Honduras (MNN) — The ousted president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, and the leader who has succeeded him in the nation's de facto government, Roberto Micheletti, agreed to negotiate a resolution to the political crisis polarizing their country.
This is an answer to prayer for Christian organizations like Compassion International. They have been praying for a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Compassion's Kathy Redmond says this crisis has definitely affected their work. "We had closed our child development centers in Tegucigalpa temporarily. Now we've reopened them, but they're basically on alert."
The Compassion centers in Tegucigalpa support approximately 14,000 desperately-poor children in Honduras. Redmond says they're able to re-open them because they're not on the main thoroughfares where protests are likely to take place. "That's helpful," she says. "However, some parents are still quite fearful of sending their children to the centers because you don't know about the security, [and] you don't know the situation there. So, definitely our centers have been affected."
Honduras is one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere. Redmond says that brings with it child abuse issues. "When you talk about child labor [and] child exploitation, basically it's what you've seen in movies like Slum Dog Millionaire; that's very common in Honduras."
Because these children bring home money to support the family, parents will allow their children to beg on the street, to traffic drugs or be involved in child prostitution. Compassion International is combating that with their sponsorship program. Redmond says they provide food, trade skills for mothers, and other services which keeps kids off the streets.
"The mere fact that they are trying to get an education and that their parents are allowing them to do so in exchange for these kinds of services is a deterrent in itself,"says Redmond.
The centers are run through the local church. Redmond says the children are taught that the God who created them loves them so much that He sent His Son to die for them. That speaks volumes to kids who don't feel loved. "We have 500 people a day in our Compassion centers that commit their lives to Christ. The children then go home, and they take what they've learned to their parents, who were also raised the same way. The parents then become Christians." And, that's healing not only families, but entire communities.
Compassion International needs your support. You can either sponsor a child, or you can give to their Complementary Intervention Program. "Should something break out, should houses be looted, or churches looted or vandalized, people can give to that, and we can help to restore what has been torn down."