Missionary Anita Byle, founder of Destiny of Hope orphanage, Guatemala City, celebrates the New Year by thanking God for new life and new beginnings. In her arms she cradles Milagro Dulce and Kayla, the orphanages’ newest arrivals, while in her heart she holds bright hope for their future, a hope that will not disappoint because it is rooted in the steadfast love of God.
Widowed later in life, Anita committed herself to full-time missions with CinA when, six years ago, she helped make Destiny of Hope a reality in northern Guatemala City. With the assistance of Missionary Norma Hunt, Anita has established a ministry that is more than a building where abandoned children are housed and fed. It is a haven of hope in a place where violence toward children is great.
At Destiny of Hope the lost are found, abused loved, and abandoned find hope and belonging. Anita’s burdened heart cries out to God for these children—tossed away like yesterday’s trash. In His faithfulness, God recently placed little Milagro Dulce into her outstretched arms.
At nine days of age, a baby girl, with no background information except her name Milagro Dulce or Sweet Miracle, was brought from a nearby hospital to the orphanage. It wasn’t until three months later, after a series of mixed-up court appearances, when Anita and her staff learned the unusual circumstances that had brought Dulce to Destiny of Hope.
The judge explained that Dulce was abandoned, found in a public toilet at the local mall. A surveillance camera showed a woman entering the restroom, then leaving an hour later with a different hairstyle and set of clothes, but the same shoes and handbag. It appeared that this woman attempted to get rid of Dulce by flushing her down the toilet. Thankfully, Dulce was too big and survived with minimal injuries.
Anita cried out, “Thank-you God for Milagro Dulce. She is as her name declares, a Sweet Miracle from Heaven.”
Like Dulce, each child comes to Destiny of Hope with a story, often dark and full of despair, and each in need of the unconditional love of God. Anita and her staff pour a foundation of sacrificial love. Through persistent prayer, they trust God to build on that foundation hope and belonging as each child is placed into a caring family home.
While it is difficult to say good-bye, Anita knows that the children leave not as they came, taking with them something of immense value. They take a legacy of hope passed from one generation to the next.