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Laying Up Grass

Nuong And Her Friend

Laying Up Grass

Nuong, from a poverty-stricken mountain family, was born deaf; her life has been hard. Her mom, fearing that men would molest her, kept the 23 year old close by her side from her childhood days. Before this year, Nuong had only spent one night away from home.

Nuong’s mentally ill dad, for different reasons, also forbade his daughter from leaving the house. The “stay at home” rule was iron-clad.

As a result, Nuong has spent most of her life looking after the family’s two cows and doing other household chores. On a normal day, she walked the cows to pasture – making sure that they didn’t get into anyone’s crops – and cut grass for them to eat when pasture was not available. In a sense, the family cows became her best friends.

A few weeks ago, Nuong’s mom travelled to a Phu Ninh village bank to borrow money. While there, she met an Orphan Voice staff person and told her about Nuong. The staff person referred the family to New Beginnings School for the Deaf.

When Nuong learned about the school, her heart leapt. She sensed that this was her path to happiness. Thinking ahead and to remove reasons for her dad to say “no” to New Beginnings, she cut six large bags of grass to “do the cows” for a few days (the bags are about 3 ft. tall and 1.5 feet in diameter). She didn’t want anything to stand in her way!

Today Nuong is in school! Because her village home is over an hour away by motorbike, she lives with an Orphan Voice worker during the week. The Orphan Voice worker takes Nuong to New Beginnings each day.

If ever a child gained a “new beginning,” Nuong has!

You can be sure that your gift to Orphan Voice is changing lives. Every gift matters, and it matters eternally. Bless “the least of these” today! To do so, donate HERE.

Nuong at New Beginnings School for the Deaf, With Her Teacher, Hanh.

You can be sure that your gift to Orphan Voice is changing lives. Every gift matters, and it matters eternally. Bless “the least of these” today! To do so, donate HERE.

Thanks to James and Betty Robison and Life Outreach International for this van! It will transport special needs children to Hope Therapy Center. Without it, most of them wouldn’t receive therapy because they live too far away.

Promise House Group Home children love it too – as you can see!

Full Circle: From An Orphanage To An Orphanage

When our family moved to Vietnam ten years ago, this thought came to me (Tony): “Later some of the girls will come on a Friendship Team (the A Helping Hand girls).”

When I told Cindy about it, we knew that part of our job was to make preparations for the “A Helping Hand girls.”

All Hands On Deck! If you’re an A Helping Hand family looking for a family ministry experience in 2019, you’ve found it! Or if you’re one of those beautiful girls who we knew when you were young, now is your time. Let’s make it full circle. From an orphanage to an orphanage! Come, bless “the least of these,” and experience great things in your God.

We’ve made preparations.

We’re planning for June 2019. Activities include: 1) painting murals; 2) conducting a sports camp; 3) painting classrooms; 4) games and crafts with Promise House children; and 5) possibly medical and dental outreaches. For a 12-14 day ministry experience (including travel days), one person’s cost for food and hotel will be roughly $500 (plus the air ticket). We’ll make all the arrangements and have plenty of translators. With a year’s notice, the money can be raised!

Contact don.secrest@orphanvoice.org to let us know that you’re interested.

Time and Eternity

Hope Therapy Center

The Need

Hieu is six and he’s usually sick with lung inflammation and coughing. He can’t crawl or turn over. He’s never had therapeutic help and mostly just lies on his mat all day. His elderly grandmother looks after him during the day while his parents work.

The Answer

Occupational Therapist, Caroline Mrowiec, prayerfully interviewed Hieu and his family last week. The good news is that Hieu is accepted into Hope Therapy Center’s program! He’ll start this month. Please pray for him!

Caroline will be ministering to other children at Hope Therapy Center. Some will be like Hieu and others will have less severe needs. 

To support Orphan Voice’s newest outreach to special needs children, sow your gift HERE.

A Dream

When the Brewer family moved to Vietnam ten years ago, this thought came to me (Tony): “Later some of the girls will come on a Friendship Team (the A Helping Hand girls). We’ll get ready for them.”

All Hands On Deck! If you’re an A Helping Hand family looking for a family ministry experience in 2019, you’ve found it! Or if you’re one of those beautiful Chinese girls that we knew when you were young, now is your time. Come, bless “the least of these,” and experience great things.  Let’s do it. We’ve made preparations.

