Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Feature!! - Sakina, Steffan, Eva, Jessica, Pabitra, Manju, Ana, & Jenny

In honor of human trafficking awareness day I am featuring children that are at greater risk of being forced into the sex trade. Learn more here and here. The following children were chosen for four reasons:
1. They live in areas Compassion has identified as prone to exploitation and abuse
2. They are girls
3. They are between the ages of 7 and 13 (high risk ages)
4. They have been waiting for sponsors for a long time
Please help save one of these girls today.

Meet Sakina! I love her beautiful dress!
Sakina is eight-years-old and lives in Wayalguin, Burkina Faso, an area that is also prone to HIV/AIDS. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 353 days. Sakina lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed) and one sibling. Most adults in this area earn about $40 per month. Sakina helps her family by caring for children, running errands, and cleaning. She enjoys playing with dolls, playing group games, and jumping rope. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in Burkina Faso.

Meet Steffan! Looking beautiful in blue!
Steffan is nine-years-old and lives near Mombasa, Kenya, an area that is also prone to HIV/AIDS. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 256 days. Steffan lives with both parents and two siblings. Adults in this area typically earn around $25 per month. Steffan helps her family by helping in the home and she enjoys singing and jumping rope. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in Kenya.

Meet Eva! She looks so scared!
Eva is seven-years-old and lives in Kahama, Tanzania, an area that is also prone to HIV/AIDS. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 194 days. EVa lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed) and five siblings. Most adults in this area earn about $60 per month. Eva helps her family by carrying water and cleaning. She enjoys playing house, jumping rope, and hide-and-seek. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in Tanzania!

Meet Jessica! Turn that frown upside down!
Jessica is seven-years-old and lives in Kamuge, Uganda, an area that is also prone to HIV/AIDS. Jessica lives with her mother and six siblings. Most adults in this area earn $6 per month. Jessica helps her family by carrying water, gathering firewood, and teaching others. For fun, she enjoys rolling a hoop, ping pong, and singing. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in Uganda!

Meet Pabitra! I love her dress and little smile!!
Pabitra is eight-years-old and lives in Daine Atharockchara, Bangladesh. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 345 days. Pabitra lives with both parents and one sibling. Most adults in this area earn about $29 per month. Pabitra helps her family by carrying water and sewing. She enjoys art. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in Bangladesh.

Meet Manju! I love her festive outfit!
Manju is seven-years-old and lives in Garthama, India. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 316 days. Manju lives with both parents and three siblings. Most adults in this area earn about $30 per month. Manju helps her family by buying and selling in the market. She enjoys playing house and playing group games. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in India.

Meet Ana! What a beautiful little girl!
Ana is eight-years-old and lives near Santa Cruz, Bolivia. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 345 days. Ana lives with both parents and three siblings. Most adults in this area earn about $114 per month. Ana helps her family by cleaning. For fun, she enjoys playing with dolls. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in Bolivia.

Meet Jenny! I love her pigtails and dress!
Jenny is seven-years-old and lives in Barrio Nuevo, Columbia. She lives with her stepfather, mother, and two siblings. Most adults in this area earn about $113 per month. Jenny helps her family by washing clothes and cleaning. She enjoys singing, telling stories, and playing hide-and-seek. Save this girl and change her story today! Or another at-risk girl in Columbia.

Bottom line is - any child living in extreme poverty is at-risk of abuse and exploitation and Compassion is saving them every single day. If none of these kids spoke to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. And if always, if you are unable to sponsor a child, please pray for these children, their safety, and that they find loving sponsors soon.

Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today I want to take a moment to talk about a difficult topic - something that makes me feel angry, yet driven. I want to take a moment to talk about what I feel is the worst, most heinous crime in our world today.

Did you know that slavery still exists in our world? Did you know that the amount of people that are currently enslaved in the world right now is greater than any other time in history?

Did you know that children as young as three are literally being sold this very second into a life of forced prostitution? Did you know there are hundred of thousands of children currently living in brothels and being sold to dozen of men for sex every night?

It's true.

It's not easy to hear.
It's not easy to accept.
But it's true. 

I could talk about this for a long time because it makes me so upset. I could tell stories of girls that have been rescued from a life of hell. I could provide countless horrifying statistics. But I'm sure if you care enough - you'll choose to educate yourself.

