My family started child sponsorship at the Children's Shelter of Cebu in 2006. When we decided to give through the Foster Friends program, we had no idea how much we would get back.
Our boys were five, seven and 10 years old when we were assigned a girl named Adelyn at the shelter. She became a bigger part of our lives than we could have imagined! We loved every update on how she was progressing and would gather around if a card came from her, even bringing them with us to show extended family. We hung her picture up with the pictures of our own children. Everyone in our family cared about and prayed for Adelyn.
It was a day of celebration when we learned Adelyn was being adopted. She had been at the shelter for 9 years hoping and waiting for that day. And, just a little over a month later, we went to the CSC banquet in Minnesota. I couldn't believe it when I walked in and the first person I saw was Adelyn. Our whole family got to meet her, her sisters and her parents.
We couldn't have asked for the kind of connection we got with Adelyn, but we are so thankful to have it. We are also excited to be supporting another child at CSC. I know it has made all of us better to be a part of Foster Friends at CSC!
Mike & Amanda Ryan
Foster Friend Supporters
I had an opportunity to personally see the Children of Hope School in action. I was greatly impressed by the quality of the teachers and their love and concern for the children under their care. The school has a beautiful building and grounds that make it a special place for children who have known only poverty.
Two years later, we went back to Cebu to adopt our children and, again, I was amazed at the difference CHS was making in the lives of kids. But it was not until we returned home and enrolled our children into public and Christian schools back in the States that I realized how great an impact the Children of Hope School in Cebu had made on their lives. All five of them were able to transition immediately into their respective grade levels. We were amazed at how quickly they adapted to their new academic environment.
Since adopted children face many and varied adjustments, it is truly a blessing from God when they are well prepared educationally. Our children still talk and reminisce about their teachers in Cebu and the things that they learned while there. It brings a smile to their faces and thanksgiving to our hearts whenever we think of the Children of Hope School.
My wife Shana and I visited CSC 12 years ago and our lives haven’t been the same. We wholeheartedly support everything that is done at CSC. We've supported it with our time, talent and treasure (and wish we had more treasure to share with the ministry). What wonderful leadership God has put in place at CSC both on the board and the staff.
Senior Director, Advancement Services
Northwestern College and Northwestern Media
Vice President, Northwestern Foundation
CSC will always be my home... all I have ever received from CSC are the visible manifestations of God’s love
When I was a child, the most important people I had were my five siblings. I had to repeat first grade three times and eventually stay home, because I needed to stay home and take care of my little brothers and sister. My parents fought a lot. I didn’t want my brothers and sister to be frightened, so I usually shouted at my parents, telling them to quiet down, and both of them would leave the house in different directions. One time neither of them came back for two days. I thought they left us, so I had to work harder; I had to find food for my siblings and take care of them at the same time.
One night when I arrived home from the market, I realized that my siblings were not in their beds where I had left them, and I could not find them anywhere in the house. Then I saw my mother in the corner, crying hard. When I saw her crying, my knees weakened and I fell on them and started crying too. I understood that my father had left us, with my other siblings. I felt like I had lost everything. I remember feeling hopeless and that nothing could ever revive me again. My mother came to me and hugged me as if she would never let me go. I hugged her back, telling her that I wouldn’t ever leave her.
Several days later I learned that my mother was pregnant. We were so worried about how to feed ourselves and a new baby. We wandered around the city for days, sleeping on sidewalks with empty stomachs. Then my mom decided to ask her friends if we could stay with them for a week, and they gladly accepted us in their warm house.
One night as I was sleeping, I heard my mother groaning in pain, so I stood up and checked on her. When she fell back to sleep, I went to the window and looked outside. Then I saw a very bright and beautiful shining star. It reminded me of a story I had heard of a baby boy who was born once upon a time. There was also a bright star that was over him. Somehow that made me pray my first prayer, asking Someone Great out there to take care of the three of us.
After I prayed I heard my mother crying in pain. She told me that she was about to give birth, so I hurried downstairs to call for help. It took me a while to come back with someone to help us, which made me very scared. After an hour my mother gave birth to a healthy child. I took the baby boy into my little arms and named him Steven.
To make the story short, my mother left both of us in an orphanage, and I felt betrayed but I still missed her and loved her. That caused me at first to be very defensive of my brother and of myself and afraid of the people around us. All kinds of negative thoughts filled my mind, like insecurity and failure because I failed to hold my family together.
But the Lord Jesus Christ was so good to me that he proved to me that all of the things that I had thought in my mind were wrong. When I was nine years old, I accepted Him as my Savior, and He released me from those feelings of insecurity and emptiness. He has given me a bright hope, the assurance that He has come into my heart and has promised to live there forever.
I can visibly see His blessing to me and my brother in that orphanage. The staff and workers loved us as their own family, provided everything we needed, and protected us from evil. They were dedicated servants of God and were channels of God’s love to all of us at the Children’s Shelter of Cebu. CSC will always be my home. I lived there for ten years and all I ever received from CSC are the visible manifestations of God’s love. I can never deny that I had experienced some struggles in living at CSC; however, just like every family, God uses struggles to shape each and every member of the family.
God also extended his blessings towards my studies; He gave me wisdom and made me go back to school at the level that was exactly right for my age. It didn’t even seem like I had missed three years of schooling. He also blessed my brother and me, when a family adopted Steven in 2004. He now lives in Minnesota. Several years ago, a very loving couple decided to sponsor me and my desire to study in the Western World. I came to Canada to study at Trinity Western University. Each day is a gift from my sponsors (who I also consider as my parents), from my CSC family (who are all over the world), and most especially from God. God has blessed my life so amazingly that if I could share to you all the things He has done for me, I’m sure it would take me a lifetime and I still wouldn’t be finished.
Former CSC Resident
I love the ministry of CSC because they take seriously God's call to "rescue those who are being taken away to death" (Prov. 24:11) - rescuing the orphaned and abandoned children of Cebu and surrounding areas. CSC is a God-glorifying, Christ-centered, child-loving, needs-meeting, life-sustaining, integrity-laden ministry!
Rev. Craig Sturm
Mars Hill Church, Seattle WA