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Ministry Insider: Jackie Nyaga, A Voice for Children in Poverty

voice for children Our field staff are some of the most remarkable people around! Jackie Nyaga is no exception.

Jackie serves as In-Country Communications Specialist in Kenya. God is using Jackie to tell the story of children in poverty, the local church, and our ministry as a whole.

How long have you been at Compassion and what is your role?

I’ve been at Compassion for 10 years. For my first five years, I worked as the Assistant to the Kenya Country Director. For the past five years, I’ve served as the In-Country Communications Specialist.

I help provide a link between the field office in Kenya and the child development centers. We desire two-way communication between Compassion and our partner churches.

How did you first hear about Compassion?

Our pastor showed a video featuring Compassion speaker Tony Campolo [3]. Tony was sharing the stories of some children in poverty in India. His passion for children ignited my own. I wanted to help the children of Kenya.

What do you like about your job?

My greatest joy is being with the local church. The Church is the bride of Christ. He has already chosen the bride — and that’s us! I think we often want to “improve” the bride.

However, I believe God has called us to help Him with the relationship between himself and the bride — not to criticize, but to empower. When Jesus comes for the bride, it will have dignity. As a link between Compassion and the local church, I pray I can help the church and children in poverty regain their voice.

What was your best day at Compassion?

A while back, I did a story about a child development center funded by the Complementary Interventions [4] fund. It’s called Talent Quest [5].

Talent Quest gives children in our program who are talented in the arts a chance to develop their artistic gifts. One day, we went to visit a boy who was a talented keyboard player. He lived in a small, tin-roofed house.

We asked him what it would be like if he owned his own keyboard. The boy said,

“I couldn’t imagine it. Not even in my wildest dreams.”

That day, we gave him a keyboard. He was overwhelmed with gratitude. He played for us right then and there. He was so good and so happy. We were all crying … even the camera man was crying at the beautiful playing and could not take the video!

To see that raw talent realized was incredibly rewarding.

It’s unbelievable what some of these kids have had to go through. For instance, some of our kids involved in Talent Quest were suicidal. They come from horrific family situations. And for many of them, because of that, they were not performing well at school and were tempted to get lost in drugs, alcohol or pregnancy.

Through our sponsorship program and specialized opportunities like Talent Quest, we are intervening and offering hope in hopeless situations.