A Firsthand Look at Sponsorship
Today we’re featuring reflection pieces from two District NMI presidents who had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and visit several child development centers.
Kansas District NMI President, Kelly Love
My husband, Dale, and I recently had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic where we visited six different child development centers (CDCs). Though I knew about the Nazarene child sponsorship program, I knew very little about the actual development centers that our Nazarene churches use as an outreach to their local children and communities, and that our sponsorship dollars support.
The long drives across the country to the CDCs gave our group time to get to know each other. These were also great opportunities to discuss each CDC we visited.
Each pastor and CDC director met us with joy and enthusiasm, making us feel welcomed and appreciated. The children gave greetings in English, performed skits and songs, colored pages for us and gave us many smiles. The children naturally gravitated to the ones in our group who spoke Spanish. It was fun to watch their eyes light up and smiles spread across their faces when they heard their language spoken by several in our group.
We found some of the CDCs are actual schools. Others support the local schools by helping children with homework after school. Many of the adult volunteers who staff the CDCs are professional teachers, doctors, musicians, and administrators. We met several adults with college degrees who went through the CDC program in their community as children and are now giving back to the church by volunteering their time to help the next generation at the CDC.
The Nazarene churches we visited in the Dominican Republic work hard to meet the needs in their community through their CDC. Not all the families who attend the CDCs come to church on Sunday, but many others have come to know the Lord through the ministries of the centers. Children come to know the saving grace of Jesus and parents notice the positive change in their lives. Through the children, these parents realize the importance of the church and the CDC and are being brought to faith as well.
Just as we help those who are in need in our own communities in the United States, we have the opportunity through child sponsorship to help children who do not have that financial support in other countries. The biggest lesson we learned from this trip is that when we sponsor a child through the sponsorship program, not only do we assist that child, but we also help a family provide for their child, through the ministry of their local church.
Kelly Love, and her husband, Dale, live outside of Partridge, Kansas. They farm raising crops, cattle and hogs. The Loves have attended Hutchinson First Church of the Nazarene since 2001. Kelly has served as the Kansas District NMI president for three and a half years. Kelly and Dale have three adult children who have given them four grandchildren. Kelly enjoys baking with her family and especially teaching the grandchildren how to make chocolate chip cookies.
Citrus Road Church of the Nazarene Pastor, Arizona District NMI President, Rev. Paul Martinez
What a touching sight to see my wife surrounded by the beautiful, smiling faces at the child development centers (CDCs) in the Dominican Republic! She was always the compassionate driving force behind our sponsorship of several children through Nazarene child sponsorship. We cherished every moment of our recent opportunity to visit several CDCs in the Dominican Republic, and we were both elated to see our investment in child sponsorship through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries on a first-hand basis.
These Nazarene leaders on the island were never deterred by a lack of time and resources. They gave themselves passionately into loving and developing these children in the name of Jesus. I will never forget the young pastoral couple who worked full-time careers, pastored a large and growing church, and were renown in community outreach by city officials; all the while directing a large and most impressive child development center.
We returned to our home inspired by the work and sacrifice of our Dominican Nazarene brothers and sisters. We are excited to partner with our church family around the world through the Nazarene Child Sponsorship ministry and encourage all Nazarenes to join in child sponsorship and be the hands and feet of Jesus to the ends of the earth!
Paul Martinez, and his wife, Elisa, live in Goodyear, Arizona. The Martinez have pastored Citrus Road Community Church of the Nazarene since 2006. Paul has served as the Arizona District NMI President for five years. They have two daughters in college, and Paul enjoys reading and spending time with his family anytime he can. They watch several Lord of the Rings movie marathons a year.