Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday spotlight: Blake Allen, Rwanda team leader

Team Leader Tuesday this week is featuring a testimony from team leader Blake Allen who also happens to be the creator of our 127 Campaign website, videos and other elements. You can see some of his other design work on his website here.  Blake and his wife Lindsay lead Visiting Orphans teams to Rwanda and are heavily involved in helping VO partner ministry Best Family Rwanda. To check out this week's 127 Campaign video, go here

"Visiting Orphans is a wonderful organization dedicated to seeing lives transformed, both those that go and those that we go to. They do this by equipping and empowering us to GO to the nations, BE focused on relationships, and LOVE like Christ. I have become friends with some of the most amazing people, experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows, and have had the most life-changing orchestration of events because of their trips.

At the beginning of 2012, my wife and I knew God was calling us to do international missions. We were newbies but ready for what God had to show us. Well in July of 2012, we went on our first short-term mission trip to Ethiopia and Rwanda. God wrecked our lives so beautifully. He changed us in ways that we never could have imagined. Since we returned we have started a non-profit with my father-in-law, which aims to align believers together to share the gospel. We have also united a collective that advocates for one of the ministries we connected with called Best Family Rwanda. Outside of these things, we have become very vocal advocates for Visiting Orphans' mission, and that is to simply go and be love. We returned to Rwanda in 2013 and 2014 as team leaders! Our teams were able to partner with Best Family Rwanda and continue to work with them locally, along with giving us the opportunity to connect with the beautiful people we met last year at Noel Orphanage and No. 41. 

Blake & Lindsay's 2014 Rwanda team

I am very passionate about short-term missions, and am fully aware they can do more harm than good. Visiting Orphans desires to partner not only with orphanages (because an ideal world would not need orphanages for orphans), but also with ministries and organizations within the local community. That being said, I can assure you that Visiting Orphans does them right by seeking to stand beside and support long-term missions, assisting them with whatever they say they need. If you are on the fence about going, absolutely sure God is calling you to go, or turned off by short term missions but are curious on why Visiting Orphans is different, please do yourself a favor and check them out!"

- Blake Allen - VO Volunteer Team Leader

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ministry Monday spotlight: Denise Pineiros of Fundacion Contigo Ecuador

This blog post was written by Denise Pineiros of Fundacion Contigo Ecuador. Denise and her husband Oswaldo have been valued Visiting Orphans partner missionaries in Ecuador for many years. They make arrangements for and are part of every team we send to Ecuador. We are honored to be able to come alongside the work they are doing to care for orphans in Ecuador. During our 127 Campaign, we are helping raise funds for a van for their ministry. To watch our week 5 video, go to

Be flexible!

It’s the first rule of missions. It’s the first thing that I tell teams in training. I joke about how they should throw their watches away at the last trashcan that they encounter on their final flight out of the United States. Time in our country doesn’t function the way time functions where you live. Our pace is slow, and no one is concerned about arriving or starting on time. Things happen when they happen. That’s a difficult concept for an American who is used to the rushed pace of a hurried society. The values are different here. Time is money in the U.S. In contrast, time is valued for what it is in Ecuador. Time is time. No one is worried about the next place that they have to be, because without the confines of time, there is room in life for another cup of coffee, a shared meal with a long conversation, or a game of soccer. There’s a saying in Ecuador that “a friendship isn’t deep until you’ve shared enough meals to consume one pound of salt.”

Another reason why it’s NOT important culturally to be “on time”, is that the traffic here in Ecuador is completely unpredictable. There’s a joke among seasoned visitors to our country. When a newbie visitor asks how long it takes to get somewhere, most of the seasoned missionaries will all shout laughingly, “half-an-hour!” Whether the destination is a mile away or a hundred, that’s our answer. Everything is supposedly half-an-hour away.  It could take us ten minutes or it could take us an hour. There’s no way to know. The traffic is dependent on the city. A protest, a broken down bus, cows in the road----there’s so many potential delays, that it’s nearly impossible to predict when you will arrive at your planned destination, or if you’ll arrive at all. It’s hard to explain to new team members, but they usually start to get it, after a day or two of traveling in our country.

