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December 2012

Blessings

O p e r at i o n B l e s s i n g I n t e r n at i o n a l

operationblessing.org

A Precious Gift

After losing everything to a hurricane, see how Gloria & Collins got a second chance at life and love ~ page 8


A Message from The President

H

opefully, by the time you read this, the lights will be back on in all the battered boroughs of New York City and victims of Hurricane Sandy will be safe, warm and on the road to recovery. The suffering resulting from this superstorm has been excruciating for countless Americans. We, acting as your agents of mercy, have been working night and day to help as many as possible. Our disaster relief teams have been helping in two states: coastal New Jersey managing volunteers and helping homeowners clear debris and mud from homes that suffered flood damage, and in New York City, where we’ve been providing thousands of hot meals and distributing hundreds of tons of non-perishable food, relief and hygiene supplies to long lines of shivering people…people who otherwise feel like they have been forgotten. As 2012 draws to a close, we are saddened by the seemingly endless struggles of vulnerable families at home and around the globe, but 2

heartened by the outpouring of generous support from people like you. Besides helping Americans in NY and NJ in their times of need, you “provide fuel for Operation Blessing’s engine,” and also make it possible for us to disinfect water for millions of people in many countries; help install a solar system and provide a loving home for children with disabilities in Haiti; teach families in droughtstricken Niger how to grow their own drip-irrigated cash crops; provide boats and gear for fishermen in tsunami-ravaged Japan; rebuild homes damaged by hurricanes in TX and LA; rescue and care for orphans in the DRC and Uganda; drill a water well for an orphanage in South Sudan and thirsty people worldwide; build schools in Kenya; fight human trafficking in Mexico; and so much more—all to help vulnerable children and families have a better life. We are thankful that we have done so much, but we are hungry to do even more. With God’s favor and your continued generosity, we will do more in 2013.


Inside this issue Cover Page 8

A Precious Gift

After losing everything to a hurricane, see how Gloria & Collins got a second chance at life and love

4 One Potato, Two Potatoes When a plague destroys potato crops and livelihoods for Honduran farmers, Operation Blessing steps in to sow seeds of hope

6 A Smile for Siyan A desperate family gets the miracle they need to provide a life-changing surgery for their baby girl

page 4

11 Photo Prayer of the Day A picture is worth a thousand words, and in this case, a prayer. Sign up to receive your free daily Photo Prayer today!

12 Top Highlights of 2012 See what your partnership helped

page 11

accomplish this year!

16 Year-End Gifts That Matter Make a tax-deductible gift by midnight

on December 31 and help bring lifesaving relief to those who need it most

page 12

3


LAS MERCEDES, Honduras

One Potato, Two Potatoes When a plague destroys potato crops and livelihoods for Honduran farmers, Operation Blessing steps in to sow seeds of hope

W

ilson’s prayer was simple. The 12-yearold and his two younger siblings were going hungry and there was nothing left in the house but a bag of salt. “God, please provide my dad with money so he can buy food for us,” Wilson prayed. Wilson’s dad is a potato farmer, but a plague had wiped out the crops in their

region—leaving their family and countless others struggling to find work. “We were not ready for something like this,” said Martin, Wilson’s father. “We lost everything we had obtained with so much effort.” That tragedy on the farmlands translated to a food crisis for the families. “My mom told us there was no corn left,” Wilson said. “That day I felt like crying, but I just went to bed to forget how hungry I was.” When Operation Blessing heard about the needs of these desperate families, teams stepped in to provide new ”They are not going to suffer anymore,” said dad Martin, pictured here with his family.

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Thanks to seeds from Operation Blessing, these potato farmers have already produced a good harvest and profits.

seeds for the farmers. They also trained them on how to best manage the profits from the harvest. Months later, the seeds produced a good potato harvest and already the farmers have sold to export companies and received a profit. They also established an agricultural cooperative to provide support and resources for one another in the event of another crisis or poor harvest.

