I remember the day in March when our headquarters staff in Colorado packed up their laptops, monitors, and keyboards in their cars. None of us knew how our routines and plans would face constant adjustment for the rest of the year.
I also remember the first time we sent out an email (and the ghastly amount of times we used the word “unprecedented!”) to our HopeChest partners letting them know what we were facing overseas and requesting support to equip us to act quickly to help keep vulnerable children and their families safe.
I have never been so proud to belong to Children’s HopeChest’s global community — a community that extends beyond borders and fights for every child to live up to their vast potential.
This year we have seen flexibility and innovation like never before. HopeChest country leaders have had to quickly pivot and rethink operations to continue providing critical resources to the communities they serve. The HopeChest community clearly demonstrated it is open to learning and growing, and by adopting a posture of flexibility while allowing God to lead through uncertain times we emerge stronger, firmer in our faith, and more reliant on Him than ever.
It has been inspiring seeing CarePoint programs succeed and seize the opportunities that arose this year. Responding to the COVID crisis, the women’s sewing group at the Guatemala Pueblo Modelo CarePoint created over 6,500 masks to earn income, while protecting children and their families. The Ogoloi CarePoint in Uganda has made over 640 liters of soap — truly a lucrative business at this time for the participants, who are utilizing the profits of the soap business to now invest in animal husbandry projects and increase their independence.
This year we have seen hope and dignity restored, despite the challenges of a global health crisis. We are a community that believes in dignity not dependence, transformation not transaction. The pandemic brought extreme despair and hunger to families living in the remote Mt. Elgone area of Kenya who were not able to feed their children. However, because of generous partners like you who have given life-saving gifts this year, thousands of families in extreme poverty have been helped. As an example, 339 families at Mt. Elgone received four different distributions of food kits over several months. This assistance accelerated the long-range impact plans of the CarePoint by breaking down cultural barriers and creating an opportunity for savings groups to begin to form much sooner than anticipated. Savings groups are a key transformative program that change the economic trajectory of entire communities.
In Russia, 51 participants of the Young Family program and five foster families were provided with Care-Kits on a weekly basis which included food items and other critical necessities. Further, online lessons were provided to these young families on how to create a healthy family atmosphere during quarantine; how to apply for available state support and benefits for families with two or more children; as well as additional much-needed counseling.
This year we have witnessed authentic connection at a time when we have been separated by distance. We are a community that believes in two-way, transformational relationships. We have seen the Lord perform miracles when our global community came together in prayer. Janice, a HopeChest partner, shared this incredible story:
My adult daughter had COVID-19 and pneumonia and was in the ICU on a ventilator. The doctors gave us little hope that she would survive. The next day, I received a precious picture and message from my HopeChest Friends and other members of Shashemene Gofa Sefer CarePoint in Ethiopia, saying they were praying for my daughter. Through HopeChest, the message of my daughter’s illness traveled around the world. The next day my daughter began to show signs of improvement and she has since recovered completely! I am eternally grateful to the HopeChest community and all of the prayer warriors around the world who prayed for my daughter and my family.
I also want to thank those of you who were able to answer our phone calls when HopeChest headquarter staff made it a goal to call each of our supporters to check-in during the Covid crisis. It has been an honor for us to meet as staff and pray through your requests, sharing in your highs and lows during this time.
Reflecting on this year, I feel a sense of pride and humble gratitude at how HopeChest partners rose to the occasion during one of the most turbulent seasons of our lifetime and set aside their own concern for self and, instead, asked how can I help those who are in need?
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Philippians 2:1-4, NIV
With that scriptural encouragement, can you IMAGINE what we can achieve together next year?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ken Sparks joined Children’s HopeChest as CEO and President in 2014, after spending over 30 years in the corporate world. Although Ken’s “official” workspace is the hayloft of The Barn in Palmer Lake, Colorado, he works anywhere there is anyone willing to listen about what God is doing through HopeChest.
We invite you to give a meaningful gift this holiday season and invest in the change you want to see as we enter into 2021.