"Quechuawomanandchild" by quinet - Mother and Child. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Because of this unpredictability, the passage of time on the bus with team members is vitally important to your experience. It’s your chance to get to know each other and to learn about the culture. It’s the time you get to experience seeing a flayed hog hung from the rafters of a house you pass. You might see a flock of roaming free chickens along the side of the road, or glimpse a native woman in a typical bowler hat. It’s your opportunity to look out the window and get a glimpse of the people and to pray for their lives. As you see a child beggar at the stoplight, you can pray. With every face you look into, you will understand a little more of the plight of the impoverished and the desperate. And all of these precious moments of ministry and cultural understanding happen before you ever reach the orphanage, within the walls of the van.

Photo of former team riding in the bus, taking 30 orphans on a field trip.

In a given year, our ministry spends between $10,000 and $15,000 hiring drivers and renting vehicles to drive orphans, volunteers, adopting families, and short-term missionaries around the city. We do not own a van of our own, and to purchase a used vehicle to seat 8 to 10 people, we are looking at a cost of $20,000 to $30,000. Vehicles are expensive in Ecuador, mainly due to importation costs, since there is not an Ecuadorian car manufacturer. In less than two years, our ministry would make back the amount spent on buying a used vehicle, in costs saved from hiring drivers and vehicle services. This need is important to us, to teams, to the orphans we care for, and to the families who are in Ecuador adopting. As we grow, the acquisition of a vehicle is vital to the success of what we do. With every dollar given and with every prayer prayed, you can help. Please consider giving to this need, so that we can begin the process of purchasing a ministry vehicle.

As always, our gratefulness to you for the ways that you partner with us is immeasurable.

Contigo for the Kingdom,

Denise Pineiros
Missionary and Co-founder of Fundacion Contigo Ecuador

Contigo is a legally recognized foundation in Ecuador whose focus is caring for orphans and vulnerable children with the purpose of improving their quality of life and bringing the tangible love of Jesus within arm’s reach. The word Contigo means “with you.” The message “ we are with you” is vital when speaking to the issue of loneliness and abandonment in children at risk.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Go? Wednesday spotlight: Tricia Conrey

In October of 2012 I was blessed and challenged by the opportunity to answer the call to GO and care for orphans in their distress. My husband Peter and I knew that we were being called to adopt, so when the opportunity to spend a week in Haiti arose, I knew that I was meant to go.  Leaving my family behind for that week was hard, but God grew all of us during that time. It didn't take long at all for our travel group to become family. As we spent the week getting to know the children and "Mommas" at the orphanages, our hearts began to grow. They grew inwardly, as we internalized all that God was teaching us, and they grew outwardly, as we learned to trust one another with our thoughts and feelings.

Some of the most impactful times for me were at night, when we would all gather at the guest house for prayer and devotion time. This gave us a chance to talk about what we had experienced during the day. We were free to share our hearts and ask hard questions. Questions like, "How in the world can we make a difference for all of these children once we go home?" That question cemented in my heart what I had known for several years already... that God desired to grow our family through the beautiful miracle of adoption.

Since my trip to Haiti our family has taken that step of faith and we are currently in the midst of adopting our daughter; a special needs toddler from China.

When adopting or traveling on a short-term trip to care for orphans, the obstacles can seem insurmountable. There are funds to be raised, arrangements to be made, and fears to be faced. I can attest to God's faithfulness and loving care, though, and assure you that as you step out in faith and answer that call, our Heavenly Father is there with you, every step of the way. He will guide you, protect you, and hold your heart as you hold those sweet little hands.

– Tricia Conrey

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday spotlight: Makenna Rickner

Makenna Rickner traveled with Visiting Orphans to Ecuador in June 2014. She shared with us what God showed her on this trip.

