Are you the parents Manuel* is waiting for?

From my time in Paraguay – Capturing Grace for Paraguay Protects Families. 

From our time in Asunción Paraguay at Hogar Jardín de Esperanza (Garden of Hope Children’s Home), a ministry devoted to caring for children living as orphans, infected or affected by HIV, and helping find forever loving families for them. Manuel’s* face is blurred to protect his identity. *His name is fictitious.

Manuel*, a sweet twelve year old boy, waits.

Manuel, an athlete and soccer fan, waits.

Manuel, a dog lover and chess player, waits.

Manuel loves to play soccer and one day aspires to be a professional soccer player. Mateo also enjoys watching television and playing chess with friends.

Manuel aspires to have a big house one day, with a soccer field adorning the backyard.  

Manuel dreams of one day inviting his  friends over to play soccer, with a dog right by his side.

Manuel dreams of one day having a forever mom and dad. And of course a dog.

Manuel dreams of having his own space, to grow and learn. 

Manuel is waiting for the day he is no longer a number in a home with countless other children, but the day he has a house to come home to and a mom and dad who are his  to love forever.

Manuel is waiting for his own family. He is waiting for the day his diagnosis isn’t the primary factor that determines where he lives. He is waiting for the day he can fully embrace a forever loving family, not still warming a bed among many other orphans.

Manuel resides at the Hogar Garden of Hope home, where Luz (children’s home coordinator) loves many kids as best as she can. She cares for the immediate needs of 14 children while also seeking forever loving families for each child.

Grateful for a new law in 2020, Luz enthusiastically shared that Manuel is ready to be adopted. Noelia, the professional from the Adoption Center, visits him regularly at the Children’s Home, to prepare him for this waiting time, while they search for the best family for him.

Just as Christ loves Manuel and created him perfectly in His image, Luz and the Garden of Hope children’s home is trusting there is a mom and dad ready to love Manuel like their own. They wait for the mom and dad who are praying for a son like Manuel.

Manuel is ready for his forever family.

Paraguay Protects Families (PPF) is part of a worldwide movement to help beautiful children like Manuel to find and belong in families. Anja, of the PPF coordination team, shares their country-wide vision for children like Manuel, “to grow in a safe and loving family, that they may achieve their God-given purpose, and that the entire nation may know the Heavenly Father through His Church in action for these.”

Will you partner with us? Will you help children like Manuel to find a forever loving family?

Miguel, a sweet twelve year old boy, waits.

Miguel, an athlete and soccer fan, waits.

Miguel, a dog lover and chess player, waits.

Are you the mother and father Manuel* is waiting for?


As the founder of Capturing Grace, my passion is to provide photographs and stories to ministries that are making a difference in a global orphan crisis that exceeds 150 million children worldwide. My heart beats for helping ministries share their story of “changing lives in Jesus name.” 

Last year I accepted one of the most challenging assignments since starting Capturing Grace 8 years ago. 

For years I have longed to tell the story of the work that Anja Goertzen, her husband René Gaona and other incredible local leaders in Paraguay are doing, to help children, youth and vulnerable families, through their ministry of Paraguay Protects Families (PPF) movement. PPF is a national network of churches and organizations, connected with the global movement of World Without Orphans.

I am so grateful for the ringside seat that God provided my Capturing Grace team member Mallory Jones and I last August in Paraguay. Together we conducted over 30 interviews, creating stories that will assist Anja’s ministry communicate the life-changing impact of PPF. 

Collectively, the ten stories I will be sharing on my Capturing Grace blog will provide a glimpse into a much bigger story that only God could write. Speaking into the life and heart of 10 year old Anja over twenty years ago, God created a spark that has evolved into a fire for orphan advocacy, a passion that has only grown stronger through the work of Paraguay Protects Families.

The stories I will be featuring on my blog over the next two weeks were written from interviews that were broad in scope, taken from our time at an orphanage where God has illuminated a vision for a better way, to a center that works tirelessly to find homes for orphans with Aids. Mallory and I sat in the home of a successful politician who has bravely fostered children into forever loving families, and then, the sweet family who resisted the darkness that sought to envelope them from the earthly loss of their first foster child into a motivation to change the lives of 14 children that have experienced a love that heals in their home. 

At the core of each story was the impossible made possible, it is my hope that these stories will inspire others to step out of their comfort zone and respond to the call of helping children and vulnerable families who are in need. 

I would like to thank Capturing Grace team members Mallory Jones, Vlad Shelashskiy, Emma Lown and Dasha Shastun for making these stories possible through their work of interviewing, transcribing, writing and social media. I am so grateful to work beside them. 

These photographs represent moments from Paraguay that I will always be grateful for.

To learn more about the work of Paraguay Protects Families 

To assist the ministry of Paraguay Protects Families 

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