Thankful & Hopeful: Looking Back and Moving Forward
This past year could be described like so many other years: full of setbacks and seemingly impossible obstacles, losses, uncomfortable changes and growing pains; trying to reach minimum goals, encountering resistance to grace and maintaining faith in the face of practicality. But 2016 was also full of unexpected blessings, kindness, and generosity. It was full of those â€œGod-momentsâ€ where the impossible becomes possible, new friends, new experiences and the creation of new families. God has been faithful to us. Many truths ring true for us as we enter a new year, but one stands out among them all and that is this: Godâ€™s faithfulness is perfect.
We are thankful to report that we sent out 21 teams with 231 trip participants to 4 different countries impacting at least 1,300 vulnerable children. In China we were able to send teams into two new orphanage partners and conduct two Hope Journey camps. Our teams came home from these trips to China, Ethiopia, Haiti, Uganda and got to work advocating and praying for the kiddos. As a result of this hard work and advocacy children have been and will be brought home to their forever families.
Sometimes the numbers seem overwhelming at times and the needs daunting â€“ like in Haiti where just one of our orphanage partners has at any point and time between 115 â€“ 125 children of all age groups. Itâ€™s hard to imagine how many diapers, formula, food, clothing, medicine and school fees are needed to care for so many children and thatâ€™s only their basic needs.
One harsh reality that is hitting the orphan care community right now is the significant decline in international adoptions. This means that there are more orphans who will not only wait longer to be placed into a forever family and but more who will never be placed in a forever family. Looking at the facts alone paints a grim picture, however, we know we serve a God who scoffs at grim circumstances and sees it merely as a challenge to display His glory and power. To remind us and reveal to the world how cherished the orphan is by Him. It is that knowledge, that hope, which carries us into 2017 despite new obstacles that loom ahead of us. This year we will send teams of Storytellers throughout the world to not only tell the Greatest Story of all, but to come home and tell us stories of the resiliency of the human spirit and how a global community can come together to give a voice to the voiceless.
Each year in the spring we often do a 10-day prayer challenge with our amazing group of leaders. This year we are bumping it up early and inviting anyone and everyone to join us. We will be asking volunteers to join us in a season of prayer and fasting, not only for our work â€“ but for our colleagues, our brothers and sisters in Christ – whether with other non-profits, or serving as missionaries overseas – who share in this ministry worldwide. We will be sharing more about this in the coming days through social media. We hope you will feel compelled to join us!
We also invite you to considering joining us for a 2017 trip. We need both team leaders and trip participants to join us in China, Ethiopia, Uganda and Haiti. Anyone interested is welcome to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for further information. You can also check us out online by clicking here.
For the year that is passed we are Thankful.
For the year to come we are Hopeful.
Happy New Year!