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Final Call: January Friendship Team Opportunity for Adoptive Families

A Friendship Team For Adoptive Families And Their Children

When Cindy and I moved to Vietnam 11 years ago, it was in our heart to someday welcome a Friendship Team made up of adoptive families and their children who we knew from our days at A Helping Hand Adoption Agency. I even told Cindy at that time: “we’ll go, make preparations and be ready for them when they come.”

We’ve talked about this trip several times with you. This is our last email about it. We think it’s time. We need to finalize plans!

What: The “A Helping Hand Friendship Team”
When: June 6 – June 17, 2019
Where: Danang City, Vietnam
Who to contact for more information: Don Secrest (don.secrest@orphanvoice.org)
When to Decide By: January 30 (we need commitments by that date)

If you’re one of the “AHH girls or boys,” God most likely took your parents to an orphanage to get you. If you’re an “AHH parent,” God most likely took you to an orphanage where you first laid eyes on one of the greatest loves of your life. That orphanage was a poor place, maybe a dirty place, maybe a smelly place, perhaps a place that you felt was lacking in love. But on that day, it was a place where God resided and where He met you. His goodness and His Presence were there with you that day in a special way.

Now, after the passage of many years, how about both parent(s) and child, or either alone, traveling to Vietnam to minister to orphans and vulnerable children – to minister to “the least of these” together? How about meeting that same faithful and good God in an orphanage for a second time?

Many have expressed interest in this unique trip. It’s time to decide so that we can determine the team and make preparations. Therefore, We need to hear from you by January 30.

This will be the most blessed and amazing trip of your life. God is in it and where He is, there is joy! Email Don today!

Total Cost Estimate for 12 days in country

Current Flight Estimate: $1,650.00 (this will vary as the date approaches)
Visa and Visa Picture: $62
Travel Insurance cost: $43.00 (required)
Food and Water: $150.00
Hotel: $182.00 (two persons in a room)
Transportation: $62.00*
Total Estimated Cost: $2,149.00 as of January 9, 2019

*The transportation cost is calculated by taking the total van rental and dividing it among the team members. This estimate is based on 12 team members.

Please be aware that personal purchases are not included in the Total Cost Estimate. Any souvenirs, extra toiletries or other personal purchases are not accounted for.

Orphan Voice has talked with a travel agency called Mission Nation Travel. We recommend that agency if you are looking for an agency to handle all your travel arrangements. In your email, ask Don for their contact information. Orphan Voice does not require you to work with Mission Nation Travel, as we know that some of you are internet savvy and can book your own flights and take care of your own visa. In the event that you book your own flight, we will simply give you the date that you need to be in Danang. Remember though, that there is blessing in traveling together!

Hunger Pains

How Orphan Voice Partners Saved A Four Year Old Boy

Eight year old Tro’s life began well, but by the age of four his dad and then his caregiver grandparents were dead. At that time, a drug addict entered his life. This abuser forced Tro to beg in order to feed his habit. If Tro didn’t beg enough cash, the man beat or starved him. His mother couldn’t protect her son from her “boyfriend.” To protect himself, four year old Tro often slept on concrete in the market. 

Fast forward four years. Tro eats rice, fish and vegetables until full – three times daily. He sleeps in a bed with a blanket – under roof. Caregivers hug instead of beat him. He’s no longer alone.

How did his life change so?


Tro was born into a poor, mountain family, but his needs were met.

When his father died, Tro lived with his grandparents because his mom’s new “boyfriend” didn’t want him around. His grandparents loved and cared for him, but then they died. At that point, Tro returned to his mom and her drug addicted “boyfriend.”

The addict “boyfriend” forced Tro to beg to feed his habit. If he didn’t beg enough, the abuser withheld food. Tro experienced the sharp pains of hunger. Flesh disappeared from an already thin body. Some days, he had only water to drink.


Today, Tro weighs enough. Each morning, he drinks milk and eats banh my (bread), eggs and rice. At noon, he rushes to Promise House Group Home from school where steaming bowls of rice, spring rolls, pork, and fish await him. He wolfs it down.

After school, Promise House cooks greet him with more rice, beef, morning glory vegetables, green beans, bread and fruit. At every meal, he eats to the full.


Imagine yourself as that five-year-old boy. Could you or I have comprehended what was happening? Or made any sense of it?

Precious Tro could only react. He could only rebel against his circumstances. To protect himself from beatings, he slept away from “home.” In the Central Highlands, the temperature falls into the 50s, even the 40s. He learned to sleep on concrete in the market or on the ground along the road.


The room where Tro now sleeps is above the Promise House kitchen. He likes sleeping there because of the murals on the walls. A bathroom, which he learned to use, is only four yards away. He also showers – a new experience!