"God brought me to a place of complete brokenness during my trip, but in a very positive, life-changing way. I felt the brokenness that God feels for all of us before we come to know Him as our personal savior. Before coming to Christ, We are all orphans. God loved us so much, He sent His only son to die for us. This trip showed me how emotionally invested God is in all of us and this broken world we live in. He is a caring and compassionate God. From my brokenness, my prayer life and journey in my faith has been challenged and strengthened. Those kids I got to love on are a reminder to me of how real God is and how He is at work all over the world."

Makenna attended the Visiting Orphans Leadership Training this past weekend in Nashville to be equipped to lead future trips with Visiting Orphans. We are excited to see what God has next for this passionate young lady who shares VO's heart to care for the least of these.

To join us on a future trip to Ecuador, check out our website here.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


#‎TBT‬ to one year ago when these World Changers came to Nashville for our leader training to learn about the importance of being equipped and prepared to lead people across the globe! Tonight, we welcome some new leaders to Nashville for leader training 2014. We couldn't do what we do without our fabulous leaders. They are passionate, bold and courageous. It's always an encouragement to us as a staff to spend several days with others who share the same heart. We have some amazing leaders y'all. If you join a Visiting Orphans team to GO BE LOVE - you will be in excellent hands.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Why Go? Wednesday Spotlight: Kara Higgins of Imana Kids

Imana Kids is our feature ministry this week - we're helping raise funds for their nutrition program during our 127 Campaign

Imana Kids was birthed from a Visiting Orphans trip.

Kimisgara Orphanage is off the beaten path. Most Rwandans know the neighborhood, but have no idea that nestled up in the hills above the street, there lived 97 kids.

You can’t reach Kimi by car. There aren’t roads to get to the children. It’s a hike, and a steep one on loose gravel and packed dirt, surrounded by wild chickens and yesterday’s trash.

We had asked VO for a place that was hard. We know hard, we live with two former Rwandan orphans. We know how a lack of love can harden a child.

Our team thought they were ready. They believed that we had prepared them, that VO had equipped them with the tools, the scripture, the conversations to enable each member to “Go.Be.Love.”

Really, nothing can prepare a heart for the stench, the silence and the desperateness of so many fatherless kids in one little dirt room.

Yet Kimisagara was a family. The lanky teenagers carried toddlers in their arms. Girls held each others hands as they whispered to the babies strapped on their backs. Although these children lacked a water source, a bed or a full stomach, they did not lack family. These kids had made each other their home.

Our team made a vow and Imana Kids was launched. Our mission started out simply: That each child of Kimisagara would know that they had a heavenly Father, that each child had access to an education and that each child had their basic needs met.

Just 14 months later, we have over 100 children from the neighborhood of Kimi sponsored by families that know them by name, know their stories, prays for them and financially supports the child. These families have walked alongside us in meeting our mission. The kids know what it means to be loved, and our teams have been able to build ongoing, lifelong relationships with these orphans.

None of this is us. This is a group that said yes. That group grew to a large community answering the call of James 1:27. It isn’t easy and there isn’t an “Idiot’s Guide to Running a Sponsorship Program,” but God is always present and always moving in Imana Kids. Currently, our nutrition program feeds 25 preschool children with milk twice daily to accompany two meals of fruits and veggies, rice and beans and peanut butter sandwiches. During the school holidays, the number of kids jumps to over 100 when our older students are not at boarding school.

VO doesn’t send tourist missionaries. The teams start a spark and God can turn that spark into a wildfire for advancing His Kingdom and carrying out His work. These trips change the lives of orphans all over the globe. Lives are transformed both stateside and across the borders. Maybe going isn’t for you; you’re raising babies or managing companies or unable to physically get around. This command, to Go.Be.Love., it’s not exclusive for the young, the wealthy or the adventurous. It’s for all of us as His church.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday Spotlight: Lori McMurphy

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.

Ephesians 3:20 NIV

Prepared for the journey ahead, Lori McMurphy and her team went to China knowing exactly what they wanted God to accomplish through them.

