Dear Friends -
Spring is actually here, though the weather across the country with unusual heat and cold, storms and floods doesn’t seem to have gotten the message yet! However, we are enjoying the season as travel improves, pandemic restrictions are loosening, and there are opportunities to get back to face-to-face encounters with the people we serve.
Plans are laid for supporting the Ukraine English Camps for children of military families. This year it will be held in Western Ukraine in a very safe location. A Women’s conference is coming up in August which our Interim Executive Director Linda Sheimo and Family Support program Director Caroline Grube and others will be supporting virtually as well. Chaplain David Williams, Lt.Col (Ret) is teaching a course virtually in the chaplains school we support in Kyiv. Olive Branch Ukraine (OBU) has placed twelve new chaplains in front line units this year with many more in the pipeline.
Plans for returning to Rwanda in-person are underway as well. We are looking forward to meeting those involved in the Citizens Safety Network which we developed just before the pandemic closed things down. This will be a time to move the Rwandan Chaplains School initiative forward as well. This initiative now will be part of a larger higher education project to develop a counseling resource center training Marriage and Family Therapists for service in Africa.
Another organization operating in Kenya has asked for help with families and especially children suffering from trauma as a result of the violence along the northern borders of Uganda and Kenya. Mission of Hope International operates schools across Africa with more than 25,000 students enrolled. Nancy and I will be traveling to Kenya in September to survey the needs OBI may be able to help address while also teaching and training healthcare workers in the school system how to practically help young children heal from their experiences.
Would you please consider a special donation for these initiatives in Africa? Thank you for making this work possible! You are the heartbeat of OBI and we are so very grateful for your enabling us to serve others in the middle of some of the worst times of their lives.
Jeff Jernigan, PhD, BCCPC, FAIS
Chairman of the Board
Medical Programs Director