A Tale of Two Child Sponsors

Post a Comment » Written on August 15th, 2014     
Filed under: Child Sponsorship

 by Katelyn Tresh

We have an opportunity to bless the children of the Democratic Republic of Congo in a very
impactful way. These children live in mud homes, walk miles to their
nearest water source, and experience death of loved ones due to PREVENTABLE illness on a regular basis.
Yet for more than 7,000 children there is new hope.

Our partnership with World Vision and the CEUM (Covenant Church of Congo) seeks to provide these children and their community with
clean water, health care, education, nutrition, and renewed hope for the future of their village. This is
made possible in part through child sponsors.

Dave & Diane Peterson from Naperville Covenant in Naperville, IL, and Sandra Gutknecht from Peninsula
Covenant in Redwood City, CA have graciously shared their sponsorship experience with us.
The Peterson’s had sponsored children for many years through other organizations, but when
their church held a Hope Sunday, and their daughter Denee decided to travel to DRCongo (video here) ,
they chose to sponsor 6 children through Covenant Kids Congo that day.
Mechaque, Jocelin, Zabwa, Falonne, Prisca, and Dorcas are now looking at a future with better education and more opportunities.
Through pictures, letters, and gifts, Dave & Diane have been blessed as well. They get to see
pictures of the children receiving mattresses, suitcases, school clothes, and even a baby pig
that one of the families was able to purchase because of the Christmas money that had been


Diane with her sponsored child in Gemena.

Diane remarks, “We have been blessed to have been born to a life with more than enough of
everything and [we] just think it is our responsibility to help others that don’t have what we do.”

Sandra Gutknecht also became a CKC sponsor during a Hope Sunday at her church. She
chose to sponsor 10 year old, Micheline, last February. This decision intensified the desire in
her to travel to Congo and get a taste of what life is really like for these children.
Sandra says, “I do not have children of my own, I never married, so these girls, although not
mine, are girls I can try to pour into, encourage and inspire. It is a way of investing in the future,
of giving hope and love to a child…”

A little while later, Sandra got the opportunity and the blessing to meet Micheline. She was
told by the World Vision staff not to pick up the children and to be very careful about how they
presented themselves around the children. This barrier was immediately broken when Sandra
arrived; “I stepped out of the van and around the side and she started running to me.  I dropped
to my knees and she threw herself into my arms.  I was stunned and speechless.  I looked at
the World Vision staff to see if it was ok to pick her up and they smiled at me and nodded.  I was not
prepared emotionally for this greeting.”

Oh my.  Face to face at last.

Sandra with Micheline.

Micheline, along with her family and friends, introduced Sandra to their life. They talked about
school and friends, and she received a doll and some crayons that Sandra had brought.
Micheline didn’t leave her lap the whole time that she was there. This was unexpected for
Sandra, but a clear representation of how her gifts and support had affected her life. It was a
hard goodbye. She clung to Sandra, crying, and would not let her go. Sandra told Micheline to
do well in school, and the two parted ways.

Looking back, Sandra says, “Congo is a hard place to stay alive. We spent 11 days in Karawa
at the CEUM hospital and there was death every day we were there, from things that are
prevented or treated in this country…and there is that little girl with her mom and dad and now I
have met her. It makes it all personal and real and I feel very connected to this faraway place.”

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