"An Honor I Had Never Dreamt Of": Jonathan's Graduation Day


"Had it been that someone ten years ago told me that I would graduate from secondary school, I would not agree to such a thing, since I had no one to give me support so that I could attend school," says Jonathan of Malawi. 

Indeed, ten years ago Jonathan had no reason to believe he would ever finish secondary school. His father abandoned the family and his mother died shortly afterward. With no one to provide for him, he had no hope of getting an education. 
But on June 29, Jonathan achieved what he never thought would be possible. He completed high school and received his diploma. He says he could never have done it without his sponsors.
On June 29, Jonathan got his high school diploma
          On June 29, Jonathan achieved a goal he never dreamed was possible: he got his high school diploma. 
"On my graduation day all I can say to my sponsors is to thank them so much for such a work they have done to educate me and to clothe me," he says. "Graduating from secondary school has brought joy in my life because it is an honor I had never dreamt of."
One of those sponsors got to share in his joy on his graduation day. Kim Witte has been sponsoring Jonathan since she first met him in Malawi on a Venture Trip ten years ago, when Jonathan had recently come to live in Children of the Nations' Children's Homes in Malawi. 
Through many Venture trips to Malawi, Kim has gotten to see Jonathan grow up
Through many Venture trips to Malawi, Kim has gotten to see Jonathan (in blue) grow up, and has seen firsthand the difference her sponsorship is making in his life.
Kim was bursting with pride as she watched Jonathan walk across the stage. Having been to Malawi, Kim knows the difference her sponsorship has made. "I was able to visit his home village," Kim explains. "This village was remote with no running water or electricity. Jonathan now has a bed to sleep on and lights to use while studying. He is growing into a smart young man who loves studying and playing soccer."
Even though she's seen the physical differences,  Kim feels one of the deepest ways she's helped him has been her encouragement. 
"I know that I have provided him with knowing someone cares for him and supports him in everything he does," says Kim. 
Jonathan agrees. "The whole time of my being at Children of the Nations, I feel so thankful to God because of all my sponsors," says Jonathan. "They are doing a very great work in such a way that they encourage me spiritually and academically."
Kim with all of her sponsored children in 2011
                                                        Kim with all of her sponsored children in 2011. 
Jonathan's graduation is not only significant for him, it is a milestone in COTN history. People like you have been giving generously to build COTN's first secondary school. Because of you, the school now includes grades nine through twelve, and Jonathan's class is the first to graduate. 
All the support and love that you and his sponsors have poured into Jonathan has made him want to give back. "After my graduation I would like to work with COTN, helping other students by tutoring them in their classes," he says. "I know how much God has done in my life, so in a way of giving him thanks I will be helping others too." 
Jonathan with his sponsor, Kim, at the graduation
                                      Jonathan's sponsor, Kim, came to Malawi to celebrate the graduation.
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