Through the experiences of raising my first child when she needed prenatal medical care, I developed in my heart a strong passion for children, especially those children who live in poverty.
As a debater in high school, I recall doing research for my speeches on the allocation of scarce world resources; I remember reading lots of articles about children impacted by spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty. I learned that more than 9 million children under age 5 die each year and that two-thirds of these deaths — more than 6 million every year — are preventable.
Also, when I was in high school I was led to the Lord by a teenager; so I have personally experienced the impact and commitment that children can have in sharing the good news of Jesus.
Because of these experiences, I have partnered with an organization who shares the same commitments as myself; I'd like to share a little bit about Compassion International.
I became aware of Compassion International in December 2011 through reading a daily bible verse devotional which contained a very brief but catchy trailer-"in Jesus’ name." Now my wife and I already contribute to other children’s charities, so what was unique about Compassion? The word compassion alone means tenderness and mercy to me; so I did some research on the organization and found four key and distinct characteristics:
- Commitment to Christ which drives the ministry, the programs, people and ethics.
- Commitment to Children by being focused on the complete individual child development.
- Commitment to Church --especially the local church — which is God's instrument to deliver justice to the poor.
- Commitment to Integrity by completely adhering to the highest professional and biblical principles and maintaining the highest industry standards for allocation of funds.
Wow, I was simply amazed. So I continued my research and discovered that Compassion delivers a holistic suite of programs to address poverty. These include: Sponsoring Children, Rescuing Babies and Mothers, Developing Future Leaders and Meeting Critical Needs.
'It is more blessed to give than to receive' (Acts 20:35).
Joene lives on the plains of Kimantong, Daraga which is near to an active volcano and home to approximately 8,600 residents. Typical houses are constructed of cement floors, concrete walls and thatched or galvanized iron roofs. The local diet consists of fish, rice and vegetables. Her father is a construction helper and garbage collector and her mother is sometimes employed as a handicraft maker. Her parent’s income is approximately $50 per month and supporting Joene and her other siblings can be challenging.
Through my monthly financial commitment to sponsor Joene, the staff of the local church (Daraga Bible Christian Church Child Development Center, which has been operating since September 1987) can provide Bible teaching, Christian values classes, medical and dental checkups, vaccinations, health and hygiene education, sports, special celebrations, tutoring, leadership training and community service opportunities. The center staff will also provide Bible teaching, social events and livelihood training to Joene’s parents.
Now, one of the benefits of sponsoring a child is that you are the only sponsor. Through this one-on-one relationship you serve as a prayer warrior, mentor and second-parent. This special relationship is enhanced through committing to regular letter writing back and forth. I have learned that Joene enjoys watching TV, playing badminton and singing. She is quite the letter writer; in fact in 2012 I received six very detailed and thought out letters. She usually includes a scripture verse for me. Joene has asked some very good questions of me. I have been able to share how God is helping and guiding me in my life to her. Recently, I received a letter from Joene stating that her father was ill and that finances in the household were strained. I thank God for the opportunity to be able to pray for Joene and her family and to be able to share her prayer requests with fellow believers at my local church.
I am really excited about having Joene in my life; and for just $1.25 a day, it is a blessing that Compassion can deliver the goodness of God to a child living in poverty.
So, how do you see yourself being involved in releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, enabling them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults?