Thursday, August 7, 2014

Not Forgotten

You are not forgotten. 

When we live simply so that others may simply live, that is the message that we communicate. 

 You are not forgotten.

 The TEAR Fund New Zealand “Not Forgotten” tour kicked off last night in Whangarei with former sponsored child Richmond Wandera, from Uganda, and Omega Livine, from the Parachute Band. What a challenge and blessing it was to hear  first-hand accounts of how TEAR Fund (Also known as Compassion International) child sponsorship literally changed life and reality for Richmond and his family!     
When he was just a little boy his father was murdered, leaving his mother, young and uneducated, to fend for the family.  As a result, his family had to move into a leaky tin shack in one of largest slums in east Africa, surviving on scraps of food and dirty water, and exposed to malaria-carrying mosquitoes on a daily basis. But far worse than the physical poverty in which he found himself, was the loss of dignity and sense of self-worth he experienced.  He felt that there were no longer dreams to dream and that he was quite simply . . . forgotten.
 He was separated from classmates, because he could no longer afford to attend school, and lost other  friends to various diseases that took their lives.

Then something happened. 

The invisible ceiling that seemed to prevent his dreams from ever becoming a reality was shattered when he first became sponsored by a 15 year old girl in New Zealand.  With great excitement and delight he described the elation he felt when he first found out that he was going to be sponsored!  This was a legitimate ray of hope, a way out of the monochromatic life in which in he’d been forced to live and an invitation into something that was full of colour and contrast.
Not only did he now have reliable access to medical care, clean water, and food, but he also could return to school and rebuild friendships lost when his family had to leave their town and move into the slum. It was also during his years participating in the Compassion Programme that he was introduced to Jesus Christ and gave his heart to the Lord!
 He has never been the same since.

Richmond went on to actually graduate from university with a BA in Accounting, one of the few in his entire country.  He is married now and is traveling around NZ to help advocate for the TEAR Fund and assure people of the impact that this programme has on real-life children. 

Three things he pointed out were these: 1) Sponsorship changes the child; 2) Sponsorship changes the sponsor; 3) Sponsorship changes the church.
Though I’ve already been sponsoring a little boy in Tanzania through TEAR Fund/Compassion International for many years now, I decided to take on another little tike from Indonesia.  

After all, why can’t I live simply so that others may simply live? 

If you are interested in child sponsorship, two of the most reputable and responsible child sponsorship programmes I know are : 
 TEAR Fund/ Compassion International and Nazarene Child Sponsorship.  Both are rated extremely high for their fiscal responsibility, commitment to long-term development and holistic care, and their healthy partnership with local churches in the communities in which they serve.

Check out the websites.

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