Each of our children and every family has their own story to tell, but they all have one thing in common...a past marked with poverty, adversity, and despair. Arms of Love turns heartbreak into hope, by providing a safe, secure, and healing place where children can thrive.
street children exist in the world today
Children living at Arms of Love have been separated from their parents or relatives due to death, abandonment, abuse, or severe neglect. We wish the tragic stories written below were not real, but they are. Thankfully, the story does not end here. Because of a network of caring and committed people around the world partnering with Arms of Love, each of these kids has been invited into our home, welcomed into a family, and given a real opportunity at a future.
A young boy forced to beg on the streets since he was two years old, and beaten by his mother if he failed to meet his quota.
A pre-teen, raped and made pregnant by her father, who contracted two venereal diseases.
167,000 youth live and work on the streets of Nicaragua. (Foundation for Sustainable Development)
A malnourished girl so bloated from starvation, that our doctor administered a pregnancy test.
Several young brothers thrown in jail, because they had been caught stealing food for their younger abandoned siblings.
The Philippines is ranked 4th among nations with the greatest number of prostituted children.
A boy whose father was murdered, was then abandoned by his mother, and spent years begging on the streets just trying to eat.
A girl thrown away in a garbage can by her mother when she was only eight days old.
8,000 children die every day from hunger and malnutrition.
On the night of July 16, 2006, the police picked up a little four-year-old girl in the streets, whose name was Estrellita (“Little Star”). After an investigation, the local social welfare department determined that Estrellita had no relatives who were able to care for her, and she was brought to our home in Nicaragua.
On her first day at Arms of Love, a local doctor began medical treatment. Her new house parents found her to have a robust appetite and a visible hunger for affection
She immediately started “collecting” the other girl’s dolls and toys to play with, and slowly began to interact with her new siblings. Before long, Estrellita began calling her new house parents “mom” and “dad,” and a month later she was enrolled in preschool.
Today, Estrella is a beautiful, intelligent, and caring adolescent. She loves school, creatively engages with her Arms of Love siblings, and is quick to help her house mom.
WHEN A NEW CHILD FIRST COMES INTO OUR ARMS OF LOVE FAMILY...
Their most critical need is to feel safe, secure, and protected. Over time, as they receive the love that they have long been lacking, they begin to open up emotionally, and the wounds of their past begin to heal. With the support of their new house parents, along with our teachers, social workers, and psychologists, they are soon enrolled in school. Though they are often far behind in their education – and sometimes illiterate – we provide the tutoring and assistance that they need to accelerate in school and catch up to their peers. Some of our children have achieved the best grades in their classes – and one girl was even voted homecoming queen!
Arms of Love understands “home” to mean a protected, loving, and encouraging environment in which to grow physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The fruit of our ministry is visible in the faces of our children.
Learn more about the families that live in our homes, and the future we are working towards for our children.
When children come to Arms of Love, we aren’t just putting a roof over their heads...we are welcoming them into our family. The following are just a couple of stories of family life at an Arms of Love home:
On a summer day one of our boys lost sight in his eye due to an injury, and we learned that he needed a corneal transplant to restore vision to the eye. On the day of the operation, our sweet boy said he wasn’t scared, but you could sense the uncertainty in him. His house father spent the night with him at the hospital. When his bandages came off a few days later, the doctors were astounded that he was able to see almost perfectly.
One autumn, the biological father of several siblings at an Arms of Love home suffered a sudden stroke and passed away. All the children and staff attended the funeral, and one of the children’s houseparents conducted the memorial service along with the pastor from their local Vineyard church. The Arms of Love staff even gave financial assistance to the surviving relatives, out of their own personal income.
These stories aren’t unusual. They are part of the rhythm of family life at our homes in Nicaragua and the Philippines. Ask any child what has made the biggest difference in his or her life, and nearly every one says the same thing - the love they have experienced as a part of our family.
For every child at Arms of Love, we are the family they depend on. As family, we go beyond the provision of basic need, or financial support: Arms of Love seeks to bless these precious kids with birthday celebrations, the best education, routine and emergency healthcare, and extracurricular activities in much the same way we would for our own biological children.
All of our staff are hired from the local community, so the children’s new family completely reflects their native culture and values. And with one staff person for every 2-3 children, we create a fabric of relationship that is essential for our children to heal from their past. People are often surprised that we provide such a high standard of care for our children. The reasons are simple: we are family, and we are called to it.
As in any family, we want our children to succeed in life, and to be able to support themselves and their own healthy families. Arms of Love is working for our children’s future by providing them the best education that we can.
Their dreams are as diverse as their personalities and their back-grounds: we will do all we can to prepare our children for adulthood and to help them realize their fullest potential.
For those who want to continue their education, our Independent Living Program grants scholarships to many of the graduates of our children’s homes and provides for a portion of their needs while they attend a local university or trade school and begin to support themselves.
Arms of Love recognizes that “success” has many measures, and not every child has the desire or abilities to pursue higher education. Success is not measured by their future incomes or careers, but by their character and the joy they carry with them.
We hope above all that our children pass on the gift of love and care that they have received from their Arms of Love family. Love always hopes, and hope does not disappoint.
“When you put faith, hope and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world.”