Belated Happy New Year! I hope this finds you well, with your New Year off to a great start! I know that for so many of us, 2020 was a crazy year, full of the unexpected. And truthfully, for some of us, it may seem that not much has changed as we have headed into 2021. Nevertheless, I always appreciate the beginning of a new year and all of the promise and hope that it brings. Although we don’t know what the upcoming year holds, there is One who DOES know all things, and we can certainly trust Him and find our peace in Him, no matter what happens in the world around us. Even in uncertain times, I pray that each of us are able to find rest and refuge in the Lord (Psalm 91) and that we find Him to be an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46).
We are doing well here and had a great holiday season, even in the midst of these challenging times. A few weeks before Christmas, the girls in the Hope House finished an art class that they had been taking with one of our staff members, and each of them gave a presentation of their artwork. They did an amazing job! We have some very talented girls!!
We had a great time celebrating Christmas as well. It’s become a tradition for me to bake Christmas cookies with the girls, so we had our annual cookie-baking this year, and it was great! We actually set aside two days for baking this time, so that as many of the girls who wanted to bake could participate, and so that we didn’t try to do too much in one day! My teammate Sandra joined us to help, which was a HUGE blessing. The girls did a great job, and we had a blast! We packaged up many of the cookies and gave them to our friends and teammates. (And of course, we ate a few ourselves!) 🙂
We also sent Christmas gift bags to the kids in Tagbaobo this year, which was a lot of fun. Richelle, one of the girls from Tagbaobo who went to FIRE School and now works at Hope Care (our Hope For All Children orphanage), was able to transport the gift bags to Tagbaobo when she went there for Christmas. Richelle and one of the other Tagbaobo girls had helped me figure out how many gift bags we needed for the kids. So, we got 30 bags, and the Hope House girls helped me fill them with some candy and school supplies. We wrote notes wishing the kids a Merry Christmas and letting them know that we love and miss them. It was a lot of fun to prepare the bags, knowing they would bless the kids. The Hope House girls really miss being able to go to Tagbaobo, as do I, so I hope that at some point this year, the restrictions will lift and we will be able to meet with the kids there again.
We gave the Hope House girls two weeks off of school for the holidays, so I was able to spend some time with them then that did not involve any schoolwork, which was really nice! 🙂 I spent the night at the Hope House on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and we had a lot of fun. On Christmas Eve, we had dinner a little later than normal. (In Filipino culture, it’s actually common to eat dinner VERY late on Christmas Eve and to stay up until midnight, when it is officially Christmas! 🙂 ) For our girls, though, we like to have them eat a little closer to their regular dinner time, and then we let them open their gifts. We had so much fun this year watching all ELEVEN of the girls open their gifts! We actually were able to video call my teammate Crystal (who is the director of the Hope House and is still in the U.S.), and so she got to watch them open their gifts as well. The girls were really happy and excited about their gifts. It was really sweet! Our newest girl got a pair of “rubber shoes” (sneakers) and CRIED!! (You may remember that we had another girl cry this past year on her birthday when she got her first pair of sneakers!) For our newest girl, it was her first time to get a pair of sneakers as well, and she was really overwhelmed. I gave her a big hug and tried not to lose it myself! It really never gets old to see these girls undone by acts of kindness and love. We are so blessed to get to see the things that we see here!
We were also able to video call with Crystal on New Year’s Eve. The girls sure miss her, as do the rest of us, and we are all looking forward to her return to the Philippines. As most of you know, she has been in the States because of a surgery in September, but then had several complications, and she is still recovering physically. She is making progress, though! Please join with us in praying and believing for complete healing and restoration for her, as well as a quick return to the Philippines. Thank you so much for your prayers!
Thank you also to all of you who sent funds for dental work and homeschool materials for our girls. We really appreciate it! 🙂 We have made several trips to the dentist, and it has really been a blessing for the girls to get work done on their teeth.
Just a quick note for those of you reading this newsletter online…. Because of the sensitive nature of some of the things I share in my newsletters, there are times when the online version of my newsletter is abbreviated, and other times, I may not post it online at all. So, if you’d like to be sure to see my entire newsletter each month, please contact me and let me know if you would like to receive it by email or “snail mail.” 🙂 (Both the email and snail mail version will have the entire newsletter each month).
Many blessings on you in this New Year!
About Beth Wier
Beth has served in the Philippines since 2011. She is a member of the Hope For All Children team which operates an orphanage specifically focused on abandoned children, manages feeding programs for malnourished children, and ministers to children who have been rescued from human trafficking. Beth serves as a house parent to girls in the Hope For All Children restoration home, and she also works with administration for HFAC, including compliance with government agencies and offices.