In Matthew 26:11, when Jesus says "For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me," the focus of the verse in normally on its second part, about how to treat Jesus. However, the first half of the verse is pertinent as well. In Peru, it is far easier than in America to witness the impoverished conditions that many people spend their lives in. Here, where public services are sketchy at best, and government aid is more or less non-existent, there are many people who work long, hard days every day just to sustain themselves. This poverty isn't a temporary thing, caused by some bad decision or lack of motivation by a breadwinner. It is simply the life that many people are born into with very little hope of getting out of it. It's not a problem that can be solved, let alone solved all at once.
Here at Hogar de Esperanza, the kids receive not only their basic necessities, but also get opportunities to experience things that many of them may not have had access to if they were living at the income level that their families were at. These things include hot water (crazy how much more that seems like a luxury down here), movies, internet access, clean clothes, trips to day camps or restaurants, and good education. In fact, although we are normally happy when kids here can be reunited with their families, it is often difficult for them to acclimate to the impoverished conditions that their families live in.
Recently, we had one sibling group go home to live with their grandparents. It was exciting--we knew that their grandparents cared deeply for them, and that they would love them well. However, love does not magically provide dollars and cents, or in this case, the Peruvian currency of soles. The oldest girl in this family was privileged while she lived at Hogar de Esperanza to be able to attend a good, private, Christian middle/high school. This privilege is only available to a few of our oldest kids, and only if they take full advantage of it. This past year, she was the only child at the orphanage who proved herself motivated and responsible enough to attend there. Now that she has gone home with her grandparents, though, the orphanage no longer pays her expenses, and her grandparents would barely have enough to pay for books and a uniform, let alone tuition. (the lower class public schools here don't even use text books, so those books would seem like a luxury for many families).
Courtney and I, along with one other volunteer here, have decided to put the extra money that we raised for the new sheets for the kids for Christmas (which they love, by the way--thanks for your support!) towards paying for this girls continued Christian education at this great school she is at. However, combined, this only comes to about $600, and the school that she is at costs about $1500/year. She has received a scholarship that cuts the cost down to about $850/year, which is very exciting. However, that still leaves a shortfall for this year, let alone the three years she has left there. Courtney and I have committed to paying for her first year, whether or not we're able to raise the money from outside sources, and we're turning to you for help. It will be great if we can raise the $250 we need, but far better if we can make a dent in her tuition for years to come as well. If you'd like to help, you can make out checks to Hillcrest CRC with "D and C Mission fund--School" in the memo line and send them to Hillcrest Christian Reformed Church, 3617 Hillcrest Rd, Hudsonville, MI 49426. If you'd prefer a more convenient way, you can pay through paypal by using the widget in the upper left hand corner.
A final thought: I considered not even writing this post, thinking that maybe people are sick of giving, that it seems like people like us doing mission work are always just asking for money, and that when you give us money we just ask for more. However, as the verse that I began with says, the poor will ALWAYS be with us. We are not going to reach a point at which there are no needs, where there are no people less fortunate that us who need help, and as long as that need exists, it should be made known to those have the power to do something about it. Thanks in advance! -D