Let Love Abound in 2016
New Years! It's the time for reflection and goal setting. Every year David and I take the month of January to set personal, spiritual, financial, and physical goals. It's always fun at the end of the year to see how far (or how little) we've come.
Lets flashback to January 2015 to a confused and unfulfilled Bethany, desperate to take action and simultaneously frozen in fear. Only 12 months ago, I was filled with a lot of questions: How? When? What? Who? How? How? How?
My goal setting wasn't as specific as I would like last January- fear often clouds and over powers our day dreams. Despite a lack of specificity in 2015, I am proud and happy to say that a lot of those questions have been answered and the fear that was so overwhelming has mostly faded away.
To give honor to how far we've come in 2015, we're sharing our top 10 from 2015:
1. In March 2015 we decided to take action and spend the summer in Zambia to lay the foundation for Love Abounds. David forego internships and I quit my day job and put fear behind us. Still the best decision we've ever made!
2. We established a great working relationship with Headman Kunchubwe in Kunchubwe Village. His approval opened the hearts of the village people to start trusting us.
3. We started Chicks Empowered, an economic development initiative focused on empowering women through business and leadership training in chicken farming.
4. We hired our first employee, Alexandre, to oversee our projects in kunchubwe village. Alexandre works 2 days a week, earns a fair salary, and is doing a great job!
5. We bought a motorbike! Over the summer we drove a 1999 Toyota Rav4 in Zambia! We loved our car and the freedom it provided us! After selling the Rav, we bought a motorbike for Love Abounds. Now Alexandre has the mobility to travel to Kunchubwe Village anytime he likes!
6. We built one fancy poultry house for Chicks Empowered. Our house can hold up to 700 chickens at one time! Through construction we learned a lot of Do's and Don'ts of building in Zambia.
7. We successfully completed 2 rounds of chicken rearing since August. We've sold around 500 chickens total. Our second batch of chickens reaped a profit of around $300! We are over halfway through our 3rd batch now!
8. We have 8 incredible women on our Chicks Empowered team. They stepped out in faith in a decision to better their lives and the lives of their families. One outcome that shocked us, was the hope, purpose, and fulfillment being apart of a community and team has provided the ladies. Many of the ladies expressed how they wake up with a new sense of purpose for their lives and feel empowered to be a role model to their children.
9. The women are now earning a reliable income for the first time in their lives! They earn a daily wage for their work in the poultry house PLUS a share of the profits! Each woman received around $27 in earnings during the month of December (and probably worked a total of around 6-8 days for the month)!
10. I traveled to Zambia in November for over 3 weeks to check in on our progress and it was INCREDIBLE! (I can't wait to share more about the impacts from my trip... I promise it's coming soon!)
It's been an incredible year for us. Reflecting back on the giant strides we've made in 2015 fills me with joy and gives me the courage to continue down this awesome journey we've started.
The best part about ending one year is looking forward to achieving the impossible in the next.
We have some lofty goals for 2016 and we want to take a moment to share the BIG 5:
1. A JOB. In 2015, I quit my day job to pursue this dream and decided to not job-search when I got home to keep a flexible schedule for traveling. One thing became clear in 2015, this is exactly what I want to do for as long as I can imagine. In 2016, we want to officially make me an employee of Love Abounds (yes, that will include a small salary)!! It raises a lot of questions about taxes and other official business, but we're excited and ready to take this next step.
2. CHICKS EMPOWERED. In 2016, we hope to continue to improve the Chicks Empowered program by adding weekly curriculum focused on business principles, leadership skills, and healthy life practices. As the ladies progress, we hope to slowly increase their responsibilities and phase them into leadership roles in other projects in Kunchubwe Village.
3. KIDS-to-KIDS PARTNERSHIPS. We're not totally ready to spill the beans but we have a new project brewing ;) In 2016 our goal is to connect kids in the United States with kids in Zambia of similar ages and grades. In part, this partnership will fund children's school fees in Kunchubwe Village. On the flip side, it will teach the children in our communities about different cultures, the value of education, and what it really means to grow up in a rural Zambian village.
4. COMMUNITY BUILDING. In 2016, we have plans to grow our community of supporters. We're planning our first Love Abounds' team trip for this May (if you're interested you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org). We're also hoping to host our first community dinner this Fall, that will focus on sharing stories, spreading love, and increasing hope for our community and communities in Africa.
5. AN ORPHANAGE. The biggie. The seemingly impossible and incredibly lofty goal we have for 2016! Again, we're unfortunately not at the point where we can share a lot of details about the orphanage just yet... But I can share our heart. Its our goal to break the cycle of rejection and abandonment in the lives of orphans in Kunchubwe Village by providing a home filled with love and care. Our hope is for our plans to start to take shape by April-May 2016.
Our goals are big but not impossible. We know the BIG 5 can happen in 2016 but we need your help.
Our last goal for 2016 is to increase our fundraising goal and operating budget to $1,200 a month. The theme for 2015 was laying foundations. In 2016, we're focusing on building off those foundations to grow for the future. Our budget can be split in three ways:
A. Administrative Expenses and Travel (40%)
B. Village Development (40%)
C. Growth and Expansion (20%)
We're already a quarter of the way there. This year, consider partnering with us on a monthly basis and join Love Abounds in spreading love in Zambia. It can be as simple as giving up one starbucks coffee ($5), one fast-food meal date ($15), or one dinner out on the town ($30). When you partner with us in monthly giving, you'll know whats happening on the ground and will receive quarterly reports on the powerful impact your gift is making.