This blog post is about how ministry supporters helped Compassion to step in and offer support for 4-year-old Yoskiel and his family in Indonesia when he was diagnosed with eye cancer at age 3 — just a few months after he joined our program and didn’t yet have a sponsor.
But first, let me begin by giving you a little background on how Compassion works to register new children into our holistic development program. If you don’t already know, or if you’ve ever wondered how children are selected, this section will explain it.
How We Select and Register Children
You probably already know that what makes Compassion distinct from most other antipoverty ministries or nonprofit organizations is the fact that we are church-based. What that means is we partner with local churches in 25 countries to know, love and care for children and to help them develop into responsible, purpose-filled young adults.
The churches we partner with implement the holistic child development program we’ve designed in the way that best fits their children’s and their communities’ specific needs.
We grow by forming new partnerships with new churches that are biblically rooted and that have the greatest need. Once a partnership is formed, a church leader who is trained by Compassion — someone who is part of the community and knows its unique needs — will go out into the community and look to register the children living in the most desperate poverty into the program so they and their family can begin receiving aid.
On average, once a child is registered with Compassion, it takes about eight months for them to be sponsored.
What a Child Receives Before Sponsorship
Eight months (sometimes even longer) is a long time to continue living in desperate poverty. Children can be malnourished to the point of stunted growth or cognitive development problems. Or, as in the case you’ll read about with Yoskiel in a second, they could have urgent medical needs.
We can’t register a child and then tell him or her that he or she will have to wait to be sponsored to begin receiving help. That’s why even unsponsored children receive things like food, school tuition assistance, counseling and spiritual guidance, and hope-filled encouragement from the moment they are registered and even while they wait to be sponsored.
Saving Yoskiel’s Life and Sight
Just imagine for a second what that must have been like for Yoskiel’s mom and dad. They are farmers in a tiny village in Indonesia who don’t make enough money to adequately provide for Yoskiel and his brother. As all parents do, they desire more for their children, even if they feel little hope of it ever happening. Then they get the news that Yoskiel, their then-3-year-old, would be registered in a program that would provide him a chance to live better.
What joy they must have felt turned back to the sadness and despair they had been accustomed to when they learned that Yoskiel’s eye infection that wouldn’t go away was actually life-threatening eye cancer.
Yoskiel’s right eye began to swell, and he started losing a lot of weight. One night, his eye swelled so big that it popped out of his eyelid.
His parents, Yakobus and Yuliana, didn’t have the money to take him to the hospital, and they didn’t know what else to do, so they went to their pastor.
Their pastor immediately drove Yoskiel, his parents and a staff member from the Compassion center to a hospital about an hour and a half away. While he helped Yoskiel and his parents with the doctor, the staff member helped them get signed up for the governmental health insurance that Indonesia provides to low-income families that covered the majority of the costs for Yoskiel’s chemotherapy and treatment.
The doctor referred Yoskiel to a hospital that was eight hours away and even connected his parents with a cancer foundation that helped cover some initial costs while they were getting set up for insurance.
Compassion stepped in and covered travel to the hospital, living arrangements for his parents, food, comfort items and constant prayer while Yoskiel received treatment.
“I probably wouldn’t have had any hope that my son would recover if Compassion hadn’t helped us,” Yakobus said.
Now, even though his right-eye vision is impaired, Yoskiel is cancer free and at home with his family. He is attending his church and Compassion center regularly — and he has a loving sponsor!
If you’d like to ensure that Compassion can step in for more children who need life-saving medical aid even before they have a caring sponsor, please consider giving to the Unsponsored Children’s Fund today!
Share What You Think
Do you think it’s a good thing that children receive support from the moment they are registered with Compassion? Let us know in the comments below.