Tuesday, October 1, 2013


Announcing the 4th Annual Visiting Orphans 
sponsored by MKI Group Travel

Our Mission Trip Giveaway is your chance to win a free mission trip while supporting the mission of Visiting Orphans to reach children and communities in 12 countries by sending Christ-followers to GO BE LOVE! Your gifts make a huge difference in the lives of those we visit and those we send. We couldn't do what we do without this support. By financially supporting our ministry through one-time and recurring monthly gifts, as well as through purchases of VO merchandise from our online store or tickets to our fundraising event - you are making a huge impact in the lives of orphans, widows and communities around the world. Plus when you GIVE. LOVE. between now and Dec 1 - you'll be entered into a drawing to win a FREE mission trip to any of the 12 countries we visit in 2014!  

1. Receive 5 entries when you set up a recurring monthly donation to Visiting Orphans*. Recurring donations are made online (choose GIVE.LOVE. Campaign and click yes to set up a recurring donation).
2. Receive 1 entry for every $25 donation to Visiting Orphans*. Donations can be made online (choose GIVE.LOVE. Campaign) OR by mail to: 449 Metroplex Drive • Nashville, TN 37211
3. Recieve 1 entry for every $50 you spend on Visiting Orphans merchandise on our e-store** (great for Christmas gifts - lots of sale prices right now!):
4. Recieve 1 entry with every ticket purchased to our December 7th Feeding the Fatherless Event in Nashville, TN†. Click here to check out the event page and purchase your tickets today!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Lives Changed - Testimony from a team leader

We are featuring stories from team members and leaders, as well as ministry and missionary partners and sharing some of their testimonies of how short-term trips have made an impact on them. Here's one of those testimonies:

"Becoming part of the Visiting Orphans family has been an amazing experience I never could have imagined. God had given me a dream of serving and ministering in Africa, but I had no idea where to even begin. A trip with VO in 2011 gave me that jumping-off point. Through opportunities and guidance provided by VO, I’ve become connected and engaged with ministries that are passionate about seeing the world changed – about BEing the change - through bringing the love of Jesus to the nations. Their amazing staff is committed to supporting short-term missionaries, as well as leaders, every step of the way – from the time you first fill out that application form, through every part of your planning and travel, and even after you return home, offering assistance and encouragement as you seek out the next steps God has for you. God is doing amazing things through Visiting Orphans! GO. BE. LOVE. is about so much more than just a cool trip to tell your friends about. It's about being the very hands and feet of Jesus." 
- Valerie Post - VO volunteer team leader

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Introducing the brand new Visiting Orphans Promo Video

Visiting Orphans is excited to share our brand new promo video! We've made a lot of changes in the past year and we wanted to clearly communicate those things. We hope that you will watch the video all the way through as there is so much new and exciting things happening at VO. We were blessed to have several team members and ministry partners speak from their perspective on this video, as well as a number of our staff members. We hope that this video will give a clear picture of the heart of Visiting Orphans.

Please check it out and help us spread the word by sharing it on facebook, twitter and blogs. Thank you!


If you would like to go on a trip with Visiting Orphans, check out all of our upcoming trips here.

If you would like to partner with Visiting Orphans financially with a one-time gift or by becoming a monthly support partner, you can do so here.

Thank you to all of these bloggers who are promoting this video on their blogs:
Kari Gibson - My Crazy Adoption
Kelly Raudenbush - My Overthinking
Lindsay Allen - James One Twenty Seven

Blake Allen - Anthem Song
Donnie Manis - Life rocks... let's talk
Valerie Post - Posts on the Path
Trish Adkins - Yoke
Wynne Elder - Gloriously Ruined
Shannon - Hope Blooms
Nicole Renee - Living Out His Love
Becky Wenrich - Wenrich Family
Sarah Carter - Beyond The Gradebook and Elementary Exploration
Angie - A Blog Full of Weldons
Allison - What Love Has Done
Deb - Sugar & Spice and a Little Rice
Kayla Rupp - Life is but a breath
Kristin Beavers - Life as I know it... Life Along His Path
Autumn Kerr - My Single Adoption and Seasons of Autumn - GO BE LOVE
and more to come  

Special thanks to our team members and ministry partners featured in the video.

