Many of you have received the latest All Things New email informing you that we will no longer be staying on the Hope Rising campus. If you did not receive that email, please click here to read prior to reading the blog. Initially, we knew that our time at Hope Rising could be temporary. They allowed us to move our children from a terrible situation (for more info on the move click here and read our series) and we will always be grateful for their generosity with their facilities. After moving the children, our 2 organizations began to work on forming a partnership that would have allowed us to keep our children on campus. We found that there are many common beliefs and desires between our organizations, but there are also some things that would have made a partnership difficult. We pushed through hoping that the partnership would work out because it seemed like such a wonderful fit for our 2 organizations. Recently, however, we realized that the partnership would not work. All Things New and Hope Rising will still work together (we will still send our teams there), the Smithsons and the Bushes will continue to be friends, and we will always be thankful for what they did for us and for our children. However, we will be moving our kids off campus.
This was a difficult decision to make because, if you have been down here, you know how nice Hope Rising is and how great they have been to our children. This decision also forces All Things New to go out and on our own and this presents some new and immediate challenges that we have not had to face.
- We need to start by finding a rental house because we need to be out of Hope Rising by March 1. In fact, I am in Haiti right now until I can find a place to move the children so please be praying that happens soon so I could come home and see Jess and Sophie prior to moving the children. This also means that we will need to add the extra expense of rent to the All Things New budget.
- We will have to purchase new beds, mattresses, furniture, etc. for our kids to put in the new house.
- We will need to purchase a generator and have someone with electrical knowledge help us run power to our new property.
- We will have to hire a couple of new security guards because we will need 24/7 security rather than just nighttime help.
There will be other expenses that arise based on this move, so there are some things that All Things New will be doing to help us to raise funds for this transition time.
- A Sponsorship Drive. We are asking each of our sponsors to find one more sponsor to bring on to All Things New. We have opportunities to sponsor all 19 of our children, the 6 older children that we still take care of, and the other 8 children for whom we still pay school fees. We already have 2 new sponsors (thanks to Emily and Martin Hale of NEO Church in Ohio) so we just need 128 more!
- Crowd Funding. We will take our first steps into the world of crowdfunding. Our initial goal will be to raise $5000 to be able to purchase beds and mattresses for all 19 children plus 4 nighttime house moms. We are really hoping that our supporters will share this fundraising platform through social media, word-of-mouth, and email so that we can extend our reach! How great would it be to raise these funds without our current supporters even having to donate!
- Dessert Fundraisers. You will soon see our new take on the dessert fundraisers that were so successful at getting All Things New off the ground. Jess and I can no longer be the ones who attend these fundraisers, but we are hoping that you guys can help us get the word out through these gatherings.
Many of you are probably wondering how the kids are reacting to this news. I shared all of these things above first because they are important for you to know and we need help in those ways, but the reaction of the kids and how they are handling it is the most important thing we can pray about. In all honesty, it has not been as hard on them as I would have thought. When we sat down with them to tell them the news, I expected a lot of tears and questions just because people here tend to react a little more emotionally than we are used to in America. There were no tears and very few questions from the kids. I think, in some way, they must have known this was always going to be temporary. They asked “why” and they asked if they had done anything to make them leave. We answered those questions and let them know how much Hope Rising and Matt and Cara still love them. They said they were sad but they understood, and I told them that the most important thing is that we are going to stay together. They agreed with that and immediately asked if all of the house moms and employees were coming. When I said yes, they actually cheered and clapped in the middle of what I thought was going to be a sad meeting. The bottom line is that the kids are handling it just fine. Please continue to pray for them because transitions are inherently difficult, but also know that they are ok!
As far as All Things New goes, we are moving forward! We still have a lot of the same goals for 2016 that we had when we thought we would staying at Hope Rising. We will soon be ready to take in new children (assuming the new rental house is big enough!), we will do our best to keep all of our employees, and I expect for at least 5-7 more of our children to be baptized this year! We will continue to add times of teaching our children the Word of GOD, I hope to begin thinking about ways to do some pastoral training, and we will begin the registration process with IBESR (Department of Children and Families in Haiti basically) to become a legally recognized orphanage here. 2016 will be a year of transition, growth, and most excitingly change for All Things New and I cannot wait to see where GOD takes us. I think about where we were just 1 year ago when the kids were still at Audancin’s and Jess and I were still living at Christianville. GOD has brought us a long way in 2015 and I fully expect Him to do the same if not more this year. Please continue to pray and please continue to support All Things New!