Sobering Words

I’m taking a short break from the photos of our trip to Amsterdam.  There are many outstanding quotes from my journals that I’d like to share this week.  First, insightful words from Compassion’s Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  I met Edouard Lassegue and his wife years ago when I was in Haiti for the first time; at the time he was the President of Compassion Haiti.

Now he very capably administers, counsels and directs a much larger region.  This man is kind, warm, humble, caring, energetic and especially passionate about helping children in need.  This is his recent update:

I want to thank you for your faithfulness in praying for and supporting Compassion’s work in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Your unwavering commitment in uplifting this region to God’s care is an affirmation of the power and solidarity of the global Church, which I believe is the main reason for the gains the region continues to experience.

Over the past decade, the Latin America and Caribbean Region has seen ongoing progress in many socioeconomic areas.  In fact, today, many economists attest that the majority of the countries in this region have been experiencing modest, but steady annual growth rates.  What’s more, these countries are also seeing declining extreme poverty rates with citizens generally becoming healthier and better educated.

These are encouraging highlights, but regrettably, they represent only half of the present situation.  Today, this region remains the most violent in the world, with one of the highest homicide rates ever.  Most of the clashes involve drug and gang activities, resulting in ruthless and barbaric murders.

Our region also faces natural disasters of all kinds, including flooding, hurricanes and earthquakes.  Haiti, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic continue their recovery efforts from hurricanes and tropical storms, while Mexico focuses on reconstruction from earthquake devastation.  Heavy rainfall in Colombia and Peru have brought about flooding and higher incidents of mosquito-borne illnesses.

But, in the midst of it all, I am so inspired by the dedication and courage of our church partners.  They do not complain; they do not back down.  That is why we count it a distinct privilege to walk alongside them in this vital ministry of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

So please don’t stoop praying for the Latin America and Caribbean Region.  Pray that the Church stays firm in the midst of the violence that surrounds them, serving as an example of Christ’s truth and love.  Pray for the safety of families and children–many of whom face the threat of violence every day in their normal day-to-day activities.  Pray for governments and local branches of authority, that they will “step up” and care for the people they profess to serve.

The troubles of the Latin America and Caribbean Region will not fade by just good intentions.  Real progress and peace will only come through a change of heart and mindset, and as followers of Christ, we know that is the work of the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, again, for your prayerful support.  And may you be encouraged that all things are possible through God — and that includes a transformation in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In the spirit of the triune God, Edouard Lassegue, Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Compassion International

Here is the link for my second visit with Josue, and with his younger brother that I also sponsored later.  If you would like to sponsor a child, click here and you can search a child from Latin America or the Caribbean!

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From Poverty to Pastor

Here is another excellent story from Compassion. Some of our sponsored children aspire to be pastors like the one that has helped them in their own Child Development Center. This is true of my sponsored boy in Kenya — Muuo — and I really hope he accomplishes his goal. It’s been on his heart for many years; his brother is a pastor already and now he wants to do the same. Please enjoy this video about a formerly sponsored child that is now a pastor, and who has a huge impact on many children today.

The Least of These

Here is a new video from Compassion featuring four formerly sponsored children.  I met one of them — David — in Colorado Springs last year, and also met Olive earlier.  They’re certainly impressive in what they have already accomplished in their young lives. I’m sure you’ll find their stories to be very moving and powerful in many ways.

Story of Compassion

This video feature Wess Stafford sharing the history of Compassion. How did it all begin? This is a wonderful story!

Meeting Jerica

The most exciting part of our trip to Kenya was meeting our sponsored children.  First, my sweet girl, Jerica.  We had travelled by car for several hours and finally arrived in her village.  I hardly recognized her at first (I thought she was one of the teachers); she was so grown up!  But then we began to talk about some of the letters we’d written to each another, and a bond formed quickly.

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Jerica had excelled in every way at the Child Development Center that Compassion provided.  I started sponsoring her when she was a teenager.  I knew she had lost her sponsor for some reason, and wanted to give her the stability of sponsorship, as well as the letters of love and encouragement that I sent regularly.

This is the wonderful smile that first drew me to her initial child packet years ago.

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I’m so proud of her.  Through the sponsorship, and through her hard work and determination, by God’s grace, Jerica has been released from poverty in Jesus’ name.  This is the latest photo I had received of her from Compassion.

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As a teenager, she rose quickly to positions of leadership in her church and project, working with the youth, leading praise and worship, helping the aged and participating in athletic events.  You can see her in front of a wall that has her name (twice) on the “Scroll of Honour!”

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She’s in university studies now, which has been part of Compassion’s program for students who qualify; studying education, physics and molecular biology.  Isn’t that amazing?

Here we are with some of the staff members that have been a huge part of her success.  This center ministers to at least 370 children in need; teaching them agricultural skills as well as computer skills, providing meals and immunizations, health care, tutoring and Christian discipleship.  I have nothing but great respect and appreciation for these hardworking, loving individuals!

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We had a special time sharing a delicious meal and Jerica’s nephew, Alex, joined us.

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We took a few selfies.  2016-07-05-22-05-05_500

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Chris and Alex played on the playground equipment.

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I took a peek inside the church.

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We took tons of photos, of course.

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Then we headed for Jerica’s home with the Compassion representative (Paul) that was hosting our visit.  Before meeting Jerica, we had picked up some groceries for her family, which you will see in the following two posts about the memorable home visit with Jerica’s family.

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Jimmy

I’ve been sponsoring a girl and boy in Kenya for some time now, and we finally had a chance to visit them this summer.  It was truly an amazing and memorable trip!  One of the bonuses of this excursion was getting to see my dear friend, Jimmy Wambua, again.  He’s a formerly sponsored Compassion child and he graciously invited us to stay in his home in Nairobi.

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Jimmy was a member of Compassion’s Leadership Development Program.  After completing high school and college, he attended Moody Bible College as well, and then returned to Kenya to make a difference in many unique ways.  It was a pleasure to see him again and to hear of his dreams for his own people.

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Sarah and Chris had fun hanging out with him, too.

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We were privileged to taste some real home-cooked, Kenyan food:

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As Jimmy talked about his own sponsor, and about becoming an orphan at an early age, I couldn’t help but wonder where he would be today if he hadn’t been given the opportunity to have an education, meals, immunizations and discipleship.  Sponsorship truly changed his life!

Here is a video that tells Jimmy’s powerful story:

Favorite Memories

Here is another great video from some of our Compassion Alumni (formerly sponsored children).  You will share some giggles as you hear some of their favorite memories from their childhood: