Saturday, July 17, 2010

WELCOME!!

Hey Everyone!

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Glad you found your way here! We’re pretty new to the blogging world, but we’ll try to keep this current. Right now, we are still in the states preparing for our official date of departure, dun dun dunnn: August 23rd!! But we’ve got a lot to do before then. We wrote an official support letter, but can’t seem to upload it anywhere, so we’ll post the text of it below. If you’d like a pdf of the letter, or a real life copy via snail mail, email me drew.otto@yahoo.com Check out our official letter:

Hey beloved family and friends!!!

Six months after beginning a new life together in marriage, God continues to call us out of our comfort zones into adventures that only He can arrange. This next year we have been blessed with the opportunity to live and work in Israel! Holy smokes! We accepted a job with a non-profit organization based in Bethlehem that serves mostly the local youth.

In the midst of the conflict in Israel, children in the Palestinian territories have no positive outlet and therefore resort to bad behavior and habits. Paidia exists to engage individuals, especially youth, in ethical leadership development empowering them to transform themselves and their communities. The name “Paidia” comes from the Greek philosopher Plato, describing his belief that the most effective way of teaching a child is through properly guided play. We’ll be overseeing some of Paidia’s programs reaching out to the local community.

Char will be working with the special needs program called “Stepping Stones.” This community is extremely marginalized with 95% of the school aged population excluded at the primary level within the Palestinian education system. This program exists to develop social, physical and cognitive through experiential education. It also provides an opportunity for the disabled to build relationships and break down stigmas by working alongside the general public in community service projects. Lastly, they seek to provide real employment by providing education on “permaculture”, a type of sustainable agriculture where participants harvest and sell their goods in the marketplaces.

Drew will be heading up the “Global Leadership” and “Impact” programs. The Global Leadership program is designed to work within existing school systems or organizations. Throughout the year, the program uses experiential education to develop leadership attributes like communication, conflict resolution and integrity. Each semester, those students utilize what they learn in a community wide project. The Impact program uses Paidia’s high and low ropes courses to teach core values like team building, problem solving, conflict resolution, and communication. Impact operates on both school and corporate levels.

We will both be assisting in a program called “Living Branches” which serves the Christian College aged community. Using adventure and wilderness, this program equips Christian college students share their faith with their Muslim neighbors and challenges them to truly love their enemies.

As excited as we are for this next step, we are also nervous for the big changes that await our lives. Mostly, we desire your prayers. Pray for safety, growth and the motivation to dig into another culture and meet people where they are at. However as with any other mission, we need financial support as well as prayers. Please consider partnering with us for this next year as we follow God’s call to the Holy Land. One time gifts and monthly support are both needed. Anything that you feel God moves you to give is a blessing to us.

Support Options:

1. Send a check made out to “Paidia” with “Drew & Char Otto” in the memo line to:

Paidia

PO Box 6037

Grand Rapids, MI 49516

2. Donate over the phone, Paidia US Office: 616-855-6424. You can also set up an automatic payment at this number.

3. Donate online at www.paidia.org

Make sure that you specify that the money you donate is for Drew and Char Otto so that it gets to us AND any gift is tax deductible! If you want more details on the organization and their programs, visit their website: www.paidia.org We’ll keep a blog online at http://drew-char.blogspot.com/ so check us out. Also, know that if you have a desire to visit Israel over the next year, you’ll have a place to stay with us!

Thanks,

Drew and Char