A Year of Progress….
Although the typical year end newsletter would be focused on a review of the past year, I felt a spiritual prompting to share more about the ministry of Advocates of Love. The ministry of AOL is story of redemption through Christ’s love in action. The desire of this ministry is not just to satisfy our Biblical obligation of “defending the orphan” but our ultimate desire is to lead every orphan and vulnerable child within our care to an eternal relationship with Jesus by demonstrating Christ’s love in action. Since we began on January 25, 2013, we have experienced the truth of the following verse, and it has become the foundation on which we operate:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8 (NIV)
The children within the ministry have all experienced such devastating effects from the various sins of the world levied upon them, the majority of which they had no responsibility in them occurring. These traumatic circumstances within their short lives create an understandable separation to the knowledge of God’s great love and plans for them. The deep love they receive through the ministry and all those involved provides them with a tangible experience that God does exist and that they matter to Him.
I wanted to take this opportunity to provide you with a timeline of where we started and to show you where we are now to help you see the impact we are having in the Dominican Republic. As is shared below, there has been some great progress that we use to document the growth and success of the ministry. However, our view of success is not measured by numbers alone but by our faithfulness to His purpose of redemptive love for his precious children.
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus”. Philippians 1:6
January 2013 – Received 501c3 status in the U.S.
October 2013 – Received NGO status in the Dominican Republic and became the 1st organization to care for orphan & vulnerable children in the Samana Province. Received our first child placement.
November 2013 – Aug 2015 rented home in El Limon, Samana (850 sq. ft.)
May 2014 – Received license and accreditation from Conani as an approved children’s home in the Dominican
March 2014 – 1st children’s church established (average weekly attendance: 23 children)
January 2015 – 2nd children’s church established – EL Paraiso (average weekly attendance: 20 children)
July – August 2015 – Purchased land and home in Los Corrales, Samana . Moved to the new children’s home
August 2016 – Opened a school on the property of the children’s home. Teachers provided by public school system.
Received 2 child placements. Total number of children within our care: 22 (11 in community care & 11 in the children’s home)
Experienced an increase in child sponsorship
2015: 17 child sponsors / 2016: 40 child sponsors
Completed 6 short term mission trips with 40 people participating. Provided medical and dental care, outreach to the local community, children’s programs, ministered to caregivers and completed construction projects.
U.S. based operations continued to operate with volunteers and no payroll overhead.
Completed basketball court, play area and gazebo
Remodeled kitchen area
Increased support staff in the Dominican Republic
Held 2nd Annual Bowling Fundraiser and hosted Ministry Awareness and Child Sponsorship Dinner
Covered play area & basketball court
In addition to sharing where we have come and where we are now, I also wanted to share with you some of our needs as we look ahead to the future.
2017 Identified Needs
Van for the home: $31,500
Additional restroom: $1,000
Additional Child Sponsorship: 191 available / currently 40 active
Completion of perimeter wall: $9,500
Exterior lighting: $900
New church to be built near the children’s home: $18,000
Full time missionaries
Volunteers to support operational tasks (website, graphic design, accounting, etc)
We are so grateful to each of you and continue to pray that God’s blessings be upon you for your faithfulness, love, and support.
All for His glory,
Life change in the making
Melissa is originally from Ocala, FL and after moving around Florida, Georgia & North Carolina, she has settled back in Ocala. Melissa went to the College of Central Florida and has pursued a life of service in various administrative, customer service and marketing roles. She has now settled into her dream role as the Communications Director for Advocates of Love.
Melissa was on the state board of the Florida Foster and Adoptive Parent Association while serving 4 years as a foster and then adoptive mom. She has two adopted daughters, Kenzi and Shyne, who keep her busy. Melissa also serves in her local church.
You can reach Melissa via email: email@example.com.