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!