As you saw in the previous message from Nov. 12, we have been very busy each day. In the past two days, we visited two more Compassion student centers where we were again greeted warmly by many students and staff. In addition to the programs that had been prepared for us, and some time to play with the children, we learned a great deal about the inner workings and record keeping within Compassion’s local projects. It was important for us to understand how students are selected to participate in the program, what requirements they must meet to stay in the program, what records are kept (health, attendance, letter writing, gift receipts, birth certificate, etc.), and a number of other things that keep track of each student’s progress over time.
Today, we split into four groups devoted to sporting activities, crafts, dance, and cosmetology of a sort. Each activity was quite popular with those participating in it. Having been on several of these tours previously, I chose to wander from one activity to another photographing and documenting what was happening. After an hour or more of these activities, we served the children lunch, then did some Q & A with two Complimentary Intervention program staff and a loan recipient of that program who has started a breadmaking business. The goal of the CIP is to provide micro-loans to individuals with a connection to Compassion (either by having a child in the CDSP program or by having graduated from the Compassion program as a sponsored child him/herself) in order to offer one more means of helping raise people out of poverty in Jesus’ name.
One more speaker arrived… well, really he is not a speaker but a contractor from El Salvador. He explained some of the details of construction that was underway at today’s project for two buildings that will house 12 classrooms. These buildings are being built to a strict earthquake code to replace structures that were destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The El Salvadoran company was hired to lead the construction of four separate Compassion schools and in the process to train Haitian builders who have been hired to assist so that they will be able to carry on further construction of this nature and quality. It is important work because dozens of Compassion buildings, particularly schools, were destroyed in and near Port au Prince in 2010.
This evening, we enjoyed listening to the testimonies of three Leadership Development Program students. In Compassion’s ministry, there are three parts (CSP-Child Survival Program; CDSP-Child Development Sponsorship Program; and LDP). The LDP students go through a highly selective competition at the end of their high school period. If they are selected, they will be sponsored all the way through university in a course of their choosing. Along with the standard university course work, they are required to participate in various Christian leadership training activities, to be mentored by professional people (something not common in many developing countries), and to take active leadership positions in their churches, local CDSP student centers, etc. These young men and women are quite impressive, and are working to become adults who will make a significant impact in their communities, and often even in a wider arena.
As you can see by the Nov. 12 letter and this one, this particular tour is designed more as an information gathering trip about a Christian ministry that serves more than 1.4 million children in 26 developing countries, than it is a working trip. It is important not only for sponsors to see and experience things first-hand so that we can report it to the world at large and share assurances of how donations are utilized in the field, but it is also a way to impact and encourage the children and staff who work hard to raise people from poverty each and every day.
I am attaching several more photos that reflect more of the tour. Enjoy!
You friend and fellow congregant,