Today is human trafficking awareness day and Compassion International has some of it's own information to provide. Because you see, Compassion has an answer for how to solve this - a big answer. And it's working.

What does Compassion do?
1. It prevents it from happening
2. It intervenes when it does

First of all: Prevention
One of the major reasons why people are forced into human trafficking or become prostitutes is because of poverty.

Too many people that are taken over by the no hope monster feel that they have no other options and their life is worth nothing else. They feel that the only way they can survive and put food on the table is if they sell their body. Or if they can't sell their own - they sell their child's.

Too many people that are poor and hopeless are taken advantage of by people promising them fame and fortune if they come with them to another country to become a model or actress - only to find themselves stuck in a brothel with no way out.

Compassion helps prevent this. By intervening in these children's lives and saving them from poverty they now have hope and their family has hope. They are given the resources to succeed and live happy lives. They don't have to sell their bodies or be sold. They are valued as beautiful children of God.

Second of all: Intervention
If Compassion learns that one of their children has been exploited, they do something about it. They will provide the child with the appropriate medical and psychological treatment and assist the child and his/her family in any way they need. Compassion provides safe houses and legal assistance to the child as well.

Additionally, if you sponsor a child that lives in an area prone to exploitation and abuse, on top of the $38 per month to save a child, you have the option of giving an additional $7 for a total of $45 per month. This additional money goes to the country of your child and their efforts to fight child exploitation and abuse in their country.

So what can I do?
1. Sponsor a child. Some children have little blue symbols on their picture indicating they live in areas prone to exploitation and abuse. If you are as disgusted by this crime as I am, these are great kids to choose from. But the fact is, all of the kids in Compassion's program live in poverty and are therefore at risk. Any child you sponsor you are saving from a life of hell.

2. Donate to the highly vulnerable children's fund. Learn more and donate here.

Human trafficking and the trafficking of children simply should not happen. Together we can end this. It starts with you and me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

One of my favorite videos

I first saw this video at the 10th Ave. North concert I volunteered at in November. I was very moved then because there are few things in the world that make me angrier than harming children (especially sex trafficking). I've always asked God to show me how he wants me to help solve this problem because it simply shouldn't exist - and He did.

When I saw this little face and read about Melany, I wanted her to find a sponsor so bad. By the end of the night when she didn't have a sponsor, God showed me that I could be her sponsor and I could save her from abuse.

Me. A college student that makes $300 a month if I'm lucky could restructure how I spend my money each month and spend less on myself and more on them. (Granted, I am very fortunate that my parents are able to afford many of my expenses). But nearly a third of what I make each month goes to them.


Please consider saving a child today from a life of forced labor or prostitution. It simply should not happen and we have the power to be that change. As you're looking at children, this symbol:
indicates a child that lives in an area prone to exploitation and abuse. Generally they can be found in Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Bangladesh, India, Bolivia, and Columbia.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How are the countries Compassion works in chosen?

When you look at a country like Ghana, it is clear that there is huge need for assistance. However, you can say the same for many countries of the world (like most of Africa, large portions of Asia...) and Compassion doesn't work in these countries. Why?

There are four criteria that must be met before Compassion can begin work in a country.

1. God's leading. Every decision Compassion makes is heavily prayed upon.

2. Strong local church partners. The country must have Christian leaders and churches that can support and carry out Compassion's model of child development.

3. Government support. The country's government must allow Compassion to work there.

4. Risk Management: The country must have a provision for international banking and no legal barriers for working there.

So it's not an easy thing to do - getting countries signed up to allow Compassion to work there. There are is undoubtedly a long list of places Compassion would love to go, but can't get. However, with God's guidance, someday they will and someday extreme poverty will be eradicated. (It already is - one child at a time).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The First Sponsored Child in Ghana

Yesterday we talked about the work Compassion does in Ghana. Also from the Fall 2006 issue of the Compassion magazine was a little article about the first child sponsored in Ghana, written by Daisy Byarugaba.

"Nine-year-old Emmanuel Kwasi Boateng Addei lives in a painfully cramped one-bedroom apartment with his parents, five siblings and his mother's niece. When Emmanuel was registered with Compassion and started attending the church-based project, his mother, Janet, says 'The church's intervention was a timely answer to prayer. Before, 'Ema' used to roam about the neighborhood on the weekend and it was hard to keep track of him, but now he learns many new things and he explains them to me every time he comes back from the church. I can tell his mind is opening and he is more keen to learn than play.'

"What does Emmanuel think of his sponsorship? 'I like going to church and to the project because they teach us memory verses,' he says, before proudly reciting John 3:16. 'I also like school and my teachers because they teach me new things. I really like math, drawing, and French,' he adds.

"The changes in Emmanuel's life are just the beginning. As is often the case, when a child's life begins to change, his family changes too. In fact, since Emmanuel's sponsorship, his father has given his life to the Lord."

I could not find a picture of Emmanuel online, but in the picture in my magazine, he is an adorable young man with a small smile on his face wearing a dinosaur shirt.

You can have the same life-changing impact on a child. Sponsor a child in Ghana today!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Country Feature: Ghana

Today is a big day. It's my half-birthday and the first day of spring semester. I'm going to make a strong effort to blog a lot this semester! Today I want to talk about Ghana.

First of all, where is it? Ghana is a small country located in the western part of Africa.
In the Compassion program, Ghana is an AIDS-infected region. According to Compassion, 45% of the population lives in extreme poverty.

In the Fall, 2006 issue of Compassion Magazine, Leanna Summers wrote about Ghana in her article "Preserving Ghana's Gold: It's Children"

"Formerly known as the Gold Coast, the West African country of Ghana was built by slaves  who mined the country's supply of gold and other resources. But despite Ghana's rich reserves, more than 70 million Ghanians, 45% of the population, live in extreme poverty - poverty so debilitating that some desperate parents have even sold their children to those who end up exploiting them. 

"Forced labor, prostitution and armed conflict are among the most horrific ways children - many as young as 5 - are exploited. According to a recent report from UNICEF, West African countries have the highest rate of child labor in the world: an alarming 41%.

"Sadly, more than 11 million children worldwide die from an even deadlier enemy: preventable illness. Diarrhea - easily treated with medicine and fluids - can be fatal for these children. Without intervention, ill children in Ghana will continue to die needlessly.

"The tremendous needs of children in Ghana moved Compassion to open child sponsorship programs in 2005 and more than 2,400 at-risk children are now receiving customized care for their needs. 

"Each child in Compassion's program is ensured a safe place to learn, and through sponsor's donations Compassion has provided school fees for more than 130 Ghanian children whose parents could not afford to send them to school. Children in Ghana also receive health care, including checkups, hygiene training, nutritional supplements, medicines, surgeries, and other critical care at local hospitals.

"Compassion also works to rekindle children's dimmed spirits - to tell them God sent His Son for them. Compassion president Wess Stafford explains: 'Poverty is a mindset, a spirit that tells its victims they do not matter. We then move from this state to despair, apathy and finally fatalism. WE can change this by telling the little ones that to God they matter. They start to gain courage and confidence and then start to change things. When a child moves from 'I don't matter' to 'I can fix this', we have won the battle.'"

The following two young men in Ghana have birthdays today and have been waiting for sponsors for a long time. Make this their best birthday yet and give them the gift of hope!

Meet Nathaniel!
Nathaniel is nine-years-old today and lives in Klo-Agogo, Ghana. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 372 days! Nathaniel lives with his grandparents (both are sometimes employed) and one sibling. Most adults in this area are farmers or market traders and earn about $31 per month. Nathaniel helps his family by helping in the kitchen and running errands. He enjoys playing soccer and group games. End his wait and change his story today!

Meet Emmanuel!
Emmanuel is thirteen-years-old today and lives in Madina, Ghana. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 291 days! Emmanuel lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed) and four siblings. Most adults in this area work as traders and earn about $30 per month. Emmanuel helps his family by washing clothes, helping in the kitchen, and running errands. He enjoys playing soccer, singing, and art. End his wait and change his story today!

There are many other children in Ghana that are waiting for sponsors and would love to know you! Change a story today!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Monthly Letter Prompt - January

Hopefully the last post helped inspire you to write a letter. If you have no idea what to write about, never fear! This is what I wrote to my girls about this last month. (I usually write at the end of the month but I think I'm going to start posting my prompt at the beginning of the month).

This one is pretty easy. We just celebrated Christmas and New Year's and the way you and your family celebrate is most likely very different than how your child celebrated.

Writing Prompts:
1. Describe how your family prepares and decorates for Christmas
2. Describe your family's traditions on Christmas
3. Talk about your favorite gift (I wouldn't describe everything you received because it may make the child feel awkward seeing as they probably only get one or two gifts).
4. Talk about the family you got to see
5. Talk about any traveling you did
6. Talk about how you celebrated New Year's Eve (try to keep it Christian G-rated, if you went to a crazy party and drank until you passed out, maybe leave that out :))
7. Talk about your goals for the New Year
8. Talk about the weather where you live (sounds crazy but if you live in an area where it snows, your child has probably never experienced that before!)

Question ideas:
1. Ask how he/she celebrated Christmas
2. Ask how he/she celebrated the New Year
3. Ask if he/she has any goals for the New Year
4. Ask about his/her dreams
5. Ask if he/she has any prayer requests

Gift ideas:
1. I included some pictures of my yard to show the snow on the ground because it doesn't snow in my girl's countries.
2. Pictures from your Christmas or New Years (again, try not to show material possessions or non-Christian activities)
3. Anything relating to winter/Christmas/New Years (that can fit in an envelope)

This month I chose to write my letters online. Compassion has a plethora of really cool stationary you can choose from, you have lots of space to type your letter, and you can easily upload up to three pictures.

This is great for when you want to send a letter to your child but don't have any stationary on hand. In addition to that, if you want to write a letter but don't have any Compassion stationary on hand and you don't want to send an online letter, you can always print out stationary from the Compassion website. You can also use your own stationary. If you do this though, it's important that you make sure to write your sponsor number and your child's number on the letter. Anything you put in that envelope to your child should have your number and your child's number on it in case something gets misplaced.

Happy writing!

Why you should write letters

Taken from the Fall 2006 Compassion Magazine, entitled "Your Letters - Simple Treasures" written by Briton Kamugisha and Tania Mendes.

"Your letters are beacons of light in your child's dark circumstances of poverty. To show the immense importance of each letter you send, two sponsosred children share their experiences.

"Coming of Age in Brazil...

"Ariane lives in Vista Alegre, Brazil, where only 25% of children complete elementary school. Ariane could have easily been among these children. But she is in secondary school and has hope for her future, a hope she attributes to her sponsors' encouraging letters.

"She says, 'The letters from my sponsors mean that they care for me and remember me. In 2001 my parents were very sick...so I wrote to [my sponsors] telling them about this problem and they answered me telling me that God was in control and that I should remember that God can do everything. My sponsors comforted me with their words and prayers.'

"Ariane treasures each letter from her sponsors and carefully saves each one. 'I like to reread [my letters]. One time per year we have an exhibition here in the project and I have exhibited my letters, cards, and photos with a lot of happiness to share about my sponsor,' she says.

"Through  their letters Ariane's sponsors have helped her thrive in her harsh environment. Smiling, she says, 'I think it is very good to receive a letter from a sponsor because we [sponsored children] feel important an valued like a person. Can you imagine receiving a letter from the other side of the planet, from a person you don't know personally who really cares for you? Can you? It's very, very important!

"'I would like to say that it is very important to feel their love. It is so good to be loved. We can exchange prayer requests and this keeps us together. When a child receives a compliment from his sponsor it is forever in his mind and heart. That is why a simple letter is so important to us sponsored children.'

"...But Waiting in Rwanda

"Maritete, a Rwandan orphan, is waiting for her first letter but sees her sponsors as her lifeline to a better future. Her tremendous faith and prayers keep her going from day to day, despite her difficult circumstances. She is eager to build a relationship with her sponsors, so she prays for a letter.

"She says, 'I write to them all the time and I am not sure whether my letters reach them. And if they reach them I feel surprised that they don't reply, but I wait. I know God is on my side and I will never be defeated. I know the God I serve will one day change their hearts and light will shine upon me as I receive the first letter from them.'

"Even though Maritete is waiting, this little girl believes in God's perfect timing. She says, 'I am praying for [my sponsors] because nothing happens without the will of God and nothing happens out of God's time. Maybe the time for them to write to me is not yet. I will be patient and wait; they will reply to me.'

