Today, we hear from the man who runs the program in the country of the Dominican Republic. I am especially moved by this letter because it shares the starfish story. It's such a great representation of what Compassion is doing.
I have three children in this country; Marinelis, Enmanuel, and Carolin
My name is Kleber Lora and I am the Country Director of Compassion in the Dominican Republic. I joined Compassion 2005 after a time of prayer, asking the Lord for an opportunity to serve the impoverished. My wife Layla and I have three children. Our older daughter came to us as a foster daughter when we were asked to be a transition home for her for a week. That time became 10 years! Now she is a teacher in a Christian school and has three beautiful children, my grandchildren.
Making a difference one child at a time is what Compassion has done in the DR for the last 46 years. My heart rejoices, knowing that we have reached so many children. Currently, more than 60,000 are receiving help through 175 church partners, thanks to sponsors like you. I am so grateful for your love and support to Enmanuel, Marinelis, and Carolin.
Children Learning in Their Compassion Classroom
Some of our country-specific struggles include a high mortality rate in children under five and a high mortality rate for mothers in childbirth. Nearly 40 percent of the population is living in poverty and 15 percent don't have access to adequate drinking water.
Loren Eiseley wrote a story, often retold, about a man on a beach. He noticed someone else bending down to pink up and object and throw it into the sea. The other person was throwing starfish into the ocean because the tide had washed them onto the beach and they couldn't possibly return to the sea by themselves. In most versions, the observer tells the thrower he can't possibly make a difference! The latter replies, after throwing another starfish as far as he could, "It made a difference for that one!".
An Impoverished Neighborhood in the DR
The story reminds me of a boy who was found walking without shoes by his neighbor. His mother and grandmother had passed away; his father, cousin, and aunt were working. The child slept on the floor, he used to eat at his neighbor's. Nobody was taking care of him. That neighbor, who used to be a tutor in a Compassion child development center, saw his needs and talents. She brought him to church. He found a sponsor and now he has become a responsible, obedient, Christian teenager, who plays the piano at church and dreams of going to college. Isn't it amazing how God uses us to change the life of a child?
Boys Walking to Collect Water for Their Families
As the children hear the Word of God, they have the opportunity to receive Jesus in their hearts, and their families do too. Our impoverished communities don't have safe places for the children to play; they find that at the center. Also, the children receive love, care, curriculum classes, meals, and vocational training that equip them for a better future. This brings hope to our hearts.
Children Playing on a Playground at Their Compassion Project
The center is like a second home for the children, but having a sponsor is a unique blessing for each child. Children wait with all their heart for their sponsor's letters. A sponsor becomes a friend that encourages them, tells them that they're loved, and they are in their prayers, and also asks them in detail about their life, parents, and school. This is a highlight of the program. I encourage you to write as often as possible.
A Boy Writing a Letter to His Sponsor
Currently in the DR we have more than 300 churches applying to open a Compassion center in their communities. In 2017, we want to provide new sponsorship opportunities to thousands of children in need in partnership with at least 16 new church partners. Also, after implementing more than 20 water-purification plants in the last five years, we want to help provide access to adequate water in at least three new communities in the next year.
Girls Washing Their Face in a Clean Water Source Provided by Compassion
Thank you for your commitment to help those who don't have a voice. Thank you for your effort and support that make such a difference to Enmanuel, Marinelis, and Carolin. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.
Do you want to sponsor a child in the Dominican Republic? If so, may I suggest this sweet boy, Maicol. He has been waiting over a year for a sponsor! Due to his young age, I bet that he has been waiting this long for his very first sponsor. Please Click Here to visit his page, learn more about him, and take that leap into sponsorship!