The children waited with anticipation to see if their name would be called. Blessing John, a tutor at the children’s home, was announcing children who performed exceptionally well on a recent progress quiz she gave. Each child whose name was called received the cheering of their peers and a small gift from Blessing for their accomplishment. One young man in the group of children hesitantly hoped his name would be the next one called.
“Everyone, put your hands together for Xander*!” Blessing announced. The young man smiled widely as he received his prize and returned to his seat. Plangkat Felix, Back2Back staff, waited for him to return, and asked him how he thought he’d improved so much so quickly.
Xander looked at Plangkat and said rather seriously for a boy his age, “It was not without the help and encouragement of Blessing and Jesus.”
Xander came to the children’s home early last year with a few other children. He arrived in a new environment, with new people, and possessed very little reading or conversational skills, especially in English.
“When we realized he didn’t possess well-developed English-speaking and reading skills, we enlisted the help of Blessing, who was happy to offer instruction for Xander and the other children who needed to work on these skills,” shared Plangkat. Blessing started in-person lessons in March, but only a few weeks later Nigeria was hit by the pandemic. However, Blessing wasn’t going to let this hinder the progress she had planned for the children; she diligently employed technology and continued her lessons with them through lockdowns.
When everything opened back up and Blessing was able to meet with the children in-person, she gave a comprehension quiz to see how far they’d come and what they’d retained. The children who fared well were announced and celebrated, Xander among them. His educational progress is a huge reason to celebrate, but he also learned a great deal about Jesus and His coming for Xander. “Blessing doesn’t just tutor the children, she also leads Nurture Groups and Bible study,” shared Plangkat. Nurture Groups are focused group times with the children and a safe adult where they learn how to process their emotions and use their voices in a healthy, safe way. “I’m encouraged by his growth in language, but even more so, I am happily celebrating that he now knows Jesus and what He does for each of us.”
Milestones and conversations like this between Xander and Plangkat are only possible with prayer, advocacy, and sponsorship from people like you. Investments in education and in spiritual growth allow children like Xander to realize all they can accomplish when they believe in themselves, have safe adults in their corner, and know their Savior. Thank you.