VO Team Members: 
Ben & Kassie Wilson 
Bob Stout

Ministry Partners: 
Dave Beuhring - Founder and Executive Director of Lionshare Leadership Group
Christie & George Magera - Ekubo Ministries in Bombo, Uganda
Denise & Oswaldo Pineiros - Missionaries in Quito Ecuador
Kellie Hurt - Grace So Amazing Ministries in Haiti

Friday, July 19, 2013

Updates: July 19, 2013

Wow - we haven't updated in awhile on here. I'm going to try to do better about that. We keep our VO facebook pretty updated but have clearly neglected our blog. Sorry for the delay.

As many of y'all know - our Event/Marketing Coordinator Amanda Herdina left VO at the end of May to move to Rwanda to work with one of our partner ministries there for a year. We are so proud of her for stepping out in faith to do this, although we do miss her like crazy already. If you want to keep up with her journey via her blog - you can do so here:

Lots of great stuff going on at Visiting Orphans. Keep your eyes open next week - we have something very exciting to share with you! And for you bloggers out there - we're looking for help in promoting this big something next week. You can sign up to help here.

Right now, we have teams loving big in the following places: a medical team in Rwanda, 2 teams visiting different orphanages in different parts of China, a team going to Uganda & Kenya, an India team out and an Ethiopia team that leaves today. It's busy season at VO and we love how so many people are willing to go be love to children and communities around the world.

We couldn't do what we do without those who are willing to go and those who are willing to give. One way to support the ministry of Visiting Orphans is by purchasing merchandise on our online store. Right now, have a new and super cute stylish shirt available for pre-sale ($25) and we set a goal to sell 50 of them by today. We have 14 left to sell to reach that goal!!! If you aren't on facebook and haven't seen our links, you can buy one by clicking on the links below (available in two colors).

Here's a close-up view of the front artwork (the back is blank). It says Go Be Love at the top and "As I have loved you, Love one another. John 13:34" in the branches. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Testimony Tuesday: Brittany Hall, Ecuador

I guess you could say that I’m one of those “church kids”. I’ve grown up in church all of my life and have been there pretty much every time the doors are open. I got saved when I was in the 4th grade and have lived the “Christian life”. I thought it was okay to go to church on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s and never do anything to live out my faith. I became comfortable with that lifestyle.  Later, I realized that I had it all wrong. 

You see, God does want us to go to church, but He wants more than just that. He wants us to do bold things for Him. He wants us to step out of our comfort zones and say “yes” to Him when He calls. That’s exactly what I did.

My desire to go on a mission trip started when a group from my church went to Ecuador with M-Fuge about five years ago. When they got back and told their stories it really made an impression on me. I had been wanting to go on a mission trip for a while, but this solidified it. This was something that God was calling me to do. I saw how it impacted their lives, and I wanted to experience it for myself. I wanted to be a part of something greater and I wanted to tell others about Jesus.

A few years ago, my church started an orphan care and adoption ministry called Hearts of Compassion. It really opened my eyes to the number of orphans in this world and I realized that God has commanded us numerous times in His Word to care for the least of these. He doesn’t ask us, He tells us.

When I heard that a group from my church was going to Ecuador, I knew I had to go. I came straight home from church that Sunday and asked my Dad if I could. He told me that if I got a job and paid for the trip that I could go. I was so excited! So the job search began…

I applied everywhere that I could think of. Nobody was hiring. My grandparents own an ice cream store and I knew that I could have a job there if I asked, but I wanted to try to find one on my own. I began to pray about it and ask God to show me where I needed to go. After a long search, and no luck on my own, I finally asked my grandparents for a job. They hired me and I finally had a way to pay for the trip, so I signed up.

I was so excited about the trip that I could hardly contain myself. I thought about it all of the time and even had a countdown on my phone. I was counting down the days, hours, and even seconds until it was time.

After a few months of waiting, the day finally came and I was on a plane on my way to Ecuador! It was so surreal. I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that it was going to be life-changing.

