Sponsored children pray and ask God for direction, for someone to love them, for provision — for more of Him. How different (or similar) are your prayers?Continue Reading ›
It is something wonderful to see the faith of a child. They believe in things that we would not be able to believe as adults.Continue Reading ›
Any time Jesus said, “I tell you the truth,” He meant, “Listen up! This is really important!” And His message makes clear that unless we make a critical change in our lives, access to His kingdom will never be granted.
In Jesus’ time, children were not appreciated by society. Children and women were of such little value that the story of the feeding of the multitude mentions only five thousand men, overlooking the women and children completely.
How do you say goodbye to a sponsored child who has died? Have you ever had to do that, or to say goodbye to another child in your life?
“Why just now?” asks Pastor Joel. “Where was Compassion when I was just a child who had all the potential but did not have the money to go to school or to eat three square meals a day?”
Pastor Joel grew up on the remote island of Siquijor in the Philippines, which has long been known for magic and witchcraft, but Compassion in the Philippines only began partnering with churches in Siquijor this year.
Although Compassion reached the Philippines in the 1970s, we finally landed in the isolated island after 30 years!
In 2004, we began regularly updating our strategy map to identify the poorest and neediest provinces in the country with the fewest number of evangelical churches, and the list included Siquijor. (more…)
I still haven’t figured out a great way to mourn Alfan’s death. It still makes me sad. I’m still overwhelmed by the tragedy of the death of a child. However, I cling to hope!
Today is the Day of the African Child. Not a well known day for most, but an important day for the children of Africa who this day celebrates and remembers.
The African child is a resilient one, as many on the African continent must gather up great energy each day just to survive. The constant onslaught of risks and dangers that they face is more than many of us can imagine and more than any child should bear. HIV, AIDS, malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition…..just a few of the barriers that these children must overcome to live healthy and fulfilling lives.
After having spent a good deal of time living and traveling to Africa, I have been amazed and incredibly blessed by being around these children. They have taught me more than any textbook could, and have given me strength when I needed it most.
Here’s to the millions of children in Africa that could use our prayers and support as they continue to face the harshest of environments.
Let’s commit to remembering them and praying for the continued success of this ministry that seeks to serve them and bring them out of their poverty.
As you know, we recently announced our millionth sponsored child. Now, I won’t tell you a lot of random facts about 1 million.
Like how long it would take you to count to 1 million (14 days).
Or how much 1 million dollar bills weigh (2,204 pounds).
Because as important as 1 million is, and as huge of a milestone as 1 million sponsored children is, it’s really just about one child.
And a few weeks ago, I got to meet that one child — Fellow Blewussi Kpodo. He lives in a dusty community just outside of Lomé, Togo.
Fellow’s whole family had come out for our meeting. His father stood proudly, his arm on the shoulder of his oldest son. Fellow’s two older sisters darted in and out of the house, covering their faces and giggling at the sight of my pale skin. His younger brother made himself at home in my lap.
All the while, Fellow watched the commotion with his solemn brown eyes.
I stared at his eyes when he wasn’t looking. Fringed with dark eyelashes, I wondered at what they had seen.
They had watched his father battered by grief when Fellow’s mother died five years ago.
They had filled with tears when the headmaster sent him home from school because he didn’t have his school fees — again.
They had stung with smoke as he bent over the small fire he prepared every evening for his sisters to cook cassava and dried fish for dinner.
And now, those same eyes sought out mine.
“He has a question for you,” explained the interpreter. I nodded. “He wants to know if you know his sponsor.”
I grinned at Fellow, and for the first time a smile reached his eyes.
“I don’t know her,” I explained. “But I know that you are very special to her.”
And in that moment, everything else faded away. Fellow wasn’t one of a million children. He was just one.
One more step toward changing the world.
“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.” – Pablo Casals
Your curiosity about out country staff is exciting, and again we have 10 questions that will inform and inspire you to help fight for children in poverty.
