When I was a little girl of only nine, I learned what it means to be an orphan. From then to sixteen, I prayed each night for God to make it possible for me to work in an orphanage someday. At some point, I forgot about that prayer; however, God did not forget.
In 1985, my husband and I lived in High Springs, Florida. One evening, we were watching the show World Relief, and they were featuring Honduras. As the cameraman panned out, we could see a tiny baby lying on the steps of the capital. Crying and malnourished to the point his abdomen was swollen and extended, the people there seemed to be unmoved. They walked over this child like he did not exist.
So torn up by this, my husband turned to me and said, “We are to go to Honduras.” I asked him, “When?” He said he wasn’t sure, but we would wait for God to let us know.
My father-in-law had also become quite ill then. We rushed to visit him, and he said to Denny, “Son, you’ve been talking about going on the mission field. If you are waiting on my blessing, go. It’s time for you to go.” He told us he was feeling fine and we should go home. Early that next morning, we got the call that he was struggling, and he sadly passed before we could reach him to say goodbye.
When we finally felt the nudge to go to Honduras, we reserved a room at the Hotel Sula in San Pedro. Denny said he could not wait to take me to Central Park, so without even eating, we traveled by foot to the nearby park. As I sat by the fountain listening to the local evangelist, I noticed three emaciated little girls coming into the center wearing dirty, ragged clothing. The oldest girl sat down on the ground and spread out her skirt, gently placing a baby there to rest. The child was so sick she vomited, and you could see the life draining from her. I felt helpless, as I didn’t know anyone there yet and we had little to no rights.
Tears streamed down my face as I watched these children struggling. We knew how common it was for children to be sold into sexual slavery in this area. We had already heard many violent stories. At that moment, I could feel God telling me this was our mission. He spoke directly to my heart saying, “Nora, this is why you are here, to take care of my children.”
In October of 1992, we officially opened The Caribbean Christian Orphanage. We stayed 15 years and helped over 150 girls during our time there, even adopting the very first girl who came to live with us. Many of the girls we helped were also adopted by other families and went on to lead much better lives.
What stood out to me the most from this experience are two scriptures. One was Luke 9:62: “Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” The other was John 4:35: “Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” Those two verses gave me the most courage because I knew that if I did God’s will, there was nothing to fear.