Saturday, January 28, 2012

Things Learned the Hard Way

We established NewCovenant Evangelistic Ministries as an outreach to widows of the third world. We have been working to support a project in Nderu Kenya for over ten years. In that time, we have witnessed how faith in Jesus Christ and support of a loving community can make dramatic changes in the quality of a woman's life. When a woman in an underdeveloped nation loses a husband to death, she loses much more. She loses her means of support, financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. She falls to the bottom of the social ladder. She and her children generally live a hand-to-mouth existence, barely having enough for simple survival.

Amazingly, the women we work with all have very a very short wish list. On top of that list is the hope that their children can remain in school through high school, for they know that education is the key to a good life. Our work with them is aimed toward making them self-sufficient so they don't have worries like this.

We wanted to model our operations after successful children's ministries like Compassion International. Our plan was to raise up individual sponsors for widows. Sponsor and widow would be able to communicate and share around the world and across cultural lines.

Well, we have learned the hard way:

  • In some countries, like Kenya, sponsored children may have free education up to about fifth grade. They can read and write, and often learn basic English. But widows are most often unable to read or write. And those who can, usually know no English. This makes communication with a personal sponsor extremely difficult.
  • A sponsorship program operates by funding projects in which the sponsored children participate. Children have no expectations of direct aid. But adults have a different perspective. We have worked with several who want to receive the money from their sponsors directly, so they can spend it. This kind of handout helps no one, and can even make their situations worse. Such expectations can make the project difficult to administer in the field.

We will continue doing what has been successful. Our programs of local projects and support groups in which widows can help each other and learn together will not change.

But now, we will ask our financial partners to sponsor projects rather than individual widows. We will strive to communicate to the sponsors what their group is doing, and how their group is helping widows to a better life and how it is affecting the community. In some cases, sponsors may also receive a report directly from the project group.

So our thanks go out to those who have sponsored so far. We hope you will continue to be our partners. If you have not worked with us in the past, we ask you to prayerfully consider becoming a project sponsor. Together, we can raise up widows, along their many children, to new life.

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