I had the privilege of visiting some of the Compassion International projects in the Dominican Republic this winter. One of the families we visited had 9 children living in a 2 room shack. The floor was dirt, the kitchen was outside and consisted of a wooden shelf and propane stove, similar to what we would use for camping. There was one bed for the entire family and a crib, although the toddler in it didn’t look like he would live much longer. Another baby appeared to be a newborn, but was actually 8 months old. When we asked what the mother had given her children to eat that day, she said “Nothing…no propane, no food.” I asked our guide if he would buy food for this family if I gave him some pesos. He agreed.
My friend, Mindy, sponsored one of the boys on the spot–Oscar, the 13-year-old. When we boarded the bus, unknown to us, all the other sponsors had taken a collection for the family and came up with 5,300 pesos! In the space of two minutes, God had multiplied the tiny bit I had given. With the money, we were able to purchase large bags of rice and beans, bottled water, bread, eggs, and many other items. We stopped by the Compassion project to leave the receipts for the purchase and to record the gift in the accountant’s books for this family. We were told that additional money from the gift would pay for bunk beds so that each child will have their own place with clean linens; they would also send someone to purchase some propane, and they would buy clothing for all the children. We were amazed to see how much about 200 American dollars could purchase.
They said that with Oscar’s sponsorship, he would now be able to start 1st grade, but that it would be very difficult for him, especially as a 13-year-old. Instead, they said he would be tested to see what skill he is able and interested in learning, and would be placed in a technical school of some type. He’ll be able to attend the project for meals, tutoring, sports, medical attention, Bible lessons and other activities. And the whole family will benefit, because the parents will be able to take classes at the project regarding health, nutrition, food preparation and child care. We really felt this was a special day! Best of all, Mindy will be able to keep in touch with Oscar through the sharing of letters. Now Oscar has a real bright future!
Followup: Mindy received a letter from Oscar this week. All his statements confirmed what we’d been told in his home. He said that he was now attending the project and was very happy and satisfied. He said he was, indeed, having trouble learning, but had been placed in a special school, and had been given a tutor. He named all 9 of his siblings (the very ones we met). He thanked Mindy for choosing him and being his friend, and then he closed with a very important and exciting detail: he said that “the little one is better.” How thrilled we were to hear that things are definitely looking up for this precious family! How amazing to recall real faces and personalities as we read his wonderful letter!
If you would like to do the same for a child in need, check out these wonderful faces: