This week, I received an unexpected letter in the mail all the way from Tanzania.
No, we haven’t heard from Happyness yet, but we did receive a letter from Pastor Tertio Mbise who oversees the Child Development Center that she attends!
We learned a few things:
- The center has reached 280 children living in poverty (I’m assuming since the center opened, but I can’t be sure).
- Most children in the area do not get beyond elementary school because of tuition costs.
- Most families farm but the poor condition of the land and the lack of rain means that most families can not grow enough food for sustenance, much less provide cash crops.
- I knew that Compassion taught basics–reading, writing, arithmetic and, often, English–in addition to Bible studies. The pastor also told us that they learn: games, carpentry, embroidery, tailoring, health/hygiene and environmental preservation. Their goal is to “enable the children to become full Christians who are self-reliant adults.”
- The pastor also shared how the gospel spreads to entire families. “For example, the whole family of two of our sponsored children decided to accept Jesus as their Lord and personal Savior of their lives. They are Christians now.” 🙂
- My favorite part of the letter…”I am always so glad to see children, whose living conditions are extremely hard, full of joy and hope whenever they come here to the center, especially when they sing and dance.” I can picture the singing and dancing in my head; it makes me smile. 🙂
Pastor Mbise went on to say how much letter writing impacts the children, and encouraged us to continue to pray for the church in Tanzania and the ministry of Compassion. He also thanked us for our sponsorship “which is so great for Happyness.”
Then a man whom I have never met said…
…I love you.
Isn’t it great to be a part of the family of God, where strangers can say “I love you” and mean it?
I have a special place in my heart for pastors (as you might know…since I’m married to one), but even the most difficult times that my husband faces in ministry will probably never compare to Pastor Mbise’s trials. He lives in a dry land, an AIDS-infected region, a place overrun with poverty and despair. As you say your prayers tonight, would you remember Tertio Mbise and his church?
Also, just out of curiosity, how many of you Compassion sponsors out there have ever received a letter from your child’s pastor/center director? I wasn’t sure if it was standard protocol or not.