Thank you, HopeChest community! It is an honor and privilege to share glimpses of your impact around the world in 2018. Truly, it was a remarkable year!
Over the last year we witnessed God’s blessings in astounding ways. After an 18-month battle with the Ethiopian government, God delivered an incredible victory. The bad actors in the government were removed by the new Prime Minister and we are no longer subject to threats and ridiculous dictates. We have a new Country Director and our staff has been able to return to normal working conditions. Building relationships has always been the core of our mission, and this year one of our Ethiopia CarePoints hosted a U.S. couple in their marriage ceremony because they wanted their “Ethiopian CarePoint Community” to share in their joy. That is a remarkable testimony to the power of relationship! A few other remarkable Ethiopian highlights include supplementary food that was provided for 4,770 beneficiaries; medical check-ups that were delivered for 4,703 children; 3,766 children who received life-skills training that included reproductive health, self-awareness, personal and household hygiene, ethics and respect for others; and 303 families who benefited from establishing income-generating activities.
In Uganda, our VSLA groups (Village Savings and Loans) grew to 1,604 members and their collective savings reached $64,569! This occurred among impoverished families who previously had no concept of a savings account for their household! Additionally, in Uganda, our staff had 1,420 home visits, and 218 children accepted Christ! Thank you for being a part of igniting the cycle of hope, which is replacing the cycle of poverty in the communities we partner with.
Growth, through terms of renovation, occurred in Russia last year, and we hope to continue through 2019. The original Ministry Center in Vladimir Russia began a much-needed renovation that is nearing completion and will be a warm and inviting place for orphanage graduates to continue to build life-skills to navigate all aspects of adulthood outside the orphanages and foster care system of Russia.
The grief and trauma counseling that originated in Eswatini proved to be so impactful, we expanded it to Uganda and are rolling it out to Ethiopia and Guatemala as well so that more children like Mayenziwe can experience hope and healing.
Mayenziwe is a 15-year-old boy, who is living with his grandmother. The Bhalekane CarePoint knew that God had created him with great things planned for his life, so the CarePoint staff decided to put him in the grief counseling course so he could face his challenges and work on his personal development. In the grief counseling course, they walked together in the journey of his healing. After going through the program, he was chosen to be a small group leader, where he excelled in his journey with the Lord and helped his peers grow and heal as well. He also excelled in academics because he worked so hard last year at school and got excellent marks. Because of his grades, he qualified to have his education be paid for through HopeChest, and now he is enrolled in form one in high school!
Other areas of growth include the success of the ForGood technology platform in providing world-class reporting and organizational productivity in Uganda, which has spurred further implementation into Ethiopia, Guatemala, and possibly Eswatini.
In September, we had our second Global Partners Conference, held in Colorado Springs. It was an inspirational encouragement to all who were in attendance. At the conference, we had a booth set up to sell items from our newly launched Children’s HopeChest online store! Just as local leaders implement income-generating activities at our CarePoints, HopeChest is aspiring to use the shop as a sustainable flow of revenue in 2019.
As we enter 2019, we are excited to see our vision and territory expand to include taking our first steps of entering into the country of Kenya, establishing a more significant presence in India, expanding our grief and trauma counseling to Ethiopia and Guatemala, implementing the world-class ForGood technology into the majority of our operations and rapidly expanding our Community-to-Community approach to U.S. businesses that recognize the opportunity to make an impact around the world while offering a powerful employee engagement model.
Your support and partnership are the fuel that allows our unique Community-to-Community model to continue to flourish and make such a transformational change in the lives of the children, their households and their communities. I look forward to seeing how God uses all of us together to accomplish much more than we can imagine in 2019. I invite you to join us in praying for 2019, and should you wish to join us on an upcoming Vision Trip, sponsor a child, attend an “Evening of Hope,” sign up for our blog, or support us through our Invest In Hope program, we would be grateful. May this coming year be one that expands our understanding of God working in and through each of us!