His bed’s warm blankets engulf him during the cold, rainy season. Their softness comforts him. But the lingering smells from below bring the most comfort! At night, he can still smell the pork, rice and vegetables that he ate for supper. Best of all, he knows that more food awaits him when he wakes.


How could a five year old brain in a five year old boy comprehend being beaten for failing to beg enough money? Did Tro think that he was the wrongdoer? Didn’t God create five year olds to see their parents as always right? How could he comprehend being threatened with a knife – of being chased by a man holding a knife? Surely he wondered why his mother didn’t protect him.

Tro was unable to comprehend. That’s just the way life was.


The room where Tro now sleeps is above the Promise House kitchen. He likes sleeping there because of the murals on the walls. A bathroom, which he learned to use, is only four yards away. He also showers – a new experience!

His bed’s warm blankets engulf him during the cold, rainy season. Their softness comforts him. But the lingering smells from below bring the most comfort! At night, he can still smell the pork, rice and vegetables that he ate for supper. Best of all, he knows that more food awaits him when he wakes.


Vu is a compassionate man, a family man. He lives in Danang and drives tourists, round trip, to the Loatian border three times each week. He drives them to Tro’s village, where an immigration post allowing them to visit Laos, is located.

Over several months, Vu noticed a painfully thin, young boy begging money at the gas station where he bought fuel for his van. Vu sometimes bought him food. The boy always seemed to be around. His face was dirty, he smelled bad and he wore ragged and soiled clothes. Surely, “he’s an orphan,” thought Vu.

Vu asked villagers about the “orphan.” He learned that the boy’s name was Tro and about his plight. Wanting to help, Vu asked a government friend in Danang for advice. The government worker recommended Promise House as a place of safety for orphans.

Vu took charge. He decided to take Tro to Promise House. He first obtained the mother’s consent. Then, permission from the city of Danang. Within weeks, he led Tro into the Promise House gate! In doing so, he opened a wonderful new world for Tro – a world where he could be a child again!


The big day arrived! Tro again didn’t understand all that was happening, but he was HAPPY. He was with Vu going to a better place!

While Vu drove, Tro picked up the papers which his mom had signed giving Vu the right to take him to Danang. Since he had always dreamed of attending school, he mistakenly thought the papers were permission for him to enroll in a Danang school. He proudly held those papers up to the other passengers saying: “I’m going to school! I’m going to school!”


Vietnamese children attend school all day by age four. Tro, now eight years old, attends school for the first time. He’s behind his classmates, but he loves it.

And he has a loving teacher. Miss Linh invests extra time in him, helping him catch up. He needs the extra help. He’s never learned the Vietnamese alphabet! But now he’s to the letter E!

Unless We Act

Other cerebral palsy, deaf, cleft lip children and orphans – like Tro – need you. At year’s end, will you invest generously into their lives? Most of us can invest $50, $100 or even $250 into the lives of “the least of these.” Others can invest $500, $1,000 or $5,000 or even more.

Be their hero today! Invest online HERE.

You Made Her Happy!

The Burdens You Lift

The Blessing You Are!

Bao, born with CP, lost his mom four months ago to cancer. And Bao’s dad – well, after his wife’s death, he withdrew from the family. Of necessity, Bao’s elderly grandmother now cares for him alone.

When village elders saw the family’s struggle, they recommended that Bao go to Orphan Voice’s Phu Ninh Therapy Center. Desperate for help, Grandma took Bao, and after evaluation, he was accepted into the therapy program.

Will Bao gain motor functions through therapy in the coming months? Yes. We know that based on 7 years of Center operation. Will he make huge developmental gains? Maybe not. Bao’s CP is severe.

But gains he will surely make! He will also gain self-esteem and self-respect. Grandma’s life is already easier and happier. With the respite help she receives when Bao is in therapy, she has more energy and is better able to give him her best – to provide the needed love and care at home.

Orphan Voice partners – you’re champs! The therapists’ hands laid on Bao are really your hands. You give that exhausted grandmother badly needed respite time, so that she, in turn, has the strength to provide home care. It’s all because of you!

Grandma sure thanks you!

Phu Ninh Therapy Center exists only because of the generosity of you, our partners. Would you sow into Bao’s life and others like him? Can you invest $50, $100, $250, $500 or another amount today? Thank you. They need you! Please sow as generously as you can HERE . Or mail your investment to Orphan Voice, P.O. Box 910410, Lexington, Kentucky 40591.

Building Strong Families

No Orphanage In Their Future!

Cuc’s husband is disabled. A year ago, she needed to provide for her two, school-age daughters with the $1.75 per day that she worked long hours to earn (See August’s Ministry Update). It seemed that there was always “more month than money.” At her most difficult time, she considered placing her beloved daughters in an orphanage, so that they could have better food and go to school.

