Wow! Can you believe today is the first day of 2017? I want to take a minute to praise God for all that He did in 2016. 2016 was an amazing year for Brave Little Ones and we hope it was an amazing year for you as well. In 2016, I loved spreading the Word of Jesus through our shirts and loved seeing pictures of your little disciples wearing those shirts. I loved getting to know some of you on a deep level. I am forever grateful that you made me apart of your life by sharing your dreams, trials, and obstacles you overcame throughout the year. It has been such a blessing to become friends with people from all around the world. One of my favorite parts about this shop is the partnership we have with Under His Umbrella. I have always had a huge heart for Africa and through this shop I wanted to be able to give back. I had been praying for God to show me who he wanted us to partner our shop with and found a non-profit that was just starting out called Under His Umbrella. It also turned out that Under His Umbrella was located in my hometown Bakersfield, CA which was a wonderful surprise. I reached out to the founders at UHU and told them we would love to help out in any way we could. I explained to them that we were just starting out, so we didn't have a ton to offer. However, it was my prayer that eventually we would grow and we would be able to give more. The blessings from 2016:
ONE CHILD SPONSORED
We started our partnership by donating $1.00 from every shirt sale to sponsoring sweet Betty. Betty was four years old when we started sponsoring her. Our sponsorship provides her with school tuition, health care, uniforms, shoes, school supplies, quality education, Bible teaching, and so much more. Exactly a year from today I went to Africa with Under His Umbrella and it changed my life. I was able to shower sweet Betty with hugs and kisses, meet her family, learn more about the organization, cry and laugh with my team, and witnessed the amazing work that God was doing in Bugesera. After coming home from my trip in 2016, I thought about the children in Africa every single day. I wanted to do more to help the school throughout the New Year and I prayed for God to show me how to do so. Our shop started to grow and grow, which meant the $1.00 from every shirt sale turned into more and more funds that we were able to donate.
FEEDING THE CHILDREN
When I visited the children at the school we served porridge and bread. I saw those sweet kids drinking that extremely hot porridge faster than anything I had ever seen. They were hungry and it made my heart hurt, but what made my heart happy was what happened next. I saw God's love fall down as clear as day in a corner of the classroom. There was one row of three children and the middle child in the row finished his porridge first. The two children next to him started to pour some of their porridge into his empty cup. They shared the only meal they were going to get and gave when they barley had anything to give. I came home with that image burned in my memory. Starting in June of 2016 we started to feed the children at the school. Since June we have provided over 2,400 meals to the children. The school has been able to switch from cakes and porridge to rice and beans!
BUILDING THE SCHOOL
In 2016 we were able to put together three raffle baskets, which raised $800 toward helping to build the addition onto the school. There is currently 406 children at the school and the school addition is going to make room for all those kiddos to have a seat. When the rooms are complete, Under His Umbrella will also be able to open up two more classrooms for future growth of our students as well.
We wanted to give out of our abundance at Christmas, so we were able to provide a Christmas feast! All the children and staff came together to celebrate the birth of our Savior! They listened to the Christmas story, worshipped the Lord in song, and shared a meal of beef, potatoes, veggies, and Fanta! We were able to provide the feast to over 400 people. Our sweet Betty also received an amazing Christmas gift consisting of: a mattress, hygiene kit, and food basket.
OUR PRAYER FOR THE NEW YEAR
It is our prayer that our shirts will not only spread the Word and the love of Jesus Christ, but also we will be a shop making a difference in the world. Without you none of these blessings in 2016 would've been possible. I, and the children at Vineyard Christian school, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. YOU are making a difference. YOU are shopping for a cause. In 2017 it is our prayer that we will be able to provide a meal every other week to all 368 children. That would be 10,000 meals that we would be able to donate in this new year. Thank you for shopping small! Happy New Year!