Our Own Home staff residence
Significant progress is made one step at a time
November 1, 2017
Small orphan girl being held by big sister
Purpose is what gives life meaning
December 22, 2017
Show all

Sponsoring and Empowering African Kids for Christ!

Group of Horizon sponsored orphans in Limpopo, South Africa

Dear Friends,

It has been said that the size of our success is determined by the size of our belief.

Jesus was approached one day by two blind men. “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” they stated.

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” he asked them.

“Yes, Lord,” they replied.

Then Jesus touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith it will be done to you.” At this point their sight was completely restored (Matthew 9:27-29).

Horizon Version 5.0
As our Horizon team on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean looks to the future, we are sensing that our God-given mission is only just beginning.

We are aware that God is positioning us for a much greater harvest. He is both increasing our capacity to care for more orphans while He is calling us to go deeper with the approximately 3,000 kids that we currently sponsor.

Last December, we cast the vision to more than double the number of orphaned children and youth that we sponsor in the next several years. We are calling this vision Horizon Version 5.0.

It means that we are preparing every part of our ministry for the sponsorship of 5,000 kids as we develop significant ways to empower them to become mature Christ-followers and leaders in their communities, cultures, and countries.

In this letter, you will learn what we have been doing the last few months to prepare for this future, and you will discover why we would like you to prayerfully consider helping us with a generous year-end gift to our Foundational Fund.

Our Organizational Tagline
We began by evaluating our purpose for being and changed our organizational tagline from “creating a world of hope for AIDS orphans” to “creating a world of hope through African orphans.”

The tagline highlights three important changes.

First, we have determined that God is calling us to focus on African orphans.

While orphans on the African continent have received 100% of our organizational attention in the past, we have always been open to consider possibilities in other parts of the world. We now feel led to focus our vision on Africa.

Second, we are no longer going to lift up HIV/AIDS as our singular orphan identity.

Horizon was birthed in 2001 out of the worldwide AIDS pandemic that continues to ravage the African continent.

While there are more AIDS orphans in Africa than ever before, we have never based the eligibility of children for sponsorship on whether or not their parents died from HIV/AIDS. We have sponsored kids simply because they are orphans whether it be from HIV/AIDS, war, or malaria.

So, in the future, we are simply continuing to focus on orphaned kids.

Third, and most important, we have changed the key word “creating a world of hope for” to “through.”

We aren’t abandoning “for.” We will continue to provide for the survival needs of orphans through sponsorship.

“For,” however, isn’t our ultimate goal. We are called by God to empower kids to be all they can be in Jesus and to equip them to fulfill their God-given reason for being on this planet.

So, in the future, our cutting edge ministry will be to create a world of hope through the African kids we sponsor.

Growing Organically
Earlier this year, our Horizon team realized that we won’t be able to fulfill Horizon Version 5.0—5,000 kids sponsored in the next several years—if we limit our child sponsorship recruitment efforts to the methods that we have used in the past.

As we reflected upon the words “creating a world of hope through,” we came to the awareness that we need to grow our child sponsorship ministry organically.

What do we mean by organic growth?

Back in the 1980s, I served as the Lead Pastor of the College Park Church in Long Beach, California. I challenged our church family to grow the congregation through our natural webs of influence—family, friends, neighbors, and business associates.

Two young high school girls named Jamie and Julie took me seriously. They began to invite their high school friends, who invited their parents, who invited their neighbors and business associates, and the circle continued to expand.

Within six months of my challenge, dozens and dozens of people had become part of College Park Church because of Jamie and Julie.

Imagine with me what could happen if Horizon empowered its child sponsors and donors to find sponsors for particular African kids through their natural webs of relationship!

Many of our sponsored African kids have brothers and sisters who aren’t sponsored and need the help that sponsorship provides.

What if Horizon’s Child Sponsorship Team were to contact our child sponsors and say:

“Thanks for sponsoring Emily in Zambia. Are you aware that Emily has a brother and sister who aren’t sponsored? If we sent you their information and picture, would you contact some of your family and friends about sponsoring them?”

