It is a great privilege on behalf of the Smiles Foundation to wish all our family of friends and supporters a very Peaceful New Year in the knowledge that our Lord Jesus Christ holds the future and our desire should be only to serve Him each day of our lives.
Christmas and New Year is the longest break I normally get in the entire year, spanning a week or so away from the day to day responsibilities of leading the work of God through Smiles. I am always eager to get back at it but equally value the days to reflect on the year that has past but even more importantly, take time to pray and prepare for the year ahead.
The past year certainly had some major challenges, some unexpected, but through them all – we learnt to depend on God even more and this has been a valuable period of further learning which I believe will prove of essential value as we move into 2019.
A year ago, I was wrestling with the changes that were needed in several of our most established projects. It is always difficult to change the ‘status quo’ even when you know ‘change is needed’ because often the difficulties you know well and have come to live with, are preferred to the unknown surrounding the changes you believe in your heart must be made.
Perhaps my age is helping – but in recent times I have become much more ready to make the hard decisions and face an unknown future with a known God – rather than to press on, potentially against His Will, for the sake of an easy path that will not raise as many questions. As is always the case, doing what God requires produces the best results and we have seen that throughout 2018 as our new Field Project has established the emphasis and impact we sadly lacked for a few years in Family Care, Homeless and Emergency Housing.
The final months of 2018 demonstrated time and time again how taking those tough decisions with God at the helm will always provide huge dividends. I am thankful for the position we are in today versus the challenges we faced a year ago with some projects and staff. As a result, we are expectant of a truly productive year ahead with all our projects.
We also have the delight of Dezna Outreach Centre being established as our new project focus for 2019. Tremendous work has already been done on the Camp facilities which will now continue in earnest from January 7th with an anticipated completion date of May 10th. We are delighted to have appointed our Project Contractor who we are confident will do an excellent job and who can be relied upon to finish a professional job, on time.
Camps will be able to begin from June 29th with as many Outreach Weeks as possible over the summer, and the last week of Camp finishing August 31st.
While construction of the Camp facilities are being finalised, Maria and I will be working with Architects and Builders in consultation with Authorities, to begin work on the new build of a Dezna Residential Care Centre. Scheduled to begin by May 2019. Join us in prayer and support for the administrative work to be done and the finances required to fulfil the dream.
£24,000 ($31,200) to complete the Camp construction work plus £11,000 ($14,300) for furnishing the Camp facility. There will also be a budget of £10,000 ($13,000) for exterior work to provide a Prayer Garden, BBQ Area and structured Camp Fire.
With the focus of such funds required in a short period of time provides perfect emphasis for our Smiles Day scheduled for February 2nd/3rd although as with previous years, the fundraising event is more important than the date.
We need you to be active with something specific in the coming weeks that is your contribution to Smiles Day 2019 with project support being your choice, but if in any doubt – go for Dezna Outreach Centre to help meet our targets for this exciting new facility.
Don’t forget to let us know your plans and send us a picture of your fund-raising event for future promotion.
It will be an exciting year in Dezna with a great deal of work to be undertaken month by month. Please consider your ability to be part of the work as we seek professional tradesmen to volunteer for the host of tasks to be organised. You may not be a tradesman, but you probably know one!
Print or request a copy of our Task List and discuss it with your friends and contacts, then contact me with the options. https://www.thesmilesfoundation.org/2019-tradesman-trips/
Of course, 2018 was also a sad and difficult year with the sudden loss of Barbara Morrison in July. Barbara was so thrilled with the progress being made in 2018 and was excited to see the Dezna Project start in July. Sadly, Barbara never saw Dezna in person, but her life and commitment to the Smiles Foundation has inspired many to ensure the work is completed, which it will be.
We anticipate the Official Opening of Dezna to be September 28th & 29th 2019 when the Facility will be dedicated to the Glory of God and to the Memory of Barbara Morrison. Get your reservation in to avoid disappointment, as numbers will be limited.
There will be two options offered for attending the Official Opening:
The 4-Day weekend – to arrive Friday September 27th and return Monday September 30th.
The 9-Day Mission Trip – Arriving September 21st or 22nd and return Monday September 30th.
Please contact the Leeds office (0113-276-5060) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information on booking. Don’t forget, anyone booked on another Smiles Mission Trip, anytime in 2019, will receive a voucher for free attendance for the 4-Day Official Opening weekend.
January is a good time for you to consider your Mission Trip options for the year ahead. We had a wonderful 2018 with nearly 300 people on mission trips during the year, including 32 in December on one of our best Christmas Mission Trips for several years.
Mission Trips are not only about responding obediently to the Lord’s Command ‘To Go’ but also a practical opportunity to serve others, love those in need of good news and share in a powerful example of the Gospel in Action – Good News indeed to a world in need. We have many opportunities for you from March through December. Contact us for help in every area of organising a successful trip whether for you, your family, your school or church.
It’s going to be an amazing year so make sure you are part of it from the beginning.
I thank you for being part of the Smiles Family – for partnering with us to impact the people of Romania with the Love of God. Thank you for your prayers which we feel every day. Thank you for your financial support which was the biggest ever in 2018 enabling Smiles to impact more people, through more projects than ever before. Please continue helping us maintain the level of outreach experienced to date and we will work with you to achieve the very best possible for the people and situations we all care most about.
God Bless you all in 2019 as we continue to change the world for someone through the ministry of the Smiles Foundation.
Chief Executive to
The Smiles Foundation