Abiding by the wise words of Habakkuk 2:2, they wrote their goals in the form of a “No Regrets List”. On this list were simple and great requests, all which were answered.

“Every single thing that we laid at His feet was accomplished, and they were accomplished better than we had hoped or dreamed” exclaimed Lori.

Lori briefly describes her simplest request. “One of the things on my list was to hug every nanny before I left for the day, to be more relational with the nannies, to speak life in to them, to live out Acts 2:1-12 that despite the language barrier the Holy Spirit would speak through our actions and the love that would just ooze out of us”, she expressed.

God did just that. Although there was a language barrier, the women bonded by sharing family photos. On the last day, Lori used the Mandarin she had picked up to express her love and care for the nannies, "Wo Ai Ni!" which means I love you in Chinese.

God was not finished, he had more to reveal to Lori.

“We were told that there were three children who had their files ready and were waiting to be adopted. We needed clear communication as to what their full Chinese names were, their birthdate, and what, if any, special need they might have so that when we got back to the States we could fight for them”.

The information was hard to come by due to the language barrier, but after requesting the information several times and coming close to running out of hope, God provided the answers.

“We get to the orphanage on that very last day and Hai Tao comes to Gael and I and says, ‘Lori, Gael, the lady with the files is here to speak to you’” shares Lori.

The lady with the files proceeds to give them all the necessary information and goes a step further by giving them the names of three additional children, totaling six.

Joy once again overwhelmed Lori as she struggled to fight the tears. She was able to return home with “No Regrets” and the files of six children whose lives were going to greatly changed.

Lori states, “A trip with Visiting Orphans is a great way to see God move in the lives of those he loves, great or small”.

Lori McMurphy and Gael Nichols are leading another trip to Fushun in 2015. Click here to view the trip and sign up to join them to GO BE LOVE in China. 

Lori traveled with Visiting Orphans to Fushun, China in June of 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ministry Monday: Our Director shares her personal adoption story and why this week's 127 Campaign focus is especially personal to her

This blog post was written by our Executive Director Autumn Kerr who is an adoptive mom to a 5 year old son from Ethiopia. 

This week's Impact Area for our 127 Campaign is this:
Development of Healing Conferences for Foster and Adoptive Parents

So you might be thinking, Visiting Orphans sends mission teams around the world. Why would VO be doing conferences for fosters and adoptive parents? 

Because we don't believe caring for orphans is limited to world missions. Just like we don't believe making an impact in the orphan crisis means only partnering with orphanages or only advocating for adoption. We believe making an impact in the orphan crisis looks like a lot of things including working with orphanages, supporting ministries that help support families so children don't end up in orphanages, partnering with ministries that work toward reunification and finding local families to care for children in their own country when reunification with their birth family is not possible, sending teams to go and remind little ones that they matter, supporting families who adopt or foster kids internationally and domestically and having that support extend into caring for those families once the children are home. Because as I know from firsthand experience, that's when the hard part really begins. Yes, the months and months and sometimes years of waiting and the financial aspect and the mountains of paperwork is hard. But that was just the tip of the iceberg for how hard things were about to get once I brought my child home.

Gotcha day October 28, 2012

These kids wouldn't be available for adoption if they hadn't already experienced great loss. So they are coming home to their families with pain and loss and trauma. And if you're like me, their trauma might stir up any past trauma that you have. Even if you didn't know you had any! 

