This year, we had the opportunity to do something special to give thanks on Thanksgiving. We had a group of families visiting with us over Thanksgiving and we wanted to share the greatest thing that we are thankful for, the love of Christ, with the people of Rio 3. One of the girls, who came to serve with her family, was a fifteen year old high school girl named Hope Bertke. Hope had been here before and as she thought about how she wanted to share this love, she decided to raise money to buy blankets. Her goal was 100 blankets that the group would give away while they were at Rio 3. She asked some of her friends to help and by the time that her group got here they had collected enough money to purchase 350 blankets!
Hope's story is one of faithfulness. I told the rest of the group, before we passed out the blankets, don't ever think that you can't do something big for God. If David had thought that, he never would have defeated Goliath. If Noah listened to all the people who called him a fool for building an ark in the desert, he wouldn't have saved his family. God rewards our faithfulness to be obedient. I'm glad that Hope was not discouraged because she was young. She did not look at the obstacle but rather she took "shelter in the Most High."
It has been almost record cold here this past week. The lows have been around the freezing mark all week. Many of the homes in Rio 3 are shacks built out of trash. They have dirt floors, they are drafty and many have no electric. But, I'm sure that there are 350 kids that are thankful for the faithfulness of a 15 year old girl from Cincinnati. Hope set out to try and provide for 100 kids. God blessed her faithfulness by being a blessing to 3-1/2 times that many.