For some reason, this Christmas season, I’m finding myself much, much more attuned to the notion of impact. Perhaps it is because our second grandchild (first grandson) was born a little over a month ago and you can’t help but get a bit reflective on things through the legacy of a child; or perhaps it is that I’ve spent more time than usual overseas with our CarePoints and in-country staff and witnessed incredible story after story of how your investment is making a huge difference in the lives of the children and their communities. Or perhaps it is because Children’s HopeChest’s relentless focus on sustainability and impact over the last few years is beginning to hit a chord with our sponsor and donor communities.
As I personally think about the many ways HopeChest is impacting CarePoints and communities, two stories stick out. I was fortunate enough to be present at a day-long graduation ceremony at the Bukedea CarePoint in Uganda where a dozen young adults who have been in our program for many years, were being celebrated for successfully graduating from either tailoring, carpentry or masonry vocational training. They were each given a graduation gift of a “business starter” kit that consisted of equipment, supplies and business capital which will allow each to have a solid start in establishing themselves in their chosen profession.
There were government officials, school officials, leaders of the community and the entire CarePoint community in attendance to recognize and celebrate this momentous step toward self-sustainability for each of these young adults. They were among 194 such graduates of our Uganda CarePoints in 2017. One graduate wrote to us:
“I am no longer the helpless child my village knew; God has lifted me from grass to grace. My carpentry skill will be my source of income; I will not play or misuse it. I have been graduated and empowered to work hard in life. I give thanks to my Sponsor and the entire team of Children’s HopeChest for the holistic support given to me to make me what I am today.” — Peter Eriga
Another memorable day was to see the on-going impact of our Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA’s) on the community around the CarePoint reinforced the powerful impact each CarePoint is capable of. One CarePoint has 9 different VSLA’s operating, each one having between 20 and 35 members. As I visited their various meetings, I began to ask how many of the VSLA Members had a child who was enrolled in the program at the CarePoint, and to my astonishment, the range of raised hands was between four and ten people in each group. To think that there were 20 to 30 community members in each group who did not have children enrolled but who were being actively impacted by our programming is astonishing. Impact on these households’ ranges from simply having savings for the first time in their family history, to utilizing a loan from their VSLA to help start a successful small business.
To share additional stories of transformation that have taken place this year, we curated a booklet of some of our favorite stories. Within this “Children’s HopeChest Impact Guide” you will find stories of hope and transformation. You can read stories about fathers who were able to jump-start their businesses with a small business loan, children without hope who were able to receive an education, and families whose children receive nutritional support through HopeChest during a food shortage.
As each of our passions and interests are unique, we are all moved to action by unique challenges and struggles that others face. Some of us are moved to action by the opportunity to alleviate the pain and suffering of unexpected medical costs, while some of us enjoy helping others establish a sustainable business that elevates their family out of poverty. Some of us who are passionate about academia desire to see educational opportunities available for everyone. Whatever your passion, you’ll find stories within the guide of how your generous donation can provide Kingdom-minded transformation.
This Christmas, let’s remember that there has never been a more significant impact on humankind than the arrival of Jesus! His life changed the course of history and is the single most important and impactful event ever. That we celebrate it by sharing time and treasure with loved ones and with those less fortunate is to honor God’s gift of Jesus to each of us.
As we head into 2018, I’m asking you to prayerfully consider a generous donation to make a lasting impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children and their communities around the world. Your meaningful gift allows us to reach more children and maximize impact, while putting financial resources toward areas where there are critical needs, including emergency funds for disaster relief, programs outside of sponsorship, and support of unsponsored children.
Please enjoy the many stories of hope and dignity as you read this year’s “Children’s HopeChest Impact Guide,” and be on the lookout for upcoming blogs this December that expand on some of the stories in the guide.
Please join us in our effort to continue to increase impact around the world in the name of Jesus!