Local Ministry Celebrates 20 Years

By Lisa Best, M.Ed., LCMHC

How do you write an article that sums up 20 years of ministry? It seemed impossible, so I did what I normally do when I do not know what I am doing…I procrastinated! Finally, with only a few days to complete the task I decided to start by choosing the photos I would submit, assuming I ever even finished the article. That too became a struggle as I went down memory lane, but over and over I came back to one word…Relationships. 

In 2003, a group of friends joined my family in starting a non-profit that we called “Caroline’s Promise.” Caroline was born in Guatemala that summer and, after a 3 year long adoption process, she joined our family on December 1st. The day that we left to get her was the day I put the non-profit paperwork in the mail. I often think of that group of friends who gave their money, time, and lots of volunteer hours to see this little dream become a reality. The ministry would not exist without their willingness to jump on board.

Initially, one of our main goals was to give $3000 grants to adoptive families in North Carolina. Most of these folks, like the Mullis family from Kernersville, had exhausted all their financial resources and the grant they received was the last bit they needed to bring their child home. For the next ten years we built relationships with families in the adoption process, helping them make their dream of adoption a reality. Caroline’s Promise eventually transitioned from giving grants, but we still treasure that we were a part of those families coming together.

Relationship building continued as we partnered with individuals, churches, and ministries in Guyana and Guatemala. As they worked to meet the needs of vulnerable children and families, we found ways to support them that brought dignity and empowerment instead of handouts. 

That transformation continued in the volunteers who served with us. In the last 20 years we have taken hundreds of people on short term trips that have often been life changing. In Guyana, we helped to build the first home for orphans who were HIV positive. In that process one of our team members found her calling as a full time missionary and still serves there today. I was once asked why we do not just stay home and send the money; would that not accomplish more? I guess by our North American standards that may be true, but I once asked a group of Guatemalan friends if they would rather us send the money and they replied, “We want you. Not your money.” Many of our team members return year after year which allows them to develop relationships that produce growth in everyone. These relationships are mutually beneficial. 

In Guatemala, our teams have conducted medical and dental clinics, teacher training, retreats with men and women, camps for kids and teens, sewing programs, welding scholarships, sports clinics, small business training, and water filters programs. Through every activity, relationships were built, and people learned that they were loved and had value, whether they were team members or Guatemalan nationals. 

It took more than people going on short term trips to make Caroline’s Promise function. People at home, mostly from the Triad area of North Carolina, gave monthly, served on the board, sponsored kids through our child sponsorship program, volunteered, and supported our projects through donations. 

When I look back over the last 20 years all I can see are relationships. Young adults who were once in our child sponsorship program and are now leaders in their community, children who found their forever family through adoption, volunteers whose view of the world changed because they went on a trip, and entire families who learned their value and were empowered to live healthy lives–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And when I think of those relationships, I see friends. My life has surely been enriched. 

As we celebrate 20 years, I can hardly believe all that has been accomplished through Caroline’s Promise and I look forward to all that is ahead. I am forever grateful to the people who believed in the dream and continue to support the work! To learn more about Caroline’s Promise and how you can get involved, visit www.CarolinesPromise.net or call 336.638.1484.

One comment on “Local Ministry Celebrates 20 Years

  1. Abby Hambright

    I love all Caroline’s promise has done for me and in my life. I wouldn’t be the same person without the experiences on the mission field and time invested in the cp crew. I love you Lisa and fam 🙂

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