In this month’s issue:
Hope shines into the world’s darkest places
As I was driving through Wau – the third-largest city in South Sudan – the scars of violence were quickly apparent. Once-bustling communities are now desolate and empty. Homes lie in ruins, their owners having fled in terror for their lives as armed gangs consumed with hatred destroyed communities. Each brutal attack has left horrifying stories of murder, torture, and rape in its wake.
Priscilla’s family was among those who escaped unscathed. Some of their neighbors were far less fortunate. Now the family struggles to survive in a local camp for displaced people. Coiled barbed wire marks the boundary of the camp, and inside is a seething mass of humankind – around 13,000 people crammed together. Violence, drunkenness, and abuse are commonplace, and death seems to lurk in the shadows, never far away.
I meet Priscilla in the narrow passageway outside the shack that she reluctantly calls home. Her children eye me warily at first, before offering small smiles. Priscilla’s husband earns a pittance by selling charcoal. Sometimes there is enough money to feed the family; at other times the children go to bed hungry.
And then there are the twins, just five months old, born into the extreme poverty of this sweltering, ramshackle slum. Priscilla is appreciative that Kids Alive has come alongside her to support her in caring for these beautiful babies, and for our promise that we will provide a way for her other children to go back to school.
I ask Priscilla if she would like to go back to her home. She grimaces. It’s too dangerous, she tells me. Why would they risk their lives in this way? She pauses for a moment, sighs and nestles the twins closer to her. “My dream is to see my children have a proper future,” she tells me. “I want to see them get an education. To have hope. To be able to live free of fear.”
Before we leave, I pray for this broken, suffering family and for so many others like them. Please join me in praying for peace in this nation, and a brighter future for the children, their families, and communities.
Kids Alive donors watched hope take hold in 2017!
If you’ve raised a child, or if you minister to children, you can appreciate how hard it is to see the fruits of your labor in the moment. Sometimes it takes stepping back to see what God is doing… At Kids Alive, we experience this each year, as the journey with many of the children we serve is long and difficult.
Despite the horrors that some of our children have endured, we are witnesses to God’s provision and faithfulness in their lives. And we realize that so much of the progress we see, both physical and spiritual, is a direct result of your faithful, generous giving. 2017 was full of exciting developments, representing the love of Christ to vulnerable children. Your gifts last year, as seen through the snapshot of the Kids Alive 2017 Annual Ministry Report:
- Fueled ministry to vulnerable children in 13 countries
- Sponsored 1,861 children, providing life’s basics and the hope of the Gospel
- Served over 6,000 in our holistic, child-focused programs
- Enabled our staff to continue developing approaches to help the most traumatized children
Kids Alive staff serve sacrificially
It takes the dedication of many people to continue our ministries to needy and vulnerable children. Kids Alive is privileged to have 86 long- and short-term missionaries on our team, as well as 49 dedicated summer interns. These are the men and women who daily lay down their lives in service to precious children all over the world, and we are humbled by their commitment to be the hands and feet of Jesus.
29 staff in our International Office and over 700 global staff accomplish the day-to-day tasks so necessary to the rescue and care of our children. Their work – from administration to development to sponsorship coordination to direct child care – is vital to Kids Alive’s mission. And the 106 Service Teams who carved time out of their own lives to serve in the field not only completed needed projects, but demonstrated to our kids how much they are loved.
Kids Alive strengthens minds
Education continues to be one of the key components in combatting poverty, violence, and oppression. This reality keeps Kids Alive focused on offering quality Christian education to every child possible, making a direct impact on their future. Your giving creates a tangible difference in every classroom, during every lesson, to every student.
Some of the incredible academic results made possible by your giving:
- The completion of our bright new school in Haiti, now serving 157 children in preschool through grade 6
- Acceptance of three of our high school graduates in Romania to prestigious universities
- Record numbers of graduates from our schools in Dominican Republic (160 from elementary school, 60 from high school, 10 from university)
- In Kenya, our 12 university graduates to date have received degrees in accounting, medicine, teaching, business, mechanical engineering, and international relations
Kids Alive supports health
Poverty can leave a profound impact on a child’s health, both physically and emotionally. Lack of proper nutrition, untreated health conditions, and failure to attend to minor injuries that soon become major are issues we see in nearly all the children we serve. And until those problems are addressed, it’s very difficult to move forward in meaningful ways with education and other areas of holistic care.
Because of your faithful giving, this year we’ve made great strides in improving health care for our kids, including:
- Hiring of professionals who are monitoring our kids and educating them in nutrition
- Better dental hygiene training for our health care staff
- Advanced training of specialists in the care of traumatized children, since so many come to us with invisible scars
Kids Alive says “Welcome Home”
For children who are orphaned, have no family able to take care of them, are unsafe in their family home, or have been removed by court order, we care for them in family-style residential homes. Our carefully screened staff provide the children with healthy role models, letting the love of Jesus shine through them.
2017 also saw a fresh focus on providing children who are ready with placement in Christian homes, led by loving, trained, accountable parents. It’s the next step in living out our belief that children belong in families. Every one of us knows how important it is to have a home, and we will continue our work to make sure that every child has a safe, loving home where they can grow, heal, and thrive.
As we look back on 2017 and forward into the next year, we are thankful for the ways God has moved, and we remain dedicated to the tasks in front of us. Thank you for partnering with us, and we humbly ask for your continued prayer and support in the effort to rescue precious children.
For one group of teenagers…
…service and sacrifice are the rule, not the exception. Wheaton Academy is a Christian high school in West Chicago, Illinois. In the past three years, they have developed a dynamic partnership with Kids Alive, fueled by the students’ desire to reach out to vulnerable, needy children across the globe.
These students currently provide $1,000 each month to sponsor 25 kids in Haiti and Dominican Republic. But recently the student body went above and beyond their commitment, raising an additional $20,000 that will feed 170 kids in Haiti well into the fall season. This program has the potential to provide close to 30,000 meals for kids in need of nourishment as they grow, learn, and study.
In addition, Wheaton Academy students also travel to Kids Alive ministry sites, ensuring that there is a face-to-face component to their support. This not only gives the students a chance to see firsthand the difficult reality of life in Haiti, but also shows the sponsored children that there are people who love and care about them. The students at Wheaton Academy embrace the admonition of the apostle Paul, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)
No one is too young to make a tangible difference in the lives of the children we serve!