Keith and Merari McFarland are not only sponsors, they are JMI volunteers. They use remote working to their advantage, spending much of their time on the road enjoying RV life. As they travel they often speak at churches and Bible studies and advocate for JMI. The McFarland family currently has six sponsorships: 3 teens in our Transitional Living program, 1 child in our Moldova Vulnerable Child program, and 2 Jungle Pastors.
Q: How long have you been sponsors?
A: We had the honor of becoming sponsors in 2018.
A: While at a Kelly Minter Cultivate women’s event, Merari listened to the beautiful message about JMI and came home and shared it with Keith. We were getting ready to hit the road in the RV full-time and prayed that the Lord would lead us to a ministry we could “take” with us and make part of our new intentional living. We love the intentionality that JMI creates in its sponsorship program and the connection we share with each of our “kids.”
Q: With child sponsorships, you write letters back and forth each month. Is there a particular letter that has stuck with you?
A: There have been so many through the years, like one from Andrei, who was so excited when, during winter, he received a new sweatshirt and was so thrilled to have warm clothes. He had a beautiful smile and gratitude for something so simple that we take for granted. Or Reneta, whom we began to sponsor as a young girl at a shelter to see her blossom and enter the Grace House program. Each of our “kids” has been unique, and their letters bring out their likes, hopes, activities, and prayers—a window into their everyday lives. We look forward to each of them.
Q: What impact have you seen in the lives of the sponsored children and their families?
A: We have seen those who can finish the programs and begin productive lives. We love that all these children get to interact with their parents and bring the lessons of the love of Christ, grace, and joy back home while also learning life and vocational skills.
Q: Have you met them in person?
A: Though we have not had the privilege to travel to see our “kids,” we know that experience would be amazing. If we do not see them on this side of Heaven, we look forward to a sweet reunion in eternity.
Q: What do you think is the greatest benefit that your sponsored child receives through this program?
A: To be seen and given the message that God and others love them. To be equipped with life and vocational skills that will allow them to break the cycle in which their families have lived and bring up the next generation of leaders for their communities.
Q: Is there something God has taught you through sponsorship?
A: God’s grace and love know no boundary, race, or creed. When He gives us His blessings, it is not for us to hoard, but rather for us to be a vessel to share, so that they can be given freely. It is a privilege for us to be a part of each of these young people’s lives—to walk with them, pray with them, be intentional with them. God has asked us to be willing vessels, and He will do the rest. Throughout these years, we have marveled at how He has multiplied our hope and longing to help and continues to do so. As the saying goes, “You can’t outgive God.”
Q: If there is someone considering a commitment to sponsoring a child for the first time, is there any encouragement you’d like to give?
A: It has been our privilege to be sponsors since 2018 and partner with JMI to speak and share about their ministry as we travel through the US. What we would say to others would be that to consider a commitment to sponsoring means to bridge the gap. James 1:27 says it best: “True ministry that is pure in the eyes of our Father God is to make a difference in the lives of the orphans and widows in their troubles.”
Consider the blessings that God has given you and your family, and open up your heart to the privilege of sharing it with the ”forgotten people” of this world.