She’s a beautiful woman now.
When we began sponsoring her, we believed in her possibility and we hoped for her future.
Today hope and a future are reality.
Theresia, now 22, is changing her world.
Where do I even begin to share about all that has transpired today?
We met Theresia. The tears fell freely as I hugged her and was so moved by the reality of this moment. She was no longer a picture but a beautiful young woman who is now employed and on her way to breaking the cycle of poverty in her family.
Why? Because a group of moms in Illinois said yes to God seven years ago.
It works. Child sponsorship changes lives. It changes families. It can change the world.
Today I learned that ten years ago, 35,000 children died everyday from preventable diseases. Now ten years later, the numbers have dropped to 25,000 children who die everyday from preventable diseases. While 25,000 grieves my heart, the fact that 10,000 children are alive because of programs like Compassion encourages me that it makes a difference.
Today I had the privilege of seeing Theresia’s grades. I went through a binder of her health records. I read social worker notes from family visits that the Compassion organization made regularly to the home. We talked with Theresia about the difference it made in her life. Even more powerful for me was talking to her mother about the difference it made for her family.
Let me share with you where Theresia grew up. Going to her home was humbling. The family lives in one 10 x 12 room in a stick and mud “house.” There were holes in the roof, so when it rains outside, it also rains inside…onto mud walls and a mud floor. Theresia’s mother, Josephine, is a single mother. She and her daughters sleep in one “bed” which is really just a wide bench, while Theresia’s brother sleeps on a “love seat” sized bench.
This is the where Josephine prepares their meals. She told us that she often only makes two meals a day when there isn’t enough food for three meals a day. Many times when we sent Theresia gifts for birthday or Christmas, part of the money was used to purchase food for the family. Josephine communicated her gratefulness for that.
Josephine has tried to support her family selling vegetables, however she said that did not meet their needs. Now she does her best to buy wholesale goods and to resell them to retail establishments making a small profit on her mark-up. It still barely provides for her family. Josephine was 16 when she had Theresia. She is not educated and job opportunities for the uneducated are very slim.
Theresia is changing that for her family.
After graduating for high school, Compassion helped place Theresia in a higher educational opportunity. She secured a 1 year certificate in hotel management. She now lives about one hour away and works in a hotel. She is supporting herself and her family now.
Hope now blooms and a changed future is reality.
It works. Child sponsorship changes lives, families, and communities.
Tomorrow we experience church in Tanzania…although I must say I believe I attended church today based upon James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Have you been asking God how He can use you?
(You can find more pictures from our first day on my Facebook page here!)