We asked Roberto Medrano, communications and trips specialist for Central America and the Caribbean and a member of our El Salvador staff, to answer some of your questions.
1. I just found out that one of my sponsored children has been sponsored four times in the past six years. I was wondering what type of effect this has on children. Do they get to the point where they are not even excited to be sponsored anymore? Is this a common occurrence? (Cindy)
To be completely honest, yes. Some of the children have received the sad news several times that their sponsors canceled. If that has happened several times, the children think something is wrong with them.
It is amazing the influence a sponsor can have on the child. For example, I remember a 25-year-old Compassion graduate. She is a Christian who is married and has two babies. She also serves as a center worker. Even though she is an adult and loves Compassion’s ministry, she always cries because in the 15 years of sponsorship her sponsor did not write one single letter. She wrote her sponsor dozens of letters, but she never received any response.
2. What are the great things about El Salvador that you want us to know about? Tell us about a particular strength or something special about the people of your country. (Lisa Miles)
El Salvador is the smallest country in the Americas, but our people have a great heart. In Central America they call us the smiling country, and I think that is a special thing about our people. We have faced earthquakes, hurricanes, civil war, and poverty, but in any problem if you ask a Salvadoran, “How are you doing?” he or she will say with an honest and warm smile, “It’s all good!” Our people are very positive and enthusiastic, and they have warrior hearts that can overcome any disaster or negative situation.
I think of my own sponsored child who, in his very first letter at the age of seven, told me of his intention to be an artist. This is a little boy in rural Africa who had never owned a box of crayons or a set of paints in his life. But what does that matter to a child who has faith?
Compassion International Tanzania (CIT) registered* its 50,000 child two months ago on Februray 16.
This historic registration ushered in a new era for us. It was a moment to put down our tools, celebrate the Lord’s favor, and thank Him for what he has done and for His faithfulness. It was a milestone for the Tanzanian ministry, an achievement worth celebrating.
Now let’s see how we reached the 50,000 child mark and also learn about how our child registration process works.
The milestone occurred in Tabora, more than 650 kilometers from Arusha, where the head office of CIT is located. But the search actually began months earlier.
Finding Church Partners
Before going into a new area, CIT conducts country mapping to determine the level of poverty in one area as compared to another. Country mapping is necessary so we can determine where the greatest ministry need is.
After country mapping, we conduct a baseline survey to determine if the areas identified with a high degree of poverty have Christian churches whose mission matches ours.
This is critical because we work through the local church — it is the local church that actually implements the program and cares for the children. If there is no church, our ministry model won’t work, regardless of the degree of poverty that exists there.
We ask questions, such as:
- Does the church have classrooms to accommodate the children?
- Do they have people who can teach and work with children or who can learn to assist children?
- Are there peopleand children who can help the program continue?
This baseline survey helps us decide which areas and churches are a good fit. Of course, in all the stages we keep praying and asking God to lead us in the right path and to bring people who will be willing to sponsor children and release the resources needed.
After the baseline survey, we gather all the potential church partners for vision casting. In this gathering we share the importance of ministry to children and call on the church to awaken to the call of Jesus Christ to fulfill the Greatest Commandment.
After this, we choose the potential church partners and invite them to a partnership meeting. At this one-day meeting, it is time to pray together and for us to give relevant partnership documents to the new church partners.
If the partners agree on the conditions, they sign a partnership agreement with us. These partnership agreements give room to church partners to start preparing environments to begin the ministry. They start recruiting project workers and create a child ministry committee formed from church members.
The church has to find those able and qualified to work in the project as project coordinator, project accountant, project social worker, and project health worker.
Once all the project workers are chosen, they attend the “One-Month Child Ministry Foundation Course” that all project workers go through.
In this course, the newly recruited project workers are trained on how to implement the ministry and how to minister to each child individually.
They also learn what is expected of them and different ways and procedures of reporting and giving feedback to us. They get to know the organizational structure of CIT, the departments involved, and how each department works.
Screening and Registration
All this leads up to child screening and registration. (more…)