Education Ethiopia Healthcare Orphan Sponsorship RunFAR Sustainability Uganda Zambia
Education Ethiopia Healthcare Orphan Sponsorship RunFAR Sustainability Uganda Zambia
As we look forward to the New Year, we are delighted to share the Covenant Mercies 2016 Impact Infographic. Thank you to our sponsors, donors, volunteers, and partners around the world who are making this work possible. We are grateful for your prayers, service, and generosity.
2016 Covenant Mercies Impact Facts:
We can’t stop smiling from our latest ministry video! Click below to watch Joyful: 2016, and help us spread the word about Covenant Mercies by sharing this video with your friends!
This holiday season, will you consider helping us reach our year-end goal by making a tax-deductible gift to Covenant Mercies? A gift of any amount will help us continue to expand our programs and provide our children with quality education and healthcare opportunities. Click here to donate.
As a teenager she ran away, turning from her family and the Sponsorship Program. In our latest ministry video, meet Mesay from Ethiopia, and learn how God used the dedication of a Covenant Mercies Program Coordinator to soften her heart and bring her home. Thank you to our Covenant Mercies sponsors, who make it possible for children like Mesay to receive personal care and steadfast, compassionate mentorship.
As 2015 comes to a close, we are delighted to share what the prayers and generosity of our partners around the world have accomplished this year. We are committed to transparency, accountability, and integrity as we steward the resources entrusted to us for our sponsored children, to the glory of God. This is the Covenant Mercies 2015 Impact Infographic. We hope these highlights of the year are a source of encouragement to you.
2015 Covenant Mercies Impact Facts:
This August, Executive Director Doug Hayes traveled with a film crew to Uganda, Zambia, and Ethiopia. As they visited Covenant Mercies’ program areas, they recorded interviews with our sponsored children, in-country staff, and program graduates. Click below to view this brand new ministry video.
Special thanks to studio428films and Jay Walker Studio for making this project possible. We look forward to sharing more footage and stories of hope in the coming months! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional news and ministry updates.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).
Some stories are encouraging precisely because, at other points in the storyline, they weren’t so encouraging at all. Such is the case with Mesay, a sixteen year-old girl in Covenant Mercies’ program in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (pictured above with Program Coordinator, Hilina Atlabachew).
About this time last year, Mesay’s sponsors contacted us to inquire about her profile update, and ask how they could pray for her. It was a timely request. At that moment, Mesay was in the midst of a great struggle. After a major fight with her mother, Mesay had dropped out of school and turned to living on the streets with a group of friends. While such behavior would result in the discontinuation of her sponsorship if it persisted, we hoped that Mesay might still be guided back onto the right path. Hilina Atlabachew, Covenant Mercies Program Coordinator in Addis, tried in vain to counsel Mesay on multiple occasions. We asked Mesay’s sponsors to pray, especially when we learned that Hilina had another meeting scheduled.
The meeting did not begin well. Mesay came to the meeting with the intention of telling Hilina she would not return to school, she would not move back in with her mother, and she would be perfectly happy to discontinue her sponsorship and live on the street with her friends. After encountering such strong resistance in the first half of their meeting, Hilina decided to pray with Mesay. Hilina concluded her prayer and began to discuss the same issues again. Miraculously, it was as if Hilina was talking to an entirely different person. God had softened Mesay’s heart. By the conclusion of the meeting, Mesay wrote goals about reconciling with her mother, returning to school, and saying goodbye permanently to her friends on the street.
It has now been more than nine months since that meeting. The transformation in Mesay’s heart has stood the test of time. Her relationships with her mother and siblings are strong. She is enrolled in school for both academics and vocational studies, where she is learning to be a hairstylist. She has stayed away from the temptations of the street. She is now attending church regularly, is taking a discipleship class, and professes faith in Christ. Through the faithful, patient, and prayerful support of her Covenant Mercies sponsors combined with Hilina’s persevering, loving counsel, the Lord has transformed Mesay’s life.
David Sacks’ connection with Covenant Mercies began in January 2003, when he providentially visited my home church (and CM’s founding church, Covenant Fellowship) on the Sunday I was introducing our Orphan Sponsorship Program for the very first time. David and I had been friends since we were schoolboys, but he was living in New York at the time and I was surprised to see him that Sunday morning. He approached me after the service, signed up to sponsor a child, and told me he wanted to travel to Uganda with me (at his own expense) to give us the quality photos we needed to promote our cause. David was already a world class photographer by then, and I’m no dummy. Within three months we were on a plane bound for Uganda together.
