Recently our pastoral staff read an article regarding research that was done to look at the effects of child sponsorship. The results were astounding. Dr. Bryan Wydick, at the University of San Francisco, a leading economist, set out to research the effects of child sponsorship. His results were recently published in the Journal of Political Economy, which for economists is like the New England journal of medicine for medical research, the “gold standard” of published research for the field. What he and his graduate students found is truly amazing and I want to share a few quotes from this article.
Property causes children to have very low self-esteem, low aspirations. The big difference that sponsorship makes is that it expands children's views about their own possibilities. Many of these children don't think they are capable of much. We (Sponsorship) help them realize they are each given special gifts from God to benefit their communities and we try to help them develop aspirations for their future.
The patient nurturing of self-worth, self-expectations, dreams, and aspirations may be a critical part of helping children escape poverty.
The study also found that, Sponsorship makes children 27 to 40% more likely to complete secondary school, and 50 to 80% more likely to complete the University education.
Sponsored children become teachers as adults instead of remaining jobless for working in menial agricultural labor… they are more likely to grow up to become community leaders and church leaders.
(Bruce Wydick, “Want to Change the World? Sponsor a Child”. Christianity Today. June 14, 2013.)
I would always agree that we should care, because Jesus said that we should, but how interesting that this research comes to our attention just as we at FCC are entering into a child sponsorship opportunity of unprecedented proportions.
Sunday, April 26th each of us will be given our first opportunity to sponsor a child. We are being invited to enter into a partnership the Covenant Church has initiated with World Vision, the leading arm of humanitarian response in the mission region that we as a Covenant Church have served in for the last 78 years - The northwest region of The Democratic Republic of Congo. This remote area, only accessible by boat or plane, is ranked at the bottom of the list of areas in a world with the greatest need. The DRC is ranked 187 out of 187 on the Human Index of the neediest places in the world. The DRC is at the bottom of the list because of the lack of basic medical care, lack of basic education, lack of access to clean water, excessive malnutrition and lack of sanitation. A shocking 1 in 5 children will die before the age of 5 in Congo, most of preventable diseases, and the life expectancy there is only 48 years old. We have an opportunity to do something, not everything, but something! I believe that is what God is inviting us to do. On Sunday, April 26th you will have an opportunity to choose a child that you would like to sponsor for $40 per month. Join me in personally asking God to select a child for you so that you can join Him in making a difference by bringing hope to these desperate children, who He so dearly loves. I have seen some of the work that is being done and I can bear witness that God is bringing hope to our brothers and sister in the DRC.
PS. Check out Pastor Nancy's sermon on 4/19/15 to find out more about the plight that children in the DRC face and what the Covenant Church and World Vision have already done in the area to bring hope.