The old adage, “seeing is believing” took on a new meaning for me on a recent trip to Kenya and Uganda. I was there with the goal of learning more about Childcare Worldwide’s programs and the people that we serve, yet, it was seeing the children that left the biggest impression on me. Many people say that they had not seen true poverty until they visited the developing world. While this is true in a physical sense, I have also never seen life transformation in the same way as I saw it in Africa. For me, the best parts of the trip were my visits to our Life Centers.
Life Centers are at the epicenter of the work that Childcare Worldwide does globally. A Life Center is a local church in the community of sponsored children that meets every Saturday for three hours. In this time, the kids are taught Bible story lessons, memorize scripture, spend time in prayer, sing and dance in worship, play with their friends, and share food together. My team and I were invited to participate in a number of Life Centers during our visit. In each one, I could see the joy on the faces of the kids. They were excited to learn and have fun, but more than that, I could also see a difference in the way they responded to the gospel being shared. They had the hope of Jesus Christ in their lives!
During my visits, I had the opportunity to speak to many of the children and teachers and heard amazing stories of transformation. One teacher shared a story with me that had a particularly strong impact. She spoke of a child who began to attend the Life Center after being enrolled in our sponsorship program. He came from a non-Christian family and had never heard the good news of Jesus before. After attending the Life Center for a few months, he began teaching the Bible stories, songs, and verses to his siblings. Eventually, his parents became curious and listened to what he had to say. Today, that family is involved in their local church and the whole family has accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior all thanks to the transformation that began in one child at one Life Center!
This story is just one example of why we believe Life Centers are so important and why we are excited to continue to add more Life Centers to our ministry. True life transformation for a child starts by exposing them to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I can think of no better place for this to occur than at a Life Center!