Highlights from The Child’s Journey – October 2023
Without intervention, children of prisoners are susceptible to exploitation, poverty, dropping out of school and criminal activity. Together we can stand in the gap to keep them from falling through the cracks of society and giving them a chance for a brighter future beyond the cycle of crime.
Keep reading to see how together we are helping children of prisoners live safer, healthier lives!
CAMBODIA | Sothea’s Favorite Bible Verse
Click the video above to see Sothea read her favorite Bible verses in the language of Khmer.
Part of the program services include providing each child and their caregiver with Scripture resources in their heart language, but growing in knowledge of God’s Word involves more than just receiving Bibles. This is why through monthly mentoring sessions, TCJ volunteer mentors are engaging children and their caregivers with Biblical lessons. In Cambodia, a country with a Christian population of only 2%, children like Sothea are being encouraged to read and learn verses in order to bring God’s Word into their hearts. We hope this video of Sothea reading from Psalm 121 brings joy to you today!
COLOMBIA | Community Events
Children of prisoners often face social stigma in their communities. This isolation can be detrimental to the well-being of children, who should be surrounded by a community of care. The Child’s Journey seeks to provide opportunities for community engagement and mentorship to each child. One way that Prison Fellowship Colombia does this is through community events. These events have enabled them to gain the trust and respect of the communities in which they work. Children can connect with their peers and caregivers can meet with other parents in the surrounding community to build a network of support for both them and their child. This allows them to have a support system both within and outside of the program.
Malawi |Hamida’s Story
Hamida (left) smiles at her family during a recent prison visit facilitated by Prison Fellowship Malawi.
You may remember the photo above from our August update, so why are we sharing it again? Since then, we received a heartwarming testimony from the caseworker of Hamida, the girl pictured on the left. We have shared it below and hope it serves as a bright spot to your day.
What started out as a normal day for most people, was a very special day for Hamida and her family. They joined the prison visit organized by Prison Fellowship Malawi’s child sponsorship team and traveled to visit Hamida’s incarcerated father, Yohane. Upon arrival, Hamida and her siblings were welcomed by their smiling father who hugged them with tears of joy rolling down his cheeks. The children gazed at Yohane in disbelief. It was the first time they had seen him in five years! Hamida shared, “I am happy to see my father alive. God is great. It has been years without seeing him. We miss him a lot. We need him home.”
Dressed in a white uniform, Yohane embraced the kids and family, shared stories and told jokes. He also read Bibles scriptures to encourage his children not to lose hope, to always trust in God and to work hard in school. In return, the children gave their father gifts that they had brought him including hygiene and food items. After an hour-long reunion, the family parted with hugs and the hope of meeting again soon. Yohane commended PF Malawi for organizing the trip saying, “You have afforded me the opportunity to meet with my children. I never expected to see them while here. May God bless your work.”
RWANDA | Home Harvest
Putting the finishing touches on the irrigation tube of a sack garden.
The Child’s Journey staff in Rwanda recently completed training to bring Home Harvest to the families that they serve. Home Harvest is our new livelihood initiative that provides families with the materials and training to grow their own supplemental food gardens. The program has been welcomed by the team as a way to increase food security and provide caregivers with skills that can be translated into additional income for the families. Through such efforts, families can be empowered to make strides towards economic self-sufficiency and live healthier lives.
TOGO | Audio and Visual Bibles
Caregivers in Togo gather around a Proclaimer® audio Bible to listen to scripture together.
The inability to read or access scripture in your heart language shouldn’t be a barrier to the Gospel, but it is for millions around the world. Last year, we partnered with our friends at Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) to launch The Listener’s Way (TLW) as a way to bring audio and visual Bibles into prisons, giving those in prison a new way to interact with God’s Word. In less than a year, TLW grew from three countries to 28 – praise God! Given this response, we met with FCBH again to discuss growing the partnership to include caregivers in The Child’s Journey. They agreed to increase their pledged amount of audio and visual Bibles and Togo became the first TCJ country to pilot scripture listening groups with caregivers. Initiatives such as these are key to expanding access to the Gospel and helping families grow together in their faith.
ZAMBIA | School Supplies
Children in Zambia receive new backpacks filled with school supplies.
With a primary provider absent, families face new challenges and daily hardship, leaving many children of prisoners in Zambia financially unable to afford basic school supplies. Your support ensures that your sponsored child in Zambia receives resources, tools and the support needed to thrive in school. Earlier this year, the field teams gathered school supplies and backpacks to create school kits that they distributed to children at community events and individual home visits. This quarter, the team in Zambia has distributed school kits to more than one hundred school-aged children in their program.
Interested in learning more or helping even more children? CLICK HERE.