Years ago, the little village of El Guante, Cedros, was very troubled. Tucked away in the mountains 45 minutes outside the capital of Tegucigalpa, it had been invaded by gangs who preyed on the children of the village. Poverty whispered to the children that they were worthless and didn't belong, while gangs lured them by promising that they were worthwhile as gang members and could belong to the gang's "family".
Church attendance was low, morale was even lower. The approximately 1700 residents needed one thing:
The local church joined forces with Compassion to serve the children of this community. Compassion exists to support the local church and provide resources for the church to reach out to the children and families of the community.
One by one, children were registered into the Compassion program. One by one, sponsors were found for these children. One by one, these children learned that they are loved, valued, worthy, special, beautiful, and that each and every one of them has hope. They were taught about hygiene and health, given academic assistance, medical and dental checkups, nutritious meals, Biblical teachings, family counseling and workshops, and most of all, LOVE in abundance.
One by one, these children brought this hope home with them. Their families learned that they are loved, valued, worthy, special, beautiful, and that each and every one of these families have hope.
One by one, these families began coming to church, to find out the reason they are loved, valued, worthy, special, beautiful, and why each and every one of these families have hope.
The difference in the community is nothing short of astounding.
These days, the village of El Guante, Cedros has been radically changed. Over 200 children are registered, and as of today, only a small handful are still in need of a sponsor in this project. The children have brought hope home to their families, and the families have carried that hope to church and throughout the community. Gangs used to prey on vulnerable and impressionable children, but the gangs have now been driven out of this community, because children know the truth. They know there is no hope in belonging to a gang. The children are no longer hungry for meaning, they’re no longer desperately searching for ways to belong, because they know within their hearts that it doesn’t take a gang to be loved, valued, worthy, special, beautiful. Their hope is deeply rooted in the knowledge that they belong to the Lord.
Compassion has completely opened my eyes to the belief that it takes a village to raise a child.. time after time this week, I’ve seen that in these cases, it takes a child to raise a village.
Healthier, thriving villages will build a healthier, thriving nation. Changing a child can change the world.
Our sponsored child, Bessy, is from this village. When I learned of the history of Compassion in this village on Friday, I was moved to tears. I couldn't help but look at this precious 8 year old and imagine her being recruited by gangs... Heartbreaking to imagine that this was the reality the parents faced when raising their children in this village... I hadn't realized until Friday that in the five years that my mom and I have sponsored her, we were sparing her from these dangers.
Thank you, Mom, on behalf of Bessy and her family... for the difference you've made in the life of this child, this church, this community, and this nation. For the difference you've made in my life.