What is the difference between these two 12-year-old girls? One was born in a 3rd world country and one was born in the United States of Abundance. We do not get to choose if we are born into poverty or wealth, but we do get to choose what we do with the resources we’ve been given. In the USA, we have earning potential and job opportunities that most people in 3rd world countries don’t have. So our family has decided to use our income to help those less fortunate than ourselves. It is not our money; it is God’s money, and we are simply passing on the blessings He’s given us. Our family motto is “We live simply so others can simply live”. We make intentional lifestyle choices that keep our monthly
budget very low, so that we can sponsor children in Uganda and Kenya (the two countries God has laid on our hearts). We only have two biological children (Alea age 12 and Jonas age 10), but our life has been greatly enriched by our 12 Ugandan children! We started
off with 10 children and through praying for them and corresponding for 3 ½ years, we developed a sincere love for them and a sense of attachment that these really are “our kids”.
There are an endless number of worthwhile programs through amazing Christian organizations making a
dent in poverty, to which you can contribute financially (digging wells, feeding programs, clean-water projects, AIDS Clinics, etc) but child sponsorship is the most personal on-going way that our family has found to make a difference. We are particularly impressed with New Hope Uganda’s sponsorship program. It is a holistic approach that provides spiritual growth, education, clean water, food, vitamins, medical care, shoes/clothes, bedding, etc.
If you ever do have the opportunity to visit your sponsored child, take it. After our dream came true and we met our sponsored children for
the first time in July 2011, the bond was sealed! These are Jonas and Alea’s brothers and sisters and these truly are our children. It was such
a gift to have two weeks to get to know their unique personalities, spend time playing, and laughing and worshipping with them. Words cannot express the overwhelming joy it was to have a voice attached to the face we’d been praying over for all those years, to have the child in the photo come alive with personality, to be able to wrap our arms around them and physically embrace those already dear to our hearts!
It is so neat to see the special bond that Jonas and Alea have, not only with their same age siblings, but their older brothers and sisters as well. The love runs deep! Our hearts overflow with maternal/paternal pride at their talents, godly characteristics, hard work ethic and selfdiscipline;
we are honored to sponsor young adults who will become leaders and role models for the younger generation.
We were blessed to come back two years later, this past July 2013, to once again visit our children and see how they’d grown (physically, spiritually, academically, emotionally). What a glorious family reunion that was! Our eldest son, has already graduated and is now earning a paycheck as of August, so we were able to take on another younger student in his place.
Even though we no longer sponsor our eldest New Hope son, he will always be our son and no one can take his place in our hearts!
At New Hope, we also got to see first-hand our sponsorship dollars at work. During the home visits with our sponsored children, they showed us all the things we had helped provide for them: the new mattresses, the shoe polish for their school shoes, etc. We got to participate in a mass distribution of blankets, that just happened to be while we were at Kasana in August of this year. The children were all told that the blankets were from their sponsors. We got to walk with one of the girls we sponsor to the clinic to get medicine for her rash. We saw the daily chewable vitamins being passed out in the Primary School and the porridge being served daily. We have also enjoyed getting to know our childrens’ teachers, families and caregivers, family groups, friends, etc. We now have quite an extensive African family on many levels.
Even for those who may never make it to Uganda to meet their sponsored child in person, the love grows strong, through letter writing and praying regularly for “your” child. You will become a real part of that child’s family and a part of New Hope’s call to provide the Fatherhood of God to the fatherless. We encourage each one of you, no matter what other ways you might be gifting your finances, to also consider sponsoring a child and/or promoting sponsorship at your church or elsewhere.
By Anissa Haywood
As printed in New Hope Uganda Ministries November 2013 paper newsletter (to see the entire newsletter click here)