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Get Them Jesus and an Education

In my mind, I can still hear her cries of defeat and see the tears pouring down her face. I can see the “I am stupid” notes she had written on her school worksheets that day.  

My precious eight-year-old daughter was fighting to overcome dyscalculia – basically the math version of dyslexia – and we had no idea. It was breaking my heart to watch her feel so defeated and worthless for not being able to keep up with her classmates. 

As soon as we discovered her challenge, we pursued resources to help: tutors, new curriculum, online learning apps, teacher support, and even an Individualized Education Program. 

I’m humbled and thankful to live in a country with resources like this so that my daughter can thrive in her education. Yet I’m sad to know that a quarter of a billion children in this world don’t have that same opportunity. 

According to the UN’s Global Education Monitoring Report (GEMR)of the 385 million children living in extreme poverty, 258 million of them aren’t in school at all, and the other 127 million have virtually zero resources for special education. 

For example, when Forward Edge’s Nicaragua program, Villa Esperanza, rescued girls from a local garbage dumpsome came with learning disabilities, and all of them were years behind in school. And there were no special education programs in Nicaragua to help 

But that didn’t stop our staff from finding tutors and receiving specialized teams to help the Villa girls overcome their learning challenges. Each girl received a customized plan towards success. Without this level of support, they never wouldve been able to build a better future. 

The ability to go deeper with each child in our programs is one of the things I love most about Forward Edge. We may not be reaching millions of children like other child sponsorship programs, but the depth of investment we have with our children is unmatched. Our location staff mentor each child, and learn their unique gifts, challenges and circumstances to find the best route for them to thrive. There’s no one size fits all with Forward Edge. 

Poverty experts around the world agree that education is the most important factor in overcoming material poverty. 

Poverty experts around the world agree that education is the most important factor in overcoming material poverty. (Although, I would argue it is second to spiritual transformation through Jesus Christ.) 

Even just the ability to read makes a huge difference. According to GEMR171 million people could be lifted out of extreme poverty if all children left school with just basic reading skills. That’s equivalent to a 12% drop in the world total. 

Sometimes people ask me how Forward Edge practically carries out its mission statement, which is “to create opportunities for people to discover their true value and pursue God’s extraordinary purpose for their lives.” 

“We help vulnerable children get Jesus and an education.”

My answer is often: “We help vulnerable children get Jesus and an education.” Those are the two most important factors in changing their future. First they need to know that they matter, then they need to know they were made to matter. 

And these two things must go hand in hand. If we were to declare the Gospel to these children, and see their needs in this life, but do nothing to help themas James tells us, “what good is that?” (2:16 NIV). 

Conversely, just helping them get an education also falls short, which is why we work through local churches and focus on spiritual discipleship as a core piece in each of our programs.  

As CS Lewis puts it, “Education without values, as useful as that is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.” Knowledge without purpose is dangerous, and the only purpose that is truly good for mankind is God’s purpose. Our pursuit of knowledge and wisdom should always be in order to learn more of God and share more of Him with the world. 

This past year, my wife and I decided she would take on the noble task of homeschooling our children. This allowed her to weave Scripture into their learning and give more direct attention to help our daughter. 

It didn’t take long to see results. My daughter’s confidence in herself and love for learning has taken off. Not too long ago, after finishing a new addition and subtraction game, she looked up at her mother and shouted, “I love math!” We both had tears of joy in our eyes as my wife told me about it later. 

As a parent, there’s nothing more heartwarming than to watch your child overcome a challenge. It fills you with joy, pride, hope and love all at the same time.  

It makes me want to fight even harder for the children in our programs who are faced with much greater challenges than my daughter. I want to see them overcome. I want to see them thriving in confidence and purpose, because I know the result of that will be deep joy.  

That’s why we’ll keep doing whatever it takes to get them Jesus and an education.

community development

A New Vision for the Villa

The Road to Today “Imagine a young girl forced to grow up inside a garbage dump, exposed to extreme filth and severe malnutrition, at risk of physical abuse, rape, drug abuse, pregnancy – and even being sold into prostitution by her family for first access to incoming garbage.” These were

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boy's discipleship

Medardo’s Story

Villa Esperanza, Managua, Nicaragua My name is Medardo Sánchez. I am 19 years old and I am currently in the 4th year of high school. I want to tell you that before I met Villa Esperanza, I was thirteen years old and studying third grade of primary school. If I

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Transform a Child's Life Through Sponsorship

Habari (Hello), my name is Hajarah

  • location

    Uganda

  • 10 yrs. old

    02-16-2010

Entered the program: January 2019

Hajarah's mother is deceased and her father's whereabouts are unknown so she stays with her grandmother and six cousins. They live in a two-bedroom house, and Hajarah shares one of the rooms with her grandmother and two of her cousins. The family uses a charcoal and wood stove for cooking and water is drawn from a tap behind the house. Hajarah's grandmother raises chickens to support her large household.

Hajarah's cousins, Lydia and Linda, are both in the Light A Candle program with her.

Sponsorship Level What's this?

Three $38 sponsorships are needed to cover the complete holistic care of one child. Cover one, two, or three sponsorships.