I’d like to share with you something that startled me this morning. Yesterday the team and I visited Nuevo Amanecer (New Dawn) Student Center here in Ecuador. I spent much of my evening processing what the Lord had shown me during the day.
Then, this morning I re-read some of my journal entries from last night, and when I finished I finally realized the children I had written about are living in poverty.
I had been thinking of them like they were children in my hometown, in my own neighborhood. How could I be in a community with such need and not connect that the children at the child development center lived in the community?
I walked off the bus yesterday morning and entered extreme poverty. But 30 seconds later I was on the church property where the child development center is also located. As far as my mind was concerned, I missed the poverty.
I am not exactly sure when this happened. It may have been somewhere between standing with people begging for food among the stray animals and entering a room filled with children smiling and laughing. The children all looked so healthy, so loved, so filled with hope.
Compassion’s mission, as most of us know, is to “release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.” I’ve always considered this a mission to “get behind,” but now I also find myself considering what a big mission it is.
Our mission is a monumental undertaking. It’s not just to feed children, it’s not just to make sure children are physically healthy, it’s not even to make sure they have heard the gospel – it’s all of this, yes, but it is also a mission that proclaims when children graduate from our Child Sponsorship Program they are mature, responsible Christian adults able to care and provide for themselves, and in a place where they can serve their communities.
The ability to release a child from a life of poverty is a noble mission. But is it being done?
The director of this center explained to us that the children registered into our sponsorship program in his community are facing many difficulties.
- Several parents of these children are divorced.
- Many of the fathers are alcoholics and unable to love and care for their children.
- Most of these children are being raised by single mothers.
So how did I journal and process my experience yesterday and, in a way, forget that these children live in poverty?
I think the volunteers at this center, the facilitator, the pastor and the director understand the importance of eradication. I know they rely on God for the victory, but I think your faithfulness and your commitment to your sponsored children is running poverty out of the minds and hearts of these children.
Let me assure you, all the children I talked with mentioned you and the letters they get from you. Also, as a side note, they love to hear about your pets!
All this to say, these children truly are being released from poverty. Thank you for what you’re doing.