Peter Gorgar is a teenager from a small village in Sierra Leone, Africa. He has a story similar to many you might have heard before: He lives with his parents and six siblings in a small, thatched mud hut. There is no electricity, and they fetch water several times a day for cooking, bathing, and laundry. Peter’s parents scrape by to feed their family, though there are days when there isn’t much. When this kind of life is normal life, it’s hard to dream about a future—the focus is mostly on surviving. But Peter’s story is different because someone has chosen to walk beside him, cheer him on, pray for him, write to him, and believe that a better future is indeed possible. Peter has a sponsor, enabling him to be part of Children of the Nations (COTN).
COTN is a Christian ministry through which many Summit partners care for orphaned and destitute children in Africa and the Caribbean through Child Sponsorship. COTN creates a holistic, Christ-centered environment that provides education, medical care, food, and resources while showing the love of Christ to children. When kids don’t have to worry about where their next meal might come from, or are healed from a curable disease, they can begin to dream about what God wants them to do with their future.
The relationship developed through child sponsorship can mean the world to a child like Peter. Through letters, photos, and the possibility to even visit, child sponsors help raise children to become who God wants them to be.
Summit partner Vanessa Verkaik became a child sponsor six years ago when she stared at a photo of Peter’s young face. “I wanted to go to Africa and wasn’t able to actually go, so I figured this would be a way I could help,” Vanessa says. For the past six years, Vanessa and now her husband, Richard, have written letters back and forth to Peter. Vanessa says, “He’s in 8th grade now. He wants to be a teacher. Looking back these past six years, we know child sponsorship works. He’s writing letters; he’s still there asking us to pray for him; he’s still growing in his faith.”
When Vanessa and Richard became parents, they began to understand how effective COTN is at caring for kids like Peter. They now sponsor a second child from Sierra Leone, 10-year-old Fatmata.
Peter’s life changed because of the Vanessa’s decision to sponsor, and you can be a part of that, too. If you are interested in finding out more information about child sponsorship through COTN, visit their website at www.cotni.org.
Guest blogger Laura Cook is a volunteer writer for SUMMIT MAGAZINE.