You’ve probably heard some version of the phrase, “God’s light shines brightest in the darkest places.” But until you’ve been in some of the truly darkest places on earth, you can’t witness the full power and truth of that statement.
Chase Oaker Rey Diaz has witnessed those dark places, where pure evil reigns on a daily basis. In his years of working on behalf of orphans in impoverished communities, amidst corrupt governments, he has witnessed:
“AIDS orphans who have been held in cages for years before we arrived, young girls abused by family members their whole lives who are now mothers at age 12, babies who have been thrown away in a latrine, special needs children left at the hospital, families whose children have died due to unclean water, children who are being recruited to violent gangs in elementary school, and on and on.”
Rey and his wife started out pastoring a church they planted in a “garbage dump community” of Honduras. They helped build a school and also partnered with a group called Orphan Outreach, who “helped [them] navigate many of the challenges [they] faced working in an impoverished community with a corrupt government and managing growth and best practice.”
Rey then moved into missionary work with the organization, and for the past three-and-a-half years, he has served as its executive director.
What is Orphan Outreach?
Orphan Outreach believes that, despite this world’s darkness, God is still the Light of the world. In fact, their vision statement is “Shine Brightest Where the World Is Darkest.”
Describing what he has witnessed while working with Orphan Outreach, Rey said, “It has been so inspiring to see God’s light invade these dark places with His love, grace, forgiveness, redemption, and so much more. So, I’m full of hope that God is sending churches and Christians all around the world to be beacons of light that point to Him. We have seen God do the unexplainable all around the world when people are faithful to His call.”
All around the world? Just how big is the reach of Orphan Outreach? Currently, they work in Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nepal, Kenya, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, and the U.S. serving more than 4,500 children annually. Their orphan care services provide homes, family preservation, foster care, adoption funding, and education. As they develop and support programs that prepare children for a fulfilling, independent Christian life in their community, their focus is on empowering nationals to use best practices in their care of children at-risk.
How is Orphan Outreach Making a Difference?
Orphan Outreach effectively mobilizes churches and individuals to respond to God’s heart for the orphan and the vulnerable.
On the outside of the city of La Paz in Honduras, there is an impoverished community composed of squatters. The children are malnourished, not going to school, subject to gang violence, and facing broken families. Orphan Outreach has partnered with local pastors and leaders to serve these children and their families.
What started as an afterschool program for the most at-risk children in Grades 2-3 is turning into a community-wide outreach center that will include an early childhood intervention program for children ages 3-5 years, services for at-risk children in Grades 1-5, and a school-wide spiritual program in the public school.
Describing how they are transforming this community, Rey said, “We have a feeding program. We are developing a local church mentorship program for the older children. We have drawn a circle around 350 children plus their families to serve and make a real difference. We are developing a model that is being reproduced not just within Honduras but in several different countries. We have already seen major transformation occur and expect for only more to happen as we dive deeper into the community with Chase Oaks.”
Orphan Outreach has also recently launched a foster care initiative in Honduras. Currently, the only choice for orphan care is residential orphanages, which are usually large and mismanaged. Orphan Outreach has successfully developed foster care before in countries where it didn’t exist (Russia, Kenya, and Latvia), so they approached the government of Honduras about developing a foster care program. They have agreed, and training is under way to begin a pilot program in two major cities.
“With the foster care initiative, our prayer is that we can lay the ground work for an alternative type of care that will put more children in families, which will help with their physical and emotional development. Our pilot program will serve 20-25 children, but we hope to train hundreds of groups and organizations that will then impact thousands of children in Honduras.”
How Can We Support Orphan Outreach?
This summer, individual Chase Oakers can partner with Orphan Outreach for the first time through a mission trip on June 16-22, in the Honduras city of La Paz. This is a great opportunity for us to bring God’s light to a dark place for children and their families.
Though this first mission trip will be small, with Rey aiming for 10 people to help, he hopes it’s the first of many. I’m sure you’re looking forward to seeing how much of a difference Chase Oakers can make in the lives of these children in this vulnerable area!
In Rey’s current role, he gets to do a little bit of everything. But he says his favorite part is sharing with groups around the U.S. about “the incredible work we get to be a part of and all the miracles we are experiencing as we follow God in this journey. We get to work close to some true saints that have sacrificed everything for God and His children, so it’s an honor to partner with them and share their stories.”
If you’d like to know more about this outreach or the summer mission trip opportunity, contact Rey Diaz at .
Partnering with Orphan Outreach is one way to show love in unexpected ways and places throughout the world. For more ways to show love in surprising ways, visit #LoveDoesTheUnexpected and be a light in our world today!