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Leadership Profile: Jonathan Almonte

leadership profile Jonathan Raul Almonte Moncion, now 21 and a student of languages in Compassion’s Leadership Development Program, entered our Child Sponsorship [3] Program when he was 7 years old. At that young age, he traveled from his community of Villa Maria to the gang-infested slum of Capotillo, near the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to attend the program meetings and activities.

His single mother has looked after him since he was born. He saw his biological father only from time to time when the man brought his support, and then his father would disappear again to be with his own wife and three daughters, whom Jonathan didn’t know.

When Jonathan’s stepfather and stepsister, Esmirna, came into his life, he felt happy to see that his family was growing. But when Jonathan was 13, his stepfather went abroad for work. He always sends his support for the family, but he hasn’t returned to the country since.

When Jonathan was 14, his uncle took him to meet his older sisters. He remembers that the girls were so happy to know that they had a little brother, and he was happy to get to know them at last. But his biological father wasn’t so excited.

It’s impossible for Jonathan to understand why his father later complained that Jonathan didn’t have the right to go and meet the girls at their home without his permission.

“He asked me who I thought I was. Then he asked me a series of very offensive questions. That was very painful and made a lasting impression. I began to feel remorse and hatred. He called me, but I didn’t take his phone calls. I was 14 then. It was not my fault. I never learned why he hid me from them.”

Through the years, Jonathan has had the opportunity to be trained in missions through the Central Assembly of God Church, where he became a youth leader and a specialist in child and youth ministries.

Jonathan is also a skilled speaker. He has spoken in front of groups since he was 9. And by age 12 he was already preaching in children’s meetings.

“It was always easy for me to take a microphone and speak about the Bible. That’s how I developed my skills to speak in public.”

In 2007, the sub-secretary of the national board of education heard Jonathan speak so well in public that she invited him to speak at a special supper meeting with the president and his ministers at the presidential palace.

In 2010, he was chosen to travel to the World Bank building in New York City to participate in the simulated sessions of the United Nations, where he played the role of governor of Guatemala. And in 2011, he was at the United Nations and the American Capitol in Washington, D.C., in order to study public politics processes.

“I am in love twice, first with missions and second with diplomacy and politics.”

Jonathan feels that his study of languages is an asset in both fields. He learned some Creole while in missions in Haiti in 2007, and after the earthquake there in January of 2010, he returned to Haitian soil with his local church and Yankees’ relief pitcher Damaso Marte.

“There, we bought a piece of land for a school for children in City Soleil, the worst barrio of Haiti. There, children hold AK-47s and Uzis; life is very difficult. You can see the holes in the walls caused by the shootings.”

It was all a lot for him to take in. But a talk with a visiting sponsor to the Dominican Republic helped change Jonathan’s perspective on missions, diplomacy and politics.

“He told me that God was interested in big things for my life. He said, ‘God has a more ample purpose for your life. Your country needs leaders.

The people in your country have no more faith in their leaders because they have disappointed the people. The people vote for the least bad, not for the best.”

In late 2011, a taxi driver who was taking Jonathan home told him, “I know who caused the difficulties in this country; it’s the Christians’ fault.”

The driver wondered why Christians can’t get together to speak up and try to find fair solutions to the real problems of the nation.

Jonathan was stunned, but believes that talking to that taxi driver  was like God speaking to him. The driver wondered why a Christian couldn’t be the president.

“It was as when the stones speak. I opened my eyes and said to myself that God was calling me to something more. My dream is to become an ambassador, and at the utmost degree, represent my country as the president.”