This week I am sharing the Country Director letter from the Dominican Republic. I sponsor sweet Elaina there.
“Dear Alisa, My name is Kleber Lora, and I am the Country Director of Compassion in the Dominican Republic. I joined Compassion in 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 been doing 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 for Elaina.
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 pick up an 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 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!’
This story reminds me of a boy who was found walking without shoes by a 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 need 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?
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 place 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.
The center is like the second home for the children, but having a sponsor is a unique blessing for each child. Children wait with all their heart for their sponsors’ letters. A sponsor becomes a friend that encourages them, tells them that they’re loved, that 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.
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.
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 Elaina. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him!
In Jesus, Kleber Lora”