Guatemala (MNN) — In 2009, a group of mothers and daughters traveled to Guatemala for what they thought would be a week of serving the poor. That single short-term mission trip changed the lives of each person on the trip – and the lives of hundreds of others in the United States and around the world.
Tiffany Taylor Wines, Director of Marketing for Orphan Outreach, says a single question was the catalyst in that change.
“When we returned, our daughters asked, ‘What are we going to do now? How are we going to help the kids we saw?’”
Women for Orphans Worldwide (WOW), an auxiliary organization, was created to help Orphan Outreach’s ministry efforts through both volunteer and financial support.
Enthusiasm around the concept was high; in fact, the first WOW chapter was launched within months after the mission trip that sparked the idea.
“The WOW chapters have been focused on helping Orphan Outreach make a difference in the countries they’re serving,” shares Wines.
“Most chapters meet either monthly or quarterly to come together, pray for the country they’ve selected, and find out about the needs of that country. We have WOW chapters that usually go on a mission trip every year to invest continued time with the children they serve, and that’s very powerful because the kids in the orphanages know these people care about them – they’re coming back year after year, they’re invested in making a long-term difference in the lives of those children.
“The financial support is important, but it’s the spiritual support of being matched with projects in the countries we serve and being able to make a deep, long-term difference in those areas that is at the heart of WOW.”
While Women for Orphans Worldwide began its efforts supporting ministry work in Guatemala, chapters now also help in India, Kenya, and Honduras.
“We’re still looking for chapters to help with Latvia and Russia, and we can always have chapters helping in multiple countries and more than one chapter supporting a specific country because the needs are overwhelming in these countries. We’re looking for people who are excited about a way to get together with like-minded people in their community to support orphans.”
Wines says WOW chapters provide a unique opportunity for communities to work together in living out God’s calling to serve orphans.
“Most of the WOW chapters members represent lots of different churches, lots of different schools the children attend – and they all come together to make a difference for one country.”
In addition to more traditional fundraising activities, WOW chapters often raise support for the children by collecting supplies.
“We’ll have chapters collecting backpacks, school supplies, undies for orphans – things that are urgently needed. It’s a way these chapters can get together to let other people know about the needs of orphans, and to help raise support – financial support but also prayer support,” Wines continues.
WOW chapters have done dramatic things to change the lives of children. In addition to raising urgently needed funds to provide children with quality education, chapters have also created libraries and computer labs in several different locations throughout the world.
And most recently a WOW chapter designed and equipped a crisis relief room in the town of Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Wines explains, “There is a community outreach to people living in the town, and they were able to set up a complete room with clothing, diapers, medicines – all the supplies to really make a dramatic impact in the lives of these families living in extreme poverty.”
While the name Women for Orphans Worldwide was created based on women and their daughters who attended the initial mission trip in 2009, Wines says the current chapters look quite different.
“We have families, and men, and young boys of all ages [who] have gotten involved with WOW. Sometimes we joke that it could also stand for WORKING for Orphans Worldwide, because that’s what we’re all doing together – working to make a difference.”
Visiting the website is one way to learn more about WOW, but Wines believes there’s an even more powerful way to find out about the organization and its work.
“We would really encourage people considering a WOW chapter to come with us! We have a great trip already planned this fall. It will be to Honduras to see what Orphan Outreach is doing and to learn a little bit more about WOW at the same time.”
The Honduras trip takes place October 15-22, and details may be found on the ministry’s website. The deadline for registration is July 20.
Wines says one thing that makes WOW so unique is the simplicity of starting a chapter. “There are no costs associated with starting a chapter, and if you want to raise money for a particular country through your WOW chapter, 100% of those funds you raise come to Orphan Outreach and go to that country. We don’t take any percent from the money you’re raising for the orphans [who] Orphan Outreach supports.
“I want to encourage people who have tried to think about what they can do to make a difference in the world — that whatever they do, they can make a huge impact,” reflects Wines.
“Starting a WOW chapter is a very tangible way of joining together with like-minded Christians to really make a difference to those who are so close to God’s heart – the most vulnerable, the children who are living in extreme poverty, children who are orphaned and have no one to love.”
Learn more about Women for Orphans Worldwide and start a chapter by visiting their website. And join Orphan Outreach in praying for and serving orphans and vulnerable children in countries around the world.