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Kendra Scott Gives Back and Inspires Hope in a Meaningful Way

Taylor Ethridge pauses as she thinks over a question. The Community Outreach and Event Planner for Kendra Scott Orlando is being interviewed about her recent experience volunteering at an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat®. She is not getting off easy, “Can you explain more about how you were forever changed?” she is asked.

 

Taylor considers her words carefully but chooses one, “Hope.”

 

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Following God

When God dwelled over the tabernacle in Numbers 9:15-23, the Israelites “obeyed the Lord’s order.” When the cloud lifted, they broke camp and set out. When the cloud remained, they stayed put and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud remained over the tabernacle for a long time, and the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. “Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle for just a few days, and at the Lord’s command they would encamp and then at his command they would set out.” (v. 20)

 

I can’t help but imagine the logistics of this flexibility on the part of the Israelites. As a mom with 4 children, I think about all that goes into packing for a trip. Each member of my family has items they need: clothes, shoes, food, blankets, etc. It is stressful packing and managing the items needed for a family going on a trip, so I can’t even begin to imagine when the packing and planning involved everything families own, including livestock and food preparation material and seed and grain. If I knew the date and time that this move was going to take place it would be hard enough, but to set up camp, my home, without any clue how long we would be staying would be so difficult.

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Rebecca Milligan organizes her first fundraiser for IoH

The baby in our logo is all grown up.

 

The 3 Milligan Children Inheritance of Hope Logo
The “o” in hope is based on a photo of the Milligan children

 

Most of us in the Inheritance of Hope family are familiar with Rebecca Milligan, the youngest child of Co-Founders Deric and Kristen Milligan. Just seven months old when her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Rebecca, now almost 16, has grown up with the organization. A picture of the three Milligan children was the inspiration for our logo, and the smallest child on the right was created with the likeness of Rebecca in mind.

 

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Meet our new Communications Manager

Angie Howell first volunteered for Inheritance of Hope in 2012 and has been involved ever since. “Like most volunteers,” she says, “I knew I would come back!”

 

Angie was introduced to IoH by her former Davidson College classmate, Co-Founder Kristen Milligan. Kristen and Angie were on the same freshman hall in 1991-1992. The two did not keep in touch after graduation, but at a fifteen-year reunion, Angie happened to hear Kristen’s name during a prayer.

 

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Newly appointed COO has had “his hands” in the mission of Inheritance of Hope since the beginning

Since 2008, Aaron Hedges has been part of Inheritance of Hope in one way or another--working at retreats, administering technology systems, managing human resources, and much more. The former double major in math and Spanish clearly has a unique set of skills, ones that are critically valuable to IoH.

 

Aaron at a recent Legacy Retreat in Orlando, Florida
Aaron at a recent Legacy Retreat in Orlando, Florida

 

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Southwest Airlines “luvs” on families facing terminal illness

Recently, Southwest Airlines donated 50 round-trip tickets, valued at $20,000, to Inheritance of Hope. This gift allows us to serve more families while meeting the goals of achieving unparalleled financial stewardship and providing ease of transportation to those for whom travelling is often most difficult.

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Here I am, Lord

John and I were married March 12th, 2009.  Less than five years later, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, ALS, something we certainly hadn’t planned for or wanted at the time.  However, because of ALS, we were introduced to Inheritance of Hope and received the great gift of a Legacy Retreat.  Less than two years after our retreat, though, on March 26th of 2016, John passed away. 

 

Since his death, I have loved serving other IoH families, and at the May 2017 Legacy Retreat, I met Tom, another volunteer.  He came on the first retreat in 2008 with his family, and his wife Shannon passed away shortly after.  He, too, understood terminal illness, the loss of a spouse, and single parenting grieving children.  He, too, had experienced a failed marriage as a result of not following Christ.  He, too, had two boys with complicated pasts, and the older with behavioral struggles.  And, he also lived in the Carolinas, but he lived in the wrong one.  Though only a little over an hour away, he lived near the lakes of upstate South Carolina, whereas my home was in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina.  To say this difference was a concern would be a great understatement.

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Hope-Filled Toy Story

Toward the end of 2017, our Events Director, Betsy Ogren, mentioned we were in need of someone to make wooden crosses as our previous volunteer is no longer able to keep up with our growing IoH Family. These handmade treasures are gifted to parents at our Legacy Retreats, one for each child. Upon hearing of this need I remembered that one of my interns from several years back had mentioned she volunteered at a wood shop where they made toys for kids in the hospital, so I texted her to find out what the name of that shop was. She said it was "ToyMakers of East Lake." I did some research on their website and immediately thought, "This is the perfect partnership!" and quickly began drafting an email to present our need.

 

I sent the email on a Sunday and heard back from Bob (the "CEO") the next day! He was agreeable to our request but needed to run it by some of his team and said he would get back to me, which he did on Tuesday. He said they would be happy to make crosses for us and offered three different sizes?! This is like just the warm up, it gets so much better!

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Recap: March 2018 ORLANDO LEGACY RETREAT®

Inheritance of Hope hosted 16 families in Orlando this month. They shared precious smiles and priceless memories at our first-ever Legacy Retreat® held at the beautiful Renaissance at SeaWorld. From March 9-12, these children and their parents enjoyed fantastic adventures at Universal Studios and SeaWorld. An amazing team of volunteers inspired hope and helped families create lasting legacies.

 
Check out these links to see pictures and videos!

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Cry with Hope

At the start of this year, the youth ministry director at my church gathered all of the middle school small group leaders.  He wanted to check in on how we were, hear how our groups were going, and encourage us.  He shared how, when he has worked at Christian camps, everything is designed to help kids experience great moments, “highs,” and you have a very focused time with each group of kids to bring those highs about.  In contrast, in congregational ministry, there are many distractions, and kids often are weighed down by day-to-day concerns.

 

Each type of ministry has its challenges, but how do you handle all the distractions and burdens kids bring week after week and month after month?  Our youth director had wise words.  He said you love the kids, let them know how much God loves them, welcome them with all their challenges, and pour yourself out for them.  Then, when you get home at the end of the day, you cry with hope.

 

Cry with hope!  What a beautiful phrase to express the hardness and goodness of Christian ministry.  We cry because there is so much pain even as we hope because God is good.  Cry with hope is an especially fitting expression for the ministry of Inheritance of Hope.

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