That is exactly what it did. It changed my life. My eyes have been opened and I will never be the same.

On our first day at one of the orphanages, as we pulled up to the gate, I started to get nervous. I couldn’t wait to hold those kids, but I didn’t know what it was going to be like. Where we going to be able to communicate? Where they going to like me? Will I know the right things to say?
As soon as we walked through the gate, all of the kids came running and each kid grabbed a team member, as if to claim them. A little girl grabbed me and I just picked her up and held her in my arms. That moment is something I will never forget. I wanted time to stand still.

I was nervous about the language barrier, even though I did know a little bit of Spanish, and I was worried about connecting with the kids. All of that anxiety seemed to vanish instantly when I held that beautiful girl in my arms. I realized that all of that worrying was so silly. It was as if in that moment God was trying to tell me something. Just like I was holding that little girl, letting her know that I was there to love on her and to let her know that everything was going to be okay, God was telling me those same things. He was right there with me every step of the way.

As we spent the rest of the week playing with, loving on, and sharing God’s Word with the children, I realized this: all that the kids need is love. They just want someone to hold them, play with them and let them know that they are cherished. Not just by you, but by God.

Every single one of those kids is etched in my heart and in my mind. I have felt called to adopt for a long time and this trip verified it. I wish I could take them all! I may not be old enough yet, but when I am, it is something that I am definitely going to do. Those children are said to be unloved, but I want to love them! My heart hurts because they don’t have a forever family, but I know that they are taken care of.

On the last night, I told some of the members of my team that I would be back. I am so glad that I have been blessed with the opportunity to go back this summer. I absolutely cannot wait!

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about those precious kids and that beautiful country. 

I went to Ecuador wanting to change someone’s life, but really it changed mine.

If God is calling you to go on a mission trip and to love on orphans, GO! You won’t regret it and it will change your life in more ways than you can ever imagine.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


During our trip to India we visited a community of people that collect garbage to sell for a living. Their homes, constructed of rubbish, are grouped together to form a type of neighborhood. 
It is hard to see fellow humans living in such conditions. We were welcomed into the community leader's home where they had "decorated" in their excitement for our coming. The dirt floor, usually bare, was covered with several scraps of tarps. They had collected the only chairs they had (three total) for us to sit in. Once we had all been seated, the people from the community gathered inside with us. All packed together in the hut we had a worship service. 

The people from the community sang songs in Telugu and then we sang songs in English. There, beneath the light of one exposed lightbulb and the weight of humidity that hangs thick in the air even at night, we felt the loving presence of the Holy Spirit

Our Lord is found by all who seek for Him with their whole hearts, and
we were seeking Him

When our service was over we fed everyone, and they were thankful, but as we left what they thanked us for over and over again was our prayers, our encouragement, and our love. There in the dump community, church has nothing to do with the comfort or the space, the sound equipment or the schedule, its all about the Lord and His people -- which is as it ought to be. 

The people who live there are beggars on this earth, but they are truly princes before the Lord in worship. Their circumstances were some of the worst that we experienced on the trip, but our time with them was the most beautiful experience that we had by far. Christians in India are few and far between so any fellowship with believers is precious. Because we went across the globe and were willing to sit in a hut constructed of garbage we brought this blessing to our Christian brothers and sisters in the dump community. 

If there was one experience I wish everyone I know at home could have shared with me, it would be that. We blessed them more than we can imagine, but the testimony of their lives blessed us more than they will ever know.

~Chelsea Mills, India 2012

Feel led to visit INDIA this summer with Visiting Orphans?  Click HERE for more information...

Monday, February 18, 2013

an EVERY day kind of LOVE:

Valentine’s Day is over.
the candy has been eaten.  the flowers are wilting. the cards are all on clearance.

So we can go about our day to day lives now that the Day of Love is over, forget about it, and wait anxiously ’til next year, right?


Valentine’s Day is a beautiful symbol of what everyone should be doing every day of their lives.  365 days of loving those you love.  Like Christmas & Easter… it’s a day to reflect on the greatest gift of all:  God’s eternal LOVE for each and every one of us... Love that is for EVERYDAY!
Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us. The ultimate act of Love. He is love. And we get to join in this love and share it with others. It is sacred to share the Love of the Father with the fatherless and the least of these around the world. To be His hands and feet. What a true honor. Regular people - flawed, certainly not perfect. And yet the creator of the universe chooses to use us to reach a lost and hurting world. Humbling. Love.

