Updated: Jan 2
“There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.” - J. R. R. Tolkien
Since Jonathan’s House Central African Republic (CAR) began in 2011, I have met some truly amazing people. These people, and so many more of you who are reading this letter, have saved and greatly improved the lives of hundreds of children and families in CAR. The people highlighted below have used their gifts and talents to help in unique ways. As you read this letter, I want every one of you to know how deeply I appreciate everything that you do to allow Jonathan’s House to continue saving lives in the middle of Africa. I’d also like to highlight the efforts of a few of the many amazing people who have made all of this possible, each in their own unique way.
At age 76, Hank Bradbury has been serving orphans in CAR by shelling and cracking walnuts for the last 7 years. This year, he’ll process about 10,000 walnuts. He gets them from golf courses, cemeteries, and city parks. Starting in the fall, Hank spends six to eight hours a day working with walnuts, and the work continues for about six months. That’s 1500 hours every year. It’s a six step process which includes gathering, removing the hulls, drying, tumbling, cracking, and sorting. When it’s all done, Hank sells bags of ready to eat walnuts and then he donates he all the proceeds to Jonathan’s House. He estimates that he’s cracked about 60,000 walnuts so far and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. If you’d like to buy a bag of walnuts to help our children, give Hank a call at (641)752-3410. They sell for $25 a bag, but he won’t turn down extra donations. It all goes to a great cause.
We can sew! Each winter, the PW Quilters group at First Presbyterian Church in Marshalltown, Iowa gathers on Wednesdays to make quilts. Over the years, they have made hundreds of quilts, and many of them have been donated to Jonathan’s House. When we have them available, each mother giving birth at our medical clinic receives a new quilt. All of the children at the orphanage also have their own quilt. They are highly treasured and greatly appreciated. Keep sewing, ladies!
Grace Robertson, formerly Grace Eugena, is originally from Central Africa Republic. She and her sister Abigaelle were adopted into the Robertson family in 2017. Grace learned to crochet in Africa but she has found her passion for creativity, learning and creating with fabric, yarn, and thread since arriving in America. She is now fifteen and a “girl boss” with a cause. Grace creates beautiful earrings which she sells. She donates a portion of her proceeds back to Jonathan’s House where she used to live. Grace enjoys helping her many friends that she grew up with at the orphanage.
Students in grades six through eight at Lake Oconee Academy in Greensboro, Georgia were challenged by their teacher to make a difference in the world during their summer break. They considered a number of organizations to support. After learning about the conditions facing children in CAR and watching the film on our website, they chose to support Jonathan’s House. I’m very thankful that they did. They held bake sales, mowed lawns, and emptied their piggy banks to help our children. They raised $9039 and made a huge difference in the lives of a lot of children in the middle of Africa. I was absolutely amazed by the commitment that these students demonstrated to helping others. Here’s a big THANK YOU to Beverly Montgomery and her incredible students!
Dr. Marty Hove began competitive running in 2017. As it turns out, he’s really good. He qualified for the Boston Marathon in 2018. He dedicated his run to Jonathan’s House and began accepting sponsors. He raised more than $12,000, which was used to build two playgrounds at the school and orphanage. In a country plagued with violence, disease, and malnutrition, it is wonderful to have a place where children can forget the realities of life and just have fun. One man’s run and his vision made it possible. Well done, Marty!
From walnut crackers to quilt makers, I’ve seen a LOT of people helping to make this dream a reality. The new reality at Jonathan’s House Central African Republic is that children don’t have die of starvation. They don’t have to have stunted growth or live with malnourishment. They don’t have to live without medical care or an education. Orphans don’t have to live on the street while being subjected to risky behaviors or violence. The new reality is that more and more children in one of the poorest countries on earth are growing up happy and healthy. We’re not done fighting for these children and we’re not satisfied yet. There is much more work to be done.
If you have a gift or talent that you’d like to use to help rescue children from dangerous and desperate situations in Central African Republic, we can use your help.
To each of you who are fighting for good in your own unique ways, THANK YOU. You are making a world of difference.
Carter Strand International Director Jonathan’s House Central African Republic