That's what happened in our home. I had been in counseling many times over the years. I thought I had dealt with my junk. But the truth is, I dealt with some of it but there was a lot more that was buried deep inside. And honestly nothing in my life had stirred it up quite like becoming a mom to a very independent, strong-willed 3 and a half year old who wanted to be near me every second of the day and night - even while sleeping. He needed nurturing and attachment but he was in that 3 year old stage where he wanted to do everything himself. And there was a language barrier. And he didn't know really what was happening. I can only imagine what kind of fear and stress must be going on in a child that age to have this person who is pretty much a stranger come in to where you live and take you with them, take you on an airplane and a whole new journey completely different than the world you've been living in for the first few years of life. Even if much of your new life is better, it's still new and unfamiliar and scary. So much is different. Pretty much everything. You now have access to food whenever you want and you get to have choices and a clean diaper whenever you need one. And as many baths in a day as you want (he actually took 6 in one day that first month). And everything is new and you're testing everything out. Including this person who keeps calling herself mommy. Mihretu clung to me for dear life. He had some pretty intense tantrums and would throw himself on the floor for things like me turning the dvd player off instead of him because apparently he wanted to do it that time. He was terrified of our dog. He would climb on me in the middle of the night because he wanted to be close at all times. He didn't want me to help him with anything. He wasn't having some of the many major issues I had read about but he was still exhibiting signs of distrust, trying to grasp for control in anything and everything and some over the top reactions. It was a very hard first year. And I'm a single mom so I didn't have a spouse to turn to. Most of the times, when he pushed my buttons to the very limits of my patience, I could feel it happening. If I had a spouse, I would have totally been like "you take him - I just need a minute, I'm about to lose it." But I didn't have that person there for backup. And I couldn't just walk away and have a minute. Even turning to walk toward the other side of the room would set off a freak out reaction of fear in my kiddo. He wanted to be near me every single second. I could not get any personal space. Not even to take a shower or go to the bathroom or sleep. It was hard. And his trauma and my trauma were all wrapped up together in that first year. 

I think the hardest part for me that first year was that my junk made me feel like a horrible person. It made me feel isolated and alone and awful. And it was so overwhelming that I didn't attach instantly like I expected to. And that made me feel awful too. And I didn't know what to do or when or if it would get better. Thankfully I have some amazing friends that I was honest with and who prayed with me and encouraged me and gave me some breaks so I could get out of the house and have some me time. Just having people to talk to made a huge difference. And then our staff did a bible study dvd series called Counseled by God and you spend a lot of time praying and journaling and I got time with the Lord and He spoke to my heart. And I started to come out of the funk I was in. 

And then this past January, I started counseling at a place in Nashville called Rock House Center. We got right into it and started unpacking my junk and all the layers underneath to reveal where it was coming from. We walked through forgiveness and realigning my beliefs about myself and my responsibility as a mom with who God says I am and the fact that God is ultimately responsible for my child. I was carrying around this burden that I had to be the one to solely heal him and it was too much for me to carry. The amount of weight that was lifted in those first few weeks and months of counseling felt so freeing. Joy returned. And as I loosened my own grip of trying to control everything, a crazy thing happened - my son started to loosen his control grip too. Our household became much more pleasant and a whole lot of fun. Praise the Lord - THIS is what I always pictured when I dreamed of being a mom. It's not perfect and there are still tantrums cause he's a kid and that's what kids sometimes do. But I'm not getting my buttons pushed like I was and therefore those moments don't seem so big or overwhelming. God is good! And I am so thankful for all the healing He has brought me and how that is helping my son heal. And it's giving me new insight into some of his behavior and what it might be stemming from and helping me have patience and compassion for it. I absolutely adore this child that I am blessed to be mom to. He is funny and smart and a natural leader. We have so much fun together. I can't imagine my life without him in it. I am so thankful!

March 2014 - 5 year old birthday photo shoot

So that's my vulnerable moment of sharing my own story and why I personally am passionate about helping adoptive and foster parents get the healing they need. I have a feeling I'm not the only one who got their junk stirred up when bringing home a child from a hard place.

