The day I met Tia , she was wearing a bright yellow sundress—and absolutely smoking me in a game of keepaway. When I picture her now, I cannot envision her without a smile. She was joy embodied.
Later (after she soundly beat me in keepaway and showed off some of her dance moves), I sat down next to her to talk. When I asked what school was like for her, she animatedly told me about computers, binary code, and all kinds of other words that made very little sense to me. Apparently, she’s going to university to become a computer programmer. How cool is that?
Oh, one thing I forgot to mention: Tia is also a single mom to her five-year-old daughter.
It’s hard for me to reconcile the grinning, thriving Tia I met in Malawi with the scared 16-year-old girl Jeff shared about before we left for our trip. Her story is not a museum display, so I want to be careful with what I share here—but I also want you to see the same evidence of tangible life change our team got to see.
In some environments, an unplanned pregnancy would be cause for program expulsion. Realistically, that reaction doesn’t solve anything. If Tia had ended up on the street, she and her daughter would have been subjected to unimaginable cruelty and abuse. At her lowest point, she didn’t need people who turned their backs. She needed people who would open their arms.
One of FCW’s core pillars is discipleship; they go beyond traditional education to steward children’s hearts and minds—to shape them into adults who know God’s grace and love His Word. With this perspective, it made no sense to expel Tia from the program. Instead, both Tia and her daughter received sponsorships to fund their education.
Tia is an icon of what FCW strives to achieve. Even with the odds stacked against her, she rose above the challenges to graduate from high school, enroll in university, and pursue a career that will enable her to support her daughter—and break the cycle of poverty. It wouldn’t have been possible if she hadn’t received the resources to continue her education.
In the coming years, Tia will get a sustainable job where she can make a living wage. She won’t struggle to make ends meet; she will do work that makes her feel strong, capable, and proud. She’ll equip her daughter to do the same thing.
This is the fruit of grace. It’s what the world could look like if we practiced the kind of compassion Christ called us to practice—the same compassion that led Him to the cross.
What does grace look like for you? How can you put it into practice in your daily life? Or, how can you put it into practice for children on the other side of the globe? Learn more about our education and discipleship values in this video.