Email Don Secrest to learn more: don.secrest@orphanvoice.org

Orphanages In Our Lives

Cindy and I lived in the Washington, D.C. area in 1992, and I had just “hung out a shingle” to practice law when a young couple came to my office with a question: “Will you help us adopt a child from China?”

Over the next sixteen years, answering that question not only led to that couple adding to their family, but also Cindy and I adopting five beautiful daughters. It also gave us the privilege of helping over 1,000 couples give homes to needy children who formerly lived in developing country orphanages. After visiting a few of those orphanages early on, we determined to empty as many of them as we could.

Answering that question eventually led to the founding of Orphan Voice and our move to Asia.

With that background, when Cindy and I moved to Vietnam, our purpose in coming was a fuzzy idea of “orphan care.”  So, when Vietnamese officials asked us to operate a struggling orphanage, we took on the job. Promise House Group Home still operates for selected children – with your help.

But our thinking about orphan care best practices changed over time. Gradually, it became clear that even a “good orphanage,” except in certain cases, wasn’t good at all. Our earlier idea to empty orphanages in developing countries had been the right one!

With expertise provided by Orphan’s Promise in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we determined to help families in crisis before they felt pressured to turn to an orphanage for help. Thus, our Keeping Families Together (KFT) program was born.

Meet Vinh’s Family

Vinh and his wife, Hanh, always fought. Vinh cut his wife off emotionally, and when he did talk to her, it was usually in anger. Chronically sick and unable to hold a regular job, Vinh couldn’t earn the money that his family needed. That added anger and frustration to both their lives.

The children suffered too. They were sometimes hungry. Their oldest son dropped out of school. The girls did poorly in school and did not have tutors (the normal practice), because the family could not afford tutors.  At one point, Vinh and Hanh decided to place their daughters in an orphanage.

But village leaders knew of Orphan Voice’s Keeping Families Together program and recommended the family to it. With some reluctance, Vinh and Hanh applied and were accepted.

Orphan Voice Christian workers began to visit, counsel and encourage Vinh and Hanh. They got to know the couple well and Vinh and Hanh shared their deepest feelings. Over several months, the workers shared practical ways for Vinh and Hanh to love one another, to develop a better marriage and to become better parents.

KFT paid for Vinh to go to the hospital. While still not 100%, he’s better today. KFT also helped Vinh and Hanh make more money. The couple knew how to raise chickens, geese and pigs. Building on those skills, the KFT program purchased a pregnant “seed-sow” as well as “seed-ducks and chickens.”  Vinh and Hanh were faithful in their care for the animals and soon pigs, chickens and ducks were everywhere!  The family ate some, sold some for cash, but still the numbers grew.

With a KFT-provided electric bicycle, Vinh’s 17-year-old son could reach a swampy area several kilometers away and collect snails to sell. In this way, he made 250,000 Vietnam dong ($11) per day for the family – an unheard of amount. In short, the family has prospered as never before.

Through the ministry of Orphan Voice Vinh, Hanh and their children’s lives have changed. Vinh and Hanh smile and laugh more often. Their children are happier. The girls have tutors. Food is always on the table.

Best of all? The idea of sending their two beautiful daughters to an orphanage is gone forever!

Orphan Voice reaches families like Vinh and Hanh’s only because of you. Your gift changes lives. Will you help us today? To sow love and hope into the lives of needy families, donate HERE.

Binh’s Miracle

From health as an infant, to near death as a nine-year-old, and back to health again through love and therapy, Binh has experienced a miracle. Watch and rejoice with him!

Special needs children are special. Help us minister to them today by investing in their lives HERE.

Answer to Nuong’s Request

New Beginnings School for the Deaf serves deaf children in the Vietnamese countryside who would not otherwise attend school. So instead of growing up unable to sign, read, or compute basic math, New Beginnings children learn skills to enable them to function in life. It’s truly their “new beginning.”

Nuong is our most recently admitted student. Unusually, she’s older than the others. In fact, she’s in her 20s. How did she come to attend?

