My wife and I sponsored a child in Indonesia for a number of years, until he turned 18 and started his life. It was interesting to get mail from him and to write back and to learn about him, his family and life in Indonesia. It would be great to hear back from him. Life kind of got in the way with us, four years of active duty, four years of seminary and over four years getting started in ministry kind of got us off that track. Based on the following we should get back on track. Based on the following from Christianity Today, these sponsorship programs do work. (Bruce Wydick June 2013 pp 22, 23)
The study was done on Compassion International that dates back to the time of the Korean War. The organization started in the United States, was set up to support Korean children during and after the war.
“…In all six countries , we find that sponsorship results in better educational outcomes for children. Overall, sponsorship makes children 27 to 40 percent more likely to complete secondary school and 50 to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education. Child sponsorship also appears to be the great equalizer in education: In areas where outcomes are worse, such as sub-Saharan Africa, impacts are bigger. In countries where existing outcomes aren’t as bad, like in India and the Philippines, impacts are significant but smaller. In countries where existing outcomes are higher among boys, the impact on girls is larger; in counties where the existing educational outcomes are higher for girls, the impact on boys is larger. We even find some evidence for spillover effects on the unsponsored younger siblings of sponsored children.”
While Compassion does sort of shepherd things while the child is in school, there are very interesting results after school. “…when the child grows up, he is 14-18 percent more likely to obtain a salaried job, and 35 percent more likely to obtain a white-collar job. Many of the Compassion-sponsored children become teachers as adults instead of remaining jobless or working in menial agricultural labor. We found some evidence that they are more likely to grow up to be both community leaders and church leaders.”
I believe that the biggest crisis in America is the lack of hope. As most of society becomes functionally atheistic, and rejects the notion of anything after life; the more that society basis their expectations on the material, that which is easily destroyed, can easily malfunction, be lost. In all our affluence, we find more and more that the material just does not satisfy and the more we lose hope. Compassion is giving hope to children who live in much more dire circumstances than you can often imagine: “…In each of the studies, we found that sponsored children consistently had significantly higher expectations for their own schooling than unsponsored children, even when controlling for family and other factors…. Many of these findings came close to mirroring the adult differences we measured between formerly sponsored children and nonsponsored children.”
That is they are given hope in the here and now, hope that those around them probably don’t know. And since Compassion is a Christian organization, they are also getting the hope of eternal life in Jesus. So based on this article, my personal experience, I highly recommend this as something that your family could do, your children’s class, groups, sports teams. Yours or your spouses groups, Bible study classes. Cost of sponsorship is usually around $35 per month. Not exactly big bucks for us, but a whole new life, filled with hope for a child that lives in a place that is so deprived, so lacking in hope.