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Hiwot's Story: Letters Bring Hope

She must have known exactly where it was.

That’s all our staff could think when young Hiwot ran back out of her house, clutching a letter from her sponsor. The home Hiwot shared with her mother and sister was tiny, but her quick return made them realize – she knew exactly where her sponsor’s letters were.

What’s more, the letter was two years old. It was a prayer card from her sponsors, and the words it contained were powerful, speaking right to her heart.

Our staff had asked Hiwot if she could share a letter from her sponsor because the workers at Hiwot’s project had shared about Hiwot’s transformation since being sponsored. As she walked with the staff toward her house, they learned more about her.

Hiwot’s name is quite common for little girls in Ethiopia. In Amharic, Hiwot means LIFE.

But life as Hiwot knew it was tremendously difficult.

Her father had left the family years earlier, forcing Hiwot’s mother to work odd jobs in her struggle to provide for Hiwot and her sister. Still, they had very little hope for the future.

When Hiwot’s mother learned that One Child Matters was opening a child development center in their community in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capitol, she ran to get her daughters registered.

“That was the day that everything changed in my life,” Hiwot says.

In the years since, Hiwot’s life has improved dramatically, but there were times of difficulty – something Hiwot’s sponsors noticed in her letters to them. Dean and his wife Maria remember receiving a letter from Hiwot where she seemed troubled, and they wanted to write in response to that: 

It was quite a while ago, but Maria remembers that what she wrote was influenced by a letter Hiwot had written to us. She wanted to encourage Hiwot because she sensed that Hiwot needed it. The Holy Spirit prompted her to write what she did.

Thus it made sense that Hiwot quickly ran inside her house and came back with that letter her sponsors had so carefully written to speak to her heart two years earlier:

Dear Hiwot,

We pray for you and your family that our Lord will keep you safe, healthy, and provide for all of your needs. Pray to our Lord for everything so that He will know your heart, and His sweet Spirit will live inside you. Remember that Jesus loved each of us so much that He gave His life for us so that we who believe in Him can live life through Him. He knows your heart, Hiwot, so always speak to Him through prayer. We hope your studies are going well, and thank you always for your prayers.

In God’s love, Your Sponsors

Later this week we’ll dive into why we think the letter Hiwot’s sponsor family wrote her is so powerful – as well as their advice for writing your child and our best tips for making these prayer postcards count.

In the meantime, in case you haven't seen it, here's more of Hiwot's story.

To read more tips for writing your sponsored child, click here!

How Sponsorship Transforms Families

I can remember meeting Lokina. She was hard to miss -- even as a group of Maasai women welcomed us with their traditional song, Lokina stood out, a statuesque woman draped in a royal blue kanga fabric with a bright smile.

It was only later that I noticed how she kept her arms wrapped around her middle. One of the other ladies on the Women's Circle of Caring trip with me knew a bit of her story, that she had a form of epilepsy and had fallen into a fire after a seizure. She could not fully straighten her arms, the scar tissue from burns was too thick.

Living in the bush of Africa is difficult enough. Feeding your children and managing your household while your husband herded cattle possibly hundreds of miles away is quite another. And Lokina's husband left as her condition worsened. She was truly on her own.

Or was she? One of the things we focused on with Women's Circle of Caring was how women can minister to one another. We, a group of American women from all ages and stages of life, could minister to and with women in Kenya, and we can help them see how they need each other.

In the few years that Women's Circle of Caring visited a region where One Child Matters served, we saw a true community form among the women. Their focus was caring for their children, and yet they themselves benefited as well. We saw hearts knit together -- across cultures, and across a community.

Lokina's story is a powerful one. She learned more about her own worth because others were willing to invest in her -- very similar to the sponsorship model she saw transform her own son. You can watch her incredible story below.

But if you would like to invest in a community much like Emarti, you can join the Women's Circle of Caring. They are traveling to a different community in June to continue their work -- and they are hoping to bring a few more women with them. So watch Lokina's story, and ask yourself if you can play a part in rewriting the future for women and children in Kenya!

Women’s Circle of Caring - Lokina's Story from One Child Matters on Vimeo.


What Sponsorship Does Today... And Tomorrow

Does sponsorship make a difference?

You may wonder about that when you pray over the photo of a child you've put on your fridge, or when you get communications from us in the mail. This commitment I've made, does it matter?

A few months ago, two staff from One Child Matters headquarters in Colorado Springs traveled through Ethiopia and Kenya on their way to Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

As always, God directed their steps, bringing two children to the projects just so they could meet. Our friends had other meetings on their schedule, but when they met these two, it was obvious that God had something to say to us through them.

First: Antony. He attends a One Child Matters project in Kenya which helps him succeed in the nearby government school. Antony was eager to tell us all about his sponsors, even begging us to go to his house so he could show us their picture.

Antony's home is a simple mud structure, and when our friends stepped inside the dark hut, they were astonished to see a shelf built into the mud wall. Antony's mother had ensured her son would have a place to study by candelight. It is that little mud shelf you see at the beginning of this video:

Antony's love for his sponsor is so clear, so profound. His prayers are sincere, and their photo cherished.

We wanted to share Antony's story with you because sometimes it's hard to see the difference you are making on this side of eternity. But oh, just imagine the reunion in heaven when Antony will finally meet those who invested in him!

We pray that as you seek ways to make a difference in the life a child today, you recognize that sponsoring a child is effective and important. Which is why we've been talking so much about Hiwot, a young woman in Ethiopia who was sponsored from age 8 until she graduated.

Hiwot's gratitude was so evident, we asked her to share her story with all of our sponsors. Today, Hiwot has a bright future, and her heart for God continues to grow. Take a few moments and learn more about how sponsorship continues to shape Hiwot's life.

We love how sponsorship reflects the love of God into the heart of a child in need. And we are so grateful for your partnership in transforming the lives of children all over the world. Thank you for standing up, for proving that one child matters to you!

Hiwot's Story: What Sponsorship Means

With your help, One Child Matters ministers to 40,000 children in 16 countries. Each year, equipped by your encouragement and prayers, more than one thousand children graduate from our programs and move on to what God has for them. For some it's university, while others find work in their community or a nearby city. But each child has had the opportunity to learn and grow in a place that emphasizes their worth in God's eyes and ours. Each child graduates knowing that he or she matters.

That's why we love what Hiwot is about to share with you. Hiwot attended one of our projects in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She met some of our staff this summer and was quick to share her heartfelt thanks with them. And we are so glad we can share it with you, too! Hiwot wanted every sponsor to understand the difference their sponsorship makes in the life a child. Watch her story below:

We hope you treasure Hiwot's encouragement as much as we have. May you see the same fruit in the life of your sponsored child!

Journey With Them

Yesterday provided a brief sketch of an influential time in Cambodia’s history. Today we get a glimpse of a very special area One Child Matters serves in Cambodia – the Mechrey Floating School on the Tonle Sap Lake.

The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, the flow of the Tonle Sap changes directions twice a year, and expands to six times its size during the rainy season, creating great breeding grounds for fish. Families live in floating homes on the Tonle Sap – simple, single-roomed dwellings that follow the flow and the fish.

To ensure the children of these fishing villages receive an education, we helped build a floating school. Hundreds of students have learned and grown in this floating schoolhouse, and now some have the opportunity for secondary education at our Dream Center in Siem Reap.

We’ve written about the Floating School before, and perhaps, like us, you’ve wondered what it’s like to live in a home and attend a school that’s never in the same place twice.

Well, here’s your chance – Kaliyan welcomed us into her boat to follow her on her journey home.

Journey Home - Cambodia from One Child Matters on Vimeo.



Grand Slam Of Thankfulness

This week has confirmed we have much to be grateful for at One Child Matters.

We’re grateful for the unique partnerships God has given us with professional baseball players, their wives and families, and their agents – people who are both ambassadors for Christ and ambassadors for baseball.

We’re thankful the hearts of those like Kyle Gibson of the Minnesota Twins, and Justin Masterson of the Cleveland Indians, who give up part of their winter break to serve our kids and put on baseball clinics for those yearn to improve but have few opportunities to learn.

We praise God to see the parable of the talents lived out by Justin, Kyle, and countless others. Even Justin’s wife Meryl found a way to meet the needs of the kids at Mission Valiente – she gives the proceeds from her cookie business, Meryl Masterson’s Home Plate Cookies, to One Child Matters! And they are some seriously good cookies!

We are so encouraged by the way Justin defines the work he’s able to do in the Dominican Republic:

"My prayer for Mission Valiente Project 13 is, whether my name be near it at all, I couldn’t care less, but what I hope is that maybe somebody I went by or didn’t go by, that they would understand the love of Jesus Christ, and that the children would grow, and that in the end what started as biblical references as a mustard seed turns into something so much more incredible."

You can hear more of his heart and see the baseball project in use on this video!

One Child Matters - The Baseball Project from One Child Matters on Vimeo.


To learn more about The Baseball Project, click here. We are thankful for your partnership, too, for the way you help us meet the needs of children in Jesus' name.

DR Library: Cool Time-Elapse Video

Ever wonder what goes into a new library? Check out this time-elapse video to see how the kid-driven mission team and the community came together to create a space that will invest in the kids in Moca, Dominican Republic, for a long time to come.

Bill's Story

Throughout Scripture, we have the ability to see God's hand at work in all situations, even the painful ones. We can read about how God positioned Joseph (through more than a decade of slavery and prison) to save his brothers’ lives during the famine in Egypt, or how God would be glorified through a man born blind.
It's harder to have that perspective in our own lives, especially in the midst of deep personal tragedy. When Bill's daughter Emma died four years ago, his entire world changed. Yet God is continuing to work through that terrible loss and is ministering to Bill (and others) through children around the world.

Watch the video below to hear what God did in Bill’s heart and how he ended up on a trip to Honduras with his church.

Walking Home

Mission of Mercy child development centers are a refuge for many children -- a safe place to learn, grow, eat, and play. The centers are often a stark contrast to a child's neighborhood and home. In this video, we follow a young boy eager to take us to his house. Walking home with him will open your eyes.

Can You Hear Me?

Human trafficking is often an invisible crime – no punishment for the perpetrators, no justice for the victims. But by sponsoring a child with Mission of Mercy, you can fight the desperation of poverty and the helplessness of a child. You can be a different voice in that wilderness – because one child matters.

Thank You For Writing Your Child

Medical Team Update - Back From Haiti

Praise God! The medical team consisting of 8 medical professionals from Arizona have returned from their 5 day first-responder mission to Port Au Prince, Haiti. Over their stay they cared for over 750 individuals addressing severe cuts, broken bones, dehydration and malnutrition. Thank you to those who have prayed for this team. Your support is felt and appreciated!

Updated: 01/25/2010
Live interview from Haiti with Medical Mercy Director, Dr. David Beyda

Medical Mercy Director, Dr. David Beyda describes the accomplishments from a medical team sent from Arizona to Port Au Prince, Haiti, to respond to the growing humanitarian crisis after the January 12th earthquake.

Mission of Mercy President - Our Long Term Response to Haiti

Medical Mercy Missions Trip To Haiti

During the first week of November, a medical team of over 20 people traveled to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. They examined more than 1000 children and distributed 600 lbs. of medicines. Click on the video below to share in their experience.