A FAMILY'S JOURNEY INTO SPONSORSHIP.... By Dean Kelly
My wife and I have always been inspired by UPPC’s partnership with Meru, Kenya. A good friend in our small group, Emily Bosh, studied abroad in Kenya when she roomed with my wife in college. She came back passionate about the people of Kenya and told us heartwarming stories of their joy and resilience.
Years later we watched God connect Emily with a community in our church with a similar passion, and we were introduced to the opportunity to sponsor a child in Meru, Kenya. Initially, we were hesitant. It wasn't that we didn't think sponsoring children was important. We were concerned with merely sending money and not having much of a personal relationship with the people of Meru. As we learned more about the ministry though, we realized that it is about much more than sending money. Through the ministry’s connection with the Mburugus (church members from Meru), on-going mission trips, and meeting visitors from Meru our church keeps in touch with the people, places, and life of Meru.
As a young family with three young girls we felt God stir in us a desire to engage in a family ministry to allow us all an opportunity to serve and see God’s work globally. It was clear to us that God was doing something incredible between the Meru team at UPPC and the people in Meru and we decided to take a leap of faith and sponsor a child, Catherine, in an effort to join in God’s work.
Catherine is the same age as our oldest child. This was important to us, as we wanted our kids to be involved in this ministry with us. By sponsoring a child, our girls have more of a connection by being in a similar life stage to relate to Catherine in ways we can't. Sometimes it's hard to keep the ministry central to our children because it is thousands of miles away. The church sends money for schooling three times per year, and we utilize these times to pray for Catherine, for her needs and for her schooling. We send letters to Catherine a couple times a year which helps keep the kids engaged in asking Catherine questions and learning more about her life.
In addition, the families in our small group sponsor several other children from Meru and from around the world, so we talk with all our kids together about mission and responding to the needs around us locally and globally. As our children get older, we want to teach them a bit more about the history, culture and language of Meru. When our kids are older, we also hope to one day travel to Meru as a family. We want to visit Catherine and see firsthand all the incredible work God is doing to care for her community.
We know that God is using Catherine to minister to our own girls in ways we never could. We're so glad we made the decision to sponsor a child and hope that others will do the same!