Kori and I spent a few hours this week looking through old pictures. We marvelled at the faces that smiled back at us — baby versions of my nearly-adult sons and barely-adult versions of middle-aged us.
As parents, we're moving into a stage where we're looking at our boys' childhood in retrospect. And we find ourselves asking, "How'd we do? Did we make the right investments? Did our sacrifices pay off? Did we fight the right battles?"
It's sobering at times, but it is also exciting. My boys somehow survived middle school, and they're becoming intelligent, articulate adults that I can actually imagine moving out of my house at some point in the future. They're thinking about college and starting to conceive of an independent future that might someday include marriages and careers. And I can see it. Sure, I'm not ready to push them out the nest tomorrow, but their futures are bright.
At Asia's Hope, we're experiencing this kind of transition, but on a much larger scale. Many of our high-school aged kids are excelling in their studies, taking top marks in their schools. Others, like our world-class cricketers in Thailand, are representing their country in international competition! Others have had the chance to travel abroad perform music together.
We now have more than 50 kids in university and dozens of others pursuing technical or vocational training. We have students studying to be teachers, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, barbers, pastors, interior designers, engineers and bankers. Some of our graduates have gone on to start their own businesses, others have gotten married and started families. Some have returned to work as Asia's Hope staff!
Asia's Hope has also added more than 50 new orphaned kids; we've rescued them from neglect and exploitation, and we've given them new, permanent, loving families. I can't wait to watch them heal, grow and succeed.
And while we can never ensure success for any of our children — our own or Asia's Hope's — we have high expectations for each of the nearly 800 kids at Asia's Hope based on the successes of our older kids. And we can answer those weighty questions with confidence. "Yes. We're doing it right. We're making the right investments, we're fighting the right battles. Our sacrifices are paying off."
2015 promises to be another amazing year. Dozens more of our kids will be graduating from high school and moving on to university, to vocational training and to first jobs. And we'll be adding more homes, more staff and more kids. We'll be starting some exciting new capital campaigns, and completing construction on a number of projects currently in the works.
Will you continue to pray for us? And will you consider making a year-end gift or scheduling a meeting with me in the next few weeks to discuss how you can help us accomplish the mission God has given us in 2015?
I believe that God is building something of eternal signficance, and I know that you'll be blessed as you continue to partner with us financially and with your prayers and advocacy.
May God give you his peace as look forward to a wonderful 2015.