To all of you who've gotten out of your comfort zone and answered the call to Go.Be.Love to orphans around the world - Thank You.  Thank you for demonstrating love to precious children who so desperately need to experience it. Thank you for supporting Visiting Orphans and advocating for what we do. You are the voice out there sharing the need and telling others to go. You are the reason we continue to exist. We take this calling very seriously and are committed to good stewardship and seeking the Lord in all things.

That's why we firmly believe in honoring the Lord by being good stewards of our finances.  As such, we tithe 10% of all general donations to other ministries.  In addition, last year alone, we were able to send over $65,000 from team member overages to help our ministry and orphanage partners.  Audited by an independent accounting firm and governed by a Board of Directors, we are committed to the highest standards of accountability and we emphasize the importance of being transparent in all we do.

Being able to continue our mission relies heavily on generous support from people like you. People who will go but also who believe in what we do and want to support our ministry financially. No gift is too small. We’re encouraging you to pray about making a general donation this year.  Whether you give monthly or make a one-time contribution - with every contribution you’re able to give, you help us continue to share Jesus in the twelve countries we currently work in.  You’re also helping us expand to new countries, reaching even more precious children with the father’s love.

God gave the most expensive gift ever given.  And He did it because he loved us.

We need your help to share that Story of His Love around the world.
It’s what we’re called to do.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Testimony Tuesday: Carol & Brian Duarte

My husband, Brian, and I had sponsored a little boy in the slums of Nairobi. We went on our first missions trip in 2010 to work at his school and in his community. I had made a T-shirt with a big heart to wear the day I met him. His teacher called him to the front of the class. He climbed across the desks and other students in their over crowded class and put his hand out to greet us. He was wearing a sweater covered in little hearts. I could not hold back the tears. I grabbed him and hugged him; and probably scared the daylight out of him. We fell in love with Anthony and all the people and children we met on that trip. We sponsored two more when we got home. Though my heart was forever changed, I told Brian, “I can never go back”.

My dad was an orphan.
I wasn’t breathing when I was born and the doctor gave me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. 
They told my mother if I lived, I’d be a vegetable. 
I lived a life of alcohol, drugs and despair. 
I ended up divorced at a young age; a single mom with four babies trying to put myself through college. 
My children were fatherless. 
I stood in line for free food and begged for my utilities to be turned back on every month. 
I wanted to take my life. 
My husband was fatherless. 
His mother was mentally ill. 
He was raised in a violent home. 
He was lonely and depressed. 
He never thought he’d live this long. 
God had plans for us.

I had a lot of fear on our first trip. I said I could never go back. God knew better. He was at work in me. I surrendered again with great joy and He sent us back. We signed up with Visiting Orphans to go to Uganda and Kenya for my 50th Birthday. I was so excited to serve God this way, for all He had blessed me with.

This trip was not like our first one. We experienced things I had never experienced before. It was far more intense. Even our bus ride from Uganda to Kenya was intense. What should have been a 6 hour bus ride turned into a 16 hour bus ride; and was filled with unusual events. 1/2 way through our trip, sometime during the night, I said to Brian, “I can never come back here”. He held me tight and laid my head on his shoulder as the bus rolled through the night.

In the morning, we pulled into a sunbeam-covered orphanage, with the sound of over 220 children singing hymns in the distance. God was clearly at work here; in this orphanage, in these people, and in me. Each day we were there, new children were brought in. I was falling in love with Pastor Benson, his wife, Florence, and all 220+ children. The day before we left, I was carrying a little one in, that I had found sleeping in the field. After handing him to one of the older kids, I turned around and saw Pastor Benson standing next to me with three, very dirty, very scared, little boys. 

Immediately, a crowd of children began to form a circle around them as “Dad” introduced the family to their new brothers: Peter, Ian and John.

