Two families who regularly watch Parkview Christian Church’s services online recently signed on to sponsor children in Turkana, Kenya, through CMF’s child sponsorship program. Both families were introduced to CMF through a promotion for the program during Easter Sunday services at the Orland Park, Ill., church, which has added more than 400 new sponsors to the program.
Michael and Michelle Hibberd were high school sweethearts who got married after Michael’s seven-year stint in the U.S. Navy and attended Parkview in 2005-2006. They moved to Kuwait in 2006 for Michael to work as a private contractor advising the Kuwait Air Force on F-18 Hornet fighter jets. Church options in Kuwait are limited, so the couple watches Parkview online, and were tuned in when the sponsorship program was promoted.
“We have never sponsored a child before,” said Michael, “and to be honest, this is a huge step for us spiritually and financially. After watching Pastor Tim Harlow’s service and learning about CMF we immediately said to each other, ‘This is something we need to do.’ ”
Meanwhile, out in Denver, Colorado, Deanne Afman was also watching the online Parkview Easter service. Her brother and his wife and extended family all attend Parkview, and Deannne and husband Tom visited there once and became regular viewers of the online services.
“I saw the CMF ad (about child sponsorship), so I opened up the website and decided to sponsor a child,” said Deanne.
The Hibberds asked for a child who shares their four-year-old son Conner’s birthday, and was fortunate to be able to make the match.
“We just felt it would make it more personal to us,” said Michael. “We wanted it to hit home as much as possible. This little girl has the same birthdate as Conner, so every time I see our son smile or laugh, or when I realize that he will always have enough food, clothing and an education, I am reminded that there are other children out there who will never have any of those things unless the ‘fortunate’ step up.”
The Afmans were also moved by comparisons of the lives of Kenyan children with their own family’s life.
“We are so blessed, and so are our children and grandchildren. And $38 would not go very far here to feed, clothe and educate a child,” said Deanne. “I have a picture of Redempta, our sponsored child, by our desk. She just turned five, and what a smile! How could you say no?”