Steve-ChickLast year I had the privilege of travelling to Nairobi in Kenya with the children’s charity Compassion.

For over sixty years Compassion has sought to help vulnerable children around the world through its sponsorship programmes. These programmes focus on ensuring healthy pregnancies and all that this entails as well as providing children access to healthcare, educational assistance and supplemental nutrition. In all it does Compassion works alongside local churches.

In Nairobi I was able to see first-hand projects where Compassion is working in partnership with local churches, two of which were based in Mathare, a slum of over 400,000 people (more about Steve’s trip in May 2016) Whilst the scale of the poverty was overwhelming, it was deeply moving seeing children in each of the projects being given hope. Their simple but profound faith in Jesus will live long in my memory.

Since last summer Compassion has been identifying the right place in Africa for us as a church to work alongside them. I am very excited that on Sunday 9th April we will become a partner church with Compassion. On the day many of us will have an opportunity to sponsor children, something Wai Wan has promoted in the church for a number of years. However from now on the children we sponsor will be from the same hillside community in Rwanda.

Gakenke, home to 4,000 people, needs help with health training, encouragement to complete education and income generating programmes. Our sponsorship of children will enable a local church to provide health screening and education, vaccinations, testing and counselling for HIV/AIDS, life-skills training and educational assistance as well as teaching them Bible lessons. Last June we raised £11,000 and this will now be used to identify and establish a project that will serve this community.

We are so blessed to live in what is at the moment a very secure part of the world. As Hope Church we have a responsibility to remember the poor, not just in the Winchester and the areas around us but in the wider world too.

I’m so delighted that our partnership will have both a direct and ongoing impact in these children’s lives. What a privilege it if for us as we reflect something of the loving kindness and mercy of God, the Father of compassion.

Much grace,