Founder and Chairperson
Shadi was born in Beirut, Lebanon and immigrated to the United States at the age of 18. He attended the University of Pittsburgh where he met Liz, his wife of 28 years. Together, they have one daughter and three sons.
Growing up in a war torn environment, Shadi was exposed to many incidents of violence that were difficult for a young mind to erase. These experiences never left his heart and have given him empathy for those who are also exposed to the depravity of compromised surroundings. Coming to the United States was an offer of a new life. He left behind a life filled with uncertainty and stepped into one that had promises of hope and a stable future. Through the avenue of WTC, Shadi found a means of making a positive difference in the lives of those who cannot fend for themselves. He has found great peace and restitution from his own memories by sharing the love of Jesus with those who are exposed to the hardships that steal innocence and joy from life.
Co-Founder, CEO and Vice Chairperson
Liz was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated in 1983 from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She has been married to Shadi Arnita for 28 years and has been blessed with one daughter and three sons.
In 1988, she fully came to the realization of her need for Jesus Christ. Recognizing the difference He made in her life, she has made it her quest to make this life count for His Kingdom. Through many life lessons, she is striving to enhance her relationship with the Heavenly Father. Welcome The Children is an avenue of expressing her love of the Father by reaching out to those who find it challenging and even impossible to fulfill the basic needs of life. It is her goal to provide the day-to-day essentials for those trapped by the effects of financial and social adversity. Even through hardship, anyone who desires can have a life filled with the hope and peace that comes only from a relationship with the Father through Jesus Christ.
Mike Bohley is a husband to his high school sweetheart and proud father of four energetic and lovely kids. His employment background is in public accounting and financial diligence for secured lenders. Becoming a follower of Christ later in life, he was moved by God's call throughout scripture to "be" the church and serve those in need. This desire led Mike to go on his first short term mission trip to Mathare, Kenya in 2010 where he met Johnson Wambua, the AIC Zion teachers, and their students.
While in Mathare during 2011, God laid a heavy burden on Mike’s heart while sitting in a student's home who expressed his primary prayer requests were "school fees and food.” Upon returning back home to the U.S., Mike and others knew sitting idle while such need existed was not an option. Welcome the Children (WTC) gave Mike the ability to use his experience to serve those he came to love.
Courtney loves to serve the Lord. Sharing Him with those who haven’t experienced His perfect love is her mission. This is evidenced by her heart and service with the youth ministry at her church. God’s love changed Courtney’s life in October of 2008 and continues to do so. In His sovereignty, He was preparing her heart for the 2011 trip to the Mathare Valley Slums in Nairobi, Kenya. God created in her an insatiable desire to improve the physical and spiritual conditions of the people there. Through God’s divine guidance, Courtney was led to Welcome the Children, which gave her the opportunity to build up God’s children.
John has been married 25 years to his wife Kristen and they have been blessed with three daughters. In 2010, John and Kristen opened their heart to a young man from Kenya who they now consider their son. John grew up with a basic knowledge of who God was, but it was not until November of 1988 that he fully gave his life over to Christ. At thirteen, John suffered the pain of his parents’ divorce, which led to the absence of his biological father. God revealed to John that He is the Father to the fatherless, and that only He can fill the void left by his earthly father. This is one of the reasons he feels compassion for children growing up in desperate situations, most likely without a father figure in their lives.
It became apparent after John’s second trip to Kenya that God had a plan to use his life to make an impact for Christ in the lives of children and young adults. John was then asked to be a part of the Welcome the Children team, to which he gratefully accepted. He continues to thank God for allowing him the privilege to serve others.
While studying at Grove City College, Jessica made a commitment to wholeheartedly serve the one true living God in whatever capacity He called her to. She prays for a heart that echoes Christ’s and craves to extend the compassion, kindness, and sacrificial love that God provides for us all. Her love for Jesus Christ compels her to act on behalf of the poor and the fatherless. She longs for the true heart of a servant, so when Jessica was presented with an opportunity to come on board with Welcome the Children, she enthusiastically accepted.
She has a passionate vision to see the body of Christ caring for the holistic needs of those living in the utter ruin of neglect and/or poverty. It is her desire for these children of God to grow into well-rounded individuals who are intentionally loved and discipled. By God’s grace, they can become leaders and visionaries in their communities both spiritually and economically.
Hector sees the world through the eyes of an artist. His talent often times allows him the ability to look beyond what is evident and to see the underlying effects of pain and suffering. Although he identifies with the sovereignty of God’s mercy and grace, his heart pours out for those who have been scarred by the hardships of difficult circumstances.
When asked to join Welcome the Children’s Board of Directors, Hector immediately responded to the call. He recognized that the organization would come along side people in need and enable them to experience the love God extends through the hands of those who answer His call.
Scott has been married to his wife Mary for twenty years and is the proud father of 4 children - Alexandra, Amanda, Annaliese, and Ashton. After years of running away from the mess that was his life, Scott committed his life to Christ in 1998. Finally giving in to the only one that can fill the emptiness from which he was running. After spending his entire childhood and early adult years without knowledge of faith or Jesus, Scott is passionate about sharing the gospel with those that are lost. His early professional career was marked with successful stints in finance and computer software sales. In 2007, Scott heeded Gods call to full-time ministry at a large church in Atlanta.
Scott currently serves as the Executive Pastor of the Bible Chapel where he provides leadership to all ministry areas. Through his position at church he is deeply involved in ministry efforts with abandoned and orphaned children in Panama where he serves on the board of ANA Panama. In addition, Scott directs the churches partnership with AIC Zion in the slums of Mathare, Kenya. He is currently finishing his theological studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. Scott has a passion for international missions and is committed to seeing God's children in Panama and Kenya blossom into the young men and women that God has created them to be.