It has been almost one year since we began seeking sponsors for orphans and uncared-for children in Myanmar. That was the start of Orphan’s Tear. Since then we’ve also adopted orphanages in Tanzania, India, Pakistan, and recently, Sri Lanka. God has certainly proven Himself to be the “Father to the fatherless,” just as He has promised in Scripture, and He has done it through putting His love in you. As of today, 428 children have found sponsors. Praise God!
As we look back over the past year, we can only give praise to God for what He has done—and for what you have done by listening to Him. When we consider what we have done (here in the office) we feel pretty good about it too, although we’ve certainly learned some things along the way.
If I had the chance to start over, there is one primary thing that I would have done differently—I would have set the monthly sponsorship amount a little bit higher. When we originally asked a few orphanage directors in Myanmar how much per month it took to take care of a child’s basic needs, they certainly estimated on the conservative side, probably not wanting to say anything that might hinder us from helping them.
Last month, however, we visited all the orphanages that we help in Myanmar. I received continual thanks from the orphanage directors and children. They really appreciate the help you provide through Orphan’s Tear. And the children are full of joy. They have enough food. Their clothing seemed better than I remember. All of them are able to go to school because we send them money for their school fees. Yet I couldn’t help noticing their poverty. Our assistance is a big help to them, but they just get by. I also learned that the price of rice has increased 40% in the past year due to government policies.
And that is not all. We sent all the orphanages some extra help at Christmas from special gifts that we received, and most of the orphanage directors wrote and told us that they bought blankets or warm clothing for the children (as it is cool this time of year where they live). And in October and November when I traveled in India and Pakistan to visit the orphanages that we help there, orphanage directors all gently told me that $15 each month is barely enough—or just not enough—to provide the quality of care they long to provide, which is still a level of extreme poverty by our standards.
All this being so, we’ve decided that beginning February 1st (just ten days from now), the monthly sponsorship amount will increase to $20 for all children sponsored after February 1st. Let me make this very clear before anyone misunderstands, that we are not increasing the monthly sponsorship amount for any children already sponsored, or who are sponsored between now and February 1. (We don’t want anyone to think, especially recent sponsors, that we are playing a game of “bait and switch.”) And I want every sponsor to understand that the reason behind this increase is so the children can receive better care. That is it. I really believe that we must do this if we want to honor the Lord in showing His love to the thousands of orphans around the world who are destined to be sponsored through Orphan’s Tear in the years ahead.
That being said, if you would like to voluntarily increase your monthly sponsorship gift from $15 to $20, that would be great. All you have to do is let us know (if you participate in our automatic withdrawal program), or increase your regular gift. ) As you know, your gifts benefit all the children in the orphanage in which your sponsored child lives, so an increase for one child benefits all the children. A 33% increase in monthly support would be a huge blessing for any of the orphanages we help.
As previously, we pledge that not more than 10% of your gifts will be used for administrative costs. Something we’ve also learned over the past year is that the administration is a massive undertaking, of which Charity (my oldest daughter) does most of the work. Praise God that the upgraded and more automated Orphan’s Tear website will save us some time and expense this year. (The new site should be functional in March.) When you enroll in our automatic withdrawal program, that also cuts down on our administrative costs. Allowing us to communicate by e-mail rather than snail-mail also helps.
I’m also happy to report that each month Orphan’s Tear generally receives special gifts, and we always use that money to meet special needs that arise among the orphanages or simply spread it around to all the orphanages. We don’t feel like we can do too much! Last month we were enabled to help Mercy Children’s Home purchase a permanent home to house fifteen precious children. They are being raised by a handicapped Christian widow whose husband died on the mission field of Thailand.
As always, thank you for showing your love for Jesus by caring for some of “the least of these,” His little brothers and sisters.
For the children,