For Martin, the blessings just keep adding up. His income jumped from earning $90 a month, to $545 in this first harvest—enough to provide for his family and have plenty of seeds left over to plant for the next harvest. “First thing that came to my mind when I received the paycheck were my kids,” Martin said. “I knew what they had been through…they are not going to suffer anymore.” u 5


CHINA

A Smile for Siyan before

after

A desperate family gets the miracle they need to provide a life-changing surgery for their baby girl

O

n the day of Siyan’s birth, the anticipated bundle of joy turned instead to heartbreak. Baby Siyan was born with a cleft lip, leaving her

parents overwhelmed as to how to help their precious girl. With several other children to provide for, Siyan’s parents—who live in a rural community of northern China—were already working hard to care for their family and an ailing grandmother. How would they ever be able to afford corrective surgery for Siyan? With the help of a foster home in a nearby city, they learned how to properly feed and care for Siyan; however her cleft lip still made eating and drinking difficult. Then Siyan’s parents found out about Operation Blessing’s life-changing surgeries program and the foster home helped arrange for them to receive the surgery from Operation Blessing free-of-charge.

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Thanks to generous partners like you, today Siyan has a beautiful smile and is a healthy baby. “We are so happy and grateful,” said Siyan’s dad. “You have brought hope to our family…and miracles…my child will grow up healthy and live happily.” u

Sponsor a

Life-Changing Surgery Want to help more

too impoverished to afford

children like Siyan?

the necessary medical care.

Every year, hundreds of

When you give a gift

thousands of children are

of $500, you are helping

diagnosed with medical

provide a much-needed

conditions ranging from

surgery for a precious

cleft lips to cataracts,

child like Siyan and

hernias, clubfeet and

giving children in poverty

more. Sadly, few can get

a chance for a better,

the healing they long for

healthier future. Will you

because their families are

become a sponsor today?

Visit community.ob.org/lifechangingsurgeries or call 1-800-730-2537 to help a child in need! 7


A Precious Gift LOUISIANA

After losing everything to a hurricane, see how Gloria & Collins got a second chance at life and love Every day is a gift for Gloria and Collins.

During their 22 years of marriage, the couple has survived Gloria’s bout with cancer, a hurricane that devastated their

home with 12 feet of water, and now Collins’ fight for his life as he battles stage four cancer. Yet their faith and love continue to carry them through. That, along with some helping hands. Just three weeks before Hurricane Isaac hit, the couple, who had been married by a Justice of the Peace, had made plans to 8


renew their vows and finally have the church

LOUISIANA

wedding they had always wanted. But those

A Christmas

plans came crashing down, much like the walls of their home when Isaac’s floodwaters destroyed everything they owned.

Blessing Inspired by Operation

“Some of the walls had caved in, the

Blessing’s help for their

ceilings had fallen in. Everything in the

grandparents Gloria &

house was saturated with filth,” Gloria said.

Collins, Kullen and his

When Operation Blessing arrived to help

sister Kylah did something

them clean up, Collins had just one request.

few children would

“The only thing he asked that we get out of the house was our wedding rings,” Gloria said. As crews began to clean and gut their home so they could rebuild it, they stumbled on a priceless treasure: Gloria’s wedding rings. But Operation Blessing had another surprise for the couple. With the help of many local businesses, they organized an Extreme Blessing for Gloria and Collins by giving the couple a wedding to remember— complete with a church ceremony, dinner reception, cake and carriage ride. “My favorite moment was hearing him say ‘I do’ again for the second time,” Gloria said. “This was more than I could ever have dreamed of…the perfect wedding. It was like a fairytale.” For Collins, it was a gift beyond measure. “It’s a blessing to know Operation Blessing. And it’s just heartwarming to know that there are people out there to do these kinds of things.” u

For siblings Kullen and Kylah, help is something to be paid forward. Literally. Every year, the now 16-year-old and 12-yearold have money set aside each month to buy themselves Christmas gifts. But this year, they decided to give their Christmas gifts to Operation Blessing. After seeing how teams helped their “Maw Maw” and “Paw Paw,” they made a generous donation from their Christmas Club savings so that Operation Blessing could help even more people in need. “We give because Operation Blessing is helping our grandparents and this is our way of helping,” they told Gloria.u 9


DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

A

t The Dina Center, girls who were once sleeping in the jungle and running for their lives as war orphans, have finally found a safe refuge. Some arrive with visible wounds of a tragic past. Others bear silent scars. All have come for healing. Just recently, Operation Blessing was there with our partners at The Dina Center to help rescue 29 more girls, who will now have a safe place to sleep, food to eat, medicine to heal, and a chance to get an education and learn life skills such as sewing and cooking. But they need your help to continue healing. Will you help bring comfort and joy to these precious ones with a gift of $35, $50, $75 or more this Christmas? Your gift will help provide critical relief to vulnerable children and families here and around the world…offering hope at a time when it’s needed most.