If you want to be part of seeing this vision become a reality for Visiting Orphans to offer healing conferences for adoptive and foster parents - please consider joining the Visiting Orphans Monthly Giving Program. There is so much we feel like God is calling us to for this next season and we need your help to bring these things to life. To read more about the 127 Campaign, watch the campaign videos and sign up to be a world changer, go to:

You can keep up with Autumn's adoption journey on her blog here:

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Throw Back to the first team Frank Pass led to Haiti in March of 2013. These world changers bandaged wounds, loved children, they were trailblazers in forging our relationship with Grace So Amazing in Haiti, the work they did paved the way to rescue several deaf children from an extremely abusive situation and they laid the foundation and set the tone for all our Haiti teams since. We are going back to Haiti this March and would love for you to join us. Click here to see our upcoming Haiti trips. See the link below to sign up or check out our 127 Campaign to see how you can be a world changer.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Why Go? Wednesday Spotlight: Kellie Hurt from Grace So Amazing Ministries in Haiti

Grace So Amazing is our feature ministry this week - we're helping raise funds toward their new school during our 127 Campaign. 
Kellie Hurt of Grace So Amazing Ministries
I am so honored to have the opportunity to write this blogpost to tell about what Visiting Orphans means to Grace So Amazing ministries and the people we serve in rural Haiti. I only pray I can give adequate words to the importance of their partnership and speak as the Lord leads.

Few places on earth compare to the quiet beauty of the countryside near the Artibonnete River in the central plateau of Haiti. God’s majesty and handy-work are certainly on display everywhere you look, and for me, it is an ever-present reminder of His love and grace for all humanity. Even more beautiful are His people there; mostly subsistence farmers and their families, who despite great toil, work land that never seems to be sufficient to meet basic needs. The meager production and minimal income earned from their small farm plots can sometimes afford one of their many children to attend school and put a meal on the table in sporadic intervals, but rarely ever can it supply much more.  It is here in the heart of the community of Boyer that Grace So Amazing has put down roots. We believe God has called us to walk hand in hand and be the living, breathing hands and feet of Jesus Christ and help them to become an emergent generation of hope. Our projects include a church, school, community outreach and sustainability programs, a feeding program and a children’s home, which is under construction.

To accomplish such things requires first the power and will of God and second, servants who obediently answer God’s call to go out into the world. This is the heartbeat of VO – to Over the last few years as I have gotten to know the organization and its teams, I’ve seen how much time is put into praying, planning and preparing for each trip. Teams arrive in Haiti as a cohesive unit, led by the Spirit and willing to step into any circumstance the Lord presents. VO teams consistently touch hundreds of lives with the love of Jesus in our community through VBS type children’s ministry, adult discipleship and women’s ministry. They worship and pray with the lame and blind; they bring laughter and joy to so many who live in abject conditions. They share food and necessities with vulnerable children, families and the elderly, and offer hope where often little is to be found.  Simply VO’s partnership is vital in helping to bring spiritual, educational and physical transformation to our precious community.

On Monday, September 8th the doors opened wide on Grace Academy of Boyer – we had planned first for 70 students, but the numbers kept rising, and by the end of the first day we had 101 students with even a few more yet to come. As most schools in Haiti are private and cost to attend, many of these children have never had the opportunity to attend school. First grade alone includes an age range from 6-17. Our students are excited and enthusiastic to learn to write their name, read and develop new knowledge. Our belief is based on Proverbs 22:6 and Philippians 4:13 – that if we train children in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord and His Word, they will learn and come to  know that in deed they can do all things through Christ who gives them strength. We feel so privileged and blessed that God is using GSA to help provide a Christ centered education and nutritional lunch for so many! Again, we are grateful for Visiting Orphans partnership because many of the students are sponsored by past team members.

The impact Visiting Orphans has had, and we pray continues to have here in Haiti with GSA is deep and lasting – a force to overcome other forces. We see the lives of the most desperate and fragile continue to be effected with each new team and we are so grateful for every person that is connected with Visiting Orphans. GSA is always praying for the VO staff and teams - that God would continue to strengthen our ties, that together the impact on the beautiful people of Haiti would be eternal.

"For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete." - Deuteronomy 16:15(b)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Team Leader Tuesday Spotlight: Elisa Hyman

Summer of 2011, that’s when my life was changed.  As an adoptive parent, I frequented adoption group gatherings. It was there that I met a fellow adoptive parent that had an entire wardrobe of fundraising t-shirts and always wore the infamous paper bead necklaces. Her Facebook feed was full of videos and photos of her in Africa loving on children. I was intrigued. She was a Visiting Orphans team leader.

