Letter from the Country Director of Indonesia

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!

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“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”

Letter from Finka’s Pastor

I’m eagerly awaiting my second letter from Finka, to get to know her better, but in the meantime, I did receive a letter from her pastor recently. I enjoy reading the pastor letters because it lets me learn a lot more about the child’s community and center specifically!

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Finka attends ID230 in East Indonesia

“Dear Alisa, I am Reverend Agabus Salawe, the Chairman of Harmony Church Protestant Seventh Indonesia and the Emmaus Child Development Center where we host and minister to Finka.

Most of the people in our community are very poor and uneducated. Many children cannot attend school because they have to help make a living with their parents. Poverty also results in many children who must live apart from their parents due to abandonment. The presence of Center in this area is very helpful address this challenge and to provide a holistic development for the children, releasing them from poverty in Jesus’ name.

In the over 200 children we serve at our Center, including your child, we are seeing great benefits and improvement. They have a good achievement in the school. Their health is much better and their parents see much better behavior and respect and they are polite. The spiritual life of the children is growing in a better direction and some children are able to lead worship and other services. All of this can happen because they were carried with the holistic program applied by Compassion through this sponsorship program and because of people like you.

The impact of the Center on the entire community is clear. People are increasingly concerned with the lives of children, education for children, and protection of children. People are starting to realize the importance of respecting the position of the child in their environment. Likewise, the government is beginning to teach courses on child awareness and protection. This is a very unusual thing. This is very pleasing, as we believe that the children are our future generation who will make great Christian leaders and who will change the community for the better.

The letters that the children receive from their sponsors are very important for their development and also for their self-esteem. The letters and photos make the children feel loved and motivated and diligent in the activities at the church and Center. They love to respond and share their lives and their dreams. For this reason, it is very important for you to write to Finka.

Thank you so much for supporting Finka. Please pray for the continued development and growth of all our children and the Center and the community.

May the Lord bless you abundantly. Shalom, Pastor Agabus Salawe”

Introducing Finka and a letter!

I sponsored Finka back in early April. God called me to sponsor another child and He lead me to her. Sadly, Finka lost both of her parents, so she previously lived with her aunt and uncle, and now her grandmother. Still, though, she performs above average in school. Her little smirk in her photo makes me think she has a fun and easygoing personality. I received an introduction letter from Finka, included below!

Finka is 15 and lives in Indonesia. Her most recent photo is on the right.

Her introduction letter says she lives in a village and lists her late parents names and ages as part of her family. They were just 38 and 36 when they passed away. Some of her favorite things are helping her grandma, studying, and refreshing with friends (that’s the wording in the translation, I’m guessing it means hanging out?). If she could go anywhere, she would go to her sponsor’s home. The letter says: “Shalom Dearest Sponsor, how are you? My grandma and I are in good health. Thank you for sponsoring me. I hope God will repay your kindness. I’ve just finished my final exam. Kindly please pray so that I can pass the final exam and continue my study at senior high school. I live with my grandma. Father and mother passed away when I was still young. That’s all my letter. See you in the next letter.”

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