A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Saved by adoption, Lane dedicates his life to uplifting vulnerable children

By Steve Flairty
KyForward columnist

Some 25 years ago, Deborah Lane, Winchester, decided that she wanted a fourth child, this time an adopted one. As it turned out, little David Lane fell right into her hands–almost literally.

Not only that, but the child grew into quite a special man who dedicates his life to uplifting vulnerable children…far away in the poor, Central American country of Guatemala.

Here’s the unique birth story, told by David. “My biological mother had decided to abort me,” he said. “She went to church and God lay on her heart not to abort.”

According to David, Deborah also believed she was directed by God to adopt him, and made the request to do so directly to the biological mother, who obliged. Adding to the irony, Deborah was a nurse and assisted in the delivery.

“I was put right into my adopted mother’s hands at birth,” he said. “God saved me before I was even born.”

David Lane with Guatemalan children at his mission (Photo Provided)

And though the Lane family embraced David with love and a strong Christian upbringing, he fell into some bad decision-making and found himself in trouble on numerous occasions. This was despite the fact that he was a good student and an outstanding cross country and track athlete at Winchester’s George Rogers Clark High School.

“I started drinking when I was 15, having beers with friends,” he explained.

That resulted in some intoxication issues that eventually led to getting kicked off the sports teams at the school. It also led to continued problems after high school graduation after he joined the U.S. Army, even though he was a high-achieving physical fitness performer in Army training camp.

A mutually decided “opt out” of Army service transpired, and David found himself back home in his early 20s with a need for direction in life firmly on his mind.

In 2013, he found new friends in a group at Winchester’s Calvary Christian Church, where he participated in a one week mission trip to Guatemala. And where many who experience such are excited for a while, then lose interest, David was on fire about the possibilities from that special time. He believed that it was God-ordained.

“I felt this joy that I’d never experienced. I was starting to fall in love with the kids and starting to learn Spanish,” he recalled. “While out in the middle of nowhere sleeping in a hotel, I heard God’s voice. I looked out the window and saw three figures outside. One was God, one was me, and the third was Guatemala.”

He now believes he was saved at birth and from his bad choices while a youth for an important purpose. He is carrying out that directive now.

His program, Uplifting Children’s Ministries (UCM), states on its web site that it “provides food, clothing and schooling support for some of the most needy children in the Santa Rosa area of Guatemala through a child sponsorship program. These children are very poor and have no parents or a single parent.”

Housed in a rented building in Santa Rosa, the program, started in 2014, now sponsors 38 children. Each child receives a monthly “care package,” along with being taught English and lessons from the Bible. Along with those endeavors, the ministry helps with local youth groups and reaches out, when possible, to homeless people and alcoholics.

The program also runs a small store and shows movies in a makeshift “theatre,” which are avenues to make the outreach more visible to the community.

Directing such a program is a huge task, especially for a 25-year-old, but David appears to be aware of the importance of his work and the responsibility he owes to many supporters of the mission, both in Guatemala and back home in Kentucky.

Carlos Vargas, in Guatemala, is a very significant piece of the ongoing success, and the director of his own outreach organization, Hope of Life International.

“He’s a big fish,” said David. “I’m a little minnow.”

Steve Flairty grew up feeling good about Kentucky. He recalls childhood day trips (and sometimes overnight ones) orchestrated by his father, with the take-off points being in Campbell County. The people and places he encountered then help define his passion about the state now. After teaching 28 years, Steve spends much of his time today writing and reading about the state, and still enjoys doing those one dayers (and sometimes overnighters). “Kentucky by Heart” shares part and parcel of his joy. A little history, much contemporary life, intriguing places, personal experiences, special people, book reviews, quotes, and even a little humor will, hopefully, help readers connect with their own “inner Kentucky.”

Vargas, a wealthy businessman there, has sent truckloads of donations to sell in the store, and is providing leadership and much of the financing for land and a new building for UCM. Additionally, a Guatemalan family gave David free room and board in their home early in his arrival there, providing a time to learn the culture and language of the area where he would work.

He also has, he said, “many around him to hold me accountable.”

Back at his home in Winchester, his parents, Jim and Deborah Lane, are constant encouragers. His father is the treasurer of UCM and created the web site.

Whit Criswell, senior minister at Winchester’s Cornerstone Christian Church, has mentored David, along with others at the church such as Adam Norsworthy, Steve Haskins, and members of the church board. A church in Hopkinsville, Hillcrest Baptist, has been a big financial supporter, as well as Cornerstone in Winchester.

David’s work in Guatemala is exemplary and many lives are positively touched daily. Always of concern, however, are funds to keep the missionary outreach operating and growing.

“We have a $2,400 monthly budget and have an income of about $1,400 (committed) coming in,” said David. Then, there is the new site that is to be established. “The first plan is to build a wall around it. Stealing is a way that many here use to get by, and we have people who take things. We have three paid staff members who help run the program and I get paid $200 per month.”

The challenges of hot weather, working with those in poverty and not educated, language barriers, and sometimes even danger have not curtailed David’s enthusiasm.

“I rely on 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to be cheerful and give thanks,” he said. “I know it’s where God wants me to be.”

If you are interested in helping financially or desiring more information, visit the web site or email upliftingchildren.guat@gmail.com.

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Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of six books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and five in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #4,” was released in 2015. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly KyForward and NKyTribune columnist and a member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

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