It is almost 4:30 p.m., and 22 church staff members and six sponsored children are gathering in a church classroom. They are beginning a time of fasting and prayer for sponsors.
“We are usually gathered to pray every first Monday of the month. Our main prayer is for sponsors,” says Nie, coordinator of Sola Fide Student Center in Indonesia.
The staff and children of Sola Fide Student Center have held a regular prayer time for sponsors since July 2009, an activity started by Nie. She was inspired by Compassion partnership facilitators who shared a testimony about the struggles sponsors sometimes go through.
“There is a sponsor who struggles every day himself by selling milk using a bike. One day, after this sponsor went back from one of his customer’s houses, he found his bike had fallen and all the milk spilled out. The testimony inspired us to create one regular activity to bless and encourage them. Starting from there, I asked children and staff to gather and have prayer time regularly.”
The children weren’t asked to attend the prayer meeting every time, but there are six sponsored children who never miss it. They aren’t even scheduled to attend the center on a Monday, but they voluntary come just to attend the prayer time.
“Those children do not just come to pray with us, they also join in the fasting session and open it together with us. We are really happy because children are not only seeing the benefit that they received from their sponsors. Their concern has risen after we told them about problems that their sponsors face every day.”
Lots of children in the Compassion center pray and cry out for their sponsors not only when they gather for prayer time. Children also pray at home.
“Lots of children had never thought about their sponsor’s real conditions before until they received a letter that sometimes told about the struggles that their sponsors face every day. It is why the children never miss a time to pray for their sponsors who might be sick and need support in prayer or support to look for a job.”
Children who haven’t gotten a letter from their sponsors and don’t know their sponsors’ condition don’t want to be left out. They pray for their sponsors also.
For example, Timothius is an 11-year-old boy who always gets interesting goods from his sponsor, but he has never received any special prayer request from his sponsor. Even though Timo doesn’t know what his sponsor looks like, he always prays for him every night, accompanied by his mother.
In his prayer Timo always says,
“My dear Jesus, please protect my sponsor. I know that he is getting older and he probably only lives with his pet. There’s no one to see and look after him there, but I believe You always hear my prayer and protect him. Please bless him every day. Amen.”
Other children in other areas of eastern Indonesia might not have a fixed prayer schedule like at Sola Fide has, but they never miss their own prayer time for their sponsors.
Andreyana, a sponsored child at the Agape Student Center in Sangir Island, always prays for her sponsor. In her prayers Andreyana says,
“Dear God, you are awesome and remarkable. You let me meet my sponsors, even though they live far away from me. I never imagined that I’d have someone who loves me very much out there. Jesus, please bless them, bless their job, and both of their children in their school. Protect them, so they will have success and achieve their goals.”
Aldi, from Ikhtus Student Center in Beha, Sangir Island, also never forgets to raise up some prayer for his sponsor. Aldi always says,
”Dear Jesus, I pray for little James and Thomas. I believe you will always take good care of them while their parents are working. Dear God, I also pray for my sponsor. Please bless his job, bless his effort in giving me support. May you always provide his family needs. Please bless his family and give them strength, health; also put faithfulness in his heart so he will always surrender to you.”
Stenly from El Shaddai Student Center in Bitung has the same way to keep in touch with his sponsor besides a letter. He is grateful his sponsor has helped him to improve his talent in drawing. Stenly never forgets to put some prayer,
“Dear God, thank you for your love that you have shown through my sponsor. He has shown love that you given to him for me. I can feel his care through the support that he gives all this time. This support encourages and helps me to grow and sharpening my talent. My Lord, please bless him and his family. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.”
Serti from Kasih Persaudaraan Student Center has a simple prayer,
“Dear Jesus, thank you for always blessing me every day. You always deliver my need through the great sponsors who found me. Dear Jesus, please bless them. I and my family really love them. Please bless them with health and guard them from bad guys. My dear God, I also want to thank you because I have graduated from primary school and have the opportunity to continue to junior high school. Please bless my sponsors, who have given all support for me all this time. Because of them, I can attend the school. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.”
Welmina from Kasih Persaudaraan Student Center prays,
“My dear God, please bless my sponsor. Please guard his family because I love them so much. Please protect my sponsor, too, so he will always be safe when he is working at his duties. Please make him happy; don’t let him cry. Because of his love, I can go to the student center and pay my school fee. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.”
Another child, Elyakim, from the same student center also raises his prayer,
“My dear Lord, I pray so you always help my sponsor. Lord, I pray so you always help them every day because they have helped me by giving me support. When my father didn’t have money to buy my uniform, my sponsor gave it for me. I don’t want my sponsor to stop sponsoring me. I want to keep doing activities in the student center. I would ask you to forgive me if I was lazy, but I promise will not be naughty anymore now. I don’t want to make my mother or my sponsor cry because of me. I love my mother and my sponsor. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.”
Children in eastern Indonesia don’t see what happens with their sponsors every day, but the letters that they receive help them know about their sponsors, including challenges that their sponsors face every day.
“We hope we can always uphold our sponsors in our prayers. I hope our sponsors also want to tell more about struggles that they face every day. It will help us not just know them better, it will help us to have better relationships with them and Christ through our prayers.” And so prays Megawati, one of the sponsored children from Sola Fide.