Reflecting back on 2023, there is much to be thankful for in the work God has accomplished through us. Coming into this year, the word spoken over the organization was stretch, and that word has proven to be prophetic for the year.
As a whole, we’ve been stretched more this year than in any previous year. Haiti’s troubles have continued to deepen, yet God made a way for us to provide more day-to-day help to people in need through our Stretch Out Your Hand campaign and opening a new Love-in-Action center in rural Mè Bel Mè. We officially launched Impact teams to Abaco, Bahamas, and walked with nearly 200 people desiring to be transformed by God in community with others. We also grew in our community development in Abaco, rebuilding an entire community center and launching new programs in the public schools for hundreds of kids. On the Thrift side, we opened a new store in Indianola, Iowa, as well as updated systems and processes to be able to meet the growing demand for the services we offer in our other four store locations.
Our reach grows daily, as the Lord continues to provide His daily bread to each of us, even when it looks like we can’t stretch anymore. He is faithful through it all, and we are thankful we can be a tool in the hands of an Amazing Sculptor. When looking at all we have accomplished throughout the year, we stand in awe of the amazing achievements and firm confirmations that Many Hands holds. The numbers show that, regardless of the turmoil that persists in the world today, our convictions remain solid. We are faithfully called to be Love in Action in our broken world.
I hope this encourages you to see good things are still happening. All is not lost, even during the most troubling times in our world. We stand against the darkness to light a path towards God for others to follow. We cannot do this alone, and we thank you for your generosity and continued stewardship of dollars to us. It is truly a blessing to do this work together.
Opened a fifth thrift store in Indianola, Iowa
Rebuilt a community center & improved it to a full-functioning hurricane shelter
Fed over 3,000 plates of food each day in our school feeding programs for 19 schools
Performed 728 health checks on babies & mothers
Delivered over 3,400 gallons of water to areas with no well-water access
Built our fourth Love in Action center in Mè Bel Mè
Added 39 jobs, bringing our total to 131 international employees
Conducted 3,221 pastor visits to homes & hospitals
Moving into 2024, the one-word God is giving us is selah. Now, this might not be a word you are familiar with, so let me explain this prophetic word God has given me. Selah is as mysterious as it is beautiful because there is no direct translation, but rather, it is transliterated. Taken from Psalms, it can mean to pause or contemplate. Taken from Kings, it also can mean a rock or strong fortress to be exalted. Another transliteration would lean towards its meaning as forever or everlasting. As I prayed for this year’s word, God revealed selah to me. For this year, we are to take a breath, a pause for contemplation while we solidify the organization as a rock and strong fortress for the Lord in the years to come. He isn’t building something for next year, but for eternity, as we point to something greater than ourselves. Yes, on this side of heaven, things can seem bleak or overwhelming, but in God’s heavenly timing, He makes all things new. Each of these beloved souls we get to know has an opportunity to spend forever with their Creator, and we have the privilege to walk with them in the here and now, through the good times and the bad. What is happening in the world doesn’t change our resolve or calling. And right here, right now, He wants to restore our souls with His timely breath from heaven. A beautiful time of selah together.
We invite you into this time of selah with us. It isn’t passive – the picture I imagine is of an army that has been on the frontline for weeks on end. Their commander comes and says to cease fire and regroup as he brings more help to the front lines. We need you to show up on our front lines to give us the needed reinforcements for the next wave of activity. Your prayers, encouragement, and financial resources are what keep us moving forward. We are humbled by your years of giving, volunteering, and prayers, which keep us going in those challenging moments. We ask for you to not be discouraged because we see God working through us in so many encouraging ways. We do this together as each of us plays a role in the Body of Christ to bring shalom to the chaos.
More numbers from 2023
Grew & purchased 98,050 lbs of food
Added the 5th grade to our school, bringing the total to 183 students
Built 5 homes & poured 26 cement floors
211 people gave their life to Christ or were restored
Distributed 108 goats & performed health checks
Provided food, medical, spiritual, & educational assistance for over 500 mothers & children
Performed world-class training for 29 teachers
Improved our solar power capabilities & became energy self-reliant in Haiti & Abaco
Sold 1,135,201 donated items & recycled 460,617 lbs of items that didn’t sell
Married 42 couples, bringing our total to 209
Blessed other Iowa-based non-profits with over $25,000 worth of resources
Led 95 people through Lead Like Jesus training
Shared over 500 Impact stories
Rang up 416,211 customers at our thrift stores
Built a library, providing books to over 600 students
Established an academic recovery program in Central Abaco Primary School, working with 70 students
Welcomed 196 Impact members & an additional 94 service-oriented volunteers to Abaco