By John Dourjalian, Board of Directors, Agape Asia Foundation
There is a time in everyone’s life when you realize you are but a small sapling amidst a forest full of redwoods. This is how I, a simple sapling, will feel on February 2nd at the Agape Asia Foundation annual board meeting – where I will be surrounded by giants.
Early each year we meet as a board to review the events of the past year (2018) as well as to look forward to planning for the current year (2019). It turns out that 2018 was a year full of transitions. Despite some uncertainties, we continued to step forward, maybe a bit more gingerly yet smarter, but with the same driving passion toward fulfilling our mission statement: To show the Father’s love by saving abandoned and vulnerable children in Asia.
In 2018, two of our board members, Marcus McKee and Randy Daw requested a leave of absence to deal with medical issues. Despite their absence, their wisdom and courage continue to guide us each and every day – their fingerprints are woven into the care of each child we serve. It is because of their honorable and selfless service we are able to continue on this journey fulfilling and sharing the message along with the blessing that God has promised.
This year we are excited to welcome two new board members: Dr. Kecia Ray, a multi-talented educator, and Steve Shaner, an experienced advertising executive. They join the existing board members: Dan Rude, a powerful advocate for the Gospel, the extraordinary and honorable Dr. Graham Sweeney, Julia Ng, our internal guardian angel, and me, a simpleminded sapling. Traveling alongside us in this endeavor is Jeff Robertson, our inspirational Executive Director.
Despite encountering several challenges, which include economic pressures and political changes, we are encouraged by the continuation of the spiritual and physical growth of our endeavors in China. With extraordinary anticipation we plan to continue to expand our presence in Mongolia, Myanmar, and Nepal, where we have experienced a great deal of success and growth in a short period of time. In 2019, we strive to continue to grow and creatively expand our outreach throughout Asia – not only to the children – but also to the communities that we are blessed to serve.
We realize as board members that we are but temporary caretakers. We truly recognize that the ultimate heroes (redwoods) of this work are the countless number of devoted partners who have faithfully and diligently support this mission. Because of your efforts our work is simple, because of your sacrifice our work is worthwhile, because of your prayers our work is sustainable, and because of your generosity our work is able to endure.
Each day we are inspired and blessed by the fruits of your prayers and the generosity of your spirit. We can only repay you with kind words and by assuring you that we will be benevolent stewards of this work and will continue in our mission of working with these children who are abandoned and vulnerable.
We truly would love to hear from those of you who support us and strongly encourage you to reach out to any or all of the board members and candidly share your thoughts, observations and ideas. If you feel a bit adventurous or are in need of a spiritual tune up, please consider joining us on one of our journeys.
On behalf of the board and those in our care, we wish all of you a lifetime full of spiritual prosperity. Individually you are our heroes, while collectively you are our hearts. With our Father’s guidance and you as partners, we can confidently continue down this path until all of the saplings turn into the forest that they were destined to become from the beginning of time.
Take care and God Bless,