We’re all in this together! This simple sentence transformed my relationship with Steve and Oddny from curiosity to knowing, deep down, that I wanted something they had.

Years ago, I think they were working their selfless magic in Yemen. A grateful and incredulous father asked them why they were helping them. Steve shrugged and said, “Because we’re all in this together.” I’ve been compassionate and generous over the years with organizations locally and internationally, but if I’m completely honest, I don’t think I had ever thought ‘we were all this together.’  That is arrogant on my part, and I don’t like how that feels. 

Steve and Oddny have taught me over the years about selfless behavior. They put themselves in harm's way (over and over) because it’s the right thing to do. They show me what Jesus would do — they truly walk the walk. 

Steve and Oddny founded an organization called Novi. Currently, Novi is concentrating their efforts in Ukraine. They provide Life Kits developed by psychologists to help children self-regulate. They also train Ukrainian teachers and counsellors to support the children in their broken communities best. They are holding a summer camp for 100 kids who will spend a week being kids and having fun. 

Lately, Steve begins his talks by telling us about a little boy in the 1950s in Leningrad. This boy was neglected, abused, hungry, and rejected. The boy grew up, and his name is Vladimir Putin. Children who are consistently traumatized have odds stacked against them. Children in war-torn communities, without school, food, and (sometimes)parents, can spiral into hopelessness quickly. Steve and Oddny are trying to change that. And I’m humbled to be part of that change in a minor way. 

I love it when Oddny and Steve are in the US sharing their stories and humbly asking for help. It’s the least I can do: listen, learn, give, and know in my core that we really are all in this together!  I have a long way to go, but I glean so much with each of their trips! I am still teachable. And that feels better! 

This blog was written by Julie Edwards. Julie lives in Midland, Texas, and is a Novi board member. She is passionate about helping other people and has traveled to many places worldwide to gain new perspectives. When she is not traveling, she is playing with her grandkids, baking, or inviting people to her beautiful home.


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