|   Posted: February 24, 2022

Mylene was ecstatic when she found out her son, Jasper, had a sponsor. But when she learned that many children exchange letters with their sponsors, her heart sank. There was one problem: Jasper was born without arms.

Don’t worry, Mama. I can do this.

Mylene was ecstatic when she found out her son, Jasper, had a sponsor. But when she learned that many children exchange letters with their sponsors, her heart sank. There was one problem: Jasper was born without arms.

Jasper and his mother

Mylene was ecstatic when she found out that her son, Jasper, would be enrolled in the Child Sponsorship Program. Her neighbors had told her how much Compassion’s local church partner, the Philippine Good News Church, is genuinely and effectively helping children in their community — how the children are regularly checked by a doctor and dentist, how they are being taught to read and write at an early age, and how they are receiving gifts and letters from a sponsor who lives in another country.

When Mylene learned her 2-year-old boy would communicate with his sponsor, she had one significant concern: Jasper was born without arms. When she gave birth to Jasper on Jan. 4, 2016, at a local public hospital, she had no idea about her baby's condition until the moment she met him.

“I was surprised to see that my baby had two missing arms,” she said. “Local Filipino folks convinced me that that was my son’s fate and that he was conceived that way, but having met people and doctors at the project center, I know that it was probably due to my own health and physical condition when I was pregnant.”

Jasper’s father is a fisherman. He would be at sea for a week and get a catch worth a meager USD $20 on average — not enough to feed the couple's four boys. The family lives in one of the poorest communities in Lucena City, Philippines, where many struggle to survive.

“Residents in this community are known not only for harboring criminals and drug users but also for mothers who lack proper nutrition, medical care and hygiene while pregnant,” said Project Director Reynesto Garcia.

To help meet the community's need, the Good News Church registers some of the most vulnerable children into the Child Sponsorship Program, many of whom are severely malnourished.

With sponsorship starting at age 1, young children like Jasper are asked to draw or scribble on a specially designed letter template to encourage them to communicate with their sponsor as soon as they are able.

When Mylene helped little Jasper hold a crayon with his toes and draw a circle for the very first time, the brave boy said, “Don’t worry, Mama. I can do this.”

Jasper colors a picture

And he did.

The first drawing he ever completed using his toes was for his sponsor. Since then, Jasper has used his crayons on coloring books. He can draw shapes on paper and even make scribbles on the walls. He is now learning to write his name. Watching his progress, Mylene realized her son's incredible potential.

“I was worried about how he would face life and how he could get a job someday,” she said. “I am confident for his future now that he is a sponsored child. I have hope that of my four boys, Jasper is the one with a chance to go and finish college someday.”

Mylene and Reynesto are happy that despite his missing limbs, Jasper can hold his own. He is comfortable being with other children around the neighborhood and the child development center and is confident when speaking with adults. He also doesn’t shy away from playing tag with friends. People are delightfully surprised when Jasper even shows up on the basketball court with a skateboard.

“He began to skateboard, and onlookers literally clapped their hands for him,” said Mylene, giggling.

Jasper and his mother

“He is like any other boy you see around, but not having arms makes him very special. We are glad to have him in our care, and we will do our best to guide him, empower him and teach him about God so that he becomes the person that he was meant to be," said Reynesto. “We will help him develop skills using his feet and mouth so that he will be employable and can take care of himself someday. We will also show him God’s love so that he will learn his true value in the eyes of God.”

Mylene couldn’t be more grateful for the care her son is receiving at the child development center. She believes it is one of the reasons her young boy has developed such independence at only four years old.

“In the last two years, my son has demonstrated so much improvement and self-confidence,” said Mylene. “I am not worried for him at all, especially now that he is being cared for at the project.”

Learn more about how you can help mothers like Mylene have access to pre-and-post-natal care.