From January 9th to January 24th, our Executive Director, Jan Dus, and Jeremy Ault, Head of International Fundraising, travelled across the United States, solidifying partnerships and raising funds for Diaconia projects. As their trip drew to a close, they penned an open thank you letter to the congregations and individuals who helped make the trip a success.
Dear Diaconia Partners and Friends,
When Jan and I decided that we wanted to take a trip across the American Mid-West and Mid-Atlantic, the question that crept into my mind was this: “Would there be an interest in our story?” And as January 9th, our departure date, crept closer on the calendar, I began to feel the slight tug of affirmation. Congregations from the Allegheny Mountains of Cumberland, Maryland, to the wind-swept plains of central Nebraska not only expressed excitement at our visit proposition, but even invited us to preach from their pulpits! Mission committees and personal friends took it upon themselves to organize lunches, dinners, and game nights in honor of our arrival. Slowly but surely, the gentle tug of affirmation turned into a pull and then, finally, a push. We had to come. We had to share the stories of women in Ethiopia, surviving and fighting to provide for their families. We knew that our friends in Georgia needed more than art therapy, they needed global advocates. And we wanted to share the dignity and challenges of refugees in Burma /Myanmar and in Jordan. And we knew there would be a receptive and loving audience in you, our church partners and friends. So we thank you all for a wonderful two weeks.
As many of you probably guessed, the purpose of our trip was to raise awareness and funds for Diaconia’s aid and development projects abroad—programs that we believe are unique in their delivery and long-term sustainability. And we are happy to announce that the trip was successful from a monetary stand-point, as we were able to raise over $6,500! The funds will be used to enhance and expand our work in places like Moldova, Cambodia, and Ukraine. But, more importantly, we were blessed with the ability to meet you face-to-face and deepen our partnership. The generosity and thoughtfulness expressed in your questions and in your giving were life-affirming. Jan and I were overcome with feelings of optimism about the future and more empowered to help alleviate poverty and suffering in all its forms across the globe. We are so happy that you too have joined us in that fight.
The story of Diaconia is a complex one. It is truly global. It’s the story of Czechs and Americans, together, working with people living in places as far away as Chuko, Ethiopia, or Balti, Moldova. It’s a story of overcoming hurdles of post-communism, of reclamation, and empowerment—of using local talent to tackle systemic poverty. It’s the story of prayer groups in Nebraska thinking globally; it’s mission committees taking it upon themselves to help refugees affected by a tragic conflict; It’s tough questions asked over dinner, and personal spiritual discernment about the meaning of mission. It’s a ministry of the hands and of the heart. And it’s the belief that empowered individuals and small congregations can still think and act big to bring about justice and change.
And as we work in 2015, we will always be thankful for the way in which you helped us bring in the new year! As the challenges of the upcoming year come into focus–continued fighting in Ukraine, an endless war in Syria, stubborn poverty and drought in some of the world’s most impoverished regions—we are encouraged in your support and in our ministry. For hard work and faith can overcome even some of life’s greatest hurdles. And please know that for every negative news headline, there is a woman in Ethiopia providing for her child’s education; that elderly patients in northern Moldova are being cared for with dignity by nurses who offer more than just medical assistance; and that a young boy in Ukraine has been taken off the streets and given a new chance to succeed.
If you would like to invite us to come and speak at your church, please email Jeremy Ault at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 814-969-4111. Visit our website at www.hrp.diakonie.cz/en.
If you would like to make a donation, learn how here.
Jan Dus, ExecutiveDirector Jeremy Ault, Head of International Fundraising