|   Posted: January 10, 2023

Have you ever wondered how sponsorship impacts the life of not just one child but the lives of their parents and siblings as well?

From Crime to Faith: How Sponsorship Helped Lead a Family to Christ

Have you ever wondered how sponsorship impacts the life of not just one child but the lives of their parents and siblings as well?

Story and photos by Kevin Ouma
the family stands outside their home

Five-year-old Nabore lives in the scenic highlands of northern Kenya. Her name means “my cup is full,” or as her father, Paulo, says, “full of peace, full of blessings.” However, for many years, Nabore’s family struggled to meet their most basic needs.

How Hunger Can Lead to Crime

Nabore’s older sister, Mecca, remembers what life used to be like before her sister’s sponsorship.

“We only had one meal of maize porridge in the day,” Mecca says.

Desperate to feed their children, Nabore’s parents resorted to illegally brewing alcohol in their home and selling it locally in secret.

Hunger often drives desperation like this for families all over the world, making parents feel forced to choose between following the law and filling their children’s empty bellies.

“I was in a terrible place,” says Mbakiras, Nabore's mother. “We used to brew alcohol to earn enough to feed our children. Life was difficult; I felt conflicted and was living in fear of being arrested.”

Mbakiras had her first child 14 years ago when she was 16 years old and Paulo was 21. Neither completed their education, and both have struggled to find legitimate employment. Working as casual farm assistants, they earned only $1 per day, placing their family well below the extreme poverty line, which World Bank defines as $2.15 per person per day. This income was never enough to feed Nabore’s family.

Wanting to find an alternative to illegally brewing and selling alcohol, Mbakiras would go into the forest to collect firewood, selling it for $2 per bundle. This venture led to her sell firewood to the local Compassion child development center, where she was quickly identified as a vulnerable family and offered support.


Leaving Crime, Finding Christ

Soon after Nabore was registered with the center, the Compassion staff discovered Paulo and Mbakiras were making and selling alcohol illegally. The center staff immediately set up counseling to help them put the illegal activity behind them, encouraging them to accept support.

Paulo identifies the turning point in their lives as the day Nabore was registered with the Compassion center.

“After Nabore was registered with the center, it was like light filled our home,” Paulo says emotionally. “The support and training changed our lives.”

Through the counseling, Paulo and Mbakiras heard about Jesus and were astounded by the gospel message. “We did not know God, but now we do,” says Paulo. “We received powerful teachings that enabled us to understand Christ and the power of the cross. We gave our lives to Jesus and now we serve Him.”

It wasn’t just Nabore’s parents who felt the impact of this transition. Mecca also noticed the change in both her mother and father, saying, “I give God thanks that, through the Compassion project, my mum has stopped brewing, and we are eating well. I am also happy that my dad reads the Bible to us and prays for us every day.”

the family sits in their home

Flourishing Through Farming

In answer to Paulo’s prayers, the family was given a new opportunity for income generation. The Compassion center started a farming project for parents, inviting Nabore’s parents and 45 others to participate.

“We introduced vegetable farming so that families can grow enough food to eat and also to sell,” says Jonathan, the center director.

The parents learn together at the center, taking seeds and fertilizer home to implement the techniques. Training like this from Compassion’s centers is often all families need to begin generating sustainable income. Mbakiras and Paulo took to farming with great enthusiasm and stopped brewing.

Their first harvest was successful, earning them $200. As a result of this work, many doors have opened for Nabore’s family.

“Our lives have completely changed,” says Mbakiras. “My children have food and clothes — I even bought them school uniforms and have improved their nutrition.”

Mbakiras is hopeful for a better future for her children.

“I want my children to have a much better education,” she says. “As long as God enables me, this is what I wish for them.”

Even as national COVID-19 restrictions impacted families everywhere, local Compassion centers like the one in Nabore’s region ensured families were provided for.

“We gave cash to those who had lost jobs, and also to the farmers who suffered a loss of income,” Jonathan says.

the family lay on a blanket

How Nabore’s Father Plans to Follow the Lord

Paulo sees the Lord's provision through every part of their story. Holding a Bible, he sits next to Mbakiras.

“You are my God. I will exalt you, I will praise your name, for you have done wonderful things,” Paulo reads.

These are the words of a father who, despite all his suffering and struggle, has chosen to place his trust in the steadfast love of God.

“Before knowing God, we were lost,” he says, closing his Bible. “Then God worked in our lives through the center, and that's when we saw the light of God and gave our lives to him. I and my house will serve the Lord all our days.”

Share the Light
Do you want to give families like Nabore’s the chance to develop their faith in Christ? Sponsor a child with Compassion today!