Hope for Tomorrow lost one of its founding members this past week. Larry Ledbetter passed away on December 14, 2012. Larry was Brenda’s husband, and Brett, Lee, and Clarita’s dad. At his funeral, the ministersaid that he suspected that, as a teenager, Larry never dreamed that one day God would lead him to Guatemala to become a father or to help start a Children’s Home. Beginning in 2004 the Hope for Tomorrow Children’s Home Steering Committee met regularly in Larry and Brenda’s dining room. Larry never had a great deal to say, except to tell us how much – or how little – money we had in the Children’s Home account! However, when Larry talked, everyone listened. He was never afraid for us to take chances if it meant that the children of Hope for Tomorrow would have a better life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Brenda and family during this very sad time. We share their loss of this very special man.
For the Lord will not reject forever. Although he causes grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
Recently, Brookdale Presbyterian Church in St. Joseph, MO put on a Christmas Bazaar to support Hope For Tomorrow Children’s Home. We asked Janeen, one of the leaders of their Hope For Tomorrow partnership team to share about what they did and the impact it will have on orphaned children in Guatemala.
Over Labor Day weekend Kenneth came through St. Joseph, Mo on his whirlwind tour of several churches in various states. He spent a few evenings at dinner with groups of folks from Brookdale Church, in partnership with Hope for Tomorrow through Children’s HopeChest over the past year. A young woman, Erin Lippincott, caught a vision as she listened to Kenneth tell stories of the children there.
A few days later Erin approached the Women’s Ministry Team, sharing with them an idea that caught on and spread like a wild fire through our church community – to hold Brookdale’s first-ever Christmas Bazaar in the Student Ministry Center’s gym early in December as a benefit for the children’s home in Guatemala. The idea was given a huge stamp of approval and Erin went to work organizing a task force and spreading the word through the local newspaper, a talk radio show and “Live at Five,” a daily TV program promoting community events.
Thirty-five vendors, purchased individual spaces for booths, donated items for a raffle during the event and showed up very early Saturday morning, December 1, to set up shop. The Men’s Ministry guys got on board to help unload cars and haul things for vendors. Brookdale women had prepared a very inexpensive, delicious lunch for vendors and shoppers.
Then, at nine that morning, as the doors opened to the community, a steady stream of folks thronged through the aisles, shopping for and finding all kinds of unique items, including several one-of a-kind hand crafted treasures, Holiday food items and gift ideas galore.
Not only did the event raise money for Hope for Tomorrow, it also drew the attention of the community at large to the great needs in countries like Guatemala, where there are so many orphans. Then on Sunday, December 2, the Brookdale congregation applauded Erin and all who worked so hard to make the bazaar such a great success.
We’re less than a month from Christmas and like many of you we are getting everything ready for the holiday. Of course a big part of that is decorating the house and this year we let all the children get in on the action. We began by getting the tree set up. As undoubtedly you have experienced, having a Christmas tree packed away in a card board box for a year means all the “branches” and “needles” are all smashed together. If you don’t get everything opened and spread out, the Christmas tree can look a bit sickly. So each of the children was assigned a branch and within a matter of minutes the tree was nice and plump.
Then we proceeded with the lights and of course, half of them didn’t work, but we managed to evenly distribute the half that did. However the most exciting part of decorating the tree is putting the ornaments on and this year we gave each of the children a small ornament that they were responsible for. These ornaments symbolized each child’s individuality (each one was different than the rest), but once they were all on the tree, together they represented that they were also part of a family. (By the way, I’m not sure how many of them understood the metaphor, but hey…it’s the thought that counts!!).
The children loved taking turns looking for the best place to put their ornament with the majority of them putting them as high as they could reach. In fact, Angel enjoyed it so much that when it was his turn he put on his ornament and then proceeded to remove someone else’s and then put it back in the same place!
Once the individual ornaments were on we opened up the big bag of random decorations and then it was a free for all to get them all on the tree. The children crowded around every inch of the tree to cover it in ornaments only leaving their space to run to the bag to get another. It was the best example of organized chaos we’ve seen in a while!
When the bag of ornaments was empty we put up all the stockings up. Normally, we hang them under the fireplace mantel, but this year we have so many children that we had to put some on the wall to get them all to fit. When we gave Sarai hers, who we think had never seen a Christmas stocking, she didn’t quite know what to do with it. So since it looked like a sock she proceeded to take her shoe off and put it on her foot! It was so cute!
Finally, with all the decorations up, we brought out some hot chocolate and spent some time talking about the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday.
Of course we took pictures of the afternoon which you can see below.
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