Faces and Feet



When I saw the contrast between their faces and feet, I couldn’t help it.  “We will …. ”  But first, let me give you some background:

In Ha Giang Province, a mountainous region that borders China, neither homes nor schools have heat.  In response to a request from the Provincial Education Department, an Orphan Voice scout team visited the Province in the early winter. It was 29 degrees Farenheit on the morning of the team’s visit.  The Ha Giang economy is a semi-barter one, with many families trading vegetables, which they have grown, for their neighbor’s meat, which they have hunted or raised.

Secondary school children go to boarding schools located in larger towns, usually far away from the children’s villages. The deep, ragged valleys and lack of roads don’t permit easy travel.  As a result, the schools double as orphanages.  Kids visit their homes during the summer and school holidays.  The scout team investigated several facilities that day.

The children were cold. Most had runny noses. The scout team recommended to Orphan Voice’s central office that we provide winter coats immediately.  Thereafter, a second Orphan Voice team soon departed Hanoi with 350 good quality, heavy coats and some thermal pants.

That’s when I noticed the contrast between their faces and feet.  Their faces beamed with smiles, but most of their feet were wet, cold, and partially exposed to the weather.Their plastic slippers had an open, mesh pattern.  For many, the low temperatures caused the plastic to harden and crack–and the children’s feet were cut or rubbed raw–some with visible infection.  More from the heart than from the head, I immediately said: “We’ll return with good shoes and socks for all the children.”  We were able to do that!

Like me, look at those faces and look at those feet.  The picture here is representative of children living in the Highlands every winter.  We do have the opportunity to participate in His work to bless “the least of these.” $20 will purchase a good quality, winter coat and shoes.  To make a designated gift for shoes or a general donation, click here. 

How Do You Measure Inner Healing?


An orphanage is not plan A for children ~ parents are.  But in some cases when a child has no parents, an orphanage is the best option to provide for that child’s safety and care.  Promise House Group Home is such a place of safety for children like Dung.

Dung’s father abandoned his family when she was eight years old.  His leaving, and the loss of his salary, brought biting poverty to Dung, her mom and a younger sister.  At times, the three were forced to beg for food.  And it got worse.  Men forced themselves upon her mother, and at times, attempted to force themselves upon young, pretty Dung.  At night, Dung’s mom slept near her daughters with a knife under her pillow.  More than once men tried to break into the house.  Thankfully for Dung, no man abused her.

In 2010, Dung’s mom situation became so difficult that she petitioned the government to place Dung in an orphanage.

And that’s how Dung came to Promise House Group Home.  It was more than she could have imagined or hoped for.  Suddenly, she had plenty of food, nice clothes, a good bed, and friends.  She could go to school.  Her outward needs were met.

But what of her inner needs – the “difficult-to-get-at ones?”  To buy food is easy.  To deal with inner hurts is another matter.  What about her feeling of not being loved? What of those lingering fears because of the nights men tried to break into her house?  What of the insecurity in her life because of her need to beg for food in those early years?

There is good news! Love restores!

How does one measure whether restoration is happening? We think one way is school performance.  Remember, children who have suffered like these children normally do poorly in school.  They probably missed many school days before coming to Promise House.  Even if they attended school regularly, they would have been plagued by fears, undernourishment and insecurity.

We are happy to report that in a  recent grading period, many Promise House children raised their grade point average by a full grade!  C’s became B’s. B’s became A’s.  (A few D’s became C’s!)  Why the improvement?  We think that a major reason is that they feel more secure.  They feel safe.  Accordingly, they are free to prosper!

Promise House Group Home is not fully sponsored.  We need child sponsors or others who want to designate significant gifts to provide for these children.  Please help us by donating  here, or send your gift to our mailing address below.

Orphan Voice
P.O. Box 910410
Lexington, KY 40591

First Time To The Dentist

Friendship Team Blesses Children in Remote Province

Treating a young patient

Dr. Ralph Thacker is the first dentist that most of the Tay Giang children have ever seen.  For several days, Dr. Thacker’s team saw child after child for examinations, teeth cleaning, and treatment.

In all, about 350 children, teachers and villagers received dental care. Forty children had a tooth pulled (they were brave about any discomfort or fear–and very appreciative of the excellent care!). All the children received a new toothbrush, tooth paste and dental floss.

Over and over, the children had one message to pass along to the dentist…and to you–the ones who sent the team from Danang to Tay Giang: “Thanks for helping us!”

