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  • Writer's pictureRich and Cherry Smith

How it all Began…a little bit of Our Story

Updated: May 31

Sometimes it's important to go back to the beginning.

Every family has their own story. We are loving watching how God has been writing ours!

Here's the short, most concise answer we can give in this small space. But if you want to grab coffee sometime and hear story upon story of God's grace and guidance in our family's story...we've got a book's worth to share!

But here is the quick version...

We, Rich and Cherry, got married in 1987 and became the parents of two beautiful daughters. For 30 years we lived and worked in different parts of the US. Throughout these years we also worked and served with high school students and young adults/university students (through our local church and high school) for more than 15 years of our married life.

In 2017, at God's leading, Rich left his 30 year career in finance and Cherry left her job at a Christian high school and we moved to Guatemala to serve as full time missionaries. Leaving behind family and everything familiar was tough! This even includes what we imagined was likely the end of our work in youth ministry. Little did we know that God still had a plan for us to continue working with young adults.

So we sold or gave away everything, moved to Antigua, rented an apartment, began language school to learn Spanish, got involved in a local church and began the giant journey of starting a whole new life in a new culture!

In 2018, as we began working in various avenues of serving around the country of Guatemala, we met a young man named Edwin.

It quickly became obvious the sovereign plan that God had for us in meeting this young man who would impact our lives in ways we never imagined. We talked with our daughters and as a family we made the to decision to ask Edwin (age 21 at that time) if we could adopt him. Edwin said yes and became our Son!

As we follow God in steps of faith and obedience, we can never even begin to imagine the plans and adventures He has in store for us! God grew us into a family that started with two daughters, and now we have a son and a son in law and granddaughter! We couldn't be happier about it!

Edwin had grown up in a Guatemalan orphanage since the age of 5. At age 18, he aged out of the orphanage, ill-prepared for the world that awaited him. Through him and his stories, we have become keenly aware of the trauma and difficulties that await orphans when they mandatorily age-out of systems of protection. Read Edwin’s story

Several of his childhood friends have already met untimely deaths through alcoholism, violence, accidents, etc.

Since the age of 14, Edwin dreamed of building a transition program and home for young adults who have aged out of orphanages and/or refuges, providing a place of safety, spiritual mentoring, and occupational or educational training.

Los de Atras Vienen Conmigo was the message God put in Edwin’s heart that would become his purpose, his life mission. This is now the name of the program that will be implemented at the Casa de Gracia transition home and campus. It is also the name of our Guatemalan not for profit. The amazing thing is that this is more than just a name, it’s a message!

It is roughly translated ;

“those behind, I bring them with me.” They are not alone, not forgotten and not left behind. They are loved and created with a purpose by God!

Scripture instructs us in Isaiah 1:17,

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless...”

We can no longer look past the many places in scripture where God speaks this message to us. This is His heart, to be a Father to the Fatherless, and He calls all of us to step into this in some way. Not everyone will adopt or foster but maybe we can mentor or support a foster or adoptive family in some way. Not everyone can run an orphanage or build a transition home but maybe you can help those who are...financially, by prayer, by donating time and talent.

This is a little bit of our story and our mission. We are just one small family with our own story of rescue and redemption within the Great Story God has been writing since the beginning of time.

What’s your story?

May God weave all of our stories together into one for His glory and the good of those around us!

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