This is Tomas. He is five years old. He is Haitian by nationality, living with his grandmother in a slum in Baharona, Dominican Republic. His family escaped the poverty and chaos of Haiti only to be trapped in the Dominican Republic. Tomas doesn’t have legal papers, so he is in the Dominican Republic illegally. The DR government is therefore under no obligation to provide Tomas with clean drinking water, electricity, or an education. Since he has no papers, he can’t go back to the Dominican Republic. He’s literally stuck in a cycle of poverty that can seem hopeless.
Over the past few years Mt Vernon Church has partnered with missionaries Shawn and Jen Rhineholt to start a school/church/medical clinic in Tomas’ slum community, offering the area basic services along with the hope of Christ. The response has been tremendous. Working with a local pastor who teaches at the school and shepherds the new church there, this community has begun the slow process of transformation.
Tomas still lives in dire poverty, but he now gets a solid meal everyday at the school. More than that, he’s getting an education, learning how to read and write. When he’s finished, he’ll speak more languages than me (Haitian, Spanish and English)! With an education comes the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty that has gripped his family for generations. With the gospel of Christ he has found hope for his soul.
It’s a privilege for me and my family to pay $25 a month through Children of Hope and give Tomas a shot at life. Tomas is a few months older than our oldest son, Zeke. Zeke thinks that’s cool. I think it’s cool to know that Zeke will learn from an early age the value of helping out those who need it. Mt Vernon has an ongoing relationship with this community and will get to build a relationship with Tomas and his family. If you look closely, you’ll see Tomas holding a picture of my boys that we recently sent him. He’s actually a lot happier than this picture shows. I’m told he absolutely loved looking at the picture of my boys. At school he’s super smart, always looking at books while the teacher is reading, but able to answer any question she asks of him. Tomas is going to do great things in life, and I’m privileged to be a part of it.
QUESTION: Have you ever sponsored a child through an organization such as Compassion International? How has it impacted you?