Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Give a Child a Chance, Three Stories

Story One—You're a Granny!

I spent a few days on a mission trip to the Philippines in 1984. We worked closely with a church that was doing outreach in an impoverished part of the city of Manila. We fell in love with the kids we served and the church folks with whom we ministered. When I got home I contacted International Child Care Ministries (ICCM, the child sponsorship program of the Free Methodist Church) so that I could become a sponsor. My first child ever was the toddler son of my new friends from Manila—the  pastor and his wife. That little toddler has, of course, grown up. Recently I got a Facebook message from his mom. Along with the beautiful photo above she told me that their son's wife had given birth to Caleb. "You're a granny!" she told me. This is one of the sponsorship perks that nobody mentioned to me those long years ago!

Story Two—A Heart of Compassion

For our son's birthday a couple of years ago, Tom and I took him to hear a popular Christian musician in concert. The music was great, but it didn't capture our boy's heart nearly as much as did the pitch for Compassion, a ministry that provides sponsors for children around the world. When a representative of Compassion came to the mic and shared stories of kids who had been sponsored through their organization, telling how the kids' basic necessities were being met through the compassion of supporters, he invited people to sign on. "If you would like to become a sponsor, please raise your hand." Before the gentleman could finish his appeal our son's hand was waving in the air.

Through Compassion this young man, whose discretionary funds amount to about $100 a month, sponsors a young girl in Dominican Republic. He's looking for additional work beyond his few hours a week at a pizza shop, so that he can sponsor others as well.

Story Three—God's Treasures

photo credit

The Guatemala City Dump, the largest dump in Latin America, is home to more than 11,000 people, of whom nearly 6,500 are children. The people at Potter's House call these folks Treasures, and share the love of Christ with them through a number of transformational ministries, including child sponsorship. Their outreach at the dump over the past twenty-nine years has had a powerful impact on lives. During the past twenty years our friends Jim and Ruth Youngsman have sponsored many children through Potter's House. Two of their sponsor kids are now studying at universities in the United States, both having been awarded full ride scholarships! Through the love and support of the Potter's House and the their sponsors, these young women have  excelled even in the face of great difficulties. One of them will be visiting the Youngmans over Thanksgiving and will share her story with Soulcrafters, our adult Sunday School class. I'm looking forward to the celebration.

In Conclusion
There are millions of children around the world who don't have the advantages of most North American kids. At the moment, there are 3,000 children who are awaiting sponsorship through ICCM. An article in today's publication called Tuesday's Child focuses on those kids, and this is just one agency among the many child sponsorship programs. You may not be rich, but you likely can find a way to make a difference in the life of one child, or even more. Consider what you might do to give a child a chance.

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