This week’s Country Director letter is from Indonesia, where I sponsor Finka. I haven’t been a sponsor in Indonesia too long, just since April. So it was great to learn more about their ministry there!
“Dear Alisa, I am Sarah Jeanin Rahardja, Compassion Indonesia country director. This is my 15th year working with Compassion. Compassion Indonesia started its ministry in 1984. Today, we minister to almost 70,000 children, nearly 800 mothers and babies in the survival program, and 87 Leadership Development Program students through more than 315 church partners.
Thank you for your commitment, love and contribution to Finka. You have changed everything for your child. Sponsors’ financial support not only provides school tuition, healthy meals, and medical intervention, but it gives the children confidence, since they know they are loved, known and protected.
In Indonesia, 13.8 million children live below the poverty line. Children who live in rural eastern Indonesia have more disadvantages in access to clean water, schools and health care. However, children in western Indonesia have their own disadvantages due to the concentration of population. In Indonesia, increasing numbers of parents must work outside their village or even out of the country. Only 10 percent of children see both their parents daily, and 20 percent of children do not see either of their parents.
One of our focuses for the coming year is youth development, which will provide programs and opportunities for youth to be disciples, develop their leadership, and develop their interests and talents to become self-sufficient. We are also expanding our ministry to more extreme-poverty areas. This year, we will expand into Alor Island, East Nusa Tenggara province, and North Sumatra.
Last year, we implemented Qavah, a method to empower church partners. We help church partners to identify their resources instead of identifying their needs. The process has a significant result when church partners start to access resources around them and mobilize their communities to respond to their own needs. Church partners have been able to mobilize communities to build toilets or bridges and clean the streets. We used a similar process with youth, and they came up with some great ideas and programs; empowering youth also helped the church partners maintain youth participation at the child development centers. In one center, the youth developed a program to pick up the younger children and serve them during the activities at the center.
Children value their relationships with their sponsors. They not only appreciate the financial support, but especially the sponsor letters. Some children study harder because of encouragement from their sponsors in letters, some children feel valuable because their sponsors say they pray for them and love them, and some children meet Christ through sponsor letters. Through letters, children feel the love and attention that some of them cannot get from their parents, who are too busy to meet their needs. Please write as often as you can.
These achievements in children’s lives could not happen without sponsors’ support and commitment. You play an important role. Through the relationship between sponsor and child, two different people from different countries, different languages, and different cultures can know each other and see the kingdom of God in wider perspective. The sponsor-child relationship is not limited by program, but it is a lifelong relationship. I am thankful to be your co-worker in this most effective ministry to bring children to rise from poverty and to know Jesus.
I humbly ask you to pray that we can have the courage and commitment to do our best; also pray for the process of expanding our ministry to more impoverished areas in Indonesia.
Please let me express my gratitude again for your commitment, love and heart for Finka. May God bless you abundantly.
In Jesus, Sarah Jeanin Rahardja”