Now, you are beginning to understand the possibilities of organic growth.

For this reason, we are actively raising the final dollars needed to purchase the Donor Direct software systems. Donor Direct will dramatically increase our capacity to sponsor kids.

It will also give us a system that will be able to track the natural webs of connection that exist between our sponsored African kids and those who aren’t.

We are also planning to increase the number of African kids sponsored by growing the number of events that can produce sponsorships.

Tony Wolf is one such example. He has teamed with some of the best in the field of contemporary Christian music, having toured with Michael W. Smith, Newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman, Audio Adrenaline, TobyMac, Jeremy Camp, and others.

Tony is passionate about finding sponsors for orphaned African kids. He is a singer, comedian, and motivational speaker who is available to speak FREE OF CHARGE in your congregation in return for the opportunity of making child sponsorship available to your people.

Empowering Sponsored Kids
As I have already stated, Horizon is committed to empowering our sponsored kids to grow in their relationship with Jesus and to become mature Christian leaders.

How are we empowering our African kids?

Let me identify six impactful ways:

(1) Child Sponsorship. The most basic empowerment ministry is child sponsorship itself. When a child is sponsored, this child receives food, clothing, an education, and basic health care—all in a Christian environment.

During our fall Kuyasa Kids Choir Tour, 212 orphans were sponsored, with
another 30+ sponsored through Tony Wolf’s speaking.

(2) Children’s Clubs. Most of our sponsored kids are part of an active Children’s Club that meets regularly for worship and Bible study in a local church or an Orphan Drop-in Center. Leadership development is a key part of these Clubs.

(3) Kid’s Camps. In recent months, more than 100 kids have made decisions to
follow Christ and were baptized at Horizon Zambia’s Kid’s Camps.

(4) Young Adult Leadership Training Conferences (YALT). Last May, 35 recent graduates of Horizon’s orphan sponsorship ministry in Uganda gathered together to determine what God is calling them to be & do in life. Because of this conference, seven of these kids have already been granted Horizon scholarships to study at the universities of their choice.

(5) Scholarship Funds for University Studies & Vocational Training. Horizon is building a Scholarship Endowment Fund to underwrite the cost of our kid’s university studies or vocational training. With the help of these Endowed Funds, plus the generosity of individual donors, 12 kids have been granted university scholarships in addition to the ones already mentioned.

(6) Pastor/Caregiver Conferences. Some 2,000 African churches have looked to
Horizon for their leadership training in the recent past as we have sought to enrich the spiritual lives of leaders who speak into the lives of the orphans we sponsor.

In early November, I led a three-day conference for the Church of God in Zambia titled “Transformational Truths from Romans 8.” This Conference is impacting 400 Zambian congregations.

As a result of conferences like this, Horizon has recently launched three new Children’s Clubs in Church of God congregations in Nyimba District. These Clubs are made up of 120 orphans. An additional 22 Church of God congregations in Nyimba are waiting for Clubs to be established.

We have ongoing partnerships with a variety of African denominational groups including Baptist, Eternal Word Fellowship, Pentecostal Holiness, Eternal Church of God, and so on.

In addition, Women of Worth GO Teams this fall resourced several hundred Horizon orphan caregivers through Conferences in Uganda and South Africa. Ethiopia is on the list next year.

Are these empowerment ministries working?

Let me be very personal and briefly share the story of my first sponsored child Confi Tobo.

I began sponsoring Confi when she was 9 years of age. She is a wonderful young Christian woman who recently graduated with distinction from Stellenbosch University in South Africa with a degree in international relations.

This fall, she served in the country of Nepal in a village that was devastated by an earthquake. She is now enrolling in a master’s degree program in sustainable development and wants to dedicate her life to empowering marginalized women.

Your generous gift of $10, $25, $50, $100, $500 or more to our Foundational Fund will position us to implement Horizon Version 5.0 as we endeavor to sponsor 5,000 kids in the near future and to empower them to be all they can be in Jesus Christ.

After all, the size of our success is determined by the size of our belief!

Grateful to God, our sponsored kids, and you,

Bob Pearson
Founder and President