2018 in review
We hope that this letter finds you well and enjoying the last few days of 2018. Eight Oaks has had another wonderful year, and we appreciate this opportunity to reflect before we ring in 2019. We have so much to be grateful for!
Highlights from 2018
We celebrated 5 years of freedom! The girls came to the Yellow House in November of 2013. In some ways, we can’t believe so much time has elapsed, but all we have to do is look at the girls and see how they’ve flourished. We are seeing the fruits of five years of three square meals a day, consistent education, and steadfast love and investment from our Ghanaian staff. Their smiles are brighter and fuller; they’ve grown inches taller, and can communicate most anything in English (though they still prefer to speak Ewe, of course!). They will always be our “girls,” but they are rapidly becoming young women, and we couldn’t be more proud.
The girls finished another school year with flying colors! We are thrilled that they continue to love school and learning, and take their educations seriously.
Speaking of which, God’s Way and Richlove both advanced to the regional level of a local spelling bee, and Richlove advanced to the national competition, which was held in Cape Coast!
We initially furnished the Yellow House with bamboo furniture, which has seen better days. We replaced the bunk beds with steel frames that can withstand the wear and tear of eight girls who, despite their increasing ages and maturity, still enjoying leaping from bed to bed occasionally.
Destiny remains in touch with the girls’ families and they have all had the opportunity to visit their parents and siblings in the past year.
We are still sending Collins, Juliet, Justine, and Juliana to school, and were able to buy a new tin roof for the triplets’ home, which was formerly covered in palm fronds.
For the first time since founding Eight Oaks, we did not visit Ghana this year! We had our first child, Lewis (although his Ghanaian name, as christened by our Yellow House family is Kwasi), in late May—so combined with Ellie’s pregnancy and his infancy we have not made the trans-Atlantic leap in a full 12 months. We are aching to see the girls and the staff and are hoping to visit soon!
Our website got a makeover! The address is the same (8oaks.org) but it’s been revised and streamlined, and we updated the giving platform we use to accept donations. This new tool (Donorbox) allows us to accept donations from bank accounts, credit cards or even Paypal. It's flexible, easy to use, and will hopefully make the giving process much simpler for everyone.
Looking ahead, we ask that you would pray with us for the following:
Restoration and healing for the girls as they continue to process their past and plan for their futures. Eight Oaks was named after the phrase “Oaks of Righteousness” in Isaiah 61:3. We still revisit that passage frequently and use it to pray for our girls. We especially love verse 4: “they will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations…” We pray that our Dina, Lucky, God’s Way, Sarah Sr., Richlove, Regina, Sarah Jr., and Gloria will be a part of a movement to rebuild and restore the community of Akatsi, and the country of Ghana as a whole.
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.
Favor and continuous development of good relationships with social welfare in Ghana.
For stable financial support: that the Lord would provide donors and that we would be good stewards of resources.
Right now we are bringing in about $2,100/month, but our goal since 2013 has been to reach $2,800/month. The extra money would give us flexibility to start saving for the girls’ college tuition and update the house with some needed improvements.
For Collins, Juliet, Justine, and Juliana, their families, and that the Yellow House would be a light and a blessing to the entire Akatsi community.
For the children and families who remain on Lake Volta: that slavery would be eradicated and for Ghana as a country, as it seeks to combat malnutrition, lack of medical care and clean water, and provide education to all of its citizens.
We are grateful to each and every one of you for your support, and hope that this update has illustrated the journey of 2018 and all that we hope for in 2019 and beyond. Don’t forget to visit our website if you’d like more details and to see the latest pictures.
We thank you, again, for partnering with us!
“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ted & Ellie Kriwiel
Donations can be made online through our website or via mail: our address is P.O. Box 8366, Wichita KS 67208.