It Started with One Child

Children’s Impact Network started on the foundation that impoverished children desperately need the hope and love of Jesus Christ. In the early 90’s, John and Maritza Hernandez met through ministry in Miami. Both they and their team would go to the most poverty-stricken, and violent communities in the city. They began ministering to children through Side Walk Sunday School, a Vacation Bible School format of evangelism that uses a box truck, cut out from the side to use as a stage. But one day, He had a new mission for John and Maritza.

A missionary from Bolivia visited a Side Walk Sunday School service. She saw what God was doing in Miami and knew the ministry would make a difference in Bolivia. She asked John and Maritza to visit and train her team to do the same. Knowing little about Bolivia or even international travel, they went knowing that the children of Bolivia needed the love of God.

The moment they stepped in Bolivia, God had changed their lives. They saw a great need. In 1990, the life expectancy in Bolivia was 55 years old. The infant mortality rate was also 8.5%, meaning eight out of one hundred infants would die within a year. The country was full of street children, malnourished and neglected. Something had to be done.

One night, John and Maritza visited a plaza that would fill up with street children in the city. Many of them would sniff glue, which would soften their hunger. The children would wander the plaza, scavenging for food in the dumpsters and fighting with the dogs. Among this horrible scene, John felt a small tug on his shirt. It was a small child, 2 or 3 years old. He was asking for food while wearing torn clothes, with matted hair, and dry snot on his face. John looked around for a parent or sibling of his. No one was there. Did he even matter in the eyes of the world? That one child changed the course of history.

After the night, God spoke to John and Maritza, saying, “what are you going to do about it?” They continued to pray, hoping for an answer. Finally, God spoke. He wanted them to build a children’s home. To a surprise, this caused more distress. They knew nothing of orphanages. Who would care for them? What psychiatrists and doctors would help them? Who would provide the funding for a project so big? But the Lord is a great God who provides.

Even existing orphanages had great needs. Many of the children were actually worse off in some of the orphanages, rampant with abuse and disorder. They saw issues in these children that needed healing beyond understanding.

God provided a partner church and pastor to Children’s Impact Network that knew the need and culture, providing a powerful team to make an eternal difference in Bolivia. When CIN was ready to finally break ground on the orphanage, the tragedy of 9/11 happened. Still, God provided a way and the orphanage was built. He provided the people, staff, and missionaries to raise these children.

God has since made an eternal impact in the lives of children at the Bolivia Life Center. Many have just started getting married. Some are now working on how they can impact their brothers at the orphanage through businesses and opportunities. There are young men from the orphanage that are heavily involved in church, have been taken in as a family, and become leaders. You can see how the love of God has changed them as each child becomes a professional, pastor, engineer, and more.

CIN’s dream is to one day have one of these children grow up and visit with their young family to say thank you to your church. The impact you have done by partnering with us will have eternal consequences— impossible to measure. You are making a difference, and we can now see its fruit.

But the need still exists today. As we speak, there are thousands of children that are being abandoned, abused, and neglected today. No one is caring for them. They are hungry, thirsty and desperate to find some hope for a future. More than ever, Children’s Impact Network has the opportunity to rescue more of these children from the streets and to change lives forever. The mission cannot stop today. As you read this, there is a child in need of rescue. We cannot do this without you. Please join us today by donating towards the Greatest Need. Together, we can make a difference.

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