My heart is overflowing as I return to the dry climate and high altitude of my Colorado Springs home from my first trip to the island of the Dominican Republic. I left with a deepened assurance of the investment that the Compassion center staff have in each child.
Have you ever wondered about the hearts of our staff? I pray that I can convey just a glimpse of the depth of compassion they hold within them.
A mother and her two sons walked passed me as they left the center. One boy, about 5 years old, turned around and without saying a word, he let go of his mother’s hand and grabbed onto my fingers. He just stood there, staring into my eyes and smiling.
No words were exchanged, but this innocent boy melted my heart. Walking into the Heroes de la Fe Student Center, I was not overwhelmed by poverty or brokenness. Instead, I was overwhelmed by the hope that exploded beyond its walls.
The center’s director Juana Torres has helped create an environment that allows children and their families to leave poverty in a cloud of dust at the doorstep and walk into a haven of safety.
I was struck again and again by the project workers’ hearts in ministering to these children. You never catch signs that they are overwhelmed or exhausted. You only witness an army of strong warriors whose natural reaction to a child is bent knees and outstretched arms.
A passionate pastor, with enthusiasm and fire in his voice, exclaimed to the church that a ministry without children and a focus without Jesus are efforts made in vain.
Youth make up their worship band. Dancers, singers, musicians…all young adults. The church encourages them to work hard, to dream, and that with God all things are possible.
The vibrant and colorful walls of the center hold eight classrooms where the children come to be fed physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Opportunity is found here; at a place for dreamers to grow in their potential despite the current struggling education system in the country.
Whether it be music, dance, jewelry making, or hair dressing, the possibilities are endless and their dreams unlimited. The staff at the center work hard to provide the tools and resources each child needs to pursue his or her aspirations.
Along with having children enrolled in the Child Sponsorship Program, this specific Child Development Center doubles as a Child Survival Program for mothers and babies. Program implementers travel miles by foot to visit these mothers in their homes for lessons on how to care for their children.
Outside the walls of the center, we were told that drugs run rampant and are a big problem in their community. Walking along the streets that week, I wondered about the safety of these women and children.
Do they get nervous walking these streets? Are they harassed? Is it dangerous?
I didn’t anticipate the response we received.
“We have lived here for over 30 years and the people in this community know us and know what we’re here for so they don’t bother us. We don’t fear walking these streets; we know we’re safe.”
God calls on the Church (we as a body of Christ) to speak up for the mute, for the rights of all those who are destitute. The reputation of this body should be one of grace, love and its desire to serve its brothers and sisters.
This is the reputation of Iglesia Misionera Asamblea Cristian Hereos Church. It’s one of reverence and respect from the community, Christians and non-believers alike, knowing its mission is children.
Compassion works through the local church because we believe that the indigenous people can reach the individuals in that community better than anyone. After this week, I cannot think of more able hands to entrust with this task.
I encourage you to pray about going on a sponsor tour to meet your child. Not only will you experience the transformation of children in poverty who are learning of their worth in Jesus, but the staff will captivate your heart and leave you with the assurance that your child is in good hands.
Thank you for trusting us with the lives of the children you sponsor. Thank you for helping us to enable and equip local churches all over the world with the resources they need to invest in these kids.
God is working in the Dominican Republic. Christ is pulling these children from the ash heap and setting them on seats with princes. God is raising up warriors and they are changing the world.
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Thanks for the post Emily. The pastors words, “a ministry without children and a focus without Jesus are efforts made in vain.”, really resonate with me. I will be watching for more posts next week from the DR.
would love to see some pictures of what is happening in Ethiopia
Thanks for this post. I visited El Salvador in November on a sponsor tour and my experience was the same! I was so impressed with the staff, both in the country office and at the 2 centers that we visited. Their dedication and attention to detail in their work was amazing! I would highly recommend a sponsor tour to anyone. I hope to go again sometime 🙂
Emily, thank you for sharing your experience during your visit. My husband and I began sponsoring a boy in DM this past Dec. I got my first letter from him yesterday! I jumped for joy when I saw it. What a blessing this has already been for all of us. We cannot wait to go on a trip to meet him, his family and the team God has gathered to take care of those in the area. God bless you all.
Renee, I cannot thank you enough for changing the story for Joswar! Letters are such a blessing and that feeling you had when you read his first words to you is how he feels but multiplied I guarantee you, when reading his letters from you. By taking a step of faith and supporting this boy, God is using you to impact his life and spur him on in the dreams and potential God has placed in him! You’re family is such an incredible blessing and I pray that you get to meet him face to face someday soon! I’m smiling so big right now thinking of the relationship you get to have with him! Enjoy :).
Emily! I just loved this post. Beautiful words, friend. Thank you.
So Emily, out of curiosity which projects did you all visit? I had hoped to be on that January 2015 sponsor tour to see my 3 darlings, but did not want to risk traveling during the month of January.
The pictures are lovely and make me wish I had come. But I am glad that you had a spiritual “eye opening” experience. I am sure that your 1st tour will not be your last. Tours can be addicting!
Hi Cynthia! Bummer, I would have loved to meet you! We only visited project DR126 that week :). I certainly hope and pray that it’s not my last. I already want to go back! I hope that you get a chance to go visit your three kiddos in the future!
Emily – Thank you for sharing this insight with us. I can’t wait to hear more.
We are the body of Christ working to achieve the great Commission.