2016 in Review
Dear Friends- Another year is coming to a close! We hope that this letter finds you well and in the midst of enjoying the holidays. During this season, as we try to turn our hearts and minds towards what we are thankful for, you and our Eight Oaks family are at the very top of the list.
Highlights from 2016:
- Destiny coordinated a trip to Yeji so all eight girls could visit their families. While the prospect of this trip initially made us extremely nervous, it went very well and was critical to building alliances and establishing goodwill with the communities in Yeji and our local social welfare office.
- Along those lines, we provided the funds for Richlove’s little brother, Foster, to have an operation to remove a very serious, very painful tumor. His stay at the hospital in Accra coincided with our trip to Ghana, so we were able to meet him and Richlove’s mom! Destiny traveled to Yeji again in October and reported that Foster is thriving.
- In May, we hosted three new-to-Ghana guests at the Yellow House. Beth Allin is getting her master's in Child Life and used this trip to collect information for her thesis. Her knowledge will help us best support the girls as they continue to recover from a traumatic past. Caleb Maine and Clare Warrington are in college now, but they were a part of the high school group that founded Eight Oaks in 2013.
- The girls finished another school year and received excellent marks! Some of them are at the top of their class. They are hungry for knowledge and we are excited that they continue to take their studies seriously.
- Our Ghanaian Board Meeting in May was encouraging and we continue to thank God for the improvement in our relationship with Social Welfare. The Ghanaians are adamant that we should own our own land and facilities, but they also recognize that such a serious decision cannot, and should not, be rushed. We have looked at a few plots of land but haven't felt leading to purchase, yet.
- We celebrated 3 years of freedom for our girls this November! It is easy to forget the transformation they have undergone until we see pictures of them from that momentous first day. They are flourishing and we are endlessly blessed to be a small part of their story.
Looking ahead, we ask that you would continue to pray with us for the following:
- Restoration and healing for Dina, Lucky, God's Way, Sarah Sr., Richlove, Regina, Sarah Jr., and Gloria: that they would grow, thrive, and be raised into great leaders. Protection and blessings over the older girls as they begin the transition from childhood into adulthood.
- Strength and wisdom for our staff: Mercy, Helen, Destiny, Bernard, Celestine, Forgive, and our Ghanaian Board, as they are charged with stewarding these young ladies and managing the Yellow House.
- The Lord's leading and provision: that we would receive clear direction when purchasing land and building a house. We have raised $1,000 out of the targeted $5,000 thus far.
- For continued financial support: that the Lord would provide donors and that we would be good stewards of resources.
- Right now we are bringing in about $2,150/month, but our goal since 2013 has been to reach $2,800/month. The extra money would allow us to give our staff a [long overdue] raise, begin focusing on savings accounts for college funds, and buy a generator for the house.
- For Collins, Juliet, Justine, and Julianna, the children we sponsor to attend school, and that the Yellow House would be a light and a blessing to the entire Akatsi community.
- Destiny is hugely passionate about seeing more children receive an education. Last year we started allocating specific donations to what we call the “Fulfill Your Destiny” fund: a program for Destiny to invest in the community and partner with families to send their children to school. Some of you already give specifically to this cause, and we’d like to increase from $100/month to $500/month.
More details and pictures are available on our website but we hope that this letter has illustrated the journey of 2016 and all that we hope for in 2017. People often ask us, “what’s next?”. That's a difficult question! We don't plan to rescue more girls at this point, but we absolutely do feel called to pour our hearts and resources into these eight. We want to water and care for our "little trees" in this delicate season so that they can put down strong roots, grow strong and tall, and lead their nation into light of Christ. Everyone knows that we named Eight Oaks for the passage in Isaiah 61 that references "oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Verses 1-3 are often quoted, but if you continue reading, verses 4-11 tell of all the great things that the redeemed will go on to do:
They will rebuild the ancient ruins, repairing cities destroyed long ago. They will revive them, though they have been deserted for many generations. They will be called priests of the Lord, ministers of our God. Instead of shame and dishonor, they will enjoy a double share of honor. They will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be theirs peut être trouvé ici. 'For I, the Lord, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing. I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be recognized and honored among the nations. Everyone will realize that they are a people the Lord has blessed.'
It's exciting to witness the coming Kingdom, isn't it? We are so honored to be a part of it with you.
We thank you, again, for partnering with us, and ask God's blessing on each of your lives.
Ted & Ellie Kriwiel Founders
Donations can be made online through our website or via mail: our address is P.O. Box 8366, Wichita KS 67208.