Maritete has not received a letter from her sponsors, but their loving support is helping shape her spirit. Compassion President Wess Stafford explains, 'The spirit of a little child is a lot like wet cement. When a child is young, it takes little effort to make an impression that can last a lifetime.' Your letters, every short note, Bible verse or card, leave a wonderful, lasting impression on a child's heart."

I hope you will take the time today to write to your sponsored child or correspondent child. You don't have to wait for a response from your child to write a new letter, I write my girls every month.

If you are a sponsor and for whatever reason do not want to write to your child or for whatever reason cannot, please call Compassion and let them find a correspondent partner for your child so he/she can reap the benefits of creating this lasting relationship.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday Feature!! - Franchesca, Jorgue, Reyner, Sivenly, Nayely, Yasmin, & Eliezer

Today all of the featured children will be out of Central America.

The Dominican Republic:
Meet Franchesca!! Look at the adorable smile!
Franchesca is four-years-old and lives in Mandinga, Dominican Republic. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 338 days! She lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed). Most adults in this area work as laborers or in domestic services and earn about $76 per month. Franchesca helps her family by running errands and she enjoys art, playing with dolls, and playing group games. Change her story today!


El Salvador:
Meet Jorgue!! I love his little half-smile!
Jorgue is eight-years-old and lives near Usulutan, El Salvador. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 369 days! Jorgue lives with his father (who is sometimes employed), his stepmother, and one sibling. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as laborers and earn about $120 per month. Jorgue helps his family by making beds and running errands. He enjoys playing soccer, running, and bicycling. Change his story today!


Guatemala:
Meet Reyner!! I love the expression on his face!
Reyner is six-years-old and lives in Salama, Guatemala. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 369 days! Reyner lives with his mother who is employed as a laborer. Most adults in this area work as laborers and earn about $87 per month. Reyner helps his family by caring for animals, running errands, and helping in the kitchen. For fun, he enjoys playing soccer, swimming, and playing with cars. Change his story today!


Haiti:
Meet Sivenly!! Such a cute little boy!!
Sivenly is four-years-old and lives in Marmont, Haiti. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 338 days! Sivenly lives with both parents (both are sometimes employed) and two siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work on plantations and earn about $30 per month! Sivenly helps his family by gathering firewood and caring for animals. For fun, he enjoys listening to music, playing group games, and playing hide-and-go-seek. Change his story today!


Honduras:
Meet Nayely!! Turn her forceful frown upside down!!
Nayely is five-years-old and lives in Sector Lomas del Carmen, Honduras. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 338 days! Nayely lives with her father (who is sometimes employed), mother, and three siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as laborers and earn about $135 per month! Nayely helps her family by running errands and cleaning. She enjoys art and running. Change her story today!


Mexico:
Meet Yasmin!! I love her beautiful dress!
Yasmin is seven-years-old and lives near Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico. She has been waiting for a sponsor for 388 days! Yasmin lives with her father (who is sometimes employed), her mother, and four siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work on plantations and earn about $116 per month. Yasmin helps her family selling in the market and caring for children. For fun, she enjoys singing and playing with dolls. Change her story today!


Nicaragua:
Meet Eliezer!! So cute and serious!!
Eliezer is seven-years-old and lives in El Calvarito, Nicaragua. He has been waiting for a sponsor for 339 days! Eliezer lives with his father (who is employed), his mother, and two siblings. Most adults in this area are unemployed but some work as street vendors and earn about $33 per month! Eliezer helps his family by running errands. He enjoys playing soccer, ball games, and with cars. Change his story today!!


As always, if none of these children speak to your heart, I invite you to find one that does. And if you are unable to sponsor a child, please pray over these children and that they will find loving sponsors soon.

Love & Peace







The Ripple Effect

This is a topic I've been meaning to talk about for some time now. Coincidentally, it was one of the reasons I wanted to become an advocate for Compassion in the first place.

The ripple effect. Meaning that one person's actions causes a ripple, effecting countless other people in countless different ways. This can be a positive ripple, or a negative one (which is yet another reason why we should always strive to do good to others and be kind to one another. You never know how your words or actions will affect someone else).

One reason why I wanted to become an advocate for Compassion was so I could increase my ripple. I am twenty years old and in college. There is only so much money I can give even though I wish I could give it all. My time is valuable, but I knew that I could find more time to give. Even though I can't change as many lives as I may want by giving money, I can change lives by giving time. And the ripple is still there.