“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” Mark 10:14 10


Photo Prayer of the Day A picture is worth a thousand words,

and in this case, a prayer

Peru “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” – Proverbs 1:7 In many regions, attending school is difficult due to distance or cost of supplies. Today, join us in praying for children like these in Peru, who need an education to help them break the cycle of poverty in their communities.

www.operationblessing.org

Want to see more great Photo Prayers like this one? Sign up to receive your free daily e-mail today at:

ob.org/photoprayer

11


2012

z See what your partnership helped accomplish this year!

Thanks to a community garden and irrigation project in Niger, families can grow crops year-round, providing them with food to sustain them even in times of drought and famine.

62,000 baby tilapia traveled from Florida via a DC-3 plane to Portau-Prince, Haiti. The fish helped jumpstart OBI’s aquaculture project at Zanmi Beni Children’s Home that is helping feed children, create jobs, and yielding 50,000 pounds of fresh fish a year for Haitians. 12


As part of ongoing tsunami recovery efforts, Operation Blessing partners brought custom-built boats to help restore the livelihoods of Japanese fishermen. And when tornadoes struck Illinois, teams were on the ground serving more than 3,500 meals, distributing more than 20,000 lbs. of emergency food and supplies and coordinating thousands of volunteers to help residents with debris cleanup.

It’s a surprise! OBI gave an Extreme Blessing Home Makeover to 77-year-old Lue Verne of Texas after a tornado left gaping holes in her roof. In just 7 ½ hours, teams finished installing a new roof, windows and shutters, as well as completed exterior painting and landscaping. Operation Blessing opens a major distribution center in Grand Prairie, Texas. Within the next few years, more than 30 million pounds of food and relief aid are expected to travel through this facility which will impact more than 1 million hungry Americans a month. 13


In Kimana, Kenya, Operation Blessing drilled a water well so families would no longer have to walk 14 miles round trip for water, built a community garden with drip irrigation to grow crops year-round, and began a feeding program at a school where children receive a daily hot meal and snack.

Emergency food and relief provided to 1,200 flood victims in Sarando, Niger. OBI also opened a restaurant at Zanmi Beni in Haiti, serving fresh tilapia and supporting the work of the children’s home, and helped install solar panels to keep the home and aquaculture projects safely running.

On the 7-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Isaac pounded the Gulf States. In hard-hit Louisiana, Operation Blessing teams served more than 26,800 hot meals, delivered more than 162,000 lbs of food and relief and served more than 11,000 volunteer hours. 14


In the wake of Superstorm Hurricane Sandy, OBI distributed food and hot meals to thousands without power and helped residents clean up debris-filled homes. And as famine gripped Niger, teams conducted emergency food distributions to help reinforce existing food banks.

In Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Operation Blessing is aiding war orphans and vulnerable children by helping to renovate schools, orphanages and children’s homes that provide these precious ones with loving care, food, shelter, education and more. 15


Don’t let year-end

be their end.

Hunger, sickness, poverty. These are what threaten the lives of vulnerable children and families every day around the world. But you can help stop the clock and save lives. Make a tax-deductible gift by midnight on December 31 and help bring lifesaving relief such as food, clean water, medicine and more to those who need it most. Here are three easy ways to make your year-end gift:

ONLINE

PHONE

MAIL

Give a secure gift online by visiting:

Call toll-free

Send your gift postmarked by December 31st to:

operationblessing.org

1.800.730.2537

Monday – Saturday 8 am – 11 pm EST or Sunday 8 am – 6 pm EST

Operation Blessing P.O. Box 2636 Virginia Beach, VA 23450

Copyright © 2012 by Operation Blessing International, P.O. Box 2636, Virginia Beach, VA 23450 For more information, call (800) 730-2537 or visit our website at operationblessing.org.


A Precious Gift - Blessings - 2012 December Issue