Whether through a conference, concert, or TV, most of us have heard of child sponsorship and know how it works. Over the years, sponsorship has proven to be an effective way to improve the quality of life for children around the world. It provides a tangible way for families and individuals to serve others internationally in a way that also allows for ongoing relationship building through letters and pictures. For all of these reasons, child sponsorship is a win for everyone involved.
But what if we can take the idea one step further? What if your sponsorship played a part in a larger plan that you would also have a choice to take part in? What if the child you are sponsoring could be directly linked to Mercy Hill every year? What if?…
This coming Sunday, Mercy Hill will do just that. Through our partnership with VisionTrust International, Mercy Hill is strategically serving orphaned and/or impoverished children who live in the squatter slum of Herrera, Dominican Republic and attend the Tia Tatiana School (run by VisionTrust). Each of the boys and girls on the sponsor cards are provided with quality education, nutritious food, medical care, and spiritual discipleship on an ongoing basis through their attendance at the school. Life for these children is very difficult. The average family in Herrera lives on $2 a day, and the ministry provided to the kids (and their families) not only meets the immediate needs of hunger and medical care, but also serves to break the cycle of poverty in their community through education.
Mercy Hill is committed to coming alongside the men and women that serve at the school by sending 2 or 3 teams each year. Recently, Luke and Leslie Phillips served at the school and here is an excerpt of their reflection:
“My biggest prayer was for God to really show me why I was there. I knew that I would not make a difference in one week mopping, painting, and playing with kids. I was aware that my personal presence was highly replaceable. So why was I there? God so clearly spoke to me that He wanted me there to see—to get outside my bubble of people who are just like me and to just share their lives and stand with them for a week. . . . Luke got to play basketball with some of the teenage and college age guys from Herrara, and really enjoyed that interaction. His eyes were also focused on the leadership there (both at Visiontrust and on the pastor of the local church). . . . Luke’s eyes were also opened to see the Dominicans we were serving as just people–no different from those we meet here in the States each day. People are all made in the image of God, and no matter where we live, what language we speak, what color our skin is, or how much money we have, Jesus is all we need and our only hope. We would definitely love to go back to the DR sometime in the future, but for now, we are excited about the partnership our church, Mercy Hill, is starting specifically with the Tia Tatiana School in Herrara. . . .Luke and I are excited to be able to sponsor one of the children that we actually met while we were down there. To us, it is also so exciting that even if the kids in Herrara don’t recognize us personally, they will learn about Mercy Hill, and . . . that people from our church love them because we love Jesus.”
It is our prayer that this coming Sunday we will see over 50 kids sponsored by families at Mercy Hill. We pray that this will open opportunities for more people in our church to be sent to the Dominican Republic on a short term team and/or build a relationship with their sponsor child. Through Mercy Hill’s partnership with VisionTrust, your sponsorship of a child that lives in another country could lead to a one-on-one, face-to-face conversation and a relationship with you and/or others from Mercy Hill. Your participation serves to strengthen this partnership, and we are excited to see what God has planned for the Tia Tatiana School in Herrera as the gospel is planted in that community.
-Jonathan Spangler (Community Groups Intern)