We’ll tell you in our next newsletter in an article called: “Laying Up Grass.”  You won’t want to miss it!  For now, though…

Intense desire drove her!  In short, Noung  implored the teacher to be allowed to attend. In the face of such importunity, she was admitted.

New Beginnings School for the Deaf is a small school, in a small place, serving a small group of children.  In the world’s estimation, it holds out small expectations. But for 10 deaf children, New Beginnings is the most important place in the world. For them, it unlocks a future that is good and exciting.

“I know the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil to give you a future and a hope.”

These guys are worth it!  There’s room for you to help change their lives.  To sow your investment today, donate HERE.


Hope Therapy Center

She’s here and we’re excited! Caroline Mrowiec, lead therapist for Orphan Voice’s soon-to-open Hope Therapy Center, arrived in Danang February 17th. She’s anxious to get started.

Caroline comes to us from Illinois by way of Texas. She’s a licensed occupational therapist who will minister to ‘the least of these’ in Dien Ban District for two years. A committed Christian, Caroline loves children and is eager to put her training and skills into practice to change lives.

While she’s purchasing therapy equipment, learning to ride a motorbike in Danang’s crazy traffic, and absorbing the sites and sounds of Danang, construction workers are busy renovating the Hope Therapy Center building.

Hope Therapy Center is not fully funded. Can you help us finish renovations so that we can begin to receive children? Hope’s doors open April 1st. To invest your support, donate HERE.

Special Needs Children Therapy Is Needed

Our burden for countryside special needs children is great, because first, without our intervention, they won’t get better, and second, a little therapy and encouragement make a big difference.

Watch Truc walk on her own (click above). There was a time in her life when she couldn’t walk. It is for children like Truc that Caroline Mroweic came to Vietnam.

And you have a part to play.  To change a life today, donate HERE.

“I Am Loved!”

Orphan Voice staff member, Daisy Tran, recently hosted anti-trafficking seminars for 1900 elementary and junior-high school children. City and District educators prize Orphan Voice’s More Precious Than Gold and Good-Touch, Bad-Touch seminars. Why? Because it is a powerful tool to help them reach their goals. They intend to stop child trafficking in Danang. We are proud to work with them in doing so.

Hear this child’s testimony after hearing Daisy: “I am loved, I am valuable and I am more precious than gold!”

And so she is!  Through these seminars God is helping the young understand how to protect themselves. He is also planting into their hearts that “they are more precious than gold.”  One day, they will hear the name of Jesus – about His love for them – and they will understand fully why they are “more precious than gold.”

Your gifts, which propel our anti-trafficking seminars forward then, are protective of the children and they also act as a pre-evangelism tool – to go before the face of the Lord prepare His way. You’re doing a lot!

So that more children to know that they are “more precious than gold,” donate HERE.

Promise House Testimonies

“Family” was the counseling focus for Promise House children during 2017. Recently, several children wrote their thoughts about family. A child whose rural orphanage closed and who recently came to Promise House wrote:

“Promise House is a place for poor children and orphans. I’m lucky to be here. We’re all different ages and difficult circumstances brought us here, but we all look to a bright future. We tell each other that this is the warmest, happiest family in the world!

Some school mates have made fun of us because we are orphans, but I don’t feel ashamed or hurt because we have mothers. Our mothers are not our birthmothers but they teach us and help us. Sometimes I dream that they are my real mother. I also have 20 brothers and sisters who love, care and help me. I used to think that I was an unlucky girl, but when I came here, that thought disappeared.”

Your ministry to children through Orphan Voice’s various orphan outreaches changes lives! You’re the key! To enable us to reach more of “the least of these,” sow your support HERE.

Children Celebrate Their “Moms” On International Women’s Day

Promise House children expressed love for their “mothers” on International Women’s Day.  Some of the older girls cooked a special meal to celebrate (above) and all wrote a letter their “moms.”

Partial Translation: “We would like to send our mothers a message today.

These are sincere words which we would like to send to you. You play a very important role in our growth. You always remind us of many daily things from washing to learning. You remind us of little things too. You are always there to share happiness and sorrow with us.

We know that you love us like your own children. You always encourage, comfort and love us. Even though we are not your own children we consider you to be our real mothers. We love you!”

To reach ‘the least of these’ through Orphan Voice’s orphan outreaches, donate HERE.