Friday, October 26, 2012

Make a Difference

14-year-old Tom standing by the home Sister Connection
built for his family. Now that his mother has passed away,
he is caring for his 8-year-old brother
Craig Reese, a Sister Connection staff member from the US, is in Burundi now, visiting widows in their homes and helping develop microfinance businesses. He's posting photos and stories from this trip on the Sister Connection Facebook page. Feel free to check them out.

In a post earlier this week he shared the following story:

"I met one young orphan named Tom, who is just 14 and lost his mother a short time ago. Remember, in Burundi, if you have no father, you are considered an orphan. He had already lost his father and now his mom has passed as well. He maintains the home that was built for his mother by SC with his eight year old brother.

"As of now he has no sponsor, so he earns what he can from the labor jobs he can find. He indicated a desire to go back to school, but was more concerned for his brother who is younger and not so far behind in school that he couldn't catch up. There are too many stories like this..."

Currently 21 orphan-led homes are sponsored by Sister Connection. Usually the head of the house is an older teen or a young adult. According to Abby Nelson, SC's Executive Assistant, "most have two sponsors to provide extra money because mama isn't there to grow food or work to help them eat -- that way kids can go to school."

One of these orphan-led households is sponsored by Susan Rice, with whom I traveled to Burundi in July, and her family. The oldest sister is in her early 20s. She was uable to attend the widows' retreat so Susan arranged to meet the family in Bujumbura just before we returned home. She was ill, but she sent her four younger sibling and their pastor to meet us. Susan shared photos of her family with them and prayed for them. She also gave them an UNO game and our translator, Francine, taught them how to play!

Right now there are over 450 households waiting for sponsorship. Most are widows and their families, and often include extra children that need a home. But there are a few of these families on the waiting list that are led by orphans. To sponsor a household is to provide the funds to cover basic needs and beyond -- food, seed to plant, clothing, routine medical, school supplies, household necessities. The cost is just $30 a month. That seems like a meager sum to us, but this ongoing support makes such a difference in the lives of the people who are sponsored.

So here is my shameless appeal: Check out the Sister Connection website. Ask the Lord what you can do to be a part of this amazing ministry. Sign up to be a sponsor -- perhaps for Tom and his brother or another orphan-led household. Pray for the widows and orphans of Burundi. And tell others about Sister Connection and how they can impact the world by getting involved too.

No comments: