They Are the Reason I am Here Today: Steven's Sponsors See Him Through College

07/15/14

Brenda Wilson was in church the night when missionaries Chris and Debbie Clark announced their plan to care for orphaned children in Sierra Leone. That was almost 20 years ago.

 
At that same time, a five-year-old boy in Malawi was living his worst nightmare. Steven had watched helplessly two years before, as his mother succumbed to a severe illness that no one seemed to be able to treat. Shortly after her death, Steven's father left him. Steven was now orphaned, abandoned, and hopeless. He didn't see any way for his situation to change.
 
But God did. He was already knitting Steven's life together with Brenda's. After Brenda heard about Chris and Debbie's ministry, Children of the Nations (COTN), she began thinking about how she could get her office involved. "I thought it would be neat for my whole office to sponsor a child," she said. "We were just a bunch of caring moms, and we wanted to help a child go to school." 
 
By the time Brenda mobilized her office, COTN had expanded its ministry to Malawi. Steven was one of the first children the new staff brought to live in their new Children's Home. He was nine years old by that time, and needed sponsors to support his daily care and education. The Kitsap County Clerk's office, with Brenda leading the way, signed up to sponsor Steven. 
 
Steven came into COTN's Children's Homes
Steven came into COTN's Children's Homes close to the time the Kitsap County Clerk's office decided to sponsor a child together. 
 
It wasn't long before Brenda left the Clerk's office for full-time ministry. Another coworker took up the mantle. Fourteen years later, they are still sponsoring Steven. 
 
The whole office looked forward to his regular letters, passing them around before they carefully preserved them in a scrapbook. "When he writes to us, he is ministering to us every bit as much as we are ministering to him," says Cathie Blackstock, who currently coordinates the office sponsorship. "We know he feels blessed, but I don't know that he understands how blessed we are." 
 
he first page of the Kitsap County Clerks scrapbook
The first page of the Kitsap County Clerks scrapbook, with photos of Steven today (top right), when he first came to COTN (bottom left), and the card announcing his acceptance into university. 
 
With each letter, Steven's sponsors have watched him grow up. They've seen him graduate from high school and begin college. They've watched him develop in his faith and grow into a man. This spring, Steven completed a diploma program in accounting. Pending his exam results, he will begin looking for jobs this summer. 
 
"What a small gesture on our part for such a great impact," says Cathie. "It blows me away that our minor gift kept him in school. Now he has a career and a mission in front of him." 
 
Steven says he couldn't imagine achieving what he has without his sponsors. "They are the reason I am here today," he declares. 
 
Today, Steven has a degree and a career in front of him.
               Today, Steven has a diploma and a career in front of him. He says it's all because of his sponsors. 
 
Now that he has finished college, Cathie asked her coworkers if they were up for sponsoring a new child. "The answer was a resounding yes!" she reports. 
 
Will you join Cathie and her coworkers, and sponsor a child this summer? 750 children need sponsors this summer. There is no question that sponsoring will change a child's life. It might just change yours as well!