As we welcomed 2020, kissed our loved ones and wished them a Happy New Year, none of us imagined we would be where we are today. The world has changed, and we have all been impacted. Each one of our lives has been touched in one way or another by this virus and its effects.
Be encouraged by these words: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, ESV).
I want you to know, first of all, that we care. If you have lost a loved one, lost a job, fought your way back to health after struggling with the virus yourself, or faced other hardships, your struggles matter to us. Please send us your prayer requests, either in the enclosed envelope or in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I also want to assure you that you are still making a difference in the lives of kids who are hurting. You are allowing them to learn that they can be strong and courageous no matter what they are facing, because God is with them.
This virus has not stopped us from reaching out to disadvantaged boys and girls with the love and hope of Jesus Christ! If anything, it has spurred us on to do more for them, and to find new and creative ways to be a part of their lives. Our methods have changed, but our mission remains the same.
Our children need us, now more than ever! UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres put it this way: “Thankfully, children have so far been largely spared from the most severe symptoms of the disease. But their lives are being totally upended... With children out of school, their communities in lockdown and a global recession biting deeper, family stress levels are rising. Children are both victims and witnesses of domestic violence and abuse... And we must not ignore the growing risks children are facing from online violence, abuse and exploitation.” (https://www.un.org/en/un-coronavirus-communications-team/protect-our-children)
The kids we serve at Youth Haven were already facing difficult circumstances before this pandemic began. Now, many of them are stuck at home in situations where they are being treated unkindly or needs aren’t being met. At the same time, more and more children are facing financial hardships because their parents have lost jobs.
These children need to know they are loved, and they are not alone. With your help, we’re doing all we can to meet every need we can meet, and to teach them that God will give them the strength and courage to face whatever difficulties they might be experiencing.
One way we’re doing this is through a haven for kids online, where they don’t have to worry about violence or safety issues. We’re excited to begin our first ever virtual camp experience this summer, allowing us to reach kids with the message of God’s love in the own homes. The kids will be registered for a specific week of virtual camp, and we’ll mail or hand deliver a special supply kit full of activities, snacks, instructions, and a few other items just for fun. They’ll receive an access code to a password-protected web site, where they can watch videos and livestreams from Youth Haven and interact with our staff. They’ll be able to earn points by completing various activities, and we’ll mail special prizes at the end of each week. This is in addition to the kids’ website we launched at www.havenforkids.fun when schools first closed at the beginning of the pandemic.
Thanks to your generosity, we have also delivered over 600 care packages to children in need during this difficult time, with snacks, personal hygiene items, activities, and small toys. We’re beginning a new Birthday Brigade to take cupcakes and gifts to kids on their birthdays. We’ve increased the number of mailed activities and Bible lessons we’re sending to the children. And we’ve mailed multiple Trailbooks - our custom Bibles - to kids who visited our kids’ website and didn’t have Bibles of their own.
We’re so grateful for everyone who has continued to give and pray for the children during this time when so many are struggling. The need is great, and there is much more to be done. As always, our programs are provided to disadvantaged children free of charge. Please, if you are able, continue to help the children through your financial love gifts and prayers. Together, we can show them God is their strength, He loves them, and we are their friends who care about them!
Thank you, and God bless you.
Your Mission Partner,
President & CEO