At the very beginning of the Joy Foundation (Dominican Republic) child sponsorship ministry, there was Eluckson Pierre.
Fellowship International missionary Helene Hwang oversees the Joy Foundation ministry and met Eluckson in 2017. He was shorter than the other children and was constantly scratching because of skin disease. He had no strength and he never smiled. He was weak enough that he caught the attention of many people who visited the village.
Eluckson lives with his mother and two younger sisters. Each child has a different father.
Many Haitian children only have one meal a day at home, but they eat enough to be active and smile. Eluckson was so hungry and weak that all he wanted was to lie on the floor.
Eluckson was always dirty because his mother was always away. With no one to wash him, his skin became infected.
Every time Helene saw Eluckson, her heart broke for him. She asked many people to pray, and a friend of hers asked how they could help Eluckson. That’s how the very first child sponsorship match happened. The sponsor, not Helene, not the child, started this ministry. Through sponsorship, Eluckson would be able to attend school, eat breakfast each day, and receive medication for his infection.
At the beginning of the sponsorship, Helene spoke with Eluckson’s mother. She wanted to make it clear that a central part of the sponsorship was a time for the whole family to hear the Gospel when they picked up their food support packages. The goal of the ministry is to provide holistic care for the children and families, and spiritual care is an essential part of that. Eluckson’s mother promised to come — a promise she didn’t keep.
On the food package distribution and Gospel sharing days, Eluckson often didn’t come to church. Many times, someone had to go to his house. Mom was never home and Eluckson was sitting on the side of the road.
School fees supported through child sponsorship are automatically stopped when there are many absences. Joy Foundation sees child sponsorship as a partnership with the parents. Meaning that together, they pray for, take care of, love and protect the children. Child sponsorship is not just for material support.
Helene continued to meet with Eluckson’s mother, encouraging her and sharing the Gospel. And one day, she started coming to church with him for the food package distribution and Gospel sharing. Through Eluckson, his mother began to change.
Now, Eluckson loves to laugh. He is also very tall. He plays pranks, making faces to make Helene laugh when she takes pictures. He also has a dream to become a soccer player. And the child who didn’t speak? He now gets scolded for talking in class!
Because of child sponsorship, a child’s life has changed. He can go to school. He’s free from hunger and disease. He can think past his weakness and discomfort to have hopes and dreams.
Eluckson and his sisters go to church every Sunday, and Helene believes they have accepted Christ into their hearts. But they come without their mother. Still, Helene continues to pray for this family, hoping for God to soften her heart and open her eyes. She prays that the Gospel would create real and lasting change in all of their lives.
You can help provide holistic care to children just like Eluckson and his sisters by sponsoring a child with Joy Foundation today.