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News from January 2012

A Divine Appointment

January 16, 2012

So often, people only see me on stage but don’t realize that this ministry does not happen without the amazing support and behind the scenes work of my amazing wife Andrea. This ministry that God has called us to is definitely a family affair as my wife Andrea and our two little children travel with me to so many countries as we minister together throughout the year. Last week my wife and I had the privilege of traveling with Compassion Canada to the Dominican Republic. I wanted to share her blog with you as it definitely captured an amazing day in the Dominican!

“Our journey today was a special one. Jon and I have recently begun sponsoring our 9th child and one specifically from the Dominican Republic so we could have the opportunity to meet during our visit here. Since this sponsorship is so new we have not been able to correspond as of yet but we have been studying his picture and cute 8 year old face in anticipation of meeting him today. It so happens to be his 8th birthday on Wednesday so we picked up a birthday cake, more of a pastry style dessert as apparently Dominicans do not do birthday cakes in the same fashion as us in North America, to surprise little Yordy.

Off we headed about one hour outside of Santo Domingo to a Batay, known as a sugar cane field. These communities, built primarily by the sugar companies, are home to some of the poorest communities in the DR. With employment only available for 6 months out of the year, it leaves the people without work for the other half of the year and barely enough income to put food on the table. Batay Angelina is where Yordy lives and where Compassion has built a Project Center complete with a school where the children take bible classes in addition to their regular schooling provided by the government, a computer lab, a beauty salon setup to provide expectant mothers with skills they would not otherwise have the opportunity to gain, and a network of private tutors available to each sponsored child in the community.

Upon arriving at the Project Center, we received a welcome I will treasure in my heart for life. Jon and I were waiting anxiously outside the school gates while the staff found Yordy and brought him to us but before they even could walk through the gates Yordy broke out in a run straight into Jon’s arms! What an incredible moment to meet a little child who seems so far away and only a picture on the fridge door; to be reminded how much our small monthly sacrifice means to this little person that God loves so deeply. After our warm greeting Yordy seemed to become overwhelmed with what was happening and became shy for our questioning but his sweet personality and loving eyes shone through. We found out he is the youngest of 5 boys and lives with his mother and father in a small home. He shares a double bed with his parents and appeared to be quite independent, being the youngest of the family. Yordy accompanied us on the tour throughout the Project Center and we witnessed his first time using a computer. Since the computer lab is reserved for older students we took the opportunity to let him type and draw a picture in Microsoft Paint. He had a permanent smile on his face and was proud where he typed out what seemed to be endless names of his brothers and family.

A lunch of rice and beans was enjoyed as a group and we then visited Yordy’s home accompanied by his tutor or spiritual mentor through Compassion. Durnig the home visit we found out that Yordy is the only person in his family that knows Jesus personally. He asked Jesus in his heart shortly after joining the Compassion program through the local church. Yordy is the only person to attend church in his family right now but I believe God has a divine appointment on this little boys’ life to be a light to his family – it was incredible to see the faith of such a young boy. Through the relationship with his tutor he has grown in his faith and his parents are pleased he attends church.

We showered the family with gifts and the family clapped when Yordy opened up his new white dress shirt and dress pants complete with a black tie to wear to church. Living in conditions with a dirt floor and corrugated steel roof this is more than likely the first formal outfit to enter the wardrobe of this family. His mother was so grateful that Yordy was chosen to be apart of the Compassion program and she told us he seems changed already in his attitude and excitement for life. We had a special moment of singing happy birthday and blowing out pretend candles (could not find any at the supermarket) and then Jon shared a song with the family to close off our time together.

As our parting gift, we presented Yordy with a soccer ball and had so fun much the last hour kicking the ball around the school yard closing off with a prayer time to speak blessings into his life and encourage him to continue to be a light to his community. I feel honored to have gone through this experience today, knowing only a select few are actually able to meet with their sponsor children face to face.We were once again reminded that our sacrifice is nothing compared to how God is using this link between sponsor and child to further His Kingdom! Gloria Dios! ”