Ian and John’s mother was also an orphan. She was thrown out of another orphanage at 16, for misbehaving too much. She immediately married and had these two boys, but abandoned the children and her young husband when Ian was 2 and John was 3 months old. The father did not want them either and abandoned them at the door of their widowed grandmother. Peter had already been orphaned and was already living here with his grandmother when the other two cousins arrived. She tried to care for the three boys but had nothing to give them so she told them to beg and search for food; and sent them out to live on the streets. They have been living a life without food, water, beds, and school for six years; since Peter and Ian were 2 years old and John was 3 months. Yes! You read that right!

These babies have lived alone, cold, lonely, scared, without anything, since they were two years old!  Without a mommy! And raising an infant! These boys had never had a bath in their lives. “Dad” showed us their reptile like skin and called for the older teens to boil some water. I heard my Father calling me too. I heard him telling me to prepare my heart for His children too. I knew these boys were mine. Brian found his way over to me through the crowd and said, “We have to sponsor them”. I replied, “ Yes!  And we have to come back”.  He smiled the biggest smile and wiped the tears that were streaming down my face. We knew they were ours. I stood in awe as Dad and Michael Durham (Merrill’s husband) went to give these precious children their first baths.
 I would never be the same.

Only a couple of weeks have passed now, and the boys skin is healed and smooth. They are adjusting incredibly well and are so loved by their new family. Benson says they are the happiest kids in the entire home and feel like they live in Paradise!  He says he cannot get over the “drastic change from worse to best”!  He added that after we left, he learned that Peter had a 15 year old sister living a life of starvation and despair and in danger of becoming pregnant. He rescued Joice as well, and brought her to live with her brand new family too.


Brian and I began planning our next trip the moment Peter, Ian and John stole our hearts. Kenya and Ethiopia 2014!!! Merrill asked us to consider becoming trip leaders and using that trip as our training.  Brian was excited. I was scared and hesitated at first, but as God continued to work in me, I was reminded of those big, little eyes.... and all He has carried us through .... and all He still has yet to do with us.

I felt God ask me, “Who are you not to?”.

I had no reply. I have surrendered completely!  I am filled with excitement! Here I am Lord... Send me!

Friday, January 11, 2013



There are 163 million reasons to GO and BE the hands and feet of Jesus, to visit orphans, LOVE them, and share the Father's heart.

Visiting Orphans' Go.Be.Love. apparel is worn throughout the globe by hundreds of team members being the hands and feet of Jesus and YOUR design could be the one that helps
spread that message.

•Shirt design needs to incorporate the words “Go.Be.Love.” & “”
•Design can be front only, back only or both sides (no sleeves please)
•Submissions must be adobe illustrator files
•Submissions should be limited to two colors
•You can submit as many entries as you’d like (no entry fee)

Submit your design(s) to by Monday, January 21st.
The Visiting Orphans staff will pick the top three designs and people on Facebook will then vote for the winner.

Voting will take place January 22-28. Winner will be announced on January 30th!!

THE PRIZE: The joy of seeing their design worn by people all over the world (including our team members while loving on kiddos) PLUS : 1 free shirt with their winning design & one of the following: $50 off an upcoming Visiting Orphans trip, OR $50 in merchandise from our online store,
OR a $50 AmEx Gift Card



Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I think I should start our story with this disclaimer:  anything good about me or my life is the result of sheer, undeserved Grace.   It’s simply a miracle.
In 2011, I was entering a new part of my faith walk.  I was restless and searching for more meaning in my faith, more action.  I was tired of just the Sunday morning deal and then returning to “regular’ life.  I knew there was more, but what did it look like?  What was the Gospel really calling me to?  To live a good life?  To a happy life?  I think I have found my answer: a fully surrendered life.
It was that year I happened upon a new church, Harvest Bible Chapel Denver – a life-giving, truth-telling, reality-accepting, disciple-building church.  (  I had been going to church for over 10 years and frankly, had slipped into a very comfortable, lazy faith.  Harvest was like cold water on my face and I was being fed there spiritually like never before.   In conjunction with that, I was trying to discern the next step…what was I supposed to do?  God answered that – He had written an entire book of things to do, I just had to pick one.  Through the legal work I was doing with His Little feet (, one of VO’s partner organizations, my heart settled on James 1:27 and I signed up for a mission trip to Costa Rica with VO.  I signed up my then 9-year old daughter as well.  I was hesitant and nervous.  I was not the “missionary” type, you might say.  I was a lukewarm Christian.  I was fine with my faith if it didn’t inconvenience me, as long as I could keep living however I wanted.  I was OK with Jesus as long as no one held my feet to the fire.  I conveniently kept Jesus tucked away where I thought He belonged: Sunday mornings and bedtime prayers with my kids.  I would have never admitted all this back then, but I see now that it was the truth.  The idea of sharing the Gospel was foreign to my daily life back then – how in the world was I qualified to go on this trip?  I was a “newbie” to actually walking the walk.  I had no idea what we were in for, but I knew that my faith meant little if I wasn’t going to finally, after many years, walk it out in a meaningful way.  I had finally said “yes” – and that one decision, I would come to realize, changed everything.
On that mission trip in Costa Rica, God showed me more of the “why” of me.  I was (and still am!) an immigration attorney, bilingual in Spanish, born into a Latino-American family, had traveled extensively…all these things seemed to “fit” the professional calling of my life.  But God had more for me and He showed me on that trip how so many of the gifts He had lavished on my life were to be used in an entirely new way.  It was a new, unexpected “fit” for me – and it was surprising to me.  He also opened up new places in my relationship with my daughter, who washed feet, tended to little ones and had the heart of a servant.  It was walk-changing.  It energized my faith.  God so overwhelmed me with joy and provision, I could not help sharing about it with everyone.  I realized that I had never really shared the Gospel with people in my life because even though I knew a lot about it, I had not experienced it, I had not been overwhelmed by it, I had not been completely blown away by it.  I had never surrendered to it in any meaningful way. 
Arriving home, it was easy to tell that we had been changed by it all.   As a family, we continued the experiment of saying “yes” to the doors that God was so obviously opening to us.  What would a surrendered life really look like?  What if we kept saying “yes” – I mean, how good could this really get?  Could He really knock our socks off? What amazing things have we missed out on already by not saying “yes”?
That summer, my husband and I decided that we could say “yes” to adoption.  God opened the door to that, and we walked through it.  We had hosted the children of His Little Feet in our home and longed for their return each year.  More kids just felt like a “fit” – but international adoption?  What if we said “yes”?  Could we really do this? We already have two kids.  What about work? What about finances?  What would people say about our African little one?  Are we out of our minds? What about…(insert anything and everything here)?  The conversations just kept coming back to this:  What if we don’t say “yes” to God?   What blessings are we going to miss out on?  What “blow our minds” amazing goodness will we forfeit?  We are now #3 on our wait list for our daughter, who waits for us in Ethiopia.  And true to form, God is knocking our socks off with provision, love, joy…all the things that can only come from saying “yes”.   
We said “yes” to having me lead a team back to Costa Rica, which we did earlier this year.  I also said “yes” to serving VO on the Board of Directors.  It has been amazing to serve on a Board with people who are so diligent in saying “yes” to the things of God, and I have been encouraged by them all.  My husband and I also said “yes” to turning over our law practice to God – and He has used our law firm to serve ministries and people all over the world.  We said “yes” to me spending a week in India on behalf of His Little Feet just this last month.  That trip could be the subject of a HUGE post, all about God’s provision, how He shows up BIG for BIG things.  I can’t stop talking about it!
It has not been an easy road, this walk, which has required us to lay down things like time, money, relationships, and pride (among other things), but the last 2 years have been the most fulfilling of my life.  It’s like I had been living a “good” life by most standards, full of color and action…but I’ve learned I’m not intended for a “good” life, but a surrendered life, which is so much better than “good” that I am not sure there is a word for it.  It’s a process and it’s not all butterflies and unicorns.  But it’s a “yes” life…a messy, hard, wonderful, scary, humbling, amazing, purpose-filled, “yes” life.  And it all began with that first “yes” to God and VO. 
What will God do with your “yes”? 
Christine C. Mastin