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My name is Innocent. I’ve been orphaned. It’s Christmas. I don’t need your money. I need your heart.

I have to be honest. I sat down to write this email with good intentions. It was supposed to be the typical non-profit “buy presents with a deeper purpose to support our work and give your year-end tax deductible donation to change a life” email. But I couldn’t do it.
Returning the night before Thanksgiving and two days before Black Friday after being in five African countries was surreal. It seems hands are out everywhere, and we don’t just want to be one more hand.

What does it really mean to be Thankful?

What does it really mean to be In Need?

We saw hearts broken from war. Teenage hands holding babies born in the bush after being raped. Heads holding memories that our movies would not even show. And Joy beyond comprehension.

We not only came back with hands full of needs from children who have survived war but spirits full of lessons taught to us by tiny hearts and young men who were once forced to kill.

Like Innocent.

“Mr. Innocent” as he calls himself. He is recovering from malaria as you read this. Once a child solider, he is now one of the leaders of the Peace Lives restoration center. He is learning how to live again, and he taught us more than we had to give.

Yes, there are needs. Massive needs. Homes that need to be built for street children. Land that needs to be purchased for more homes. Funds for training of counselors. School fees, food, and sponsors.

But as I sat down to write this, I realized… They don’t just need our money. They need our hands and our feet and our hearts. To only ask for money would be placing them in the position of a beggar.

They are not weak. They are strong. And we are blessed to serve them in small ways. We invite you to join us.

So in a silent way… Our 2011 Christmas Campaign information is below. We would love to invite you into our journey as we walk beside these children.

This walk may take any form:

– a store purchase for a present

– a child sponsored

_ a monthly SING! donor beginning at $7/month

– a year-end tax donation

– a church/business partner supporting our work monthly

– a prayer or simply a heart touched.

We count them all the same.

From the Exile team and the hundreds of children we have been honored to serve,

Merry Christmas!


~ Bethany



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