Sunday, January 09, 2011


Let's face it, most New Year's Resolutions barely last longer than it takes to sweep up the party streamers and/or they are resolutions that primarily benefit just the person who makes the resolution. I'll be honest, I quit making 'em a long time ago because I could never stick to 'em.

Well, let me introduce you to one that works --- one that benefits not just you but a child and their whole family; in fact, their whole community, and ultimately, a whole nation.

Why not resolve this year to make a world of a difference in a child living in Swaziland, Africa? Through Children's HopeChest, you can sponsor a child and their community --- a child who is living in the nation with the world's highest HIV/AIDs rate, the world's lowest life expectancy, the world's highest infant death rate, and an unemployment rate of over 50% in the rural areas. The child you sponsor will most likely have lost one or both parents, probably to HIV/AIDs. In fact, over 10% of all Swazi households are child-lead. That means, there is no adult living in the home...only children. Missionaries and other leaders in Swaziland have come across homes where the oldest person living in the home and caring for younger siblings is only five years old. FIVE!

Can you imagine your five year old living alone? Can you imagine your five year old living alone in a mud hut with no locks on the door, no running water, no heat or electricity, no protection from human predators? And this five year old is in charge of younger siblings?

I can't even imagine one of my teenagers in this situation as responsible and hardworking as they are.

It just boggles our American minds.

But that is the hard and very real truth for countless numbers of children in Swaziland.

Back in the olden days, when a child was left orphaned, the extended family would care for the child. But now with the majority of the parents sick or dying from disease, the extended families are overwhelmed. You'll find one, little, old granny raising a dozen or more grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Add to that, the fact that in their culture, if you leave your land then your family loses its land most of the time. This give a nation a recipe for disaster.

This is where you come in.

For just $34 a month, you can literally change the life of a child.

Here's how Children's HopeChest describes their program:

Your financial commitment of $34/month provides for the most basic needs of children in the community. HopeChest will assist in providing food, water, access to basic medical care, education and discipleship. While $34 cannot meet all the needs of a child suffering through extreme poverty, it does provide significant help.

In our community-to-community model, all funds are "pooled" together so that if one child does not have a sponsor, they will still have these needs met. Your contribution of $34 a month will go towards providing food, clothing, and access to medical care, as well education and discipleship.

The advantage of each child being personally sponsored, is that a relationship is formed. As the sponsor, you will be praying for one specific child, writing letters or online messages (that will be printed off) to your child, receiving updates from them, and given the opportunity to send them gifts and even meet them.

Here's more on the Children's HopeChest model of sponsorship:

At HopeChest, we advocate a “community to community” partnership model. While many great organizations exist to provide individual sponsorship opportunities, we believe that holistic, sustainable change in the poorest communities occurs when one community partners with another.

Due to the power of online social networks, we have launched Connect Communities that allow passionate people to come together as an online community to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children around the world. When you join a Connect Community, you are joining a group of like-minded people who are devoted to orphan care in the same region of the world as you.
How Connect Communities Work

You can impact the life of an orphan easier than you think. Become a member of an online “Connect Community” by simply sponsoring a child in the country of your choosing through the link below. By joining a Connect Community, you become a part of an on-line social network that shares information, encourages, and mobilizes to respond to the urgent needs of the orphanage or CarePoint you support. You will receive blog updates, prayer requests, photos, and videos of your supported location. Additionally, you will have access to the development plan and other resources that will keep you informed on how HopeChest is implementing its vision and strategy at the location your Connect Community supports.

Through our Connect Travel Trips, you will have the opportunity to travel with members of your Connect Community to your support location where you will experience first-hand the impact your financial support has on the lives of the children and participate directly in on-site work projects. Trips take place annually or bi-annually and are coordinated by HopeChest.

And that is just what we did this past September. We were able to go to the Bheveni Carepoint with a team and love on those kids personally. We fed them, we clothed them, we gave them new shoes, we danced with them, we told them stories, we sang with them, we laughed with them, we showed them they were not forgotten. They were treasured and prayed for. They had reason to hope for a better future.

Our family was able to go to our sponsored girl's home and meet her family. We were able to find out what was going on in their lives and share our's with them. We found out that they had experienced a housefire over the past year and we told them that we had to. We got beyond just names on paper and images in photos to building a true relationship. We were able to pray with Banele and her family and give them basic food and household items along with other special gifts we had brought them. We were able to give them the peace of mind that God was answering their prayers. Their needs were seen and were important to Him. He was and is providing for them.

And now you have the chance to resolve to make a difference in the life of a child and the world around them. The online Bheveni Carepoint Community now has eleven more children who need to be sponsored.

Maybe you are thinking that you can't afford $34 a month.

Consider this:

1. You don't have to do it alone. You and your best friend can share a sponsorship. Maybe your extended family would all pitch in or a Sunday School class, bunco club, sorority, or youth group? That's what our youth group does. Our family sponsors one girl on our own and then our youth group pitches in to sponsor another child. Just think, if a group of 16 all agreed to each pitch in 2 or 3 dollars a month, you'd have the $34 needed.

2. You can raise money for this purpose. Perhaps you would be willing to brown bag it a few times a month and use the money you'd spend on eating out to go towards your sponsored child. Pick up a fancy coffee on the way to work every day? Skip it two or three times a week and use your coffee money. Don't want to pay once a month but would rather do a lump sum? Determine that you'll have an annual garage sale and use the proceeds to pay your sponsorship commitment, tell relatives you want money donated on your behalf at Christmas and on your birthday, and don't forget about that lump sum tax refund. Or maybe you own your own business or work at a shop that allows donations. You can put out a jar with your sponsored child's photo on it and collect donations throughout the month.

If your desire is to help a child, believe me, God will give you the creativity and the means to do it!

Over the next few days, I will be introducing you to some of the specific children who are looking for sponsors. In the meantime, if you'd like to go ahead and sign up or just need more information, contact the Bheveni Community Coordinator, Danielle Brower at or visit her website at .

And believe me, this is one resolution that you'll want to keep. The benefits are Heavenly.


Danielle said...

Elysa - I really wish I could describe to you how i'm feeling right now. I have so much respect and admiration for the way you advocate not only for the country of Swaziland, but for it's individual children. You & Jim (and Anna) were such a HUGE support to Mike & I during the trip in September. Much of what we learned about culture and how the people relate to each other in Swazi, we learned through you! And here you are, continuing to bless & be a voice for the voiceless. I'm humbled & so happy to serve the great people of Swaziland with you!

God is providing & raising up more & more people to love the kids at Bheveni and all over the country through blog posts & stories like this.

Here is the link to my blog page, with pictures & stories about the eleven children who are waiting for a friend!

I'm looking forward to more posts in the coming days! Bless you, sweet Make! :)

Elysa said...

Thank YOU, Danielle, for all you and Mike are doing to make a difference for the Bheveni kids and what you are doing to help people like me be part of their lives. You are a God-given part of that puzzle. Going to Swaziland with y'all was so much fun! :D

David said...

Part of my life mission is to help Christians (or anyone) be able to afford to do more for children in poverty. It breaks my heart to see kids suffering and I feel like I have a plan that can help, and it can be frustrating trying to get the word out. I will pass along your blog link as you talk about these kids who need sponsors.


Elysa said...

Thank you, David! I appreciate it.