I traveled on my first mission trip to Uganda with her. I never thought someone like me could go on a mission trip. I seriously thought mission trips were reserved for bible students and “those” crazy Christians that gave everything away and lived in a bush. I didn’t realize that someone like me, a mom of young kids who had NO memory verses in my vocabulary, could go on a mission trip. I was intimidated at first. I thought all of my team members would be early versions of Mother Theresa.’s funny to think back on. It was that summer, while walking in the red Ugandan dirt, that I felt the Spirit of God telling me, “this is it...this is your home.”  

What do you mean “this is my home?”  My husband is in the military and I have small kids. I didn’t know what the big, full picture looked like, but I began the steps toward following that calling. I attended Visiting Orphans Leadership Training and led my first team in the summer of 2012. All the pieces of my life started to make sense.  

In my mid-thirties, I began to see the blurry puzzle start to form a picture. I realized that everything, EVERYTHING led me to THIS! Being a teacher, working for a non-profit, owning a business, learning about off grid living, being an adoptive parent...they all prepared me for my current ministry...leading Visiting Orphan teams!

Without a shadow of doubt, I know that leading teams to Uganda is EXACTLY where He wants me. Getting people there, and to experience life change is what I was put here to do. Ministering to my team before, during and after a trip is my passion. “What’s next?” is something I often ask my team members.  “How is God using this experience in you?”  

I smile when my team members get it, when God begins to work in their hearts. I praise Him when they too hear a call on their lives. There is always something next, and for everyone it’s different. But being obedient in that is what is key. Going is the first step. Getting people there...that is my calling!

Monday, September 8, 2014

127 Campaign Week 2 - Impact Area #2

We are entering week 2 of our 127 Campaign. This week's Impact Area is a Discipleship Training Curriculum for our team members. We have a great resource we're already using for pre-trip preparation and discipleship but we want to customize it even further to prepare team members for the specific mission of our trips.

Check out Impact Area #2 and then get involved at

Thursday, September 4, 2014

THROW BACK THURSDAY - Ethiopia/Rwanda January 2011 Team

Throw Back Thursday to the first team that VO staffer Frank Pass ever led to Ethiopia and Rwanda way back in January of 2011. This zany bunch personified what it means to be world changers. Of the 13 team members, 12 have traveled back to Africa since. Billy, Jason, Glenn and Daria are now VO team leaders. Jason and Glenn are also recent VO board member additions. Amy, Chelsea, and Sara have gone back to Rwanda with their own ministries His Chase and Presence to provide sponsorship, education, medical care and hope to hundreds of children. Tara started No.41 a ministry that is literally changing lives one at a time. This team changed Africa and Africa changed them. What a great example of how short-term missions can have long-term impact on those who go and to the places they are sent. Check out our 127campaign to see how you can supportVisiting Orphans and be a world changer too. Go Be Love!

Jan 2011 Ethiopia & Rwanda Team of World Changers!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Why Go? Wednesday Spotlight: Teresa Best

Give ear and hear my voice, Listen and hear my words.

- Isaiah 28:23

Each year, Visiting Orphans assists hundreds of individuals seeking the opportunity to sow into the lives of orphans, children and communities and those who routinely care for them. However, as each participant returns - something special happens. Not only do they sense the power of God’s love for his people, they also have an overwhelming sense of change and transformation in their own life.

Often times, great change seems overwhelming or impossible especially when one only considers their might and strength. However, as Teresa Best experienced, God can do so much more when one’s faith is applied.

Teresa had just returned from Guatemala when she heard God call her to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The closeness of the two trips placed fear in her heart. The challenge for Teresa was not the mission itself, but her capacity to pour into additional lives after the previous mission trip.

“How was I ever going to be able to go to another country and share as much of myself somewhere else when I was already so connected to this small space in Central America”, said Teresa.

