Anchayacu is a small town located in the province of Esmeraldas, in northern Ecuador. It has a little more than 2,500 inhabitants, most of whom are Afro-Ecuadorians. Melisa is one of them. This beautiful, openly smiling girl is shy when she starts a conversation, but she loves songs and is playful and mischievous at the same time, like any girl her age.
For this little one, the child development center is like her second home. It is a particularly special shelter for Melisa, as she comes, unfortunately, from a broken home. Her parents separated a couple of years ago, leaving her and her siblings in the care of their grandmother and Aunt Doris.
Doris has worked as a cook at the center, so to her it is a special blessing from God that her niece is part of our program. Doris is fully aware of the benefits that the children receive.
But Doris is not only aware of the benefits of the Child Sponsorship Program, she is also sensitive to the importance of a sponsor.
“It is so beautiful that people from another country have shown interest in my niece. In addition to their own family, someone else is concerned about her.”
The best thing for Melisa is when she receives letters from her Korean sponsor. She tells us,
“I love getting letters from my sponsor. She wrote me on my birthday and told me that I am pretty, and that makes me feel great and happy.”
Melisa and her aunt Doris first became acquainted with the Korean people a couple of years ago when their church was visited by a group of Korean missionaries. Melisa and her little church friends enjoyed the visit of all the brothers and sisters coming from Korea. It was an extraordinary experience, according to Doris:
“Melisa had the opportunity to meet the brothers from Korea and she was also able to share and play with some Korean girls who came along with the group. When Melissa gets a letter from her sponsor, she feels very happy. Perhaps she might think that Korea is nearby, but she is not aware of how far are they writing from.”
The El Sembrador (The Sower) Student Center in Anchayacu has been particularly blessed by Korea. Doris recalls that two years ago around 40 children were sponsored by Compassion Korea. She comments that the entire staff was enormously thankful to the Lord for such unparalleled blessing.
When Doris heard that South Korea had been a very poor country about 60 years ago, and that it was once actually one of Compassion’s field countries, she could not believe it.
However, with a face full of both surprise and gratefulness, she could only say excitedly,
“How wonderful it is when humanity decides to do what God wants. Now I see that this country received so much from God’s mercy, and today they are giving back from grace what they got once from grace!”
Indeed, for Doris and our staff in Anchayacu, they have a clearer understanding of and respect for how special the Korean sponsors’ contributions are. Personally enduring scarcity, pain and despair prompts the Koreans’ hearts to break for needy children  from other nations who are currently coping with similar conditions.
And just like Melisa, many other children greatly enjoy the letters they receive from their sponsors — and some even more, when they receive pictures from them. Still, others receive the biggest, most extraordinary blessing when they meet them face-to-face.
Certainly, every sponsor is a tireless traveler because their words travel thousands of miles to hold a child and tell him or her,
“You matter and God has a special purpose for your life!”
These words come day after day written in thousands of letters traveling countless miles to the remotest places where a child is eagerly awaiting his or her sponsor’s words of love and affirmation. And by these words, their lives will be greatly transformed.
Thank you so much, South Korean sponsors, for choosing to undertake this long journey to Ecuador. Surely, your sacrificial love is and will continue producing fruit … plentiful fruit!