Operation HOPE Kuwait

The Genesis

By Sheryll Mairza
Dear Friends and Family,
 
It is hard to believe that this mission of mercy is now ten years old!  Many of you have read about how OH Kuwait began in November 2005, and if you haven't, please visit our website to read how Operation HOPE Kuwait was birthed.  Along the way there have been countless men, women and children whose hands-on help, words of encouragement, and financial support which has sustained us through the hard and the not-so-hard times.  In this message I will highlight some of the "firsts" that helped to launch Operation HOPE Kuwait, and in subsequent newsletters will share important details which have contributed to shaping this humanitarian outreach to what it is today.   
 
I remember the first time I verbalized my desire to serve Kuwait's neediest, it was to a lady named Paula Leggit.  Paula's response was to hand me KD 20 to help cover the cost of a coat or two. In telling her about my heart's desire I had never considered that she would believe in my determination to help others, or that she too might also be moved to help the needy in Kuwait.  I was so touched by her immediate support, but moreover, I was encouraged.   After my initial email went out to friends informing them of my plans to cancel our annual Christmas Open House, I received an email from a woman who worked at Chevron.  Sadly I don't recall her name now, but she wanted to let me know that her boss, Mr. Hany Iskander, wanted to donate KD 200 towards the winter warmth campaign.  I sat at my computer screen for what seemed an eternity in order to re-read her email over and over again.  Had I read it properly?  Was Mr. Iskander seriously offering to give me KD 200 to purchase coats, socks and gloves?  Indeed he was quite serious in his pledge! Something very profound occurs in ones spirit when others are willing to support their vision  ~ and I'm ever so grateful that these faithful people stepped up when they did,  for it fueled my passion to see this vision come to fruition.
 
So now I've got KD 220 in my hands, and I'm not really sure how to proceed; that is, until a lady named Debbie Mules calls me on the phone.  She wants to know if I have purchased the first batch of coats, to which I reply, "well no, not yet... I'm not even sure where I ought to buy them."  And two days later, with her help and guidance, I bought the first 50 coats, hats, socks and gloves.  They weren't the fanciest of winter items, but they would be warm for the men who would soon be receiving them.  Debbie and I brought home these items and lovingly bagged them, along with some fresh fruit (which someone donated) and a few toiletries, which someone else had donated.  What a joy we both felt as we assembled these items into bags.  Before long more financial, as well as in-kind donations arrived, which continued to take me by surprise! 
 
Soon another important call which came from a lady named Samar Hajjaj; suggesting that I give the "project" a proper name. I hadn't given it any thought until that moment, but I knew in my heart it was to be called Operation HOPE Kuwait.  Calls and emails flooded in asking if I could provide 25 coats to some guys working at such and such a location...could I provide winter warmth to a group of 150 people working at another location...etc.  I was led to purchase many more coats on my husband's credit card, not knowing where the money would come from to cover the debt, but "knowing" it would come.  Samar stopped into my house one morning with several hundred KD in her hand which friends had given her to give to me.  As she stood in my living room with the funds which were entrusted to her I could only weep with joy that I knew God was working miracles through so many people.  Within three weeks of my initial email going out we distributed 1,050 winter warmth bags to needy men and women right here in Kuwait.  I was stymied, and quite honestly, still am!! 
 
These are just a few of the amazing firsts which OH Kuwait encountered at the genesis of our mission outreach, and surely the memory of many more firsts will flood my memory as I continue to contemplate this ten year blessing, but I'll save those for another newsletter another time.  For now I want to simply allow you to savor the significant bits which I've shared today. 
 
Several current events which need mentioning in today's email include the amazing feat which a father and son recently undertook in order to support OH Kuwait. At son Ryan Buist's suggestion, he and his father, Mike set out on a 100 km sponsored trek through the south of Kuwait.  This journey took them four days to complete, and included an encounter with a mega sandstorm on their first day out!  They carried on their backs the weight of their supplies, which included water, tents, food, and other survivalist essentials in order that they could meet their goal of hiking 25 kms per day.  Only once in the morning and once in the evening did they have any phone contact with Mrs. Buist to confirm their whereabouts and safety, and then their phone would be disconnected in order to conserve its battery supply.  Mike and Ryan asked colleagues, friends and family to sponsor their goal of 100 kms by making financial donations, and I'm very blessed (and humbled) to say that they raised over KD 400 through the generosity of people who live in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, and in other parts of the world!  I continue to marvel at sixteen year old Ryan's suggested means of fundraising... not many his age would be so generous by sacrificing a long weekend holiday to raise money for the sake of the needy. I've attached a picture of the two which was taken at the end of their four day trek, and I salute you, Mike and Ryan, for blessing OH with such a charitable act of kindness and servitude.  Your donation will surely be a blessing! 
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SPRING YARD SALE:
Is scheduled for Saturday, March 28th at Rumaithiya, Block 9, Street 92, House 23.  Doors open at 7:30 am through 12 pm, and we will have lots of books, clothing, shoes, toys, miscellaneous household items, DVD's, CD's and lots, lots more!  If you wish to donate anything new or gently used, kindly bring your donations to our premises any Saturday morning.  Our clothing will be .500 fils each, books are .100 fils each, and DVD's and CD's are .500 fils each.  The last one hour of our sale we'll even further our discounts by offering our guests the opportunity to fill a bag with whatever we have left for only .500 fils!!  You can further your support of our Yard Sale by sharing these details with your friends.  One note of importance: we ask that all vehicles please park at the corner parking lot as a courtesy to our neighbors. 
 
 
MOTHER'S DAY TEA:
Is scheduled for Saturday, April 25th at the Kuwait Sheraton's English Tea Room.  Tickets must be purchased in advance at the cost of KD 20 each.  Our 60 tickets for be on sale beginning March 15th until they have sold out.  Please note that this event sells out rather quickly therefore if you are considering attending you may wish to purchase your tickets as soon as possible. 
 
 
 
 
QUILT AUCTION:
Bids are being accepted from now through March 31st.  We are asking for an opening bid of KD 350 and hope to raise as much as KD 1,500 which will be earmarked to cover the cost of purchasing toiletry items for women and children in three embassy shelters in Kuwait.  The highest bid received by March 31st will be awarded the beautiful quilt which was crafted by master quilter, Teresa AlAlban. 
 
Esther's Attic will be seasonally closing immediately following our Yard Sale, however we will continue to accept donations each Saturday from April through September from 7:30 - 9 am.
 
Volunteer Opportunities: are always available by contacting us onhope@ohkuwait.org.
 
Thank you for bearing with me through this lengthy newsletter; I so appreciate that you continue to sojourn along with Operation HOPE Kuwait. 
 
Gratefully,
Sheryll Mairza
Founder
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