My name is Jonathan Almonte, and I work with Compassion in the Dominican Republic as a Field Experience Specialist. I take sponsors to visit our local church partners to show them the work of Compassion and enable them to spend time with their sponsored children. I love what I do because as a Compassion graduate, I know how exciting it is for a sponsored child to meet his or her sponsor.
Every tour is special to me, but one tour impacted not only my life, but the lives of many children.
It was a beautiful day. The sponsors were having fun playing basketball with the kids. Everything had gone according to plan so I decided to walk around to see how things were going at the project.
Children were blowing bubbles. I saw a little girl swinging. A boy was obviously enjoying the water he was drinking. It was a fantastic time.
But as I kept looking, I found a large group of children crowded at the entrance of the church. I tried to get a smile from a group of girls behind the fence by taking their picture, but they never smiled. Their blank stares shouted to me: “Do something. You can do something and let us in.”
The fun continued inside the project. Then I noticed something very strange under the door. There were small feet. So I decided to approach them, and what I found was surprising.
Children on the other side of the door were looking through a hole to see what was happening in the project. There they were, looking in from the outside.
As I watched them, my heart grieved.
I could not stand by and just keep watching. I asked the project director what we could do for them. All the children came inside, and we invited them to enjoy the activities. These children were able to be a part of the programme for that morning.
I looked for the local pastor, Noes, because I knew I needed to talk to him. I needed to let him know what was in my heart and how sad it was for me to see these children on the other side of the door. And then he gave me hope.
“Jonathan, they are on the outside now, but that doesn’t mean we are not working with them,” Pastor Noes said. “This afternoon we have a special activity for them.
The church is open not only for children in the Compassion centre but for all the children in the community.”
Nearly 400 million children live in extreme poverty around the world. However, the church is there. Our local partner, Biblical Temple San Felipe Villa Mella, is serving not only the 400 children who are sponsored through Compassion but all the children in Santo Domingo. After talking with Pastor Noes, my heart filled with peace. Because through the church of Christ, there is hope for the children on the other side of the door.