Guatemalan villagers. During a trip to the U.S. a few years ago, the couple attended a worship service led by Michael Blackwell featuring BCH boys and girls.
Helping Guatemalan children have a safe place is the goal of the Good Shepherd Children’s Home.
Recently, the Grossmans were offered a vacant building in Xela free of charge. The couple remembered Blackwell’s presentation and believed BCH would be an ideal partner in the establishment of the orphanage.
“Everywhere you turn, you see children tossed aside like rubbish,” explains Roger. “God has blessed us with the connections and resources to help.”
The Good Shepherd Children’s Homes will be an affiliate of BCH.
BCH is providing the benefit of its 128-years of childcare 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 of development and communications, traveled to Xela last summer to survey the building and see conditions firsthand.
“The need is overwhelming. Eighty-five percent of the Quiché girls are pregnant or have children by the age of 14. 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.”
Baptist Men is already organizing volunteer teams to tackle the necessary work.
Projects include masonry work, plumbing, kitchen and living area renovations, electrical work and painting. The goal is for the home to be ready to accept children in early 2014.
“The work of our North Carolina Baptist Men is unparalleled,” Brenda Gray says. “They have the hearts and skills to ensure the orphanage will be the home these children desperately need. 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 to know Jesus Christ.”
The Moons will serve as the onsite directors for Good Shepherd Children’s Home. The family of four, and their dog Lily, arrived in Xela on Nov. 21. A living area located inside the orphanage serves as the Moons’ new home.
Blackwell, who led a successful partnership between BCH and an orphanage in Sao Paulo, Brazil in the early 1990s, 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 Blackwell. “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.”
More detailed information about work being done can be found under the Guatemala projects section at www.baptistsonmission.org.