This month, we celebrated 7 years of Eternal Anchor transforming our community to become a more loving and inclusive place for people with disabilities. A lot has happened to get where we are today. We started in a borrowed home, no official non-profit status to receive donations, a few hundred dollars that we had in our savings account, and a powerful vision to rewrite the narrative of how individuals with disabilities are treated; not just in our region, but in our country. Today, our international team of 40 staff and volunteers serve hundreds of children and adults with disabilities each week. I’m often asked, what’s the secret to the incredible growth of Eternal Anchor? How did we get from a vision to where we are today? My answer: sacrifice and hope.
I could write a book about the incredible people who have made Eternal Anchor into what it is today. Each page would hold accounts of imperfect people showing up, being willing to do critical work that was out of their comfort zone because it was the right thing to do, and they knew that if they didn’t, nobody would have. Each page would hold sacred accounts of the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual sacrifices made to provide a loving home to children and adults who have been abandoned and orphaned, cast aside by society and left to die alone. Each page would hold accounts of average people saving lives while struggling with their mental health and faith.
So, the secret to Eternal Anchor’s growth? I believe that Eternal Anchor is a manifestation of Jesus’ prayer to see God’s kingdom made real through the loving actions and sacrifices of our team. I also believe that when we make the choice to love until it costs us something, when we truly sacrifice to bring about God’s kingdom, God honors us and amplifies our efforts. The result of this amplification is the emergence of hope and lasting change. This hope snowballs as more people experience it and make the choice to be part of the work being done.
This Christmas Eve, a day that represents our eternal hope, I invite you to celebrate all that has been accomplished at Eternal Anchor these last 7 years. I invite you to continue praying, giving, and volunteering so that more individuals with disabilities suffering from discrimination and exclusion can experience the life-changing hope Eternal Anchor facilitates. I came across the following quote in a Henri Nouwen advent book that was given to me by a friend:
“True ministry goes far beyond the giving of gifts. It requires the giving of self. That is the way of him who did not cling to his privileges but emptied himself to share our struggles. When God’s way becomes known to us, and practiced by us, hope emerges.”