MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This month leading up to Christmas has been filled with some challenges, Covid-19 scares, and joyful celebrations. Despite all the hard parts, we are still extremely grateful for another year filled with God’s faithfulness. Oliver is continuing to grow and is pretty much an Energizer bunny…he just keeps going and going. It’s hilarious, exhausting, and beautiful all at once. His parents are exhausted, but that’s kind of the gig, right? We will try and keep this update brief and, as always, feel free to write to us and ask us some more questions if there are things you want to know.    We had hoped to launch the campaign to buy the house for El Nido in November, but because of various technical issues we have decided to wait until the New Year. Also, we just wanted to clarify that the house we are hoping to purchase is not going to be our house to live in, but rather, the building we will use for the Pregnancy Centre, the Food Bank, the ZonaJ office, and the Church. For those of you that have been asking about how to support this project, everything is now set up through Latin America Mission (which allows for a tax receipt to be issued) under the “Build the Nest” project. We have included the details below if you wish to donate before we officially launch the campaign near the end of January. We are praying and trusting that we will be able to reach our goal.  
We had our Graduation/Christmas party over zoom with the girls this year. People were very generous and we were able to send them gift baskets with food, personal gifts for each girl, clothes and toys for their little ones. It was a special night even though we could not celebrate in person. Some of the girls made their own graduation caps to wear when we presented them with their diplomas. Hearing each girl share a little was also a good reminder of how God is using the program to touch lives. We were encouraged and grateful to hear that they felt loved and part of our family. You were all a part of this and we feel so blessed to be able to pour out our time and love to show these girls that they are special, they can have a future and that they can have a relationship with God.

The New Year holds a lot of projects for us: the building campaign, opening up a new group of girls, food bank logistics, our new church project, launching our leadership course online, and raising a toddler. Thanks for your continuing prayers and support. We wanted to leave you all with a small reflection from our advent readings this season:

“Maybe it’s our presence that needs to be broken open this Advent. Instead of adding more of our words to the centuries of expectations of what this is all supposed to do and be, maybe we need to reach out and hold what needs to be restored in our hands. Like people, or broken hearts, or systems, or perspectives, or beliefs, or policies, or our dashed hopes for a brighter tomorrow . . .

…God has just been waiting for us to move from words to presence so we can join God there.

May you believe in the gift of your presence. And may you bring that gift of presence to God’s ongoing work of restoration.”
-Scott Erickson 

I am sure all of us will be celebrating differently this year, but the important part is that we celebrate. May we remember to share our Joy of Jesus’ birth and his promise to come again with everyone, especially with those who need some extra encouragement or help during this Christmas season. Let us remember that Christmas is a celebration that should focus outward more than inward. So, if you know of someone grieving, struggling to get by, or just in need of some encouragement, please don’t hesitate to show God’s love to them. 

Merry Christmas everyone.

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