My dear friends,
I am writing to you at what has felt like one of the longest weeks at the end of the end of a very hard year dealing with COVID-19. It has been exhausting. As you have heard, on Dec 17th over 1200 homes were lost and over 6000 people left homeless just 8 days before Christmas at Masiphumelele, a community well known to so many of you, with many of our own Living Hope staff living there. And yet despite this tragedy, I have such truly wonderful news to share with you!!!
1. We have been blown away by the incredible generosity of our community both near and far! So much so, that we had to close the donations of goods at our Capri campus as of yesterday Dec 24th. The sheer volume of donations is overwhelming and just incredible. So much generosity and care for our neighbours was a sight to behold! As you can see in the pictures below, each fire victim received a large parcel of both clothing and food yesterday on Christmas Eve. Living Hope will be storing SO much until people have homes to put things into. We had to get extra storage and take over empty shops in the neighbourhood while people’s homes are being rebuilt. The kindness of businesses, other NGOs, churches and many individuals have made this Christmas blessing possible! We hope and pray that these relief efforts bring joy during these difficult times. Thank you to each who gave their time, money and donations towards this beautiful sight of neighbours loving neighbours.
2. The government has announced a long term housing plan that has been accepted by the community that truly will assist in solving the problem of urban overcrowding and the fires that occur here so regularly. This plan is due to be completed by Easter with each registered fire victim receiving their own individual fire-retardant wooden structure home that they will OWN WITH A TITLE DEED!!!! This home includes shower/toilet facilities, electricity and running water!! The economic power of homeownership cannot be overstated! This plan will also restore and safeguard the environmental status of the wetlands, providing safety from future disasters as well as a healthy place to live for future generations to come. Indeed, it may be a long four months for the affected 6000 to wait, (in a temporary tin shack camp situation) but we do pray that their patience will result in good that has come from tragedy!
3. Living Hope co-ordinated a relief response to a similar disaster in November 2016, but we hardly have the kind of capacity to respond to a disaster of this scope. We don’t have the kind of storage or large transport trucks or full-time disaster managers. What we do have is a reputation of trustworthiness and integrity built over 20 years. We have willing hearts that listen and respond. What we do have are volunteers who worked tirelessly around the clock for more than a week. What we do have are hands that are willing to serve. We believe that God has used Living Hope in strategic ways over the past 20 years because of this willingness to serve. And we strongly believe that God uses YOU to support the Vision and Mission of Living Hope to Bring Hope and Break Despair of poverty and illness. For your support, we say THANK YOU and WELL DONE.
Please don’t forget that in the middle of this tragedy, our vital End of Year Giving campaign is still going on. Last year we ministered to 102,216 people whose lives we were able to touch. Join us as we seek to reach more for Christ next year in Bringing Hope and Breaking the Despair of Poverty and Disease. We need your help to raise just under 1 million Rand. Will you make a donation right now via our banking details below or continue to give through through Paypal or via Credit Card by clicking the blue button below?
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May the Lord Bless you Richly this Christmas with His Presence,
John V. Thomas
Executive Director Living Hope