In the middle of the church service, he appeared, off to the side, watching and listening.
One sponsor noticed him, then another, whispering, “Look, it’s Obert.”
We had met Obert as a group the day before in a conference room at our hotel in Managua. He was there with three other Compassion graduates to share his story with us.
Obert told us he first was registered with Compassion at the age of five. He was sponsored by the same Canadian sponsor until he graduated the program.
During that time, Obert switched projects twice and even stopped attending the project for a while. His project director never gave up on him, though. Obert said the director would find him at his home or playing in the neighborhood and encourage him to begin attending again.
Obert listened to his project director, and he eventually did return to the project, where he became enrolled in a bakery class.
The class was offered under Compassion’s Complementary Intervention Program (CIV). This program provides for a wide range of enhancements to Compassion’s sponsorship program, including emergency medical care, nutritional assistance, disaster response, water projects and non-formal education, like Obert’s baking class.
After taking the baking class at his project for two years, Obert started a bakery business with his parents. At 16 years old, he sells about 100 loaves of bread each day, earning about $34 daily.
As a Compassion graduate, Obert will begin teaching baking classes to children at his project soon.
He said his dream for the future is to go to a university and become a professional chef.
After telling us his story, Obert expressed extreme gratitude to Compassion, his sponsor, the project director and others in charge of his development. We all shook hands with Obert, hugged him, and told him we were proud of him. One sponsor told him he’d love to taste his bread someday.
Obert’s story was an inspiring testament to the wonderful good Compassion does in children’s lives, but the reason for Obert’s appearance at church that morning was even more than inspiring.
As the service ended, our group was told to line up because Obert had come to church that morning with a gift for each of us.
He gave us bread.