In the meantime, I thought I'd do what I could to share some ways you could help the least of these. All of the opportunities below give you the possibility of helping to rescue a child - from poverty, from human trafficking, and from invisibility. They are different in nature; some focus on education, others on actual physical rescue, some care for orphans and those abandoned by society, but all of them proclaim the love of Jesus to these precious children.
If you could change one child's life, would you do it?
Here are just a few opportunities I've found to help you put your money & time where your mouth is.
1) Sponsor a child through Compassion International - I've blogged for Compassion, and so have written about them often. For $38 a month, you can provide a child with education, medical attention, food assistance, clean water, vocational training for them (and, in many cases, for their parents), and, most importantly, love. Compassion partners with local churches and helps to empower the local community to support their own. Compassion also offers opportunities to support pregnant mothers and mothers of newborns, disaster relief, and university education & leadership development for young adults.
2) Provide children and young adults in Nicaragua with an education through Educate Nica - a ministry that I learned about from a college friend who lives in Nica as a missionary and has partnered with this organization. Since education is not free there - students have to pay for tuition, books & supplies, and uniforms - Educate Nica pairs sponsors with children in the elementary/secondary school (for $25 a month), with young adults going to trade school ($70 a month), or with young adults who want to attend university ($100 per month). 100% of donations go directly to the students, and sponsorship also allows the local churches to work to meet the physical needs of the student (medicine, shelter, food) as well.
3) Support Voices 4 the Voiceless - a ministry that cares for orphans around the world. They specifically are supporting the Sangaalo Baby Cottage in Uganda and other ministries to orphans in Uganda. This small ministry, run by only 4 women at the moment, is working to love those who have been abandoned and are alone in the world. One of their small projects right now is making handmade dolls that you can "adopt" and that will be taken to Uganda and given to the girls in the orphanage. I just "adopted" one - when you do so, you can name the doll, and the child gets a birth certificate with their doll's information. Imagine being all alone in the world with little that is truly yours, being given a special doll made and named just for you. :-)
4) Support Rahab's Rope - a ministry dedicated to the girls and women caught in the sex trade in India. They go into the brothels and minister to the women there; they have rescued over 1200 women from human trafficking there. They provide shelter, food, vocational training, and psychological and spiritual nurturing to women who have been abused and rejected as outcasts. I first learned about this ministry when a friend from college was on the World Race (a 12-country, 11 month mission trip) and she worked with Rahab's Rope while in India. If you can't go to India and serve alongside these women, you can buy jewelry and other products made by the women who pass through the shelters to help support them financially.
5) Support Touch A Life Foundation - they work to rescue children from human trafficking and modern-day slavery in Ghana, Vietnam, and Cambodia. They operate shelters, long-term care (in Ghana), and physically work to rescue children who are being exploited, abused, and abandoned.
6) Sponsor a child through Gospel For Asia's Bridge of Hope Ministry - for only $35 a month, you can help provide a child in Asia with education, a daily meal, medical care, and the opportunity to get to know Jesus and His love for them. They also send 100% of the donations directly to the local ministry to help that particular child.
These are just a few, small ways that we can minister to the least of these. What could you do to change one life? What would you be willing to sacrifice for the least of these?