As we’d talk in the evenings on that April 2003 trip, I can vividly recall David’s excitement about the images he was capturing. Though we couldn’t see them yet (this was still a year prior to his conversion to digital equipment), David believed he was capturing something unique. Perhaps exhibit-worthy. Perhaps of value beyond the brochure and web applications we’d originally had in mind. As we talked and imagined what might lie ahead, the seed was planted for an event that would ultimately become a treasured fundraising tradition in Covenant Mercies, Portraits of Hope.
In all, David’s five trips to Africa would lead to six Portraits of Hope exhibits and more than $300,000 raised toward our mission, ultimately culminating in the 2012 publication of True Africa, a photo book comprised exclusively of our Portraits of Hope images. We were hoping to return to Africa together later this year, but it was not to be. On Friday evening, April 12th, David went home to be with the Lord after a 1 ½ year battle with cancer. He was two months shy of his 45th birthday.
David is survived by his beloved wife Angie and their four young children, and I’d like to ask everyone who loves Covenant Mercies to pray for this dear family. They are surrounded by an abundance of love and support, but no amount of support can take away the sorrow they feel right now. Less than an hour before David took his last breath on this earth, I had the unspeakable privilege of telling him that in addition to his own children, his legacy includes the thousands of children whose lives he has touched through his generosity toward Covenant Mercies. Whatever the Lord does through the lives of those children will accrue toward his reward. Though he has left us too soon, how sweet it is to know that he’s receiving that reward now.
For several years David and I had a running joke about his desire to be given an African name. I told him I couldn’t allow it because I’d worked hard for mine, performing numerous feats of African-ness like eating bugs, taking an authentic African bath, etc. Though David was never averse to performing such feats himself, I insisted that it would take him more than a couple of trips to earn his name. On our fifth trip in 2009, I finally relented and informed him that he had earned his name. After polling our friends in Uganda, Ethiopia, and Zambia for their suggestions, I finally settled on the name that fit him best. We decided to call him Mapalo, which means “blessing.”
David Sacks was indeed a blessing. And though he is no longer with us, the blessing of his life lives on and will never be forgotten.
Many large African cities are faced with the challenge of street children. When families are decimated children lose hope for their future, and they often end up on the street begging and stealing. The streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia are replete with examples of this tragic loss of childhood’s innocence and opportunity.
Most children living on the streets have relatives nearby who might be minimally capable of putting a roof over their heads. However, antisocial behaviors learned on the streets aren’t easily broken, and this can make the task of reconnecting children with their families quite challenging. Such was the case with a young boy in our program named Bereket. After years of fending for himself on the street Bereket was befriended by Tesfaye Melaku, our Program Coordinator in Addis Ababa (whom we introduced in last year’s Sponsorship Program Update.) Tesfaye was quickly able to find a relative willing to take Bereket in, so we assigned him a sponsor and started supporting him in the context of his extended family.
However, things didn’t go well at first. Instead of going to school, Bereket returned to his friends on the street. He stole from his family and soon wore out his welcome. With no other relatives willing to take him in, Bereket was back on the street again. But Tesfaye continued visiting him regularly. He found a family in our program who agreed to include Bereket in their meals, then set out prayerfully to find him another home.
In time, Tesfaye found a guardian in our program who was willing to give Bereket another chance. The grandmother of a young girl named Meskerem agreed to take him in, as long as he would receive the same nutritional, medical, and educational support her granddaughter was receiving. This represented a wonderful opportunity for Bereket. He now had a chance to claim a different kind of life; far from the area of town where he might be tempted to rejoin his old friends on the street.
As of this writing, Bereket has lived for almost a year in his new home. He has adjusted well to family life, and developed a genuine love for his guardian and young foster sister. He has made friends in his new neighborhood, including some older boys (also sponsored in our program) who have been a positive influence on him.
Bereket has made a good educational adjustment as well, despite the fact that Tesfaye needed to convince the school administration to accept a 13 year-old who had never attended school. Bereket’s academic aptitude appears to be strong, and he finished his first year ranked near the middle of his class. He is in Grade Two this year, and we are looking for ways to provide extra tutoring to help him catch up with other students his age.
Bereket is learning that we serve a God of second chances. In one way or another, this is the story of every child in our program. We pray that all our children will make the most of this opportunity for a second chance at childhood, and we are grateful for each and every sponsor whose generosity is making it possible.