Even sponsoring one child causes an incredible ripple. You are not only changing that child's live, but the life of their friends, family, neighbors, anyone that child comes in contact with. Think of all of the people you interact with on a daily basis. Your child is probably interacting with just as many people and all of those people are different because they know your child. That's really cool to me.

I want to share an article from summer 2008 Compassion magazine entitled: Champions of Faith, written by Brandy Campbell.

"Puffs of steam rise from the arms of a dozen young men practicing karate in a cramped classroom. The humid Brazilian air has cooled, but drops of sweat bead on their earnest faces before dropping to the cracked mats beneath their bare feet.

"Frrancisco de Melo weaves among his students in the stifling room. He lifts a boy's drooping elbow. Encourages a teen to kick higher.

"As Francisco makes his rounds, he notices one of his students, Jorge Barroso. Not long ago Francisco had the privilege of knotting a black belt around Jorge's waist. Such an accomplishment is a far cry from the gangs, drugs, and crime that victimize many boys in Fortaleza. For 10 years, Francisco has worked hard to teach everything he knows to Jorge and the 75 other boys who have attended the karate class at the Compassion-assisted Projeto Social de Igreja de Cristo child development center.

"Francisco volunteers his time, but not to gain more awards and accolades. He does it because he sees a little of himself in boys like Jorge. And he knows the boys see hope in him.

"Francisco's hope starkly contrasts his childhood. Francisco and his siblings grew up in a home where there was never enough - never enough work for his father, never enough food for his family.

"When Francisco was 9, he began working alongside his father. The boy spent his days hauling heavy loads of bricks until his arms burned and his back ached. Every few months, he and his brothers would save up enough pennies to go to a karate movie in town. Francisco would entertain his father's friends by mimicking the moves he saw on the faded movie screen. One of those friends generously paid for Francisco to take karate lessons.

"At 14, Francisco left his small hometown and moved to Fortaleza, one of Brazil's largest cities. During the day  he worked odd jobs. At night he took karate lessons. On the weekends he traveled to nearby cities, entering, then winning competitions. But something was missing - something Francisco found in Parquelandia Baptist Church, a small, dusty church where he began studying the Bible with friends. At 16, Francisco received Christ.

"Francisco became active in his church, even as he traveled across the country competing in karate tournaments and accumulating titles: six-time Brazilian Champion; International Champion Brazil Cup; third place in the Karate World Competition.

"Although he became a local legend, Francisco didn't forget where he came from. So when Francisco's church became a Compassion church partner, he met with the center staff, asking if he could teach karate lessons to the boys enrolled in the program. Soon his one class grew to four, as he traveled to several Compassion child development centers throughout the city. "I have an old dream - to teach children about Jesus and see them released from poverty. That is the reason I wanted to teach at Compassion's project," says Francisco.

"Ten-year-old Jorge was one of Francisco's first students. Francisco knew the boys' father had abandoned the family. Francisco poured hours into Jorge's life. He taught Jorge about the love of the Father and prayed for him constantly. And as a teenager Jorge accepted Christ - just as his mentor had done more than 20 years earlier.

"In the five years Jorge has been taking karate lessons from Francisco, he has risen to the highest level, black belt. At just 15, he has won 22 competitions and is ranked third in Brazil.

""Francisco has taught me many things," says Jorge. "He gives me encouragement and support. He is very good to me. His classes are like a second home for me."

"Little does Jorge know, Francisco is equally impressed with him - and he takes almost no credit for the boy's successes. "Jorge is a very good person and is very determined," says Francisco. "Jesus has changed and is changing his life. He is like a priceless stone, being polished by the Lord. Everything he has done is for the glory of God.""

There's a ripple effect. Francisco was born into poverty and was able to come out of poverty and change countless other young men's lives because of a few single actions. His parents allowed him and his brother to see karate movies instead of saving those little bits of change for their family. The family friend paid for him to start taking karate lessons - and the rest was history.

What you are doing - or can do - for a child (or really any person) is extraordinary and should never be taken lightly. I hope we can all choose to make a constant effort to always be a positive role-model and a positive person in another's life.

There are currently no children available at the center where Francisco worked. However, there are some cute little Brazilian boys named Francisco (maybe one of them is the next karate star of Brazil!). Or help a child that has been waiting for a long time in Brazil.