But God intervened in her life and she didn’t lose her daughters. Instead, God used Orphan Voice’s Building Strong Families program to transform Cuc’s life. Building Strong Families paid for her husband’s medical care. Building Strong Families staff provided mentoring on marriage and child discipline. Then, experts worked with Cuc to create a business plan to expand her small business.

Cuc helped create the plan and then she “worked the plan.” As a result, her business grew dramatically! Her daily income rose from $1.75 to $7.25 per day! The thought of placing her daughters in an orphanage vanished!

Because of God working through you and the local Vietnamese church to encourage and help Cuc, her family is stable!

Thirteen families have completed the Building Strong Families program. With each family, the local church has shared Jesus’ love!

Three of the families dropped out of Building Strong Families, but check out (below) the success of the other ten families!

We are expanding our Building Strong Families program to four other Southeast Asian nations where we will work with local church partners. Working with the local church, our goal is to invest in 100 at-risk families in Nepal, Thailand, India and Laos. The 18 month program for each family will cost $1500. Help us meet our investment goal! To do so, donate HERE. Or mail your investment to Orphan Voice, P.O. Box 910410, Lexington, Kentucky 40591. Thank you!

Phuong Cuts Off The Outer Skin Of The Sugar Cane

Meet Sy

Love Expressed From the Driver’s Seat

For years, Sy drove an 18-wheeler from Danang to Saigon carrying freight. From Danang to Saigon is 700 miles – and it took Sy 20-22 hours of driving on Vietnam’s congested National Road to get there!

Little wonder that Sy wanted a driving job to enable him to be with his family more. He also wanted to use his driving skills for something more meaningful. While he didn’t know it, Orphan Voice was also looking for a driver! Several weeks ago Sy came on staff!

Sy now spends his days transporting special needs children from their homes to Hope Therapy Center and then back home. For some of the children, he carries them from their house to the van, from the van to the Center and back to the van again when their therapy session is over.

As you can see, he loves his job !

Phuong Cuts Off The Outer Skin Of The Sugar Cane

Changing Lanes

From Helpless To Helper

Five years ago, Hau left his poverty-stricken village for the big city. It wasn’t the lure of Saigon’s lights that drew him, but rather the promise of high-paying work. He dreamed to “have something and be somebody.” To accomplish that, he had to leave his village.

A “hit and run” motorbike driver, however, turned Hau’s dreams into a nightmare. As he walked to work one morning in Saigon, the reckless driver struck him from behind – and then sped off. Hau crashed to the asphalt, and couldn’t get up. Indeed, others had to lift him and carry him back to his room. He was not to walk for many months.

After the tragedy, Hau returned to his parents’ home and sank into depression. A neighbor donated a wheelchair which helped a little. Each morning, Hau’s dad pushed him to the yard where he spent the day watching others pass by. He had little hope.

After several months of self-pity, a friend told Hau about the Phu Ninh Therapy Center. The neighbor’s words sparked hope in Hau’s heart! Maybe this was the way!

Hau came to the Center. He proved himself to be faithful and hard-working – and it began to pay off. Gradually, he gained strength, and after several months, he could walk with a walker. He continued to work and gain strength. Finally, two years after his accident, he could walk unassisted again!

Hau has not returned to his pre-accident mobility, and he may never do so. But, recently, something happened that changed his life!

Hau met a new friend. Patrick O’Connor traveled to Phu Ninh Therapy Center as part of The Encouragers Friendship Team to conduct a “Special Olympics” day for the Ph Ninh children. Patrick has his own incredible story, but as you can see, he and Hau became friends.

Can you empathize with Hau for a moment? Imagine the accomplishment he feels at being able to help Patrick – when not so long ago, he couldn’t. If you can imagine it as an Orphan Voice partner, receive blessing! You made it possible!

It might be a cleft-lip child, a cerebral palsy child or a deaf child: can you invest $50, $100, $250, $500 or another amount into their lives today. They have no one else to turn to. To invest in their lives, donate HERE. Or mail your investment to Orphan Voice, P.O. Box 910410, Lexington, Kentucky 40591.

They Came, They Saw, They Loved

The “Encouragers” Friendship Team Leaves A Lasting Mark

They came from all over the United States. Darol, Cheryl, Ben, Brenda, Gerry, Kim, Patrick, Ignace and Troy came to bless. They came to love. Enjoy seeing the team have fun with New Beginnings School for the Deaf and Phu Ninh Therapy Center children!

The Encouragers!

Team Leader Darol and Tho

New Friends: Ben and Tho

Team Leader Cheryl and Tai