However, she continued to hear God’s voice, so she decided to go.

Upon arriving to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, her heart was filled with compassion and love. She was all the more grateful she listened to the voice of God.

The Lord showed her there was no need to be afraid. “He showed me that love multiplies and spills over! Yes, your heart can have room. And yes, you can find small ways to invest. Even when you are a world apart”, she rejoiced.

Now that she has returned, Teresa is looking forward to the many ways God can use her in the future.

Teresa traveled with Visiting Orphans to Ethiopia in Jan 2014

Monday, September 1, 2014

127 Campaign

Today is the official launch of our Visiting Orphans 127 Campaign.

The 1 in the 127 Campaign represents 1 person - YOU! You can be a world changer. How? By being part of our 127 Campaign and financially supporting the ministry Visiting Orphans is doing around the world and by challenging others to do the same.

The 127 Campaign is our first ever big fundraiser for Visiting Orphans. Visiting Orphans (VO) was established in 2005 and has been supported by an admin fee that is built into the trip cost of our trips ever since. That's how we are able to partner with 43 ministries in 12 countries and send out over 40 teams throughout the year to come alongside and support these ministries. We've not received grants nor have we had major donors up to this point. We do raise some funds to operate the ministry through merchandise sales, and we have some wonderful monthly donors and get some general donations to VO as a ministry from time to time - all of which are a huge blessing. But most of our budget is funded by that trip admin fee. We will continue to be primarily funded in this way but the thing about relying solely on this is that it limits us from growing and expanding into the areas we feel like God is calling us to. This campaign is all about raising funds for Visiting Orphans as a ministry so that we can bring those things to life. And ultimately make a bigger, more positive impact on the 2 in the 127 Campaign: those we partner with around the world and those we send! 

We've chosen 7 areas of impact for this campaign - these are the things that we feel like God is calling us to for this next season. This campaign will support these 7 areas. 10% of all funds raised during this campaign will go to specific ministry needs for 7 of our partner ministries around the world.

You can get involved at:

Here are the 7 Impact Areas for the 127 Campaign

Country Programs

Visiting Orphans currently partners with ministries in 12 countries around the world. We want to continue to invest in our current partnerships while also creating new opportunities with other trustworthy organizations in these countries.

Discipleship Materials

So we can better prepare our teams spiritually, we want to create brand new team member discipleship training curriculum and videos that are tailored to the mission experience such as pre-trip preparation, in-country devotionals, and post-trip processing.

Web Portal

Visiting Orphans would like to create our own interactive web portal designed exclusively for team members and leaders. This new portal will help assist and organize our short-term trips for a more streamlined process all within the current website.

Adoptive Family Resources

We love to see families grow through the miracle of adoption. We also recognize that the process can be very difficult. We want to develop supportive resources and create grant organization partnerships to offer financial help to past team members who are adopting.

Healing Conferences

Through partnerships with counseling ministries, advocates, and teachers, we want to come alongside foster and adoptive parents in their emotional and spiritual struggles while offering tangible support via conferences focused on healing and transformation.

New Country Programs

We are committed to reaching even more of God’s precious children and communities in more places around the world. That’s why we are currently developing two new country programs for 2015 and desire to explore more programs for 2016 and beyond.

A recommendation from someone with firsthand experience who is passionate and committed to the mission is an invaluable tool for any ministry. And that’s exactly what we’re looking for in our brand new adVOcate Program. We want you to use your avenue for advocacy to spread the news about VO. That could be through concerts, social media, blogging, church groups, or whatever else you may have up your sleeve. We would love to have you join our adVOcate team!

Each week, we will highlight one of these 7 areas in a video to explain even further what we mean. Here's Impact Area #1:

Visiting Orphans is a 501(c)3 public charity which seeks to operate under the highest standards of financial accountability and excellence. We are audited by an independent accounting firm each year, ECFA accredited and governed by a Board of Directors. All charitable donations to Visiting Orphans are tax-deductible within the United States.