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Luke’s News, December 2020

Hello everyone,

I hope you have all kept safe throughout the second lock-down? I am now in my own isolation period as I have just returned from Romania to the UK so will be inside for 14 days. It will be strange not to be preparing SOS bags with Mission trippers but that can’t be helped this year.

Thankfully, there is plenty for me to do in the run up to Christmas, as much as I can’t stand shopping it has to be done, yes it’s not far away now. I’m sure we are all looking forward to a family Christmas, I pray for no restrictions on that!

CountdownThere is also much to do thinking ahead to the New Year. Firstly, the Smiles Countdown Fundraiser which I am sure you have read about will take place in January. Maybe you’ve seen the video of us playing a game on the Website or Facebook. I plan the event specifically for the weekend 16th and 17th of January.

Now that might seem like a long time away but there are several reasons for it.
1. I don’t want it to clash with Christmas, or the preparations for it, I know it is a very busy time for everyone!
2. I want to explain an alteration to the tournament that will make it more accessible for you.
3. I want to give people as much time as possible to sign up!

The slight change I mentioned is that the Knockout style tournament will have varying degrees of difficulty. After hearing from a number of people who liked the idea, but were worried they couldn’t compete very well, I wanted to make it more accessible so that more of you can take part and have fun!

Therefore, the first round of games will have a 90 second timer instead of a 30 second one, like on the TV. I know this does not stick to the traditional TV show but it will allow people time to “warm up” so to speak. Then, in the second round, we will go down to a 60 second timer and then from the third round to the final we will go to 30 seconds.

Whilst I’m sure there will be some good-natured competition, I would not want miss anyone because they didn’t feel they could compete. This is after all a ‘fundraiser’ that we hope to generate funds for Smiles, in a relaxed and friendly game. So please, don’t worry, just join us and have some fun.

I’m also hoping and praying that in the New Year we won’t have to restrict ourselves to Zoom for events! As much as it is useful when it comes to presentations about Smiles it is not the same as in person and can limit what is discussed.

I look forward to the day when I can visit supporters, Churches and Schools again and share many stories, photos, videos and new updates with you! It is not just because it needs to be done, so that we can enjoy staying in touch with our wider Smiles family and working together. It is because I love doing it, and meeting with supporters is such a blessing and encouragement.

Looking ahead into January, February and some of March 2021 – I am planning to be travelling and presenting to as many people across the UK as possible. This may be restricted or lessened by Covid measures, but I believe that things will get better by God’s provision and so I’m planning accordingly.

In fact that goes for all of Smiles work. We believe that 2021 will be so much better than 2020, with much greater freedom to travel, both in the UK and abroad and we are working to maximize that freedom to the full.
Mission trips are vital to Smiles and Kevin mentions in his report this month a few different projects and targets that we simply couldn’t get done this year as we didn’t have our amazing volunteers coming to help.

Luke in RomaniaSo please, will you join us in this and see if we can work out a date in the New Year when I could come and share an update presentation, or for the first time with you and your Church? If you would like this I should stress that contacting me as soon as you can regarding a Sunday date would be best. The Sundays in my presentation calendar always book up the fastest and I would not want to miss anyone out.

Alternatively, you can join us by going on a Mission trip. The 2021 dates are on this website and have all the specials weeks listed like the Gardening, Construction, Student and Family Weeks. Have a look and see when might work for you and your family, friends or Church groups to come and experience a Mission trip, for the first time or the hundredth time that you missed out on in 2020!

Whichever option it is, please don’t hesitate to contact myself or Dawn at the Leeds office. We eagerly await hearing from you and working to help in any way we can!

Have a blessed Christmas, take care and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year, in the UK or Romania.
Luke Wathen
Smiles Ambassador

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