A New Year

It’s a new year and we are expectant and excited about what the Lord is going to do in 2010.  We have big dreams and big goals and thankfully, a very BIG God.  We can see evidence of just how BIG he is pretty much everywhere we look…the incredible sunsets in Jeffrey’s Bay, the piercing eyes of a child in Nicaragua, and as we reflect on 2009 we can see His fingerprint all over it.

This year, we were able to take over 80 people on trips to South Africa and Nicaragua, support all 200 children at Ithembs and 26 children in Nicaragua by providing nutrition, medical care, academic education and a Biblical curriculum, and build a safe house in South Africa to offer 12 children a warm and loving place to call home.

In January we found out about the huge need in Jeffrey’s Bay for a safe place for abandoned and abused children.  We heard stories of children left on the streets with no food, no medicine and no one to take care of them.  It was then that God gave us the vision for a safe house at Ithemba.  At the end of January, we traveled to Jeffrey’s Bay and made a line of canvases to raise money for the house.

In April we had the opportunity to go to the Orange Conference and there, through the generous hearts of the ReThink family and the leaders who attended the conference, we were able to raise enough money to build the entire safe house in only 2 days!

In May we sent two interns to J’Bay for two months to live and work with the kids and oversee the building of the house and took a trip to Nicaragua to train our partners there on the ReThink curriculum.

In June Gavin and I left for J’Bay again and this time, we were so exciting to bring 31 people to see what God is doing there.  At the end of June, 23 of ReThink’s staff joined us and served the children for two weeks…having them there and seeing them love the kids was such a blessing.  While they were there, we made our latest line of canvases and hope to finish selling them soon to support the children in J’Bay.  A few days later my Mom and her best friend traveled the 8,000 miles to come and meet the children…I think we can safely say that not only did them meet them, but their hearts were stolen by them!  At the end of July, our good friend Rebecca brought a group of 6 people and we had so much fun!  This group was like a family from the start and we had a blast getting to know them all a little better.

By the end of July the safe house was completely finished and we were ready to start making it a home and we sent 16 people from Murray, KY to Nicaragua to serve at Casa Havilah and Casa Robles.

In September we started a series of Collide events…our first was in Austin, Texas…in November we went to DC and had our first event in Atlanta!  Through these events, we were able to raise $18,000.00 to furnish and decorate the safe house and cover operating costs for the rest of the year!

In October we took our final trip of the year to Jeffey’s Bay and this time we were joined by 8 wonderful people from the Orange Conference and my dad!  Again, the children stole everyone’s hearts and we had so much fun watching people bond  and become even more invested in Ithemba.

In November, Gavin and his Atlanta based small group took a trip to Nicaragua and spent 4 days falling in love with the children there.  They got to really see their personalities as they made another line of splatter painted canvases….kids LOVE to splatter paint 🙂

In December, we were so thankful to be able to relax, enjoy our friends and family and get to reflect on everything that God did in ’09.  It was a precious time to spend with he people we love and a great month of planning and preparation for 2010 with with our wonderful board of directors!

Looking back at this year, we are TOTALLY blown away by God’s provision and all of the many ways that He has blessed LUO.  We are so thankful for each of you…your generosity and faithful giving has made such an impact on these children.

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