Firstly, I should ask, why should I? Why should I change what I am doing? To be really honest, this question must stir the soul, as well as the heart. Getting right down to what makes you tick. To inspect and question all your desires and hopes, to put aside the goals and dreams of many years, which have created the person you are. However, being a creature of Christ, the pools of dreams and hopes from deep within, still change in each person, as God sees fit. Only God can implant in your heart, His purpose for you. When this mandate drives you, causing you to know that it must be completed, God expects you to listen and act. I truly feel this is what has happened to me.

As the disasters of Rwanda and Kosovo appeared on the television news, images scanned past my eyes as never before. To see a crying child pressed up tight to the body of her dead mother, while her home burned in the background, made me hurt for that child in Rwanda. Then later, during the upheaval in Yugoslavia and Kosovo, the small terrified boy, with his family either dead or scattered, clutching a fence post tightly, so that the wind would not blow him over, grabbed my heart. A tent city of refugees sprang up in the fields, with tremendous concern due to the approaching winter, with only exposed tents for shelter. The sight of families huddled inside those tents, trying to keep their children occupied, keeping them fed and warm, intensely disturbed me. The moment my heart told me to act, came as I watched a landslide in Mexico, wiping out a whole village. Not only homes were lost, but whole families. Parts of families, all of their belongings, all of the resources they relied on, were gone, vanished. Many hundreds of people lost everything in that one incident, and they knew that the future days and months, would be painful, cruel and nearly impossible to cope with. And they lost it all!

My heart ached, the tears flowed, and I knew I had to help. I asked God to tell me what I was to do, what He wanted me to do in His name, for His children. Later, the answer came. Like a clear thought, a total understanding of the direction I should take. To provide shelter, to help protect these families, to allow them to be together, with some integrity and privacy. This is my mandate from God. Families could be kept together, and helped in a variety of ways, and also be shown how God's children here care, and can help. I trusted God to show me more direction, that the right doors would open, and that all the pieces would fall into place. Praise God - it is happening!!!! O.T.E.S. is born.

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