When I think of 2013, I will always remember it as the year that CRF and Bread for a Hungry World merged. Bobby Moore contacted me with the vision of us becoming one. We dreamed together, listed the pluses and minuses, saw how similar we already were, and then knew that we would be better together than apart. I don’t know how a union could have come together more smoothly than this one. Truly, God was behind it.
Christianity Today and the BBC recorded an economic study this year on what best brought long term relief to poverty. Their two findings were child sponsorship and bringing clean water. And that is where we focused.
People in the Horn of Africa were without water. Last year CRF developed the greatest water ministry in our history. We brought in food and water to the most devastated places like Dadaab and Turkana. And we started drilling wells. But through the incredible generosity of one of our donors, we were given our own drilling rig and started our new ministry—Hope Water International. We are drilling in the middle of a famine in places where they say there is no water—and we haven’t had a dry hole yet. Since we have started with our own rig in the fall, we have already drilled 13 wells. Even though we can drill for half of what it previously cost, we now need regular funding for wells to keep our rig at work.
CRF children have excelled in school. We have started elementary schools all over the world. But now thousands of children have grown up and are ready for secondary school. And our fees are not great enough to pay for high schools in most places. Because of this situation, our best programs with our brightest children were not able to go to high school. However, we learned that if we built our own high schools that we could keep the same fee structure and all of our precious kids could further their education. In 2013 we have opened three high schools—Suzy Peacock, Oasis of Hope, and Eruli. They are not completed. We still need funds. But we are on the road to solving one of our biggest problems—further education. In fact, we hope to open two more in 2014.
One of the greatest disasters in recent history came this year. Typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines. We were there. I mean we were there when it hit and lost our own works. Bread has been working in the Philippines for many years. And although we lost our buildings, all of our children survived. We have sent teams over there to help not only in the rebuilding of the community but also in the rebuilding of our orphanages and children’s works. It is going to take a long time and a lot of money to see this disaster through. CRF is helping in more and more disasters around the world and even in the U.S.
Years ago we started a clinic in Kisumu, Kenya to bring medical help. People there were receiving no attention when it came to health issues. And this area had one of the highest numbers of people with AIDS. We started a clinic, but we only got so far. We could treat many illnesses but not totally help with HIV. ARVs which help HIV from turning into AIDS were available for us but we didn’t have the facilities, drugs, personnel, or equipment to make the leap to treating and saving the hundreds of thousands in this area who had HIV. Through the generosity of some donors—we have what it now takes to distribute ARVs. People with HIV are now living a life where they won’t get AIDS. But there is probably not a ministry of CRF more underfunded than this one. We are now in a position to help thousands in this area, but we want to see this ministry come to fruition.
As I travel, I find so many people who want to experience greater meaning. As a result, CRF has been exposing many people to the needs around the world in mission trips. Christians have learned first hand how they can change the world. It might be in Nicaragua, Haiti or Kenya—but our CRF supporters are giving themselves personally to our CRF works.
But when it is all said and done, CRF is mainly about children. We help children in around 30 countries around the world. 6254 children are supported full-time in child sponsorships. These children are fed, housed, clothed, educated and given spiritual training. But many more children are helped through CRF. In fact thousands of others are alive, getting an education, and being helped through feeding programs and relief programs. We have places where we haven’t started individual sponsorships yet, but we still send money. Hopefully, we will have sponsorships in these places in the future—but we are just not ready yet for a full-blown program. In some of our programs, there are children who have yet to be sponsored. We hope that 2014 will be a year to get some more of these unsponsored children sponsored.
2013 was our best year ever. More money was given. More disaster relief occurred. And more children were saved. I was there when we first hit water in the desert of Turkana with our new rig. When I think about our past year, I feel like I did when we struck that water.
What happened to the big hole in Haiti? CRF got the kids and directors out of the hole and hired some drillers. They drilled 30 more feet, and there was water! Our children and the village now have good water.
There are so many people around the world that feel like they are digging a deep hole with no end in sight. But when CRF gets involved, hopes are realized.
We lost our visionary leader of our biggest CRF work this year—Emmanuel Namunyu. I know what he would want me to tell you. It was what he always told us—
THANKS A TRILLION TIMES! – Milton Jones