Sharon’s Story

A young girl who lives in Kenya and is sponsored through Christian Relief Fund wrote a letter to her sponsor recently. Her story touched my heart and I hope it touches yours as well. Sponsorship has equipped Sharon to continue her education, have enough food to eat, and find hope for a brighter future.

-Emily Whelchel, CRF intern

Dear sponsor,

Get more greetings from I, Sharon. I am glad to write to you this letter just to say a word of thanks for your mercies and for what you have done for me. Surely I was going to sink in a hole and I would never come out.

My life since I was young was very bad and terrible. I have never lived with both my parents. I have never felt their parental care and love. I used to live with my maternal grandmother since 2006 when my life was extremely bad.

My father died in the year 2013. He started brewing illicit drugs when I was in first grade and my elder brother was in second grade. From there our life was going to be very worse. He used to take my mother’s money from her business which she used to pay our school fees. From there he started abusing my mother in front of us. He lastly sent her out of our home. My mother had no other [place to go]. She left and went to my grandmother’s home (her mother), where she stayed for two days and left to look for otherwise for our needs.

My father lastly left us alone in the house and he never bothered us. He left us without anything. He had to go and borrow. In the year 2006, we had lived alone for three months. Whenever we went to our maternal grandmother’s place, my aunt used to send us away from that home. Our grandmother had left to Nairobi.

My grandmother came back and took us. She lived with us. My younger sister used to be calling my elder brother “mum.”

Our grandmother continued to live with us and we continued with education. I had never stopped going to school, but my brother had stopped. He was taken back to second grade, where we continued to learn in the same class.

My brother is now in ninth grade and we thank God for remembering us. I thank God for His mercies and I also thank you, sponsor, for your mercies on me. May God of blessings bless you and give you a long life. Thank you very much.

Your loving,

Sharon

Is it Safe? Who Knows?

Vida Nueva is our CRF work in Piedras Negras, Mexico.

When Jair Castillo went to the dump there 35 years ago, he realized that it wasn’t just a place for trash — it was also where families got their groceries. Families went through the Citadel dump to find food and anything else useful in order to survive. It was where children played instead of going to school. And diseases were killing the kids.

Children were dying not only from diseases but also trying to escape the poverty of this Mexican border town. One day a child whom Jair had told about Christ drowned in the river trying to get to the U.S. Jair couldn’t stand to see the tragedy any longer. So he planted a church, started a children’s home and created a school.

CRF sponsors help the kids at Jair’s school learn God’s love through sponsorship. There are currently 250 children enrolled in the Christian school there. The church baptized 89 people last year. Jair and his wife, Norma, along with our CRF director, Lorena Cardenas, have created an oasis for children in the midst of the problems of this border town.

Over the years Piedras Negras has not only become one of our finest works but also one of our finest facilities. Because of its proximity to the U.S., it was a perfect place for mission trips. So they built dorms for big groups to come. Facilities were even built where doctors and dentists could come and work.

It seemed to have everything. The short-term mission groups would make the facility better with each trip and support more and more children.

But now no one comes. (more…)

Freely You Receive, Freely Drink

Blue Hills. That’s what they called it. I couldn’t find anything blue. And I certainly didn’t see any hills. But we were there because they told us that there wasn’t any water.

Blue Hills is right outside of Cap Hatien, Haiti. It’s not that far from the airport, but it seems like it takes forever to get there because of the lack of roads. We had been contacted by some church members about their lack of water, so we had drilled a well there. Now I was going with a team to see if they needed water purification so the people didn’t get cholera.

After the team had put up some overhead tanks and was working on the system, I noticed something strange down the road. There was a church building that really wasn’t far away at all. And it had something sitting beside it that looked very familiar. They had a water pump.

I asked everyone why we had drilled a water well when there already was one in the neighborhood. It seemed like a good question to me. No one had a good answer, so I walked down to the church building and looked at the well. Then I figured it out. There was a big lock on it. (more…)

Orphans

Amy White is a member of the CRF Blogging Network. Check out her blog at Great Expectations and follow her adoption journey.

 

Did you know that there are different types of orphans? I didn’t, either. I don’t remember where I first heard the term “social orphan”, but it makes me sick to know there are so many kids who don’t have parents or other adults in their lives who can look out for them, take care of them, and provide for them. We don’t know why the parents, with one or both still alive, can’t care for their children… disease, poverty, the list could go on.

A “social orphan” is an child who has at least one living parent, but experience life as if they do not. These children rarely see their parents or live life as a family.

A “double orphan” has lost both parents, and a “single orphan” has lost one parent. Obviously, losing one or both parents increases the child’s vulnerability greatly.

And then there is the “zero child”. Families can become large in other parts of the world, and when there isn’t enough food to go around, a child is picked to neglect in order to reduce the family size. We see this in Haiti. One child is singled out for neglect when it comes to food, clothes, and other kinds of help.

Can you imagine?

And can you imagine how hard it would be to choose which child for which you’ll not care?

There are many ways to help orphans and children who are vulnerable. Christians can foster, mentor, and adopt children within the foster care system. Christians can adopt children internationally or domestically. Christians can engage in finding ways to serve in orphanages worldwide, or children’s homes in the US.

We, as Christ-followers, can also participate in preserving families. We can sponsor a child. We can buy fair trade items; our purchases support mothers who can earn a fair wage, make an honest living, and have enough money to help support a family. Lives are changed when women (and men!) learn a trade and no longer have to forage for food among trash or prostitute themselves in order to survive.

We, as Christ-followers, can work to reunite families. This could include mentoring parents who have lost custody of children with the time period being available to meet court requirements in order to regain custody. This can mean child sponsorship, so that the child is in school, the fees are provided, and the parents or parent can work to provide other needs of the family. This can mean finding another living relative to care for a child. This can mean providing emergency foster care placements.

It just takes a willing person who will listen to God’s calling.

Please visit Christian Relief Fund’s website for many ideas on how you can help “the least of these”.

“Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.” James 1:27

-Amy

Lo Imposible No Existe

Hello, I am Hazell Patricia Chacón Ruiz. I was born on September 12nd, 1991 in Managua, Nicaragua.

I am the daughter of Thelma María Ruiz Reyes and Marvin Chacón. I started pre-school at age 4 at a public school that was just few blocks from home. Despite the many economic difficulties that my family faced, I always got good grades.

When I was 6 years old, my dad died. My mom worked hard, day and night, to support me not only materially but also spiritually. While she was working outside the house, my grandmother would take care of me. (more…)