When Cheryl Jewett of Orchard Hill Church of Cedar Falls, Iowa, found out her sponsored child had died, she grieved. She also learned something about the “very real and desperate need” of child sponsorship.
Here is her letter to her pastor about her Food for the Hungry (FH) sponsorship experience, which she gave us permission to run:
It was me who told you a little about the passing of the first child I sponsored in Mozambique. You asked me to email you and tell you more of the story. My first little boy was Pedro. I was able to sponsor him from July 2011 until his death July 27, 2013.
We exchanged letters and Food for the Hungry provided updates about needs in his community. It was neat that Pedro told me about people from Orchard visiting his community!
In one of the child updates that Food for the Hungry sent, I was informed that Pedro had been sick with malaria, but that he was getting better. It seemed through the next couple of letters that he was doing okay.
Then in July, I received a phone call from someone at Food for the Hungry. She told me they had received news that Pedro died on July 27 from anemia after spending quite some time being cared for at a hospital.
I remember that we were just silent. I could feel her sadness, and I’m sure she felt my sorrow. I remember thinking how special it was that God brought together two strangers in the U.S. to celebrate and share the memory of this little boy across the world whom neither of us would ever meet.
If you ever have people who wonder or have questions about the integrity of Food for the Hungry or are hesitant to get involved, please share Pedro’s story. I think Pedro’s death made me more aware of these children’s very real and desperate need for help.
I got to experience firsthand how devoted this organization is to carrying out Christ’s mission. After Pedro died, Food for the Hungry did not quickly try to get me to sponsor another child. In fact, if they suggested it, I probably would have. But in hindsight, I appreciated how they had in place a way to send a sympathy card to the family, and they efficiently discontinued my direct payments.
In October, when Orchard offered the opportunity to sponsor a child through Food for the Hungry again, I did not hesitate. In fact, I couldn’t resist picking up two packets. I look forward to getting to know Fatima and Alberto and being able to help their communities. I also thank Orchard for sharing Jesus and reaching out to the different communities it serves.
We thank Cheryl and all child sponsors who are helping to change the lives of children all over the world. If you haven’t already, please consider becoming a child sponsor or inviting your church to partner with FH, like Orchard Hill Church. You’ll show a child the love of Christ and help put that child on a path out of poverty.