A question typically asked by sponsors who are miles apart from their sponsored children is,
“What happens to sponsored children after they leave the program?”
Many sponsors have not personally seen or visited their sponsored children, and because of this may doubt if our program works at all.
Jonathan, a former sponsored child who is now taking care of more than 200 sponsored children as a child development center director, says,
“I have asked myself this same question.”
Our center directors are perhaps the best people to tell sponsors about the effectiveness of Compassion’s ministry. They are at the forefront of our partnership with the local church, and our center directors mingle with the children every day.
Center directors talk with doctors and dentists about the children’s health, check with school teachers to know how the children are doing in class, and meet with church leaders to be held accountable for the children’s spiritual growth.
When Jonathan tells sponsors how effective child sponsorship is, he presents his own life as an example.
“I grew up inside the church, literally.”
Jonathan is the son of a pastor and he knows what it’s like to have nothing. He also was not the nicest little kid.
“My hobby as a young boy was to bite other children. I made so many of my neighbors cry when we were little, and gave my cousins and grandmother a difficult time. Nobody would have thought that I would be in ministry today, and I owe the change in my life to my being a sponsored child.”
Although he grew up in Sunday school, Jonathan says he met the Lord when he was a teenager.
“It was at a Compassion youth camp that I attended. This is why I really am thankful for being a sponsored child, because if not, I may not have been saved.
“It’s difficult having grown up in the church because you can’t really say exactly when you have come to faith at all.”
Now 29 years old, Jonathan has been the center director at the Malabon Child Development Center for 8 years. He has seen sponsored children come and go.
“I am particularly blessed with [the] graduates because I can see that they continue to serve the Lord after having left the program.”
Among these graduates is Eliza, now 27 years old.
While growing up in the student center, Eliza says, she loved attending camps, going on educational field trips and eating.
At the age of 14, Eliza volunteered as an assistant teacher and began teaching younger sponsored children.
In college, Eliza became a student leader at Navotas Polytechnic College and was youth leader at church. She is grateful because the Complementary Interventions program paid half of her tuition fees.
Her parents, who raised seven children, could not have sent her to college. Her mother worked in a factory cleaning cans while her father was a driver for the same factory. In 2002, Eliza’s father died from too much alcohol.
Eliza graduated with a degree in education and was on the road to becoming a high school teacher. Today, however, she is a call center agent for one of the leading call center companies in the Philippines, and she is still serving the Lord as a Bible study leader.
Judy, Jonathan’s cousin, is a teller service assistant for the Bank of the Philippine Islands. She learned how to play the guitar at the child development center and she now plays guitar and keyboards at church.
Jonathan remembers another former sponsored child, Bezalyn, who grew up in very difficult circumstances. Jonathan describes her as someone who was sent to college by plastic water bottles.
Bezalyn’s mother worked at the city’s cockfighting arena and gathered discarded mineral water bottles after each event.
Today, Bezalyn is a nurse and has worked at the South Star Drugstore as assistant pharmacy assistant and cashier. She is now awaiting the results of her licensure exam for nurses. She was also the volunteer nurse at the center for a few years.
Bezalyn is thankful for her sponsor.
“I have grown in spirit. The main goal of the center is to bring children closer to God. I also grew physically because I learned about hygiene, self care and healthy habits.”
Jonathan’s eyes were beaming as he talked about Bezalyn, Judy and Eliza and how he has seen them grow in the Lord.
But about 23-year-old Mark (not his real name), the center director is mum.
Mark has to keep his identity a secret because he is on a special assignment for the country’s national defense.
But Mark decided to be interviewed because he could not keep from expressing his gratitude for Compassion’s ministry:
“I would like to thank my sponsors for their help. I was used to a hard life, which is why I really appreciate their help.
“I grew up in a broken family and my sponsors became my family. The center is my family. I am also thankful that I have graduated from college and I now have a good job.”
Mark used his first salary to buy his mother an automatic sewing machine worth P8,000 (US $182) because his mother always loved to sew but never owned a machine.
Mark attends a different church now, but he still visits Jonathan and his former student center.
Jonathan is thankful for his experience with the program and for the opportunity to now serve as center director.
“I can now see the fruit of producing Christian adults. It’s difficult to measure fame, wealth and power, but to me, genuine success is how you accomplish God’s plan in your life. I may not have a high-paying job, but you see children being released from poverty and to me that is very fulfilling.”