Sharing your skill is a wonderful way to bless people.  Would you like to do so?  If you would like to bless “the least of these” on a friendship team, email maria.lester@orphanvoice.org.

Have You Ever Been Hungry?

A minister asked us recently how he might help his children understand what it’s like to not have enough food. “What can we do to help them understand?” he said. Our response was to share a Promise House story and challenge those children, and all of us, to put ourselves in their shoes, even just for a day.

Nghia, his sister and his older brother had precious little to eat when an Orphan Voice team visited.  For three people, there were two small fish and an amount of rice! Yes, this small amount of food was shared between them; and it was all they had for the entire day. They were always hungry.

So here is our challenge to you. Put yourself in their place. Attempt to eat only this much for one day. Even if you don’t use fish and rice, consider the amount of food they had (about 550 grams) and divide it among three people (about 6 ounces each). Could you live on this for a day? Well, probably once. But could you live on this amount per day every day?

Show the picture to your children. Better yet, cook the food and place it before them. Ask them to consider “What if this was all we had?”

Orphan Voice cares for children like Nghia every day, but only with your help.  Would you like to sponsor a child like Nghia?  To do so, click here!


Baby Gai’s Story

A 14-year-old girl rides from a school tutoring session to her rural home in the dark of night. Suddenly, in an isolated place, a man drags her off her bicycle and rapes her. Fearful and confused, the girl tells no one–but her grandmother understands five months later when she begins to show. Panic stricken, the grandmother calls the girl’s mother who lives far away. The mother rushes home. Shamed and fearful, the mother decides that her daughter will get an abortion. To that end, the 14-year-old and her mom travel to the nearest “big city”: Danang.

Overcome by grief at the hospital while they wait for the abortion, the mother and daughter cry uncontrollably. A kind person notices and calls Orphan Voice. “Perhaps they can help,” she thinks. Two Orphan Voice workers go to the hospital, talk to the mother and daughter and offer the needed help. The mother and daughter do not want an abortion. When hearing that, Orphan Voice offered to help take care of the young mother during pregnancy, so that she is not forced to get an abortion.

For three months, then, Orphan Voice supported the young mother, saw that she had regular prenatal visits, and provided love and support.

At the appointed time the baby was born- premature, but healthy. She is healthy to this day!

And it was more than the baby’s life that was saved. During our talks with the family, the baby’s grandmother revealed that she and her daughter, the birthmother, had decided (before Orphan Voice’s visit in the hospital) to abort the baby and then commit suicide–such was the shame they felt. Would they have carried through? We can’t be sure, but such was their firm intent.

Orphan Voice partners: You were hope to this family. You were compassion. You gave life. I know that you saved one life. See below. I believe that you saved three lives.

To help other young women like this, donate here.

Orphan Voice Rejoices Over News of Trafficking Rescues

Child Sex Trafficking Rescue: FBI Saves 105 Victims in ‘Operation Cross Country’

Posted: 07/29/2013 10:57 am EDT

The FBI has rescued 105 child sex-trafficking victims, FBI Assistant Director Ronald Hosko announced Monday.

The youngest of the rescued children was 9 years old, according to Reuters.

One underage victim told officials she became involved with prostitution when she was 11, according to CNN.

“Many times the children that are taken in in these types of criminal activities are children that are disaffected, they are from broken homes, they may be on the street themselves,” FBI Acting Executive Assistant Director Kevin Perkins said, according to the network. “They are really looking for a meal, they are looking for shelter, they are looking for someone to take care of them.”

Another victim, identified as “Alex,” told interviewers she became a prostitute at the age of 16, when she felt she had no other options to feed and clothe herself.

For full story and video, click here:

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Helping Vy – Your Gift Saves a Life

At only three months old, little Vy was struggling.  She was born with a serious heart condition: a ventricular septal defect–with the complication of severe pulmonary hypertension.  She was getting weaker and weaker and, we were told, would not live without successful surgery.

Some time ago, Vy’s dad left his rural (jobless) home and family to work at a garment factory in Saigon. He sent 1/3 of his $150 per month salary back to his wife in Quang Nam Province, so that she can feed Vy and her sister.  Fifty dollars per month is not enough–certainly not enough to allow the family to save money for Vy’s life-saving surgery.

Orphan Voice was able to help this family by providing funds to obtain the needed surgery. Vy is alive thanks to our partners!

Would you like to help us “be here” for others like Vy.  If so, click here to donate now!

