Pastor Jorge Pinto (center) says before his church's partnership with Compassion, it lacked the resources to help the children of its community. Now, the church runs a school and an after-school program through the support
Every morning, Pastor Jorge Pinto walks the same path to his church in El Bosque, a crowded, impoverished community in northern Tegucigalpa. Every morning, he passes the same children, tugging at his starched white shirt, begging for money. Some mornings he offers them a few coins, other mornings, a bit of bread. But what he really wants to offer them is hope to rescue them from the poverty he himself knew as a child.
"When I was a boy, a school for poor children gave me its hand," says Pastor Pinto. "For seven years, I was in that school. And I am sure that time in my life was what God used so I could understand what the poor children of our community feel. I know what it feels like to be hungry, to not have my parents, and to have someone show mercy on me. God planted this desire in my heart."
BRIDGING THE GAP
For more than 15 years, Pastor Pinto prayed for a way to bridge the gap between his congregation and those children he passed on his way to work each morning. His church was already stretched thin, with few resources for existing ministries. But Pastor Pinto believed that God wanted them to do more.
In the midst of his research for a solution to his church's lack of resources, he discovered that Compassion International was looking for a church partner in El Bosque. The more he read about Compassion's holistic child development model, the more he knew he had found his solution. Partnering with Compassion would be a great way to provide for the physical needs of the children of El Bosque, while also teaching them about the love of Christ.
In 2006, the Iglesia Evangé¬©ca de Santidad Amor y Vida Church opened the CatalinaStudent Center(HO-261). In just over a year, the center has grown to assist more than 200 children, and the church has nearly doubled in size, with many of its more than 500 members Compassion-assisted families.
"Compassion is an answer from God," says Pastor Pinto. "It has allowed us to do more things than we could do alone."
A MISSIONARY VISION
Pastor Pinto says the financial support of Compassion has enabled his church to broaden its reach into neighboring communities. "We have a missionary vision," he explains. "Thanks to God, Compassion, too, has a vision of moving forward and having more and more children. Our prayer is to plant more churches and have those churches partner with Compassion, too. I believe that by doing this, we will mark the next generation as one belonging to the Lord."
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