A pastor witnesses the power of sponsorship on a trip to the Dominican Republic.
Jason Warman, pastor of Coastline Church in Venice, Florida, had a dream — to lead families in his church on a OneChild Discovery Trip to the Dominican Republic.
“Our church has sponsored children at the Rescatando a los Ninos Hope Center in San Francisco, Dominican Republic, since 2016,” says Jason. “I wanted people to be able to meet the children they sponsor and see the Hope Center firsthand.”
In March 2020, his dream became a reality.
Jason, along with a team from his church, had the opportunity to visit the kids living in poverty and Child Champions they have been praying for and supporting. “They hadn’t been visited by a partner church in years. When we got there, you could feel their excitement and joy!”
Jason was impressed with the Child Champions. “They are some of the best people I’ve ever met,” he says. “When you visit a Hope Center, you walk away with family.”
He also saw how much the Hope Center means to the community, and how much it helps children. “Without a doubt, we witnessed the hopelessness of poverty,” says Jason. “It makes you realize the power of a Hope Center in a community where kids feel as if there are no options for them.”
The trip was also eye-opening for Jason’s wife, Heidi. “I learned how grateful the kids are,” she says. “The smallest things make them smile. It was great to see how the Child Champions and kids do life together. As sponsors, we’re part of that!”
Heidi discovered that the kids aren’t looking for perfection — they’re looking for a connection. “Just us being present was special for them,” she says. “We worshipped together, played sports, and enjoyed crafts. But it wasn’t what we did. It was about being there.”
The team felt an instant bond with the children. “Although we live in different countries and don’t speak the same language, we can come together through the heart of Jesus,” Heidi says. “You could feel Jesus among us. There was freedom.”
Jason and Heidi were also overjoyed to meet Saori, the girl they’ve been sponsoring since 2016. “It was indescribable,” says Jason. “Our family corresponds with her and prays for her and her family every night. We ask God to watch over her, keep her healthy, keep her family safe and provide for their needs. One of the most special moments of my life was sitting outside of Saori’s home and getting to meet her and her family. In many ways, her family is a part of our family.”
Meeting Saori and visiting the Hope Center allowed Jason to see how sponsorship empowers kids and churches. “I love sponsoring kids through OneChild,” he says. “One of the reasons is that Hope Centers are hosted at local churches. Being able to practically help a child while also empowering a church to reach people means everything to me.”
“Being able to practically help a child while also empowering a church to reach people means everything to me.”
After a meaningful trip, the team returned home.
Today, Jason and Heidi know their lives will never be the same. “We came back with a stronger desire to partner,” says Jason. “While global poverty can feel overwhelming, we realize that we can and should make a difference. These are people with vision. When we stand with them, they can make an impact. They can turn a city around!”
“I appreciate OneChild,” Jason says. “We have the heart to help but wouldn’t know how. OneChild has a strong game plan. They’ve laid out a process that makes it easy to meet needs.”
As soon as the Warmans got home, they started planning their next Discovery Trip with OneChild. Now they’re also searching for ways to help Americans during the pandemic, as well as families across the globe. They understand that although most kids in OneChild’s program aren’t becoming sick from COVID-19, many are suffering from hunger since their parents can’t work.
Jason challenges OneChild sponsors to remain faithful. “In these difficult moments, many people tend to tighten up,” he says. “But when you think generously, God has a way of expanding your world and bringing hope.”
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