The Happiest Boy in Vietnam

Sang always wears a smile!  The smallest benefit or blessing brings a wide, toothy grin to his face.  Not so remarkable, you say.  But it is remarkable when you know that Sang suffers from cerebral palsy–cerebral palsy that was largely unattended to while he grew up.

Sang’s family brought him to Orphan Voice’s Phu Ninh Therapy Center in February 2012.  At that time, he could not walk unassisted.  His life, up to that point, had consisted mostly of him lying in bed all day. His parents had no choice but to leave him there, because they both worked away from home all day.

After coming to the Center, Sang worked hard.  Another boy, who had gained the ability to walk, greatly encouraged Sang and even gave him his walker.  He would shout: “You can do it; you can do it!”  And, with the therapists’ help, he made progress.  It was a day of rejoicing when Sang walked on his own.  His smile lit the room that day!

But just a few months later, in October, Sang contracted dengue fever–common in Vietnam.  As a result, he regressed physically. He lost the ability to walk and for several months was bed-fast again. He eventually regained enough strength to return to the Center.

It was a day of rejoicing when Sang regained the ability to walk!  Please watch this short video clip to see who we think is the happiest boy in Vietnam!

To help other children like Sang, who receive therapy at Orphan Voice’s Therapy Center, click here and choose Special Needs.

Their Ship Has Come In

United States Sailors Bless Children

Sailors from the Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and Navy Rescue Vessel, Salvor, recently completed a five day visit to Danang.  When not involved in maneuvers and training, the sailors took time to host 108 Danang orphans on a tour of their ships.  It was an awesome experience for the kids.  On the Chung-Hoon, they examined two on-board helicopters; sat in the commander’s chair on the bridge; peered through the ship’s telescopes (in their words: “big eyes”); and enjoyed home-baked chocolate chip cookies in the ship’s cafeteria! They loved the Salvor’s deep sea diving unit. They loved listening to the master diver (one of only 90 in the entire Navy) who was so proud of his work. They loved feeling the heavy chains and ropes used to rescue beached ships–and the machine shops with their lathes and welders. They loved the navigation room, filled with its gauges and maps.  All the while, they learned the importance of math and science.


Later in the week, the sailors hosted a birthday party for 50 children at Promise House.  Men and women representing American’s finest brought a large cake (baked on the ship), set up basketball and soccer goals and played games with the kids. The girls soon were braiding the female sailors’ hair and visa versa. They danced to One Direction’s song: That’s What Makes You Beautiful.

On the last day of their visit, the sailors delivered several soccer balls, basketballs, badminton sets, soccer goals, and corn hole sets–enough to bless children from several orphanages.   They left a “swell” (pun intended) of smiles behind them!   We met sailors from Illinois, California, New York, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Iowa.  If you are an American, you were well represented by these young men and women of the United States Navy. If you live in one of the states mentioned above, you can be doubly proud.

Here is some feedback from the children about their ship tour:

“The uniforms are so beautiful!”

“Can I have another cookie?”  (The sailors ended the tour by funneling the kids through the ship’s dining area, where hot and tasty chocolate chip cookies, along with orange juice, awaited them!).

“Let me sit in the Captain’s chair!”

“I need to go to the bathroom!”

Sailors Inspired the Kids:
Study, Work Hard and Do Your Best…You’re On Your Way UP!

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A Future and a Hope (Ny’s Story)

 “When my dad died, my mom could not keep our large family together. I know that she loved me, but the problems in her life forced her to send me to a countryside orphanage. I was 12.

Separated from my family, I did okay at the orphanage, but I missed my mom and family.  I adjusted and made friends over time, but I always felt empty on the inside.  I didn’t do well at school, but the other kids didn’t do any better.

I lived at the orphanage for several years, and as I got closer to high school graduation, I worried.  The orphanage director told me that I had to leave after graduation.  Where would I go? Who would take care of me? I worried a lot.

Then one day, I heard about a place called Victory House.  I knew a girl there. She said that Orphan Voice gave her a nice place to live with a kind lady to cook for all the girls.  They paid for everyone’s school and Hanh, the housemother, acted like a mom to everyone. Oh, how I wanted to go there!  I asked my orphanage director about it.  He made application for me and I was accepted!

Now, almost three years later, I will soon graduate with a Tourism degree! I will get a good job!  It was hard.  I had to be tutored a lot and Linh really made me work hard (sometimes I got mad at her).  But it was all worth it.

I am excited–and a little scared–about the future, but not like I used to be scared.  I know that I can make it.”
(Ny’s story told through Tony Brewer and factually true in all respects).

Thank you, Orphan Voice partners.  You do this every day!

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