Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. — 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
We have a lot to be thankful for! Last week, VisionTrust staff and volunteers gathered for a time of celebration and vision-casting, and heard many stories of God’s faithfulness in 2016. Over 17,000 children in 17 countries were faithfully and holistically ministered to through our Local Heroes, staff, volunteers, and partners. We were especially moved by each story of redemption and success as we reflected on the dire needs of many of the children in our programs.
Because VisionTrust intentionally reaches out through Local Heroes already working in communities where many kids are hungry, abused, sick, neglected, or ignored, we know first-hand about the desperate situations our children face and understand the reality of how difficult it can be to meet their needs.
In Brazil, for example, an increasingly difficult economic climate has forced many of our supporting Brazilian families to withdraw their donations as a result of unemployment. This loss of funding, as well as food donations, places the future of our programs at-risk. Our staff is working hard to cut costs so we don’t have to send any of the 250 currently served children back to potentially dangerous situations—several of our leaders have even volunteered to forfeit their pay. But we continue to pray for and seek generous partners who can provide the funding we need to fully operate our Learning Centers without turning away a single child. We continue to serve in the midst of uncertainty. We continue to give thanks to God.
But why? Given the setbacks and challenging circumstances our children face on a daily basis, why do we continue to give thanks?
We give thanks because we’ve already experienced God’s faithfulness in these communities. We’ve seen children choose to follow Christ and commit to pray for the salvation of their family. We’ve seen children receive immunizations, nutritious meals, and well-rounded education through our programs. We’ve seen children surrounded by the realities of drug trafficking, prostitution, and destitution find hope for the future through Local Heroes, volunteers, and people just like you; people who know that these children are precious in God’s sight. We know that in even the direst situations, God’s work is worthy of praise and His ear is inclined to these little ones.
So this Thanksgiving, we invite you to give thanks with us and our partners around the world for the things God has done, the things He’s doing, and the things He’ll continue to do. Thank you for your faithful partnership and prayer. We’re grateful for you and look forward to the thanks-worthy works that God has planned for us all.