So, here we sit, 14 days until Christmas. As I look out my window in Michigan, I see weather that is snow filled and very cold - dramatically different than the weather down in Haiti.
As we are getting close to the end of 2013, I've got a number of conflicting thoughts running through my head. In trying to figure out the best way to process and communicate them, I thought the best thing to do would be to share them with you. So, here goes.....
By now, I'm sure you've heard what Family Christian Stores did over the American Thanksgiving weekend. They raised over $278,000 toward the cost of building the new main nursery and neonatal ICU up at Ft. Jacques. That is a huge boost to our plans and our time frames for actually getting the Fort Jacques project completed and everyone up there.
But it isn't the "end" of the project. I hope, after the first of the year, to be able to lay out before you a plan that shows what needs to be done yet, what it's going to cost and time frames (time frames if the money comes in on time.) So, if you could start thinking and praying about what sort of pledges you would be willing to make over the next few years to help our kids have a better place while they wait for their family that would be great.
In 20 days, 2013 will be done. 20 days left to make a gift to help the kids at GLA and have it count for this year - for tax purposes and otherwise. In all of the busyness of the Christmas season, can you take a few minutes and go to http://www.glahaiti.org/donate#donate_top and make a donation to help us care for the children at GLA?
November and December are awesome months in that we've been able to and are in the process of uniting so many children with their families. If you haven't already, read what Holli wrote about it - she says it so well - Farewells. For those families, this is a wonderful time - filled with firsts, new experiences, new emotions and new challenges. But don't forget about those who are still waiting - the kids who are waiting for their family and the families who are waiting and suffering through a Christmas with an empty spot in their hearts, at their table and around their Christmas tree. And pray for the GLA staff who are caring for these kids who are still waiting and watching another milestone pass without being with their family. Prayers for all of them would be appreciated.
It takes a lot of resources to care for kids. Whether it's 3 kids in your family or 125 kids in our facilities, kids aren't cheap to care for but they are worth it. We go through a LOT of food, a lot of medicine, a lot of diapers and many other things. Some of them we want to try to buy in Haiti to support the local economy but other things due to the cost of living being so high in Haiti, it is more cost advantageous to get donated and sent in. Stay tuned - there will be some organized opportunities to do that soon - probably right after the first of the year.
Materialism - don't get me wrong, I like my "toys" as much as the next guy, but the longer that I see the impacts of poverty and the associated problems, the more I have problems with the way that "we" have commercialized Christmas and made it all about getting things. I would like to challenge all of us to counteract that - even in small ways. What is the simplest way? Well, I'd love to see everyone buy one more Christmas present. Take what you are spending on Christmas presents and go to Support GLA and donate the amount of one present to help GLA through this Christmas season and into 2014.
2014 is going to be a busy year. Ft. Jacques is moving along really well and we'll be talking to you about what we need to do to continue pushing that dream forward. We're going to be doing some "supply drives" to help GLA get the supplies they need in Haiti. We're going to be finishing the "Big Kids" Phase (the Lord willing) and that is exciting.
Can we do it without your help? Nope, not a chance. We need you to be a partner with us. Do we do everything right? Ha! Even asking the question is funny. We are human, we struggle, we do some things really well, we make mistakes. When I look at the last three years, there have been a number of "ideas" that we've tried to get going that haven't worked.
But that doesn't matter. What matters is that there are kids in Haiti who need help and we need you to help us make 2014 a good year for them and for the kids who God will bring to our gates.
Thank you for caring about the kids in Haiti. Thank you for your support. I'm looking forward to working with you throughout the last days of 2013 and moving forward in faith to see what God has planned for God's Littlest Angels and the kids in Haiti in 2014.
Enough rambling from me for now,
Posted on Wed, December 11, 2013
by Tom Vanderwell