No one gets to choose where they want to be born or which family they are born into. And neither did I.
Being born in one of the world’s poorest countries certainly makes for a challenging future, a future with little-to-no hope of ever becoming something in life, of ever breaking free from the curse of poverty that surrounds you from all sides.
This was my situation before a group I came to know as the “Lutheran Ladies” came into my life through Compassion International.
Growing up in Haiti, my parents and everyone around me came to realize that I was a bright kid, a smart one. So at the age of 4, I was sent to school.
It was an honor for my parents to have their first child go to school — and when I started outshining all the kids in the class, my parents were even more proud.
However, as our family grew in size, my parents began to be very concerned about their ability to afford the tuition to keep me in school.
Even more concerning for them was whether they would be able to keep me going through the university years. While my parents were praying for God to make it possible for them to keep me in school, God answered their prayer by sending Compassion International to the rescue.
When I was 7 years old, Compassion came to my town seeking to help needy kids. Through God’s providence, the ministry found and selected me for their program. Soon after, a group of women from a Lutheran church in the United States decided to sponsor me — and they began to change my reality.
They began to replace fear with hope, sadness with inspiration and a dark future with a much brighter one. Because of my sponsorship, I was able to complete both primary and secondary school in Haiti, while learning about and growing in the hope that is found only in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Compassion not only allowed me to get a good education, but it also allowed my parents to use the little bit of money they could come up with to pay school tuition for my other four siblings and to take care of the basic necessities for the family.
The Lutheran Ladies made a world of a difference in my life.
One of the most important things they did for me is that they inspired me. Not only did they provide me with a tangible demonstration of the love of Christ and how it can impact someone’s life, but they also inspired me to help others as they have helped me.
I am now years removed from the little boy who was sponsored through Compassion and have been very blessed to earn two master’s degrees in engineering while living in the United States of America, the greatest country in the world. What a contrast!
But most importantly, I am blessed to be in a position to help and inspire others as I have been helped and inspired by the Lutheran Ladies.
Today, the gift Compassion gave to me years ago continues to give and to make a difference in the lives of families in Haiti. Because of what Compassion did for me, I have been able to use a portion of what God has blessed me with to build a school in a remote village of Haiti.
This school is making it possible for Haitian kids in situations similar to my childhood to go to school free of charge.
Today, more than 200 kids have the opportunity to get an excellent education in preparation for a better and brighter future while being influenced by great Christian leaders in their community. And already, we are gearing up to serve more than 350 children in the next school year. This all started with my Compassion sponsorship.
I am living proof of the significant difference someone can make in the life of a child with a little bit of what God has entrusted to them. My life, the life of my family and the lives of the families of the 216 children who attend the Christian school that my wife and I are building are all changed for the better.
And this is all because a group of women whom I may never get to meet on this side of eternity decided to invest in my life and change my world.
You too can change someone’s world today by sponsoring a child. You may even change an entire city or maybe a nation. I pray that you will decide to do so because it is more than worth it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born and raised in Haiti, Jean Chery is a former participant of the Compassion program who holds two master’s degrees in engineering. Jean is married and lives in the U.S.