Guatemala Mission Trip Makes Lasting Impression

Thirteen middle school girls returned a decade ago from a mission trip with their mothers to Guatemala determined to do more to help orphans there.

Ashlie Dickey and other students from such schools as Parish Episcopal, St. Monica Catholic, and Highland Park Middle had visited a variety of locations, where they and their mothers taught, sang, and played with the orphan children.

(ABOVE – FROM LEFT: Hannah Ryan, of Ursuline Academy; Kristin Ryan; Olivia Isbell, of St. Monica Catholic School; and Allison Goebel, of Ursuline Academy, help care for babies during a 2007 Women for Orphans Worldwide mission trip to Guatemala. Courtesy Orphan Outreach 2017)

“I realized how this tiny activity (playing) meant the world to them,” Dickey recalled recently. “It really made me realize that the little things in life mean the most, and you should make the most of every situation.”

Making the most of the mission trip experience meant finding an answer to their common question: “Now what are we going to do to help the children in Guatemala?”

It really made me realize that the little things in life mean the most, and you should make the most of every situation. -Ashlie Dickey

“The impact was startling on our 13-year-old daughters,” recalled Tiffany Taylor Wines, who went on that first trip with daughter Inna. “They could comprehend what they had back in Dallas, and the kids they were serving had so little.”

In 2009, they founded Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW), an auxiliary of Orphan Outreach, the faith-based nonprofit that sponsored the mission trip.

“Back then, we had almost no budget and no idea what we were doing, but fueled by a strong desire to raise money for the children we met on the mission trip, we dove in,” explained Joyce Rogge, who went on the trip with daughter Jodie.

WOW held its 10th annual luncheon and marketplace fundraiser in December, and 2019 makes its 10th year of offering programs to help orphaned and vulnerable Guatemalan children develop and grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The ministry also aims to help the children receive a quality education and to strengthen families who are at-risk of separation to help prevent young boys and girls from becoming orphans.

“We never imagined it would turn into something so impactful,” said Wines, who serves as director of marketing and development for Orphan Outreach. “We have seen the lives of hundreds of orphaned and vulnerable children in Guatemala change for the better, through the hope of 13 mothers and their daughters wanting to make a difference in the world.”

Since 2009, more than 1,000 people have gone on 44 WOW mission trips to Guatemala. Supply drives and fundraisers have raised more than $1 million for Orphan Outreach’s Guatemalan ministry programs. And volunteers and missionaries have developed deep relationships with children and families.

“The feeling of giving a little joy to a child will stay with you a lifetime,” Rogge said. “We all get back much more than we give.”

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