Ever since we started God’s fingerprints, we believed there was a greater purpose for it.
As part of that ongoing journey, we’re excited to announce that we’ll be donating $1 for every print sold to help orphans and vulnerable children.
We will do this through an organization very close to our hearts — Alongsiders International.
What is Alongsiders?
Alongsiders International empowers young Christians to mentor, love, and encourage the most vulnerable children and orphans in their own communities.
They partner with church networks in Asia, Africa and the Middle East to equip young Christians to disciple one child each (called a “little brother” or “little sister”) and take them through a 3 year, locally-contextualized, comic book based discipleship curriculum, that teaches Biblical principles and life skills.
Headquartered in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, they are an officially registered charity in United States, Canada and New Zealand.
Here are 3 reasons we’ve chosen to support Alongsiders.
1) It's a Christ-centered discipleship movement
At its heart, Alongsiders is a discipleship movement to reach the world’s most vulnerable children.
Alongsiders focuses on empowering the local Christian youth. Inspired by the discipleship model that Jesus taught, they work primarily through local churches.
Each mentor (Alongsider) is part of a local church with a recommendation from their pastor. They choose a vulnerable child in their community to mentor, and meet regularly with them. They then work through an illustrated curriculum together that teaches Biblical principles and life skills.
– Little Sister
In a recent study, they found that 94% of the little brothers and sisters had joined the local church with their Alongsiders, and most were attending regularly. In many cases, the families of these children start attending church as well.
Laura and I both became Christians because somebody took the time to walk alongside us and teach us what it meant to follow Jesus. These men and women lived out the words of Matthew 28:18-20 and made us into disciples.
We see this same heart behind Alongsiders International.
They are empowering Christian youth from marginalized communities to become disciple makers.
These young Christians (many of who have been vulnerable themselves) are teaching God's life-changing truth to some of the world's most vulnerable children.
We are humbled and inspired by their example.
2) They use artwork to communicate God’s truth
Alongsiders uses artwork to teach children about God’s truth.
They do this through providing discipleship materials to each mentor in the form of illustrated comic books. These comic books introduce Scripture, questions, and activities to help each child and mentor grow together as disciples of Jesus.
Illustrated by local artists, the artwork and stories are drawn from real-life experiences of people at the margins so that vulnerable children and youth will identity and connect with it.
Through these comic books, Alongsiders youth learn together about God’s love, salvation, and radical welcome for everyone, especially marginalized children.
If you've ever read our story, you'll know that we're very passionate about using artwork to communicate God's truth.
We love the creative way that Alongsiders does this with these comic books. It's a thoughtful approach to discipleship that has proven to be very effective.
3) It is a sustainable model focused on empowerment
There is an ancient Khmer proverb, “It takes a spider to repair its own web”.
This describes the approach of Alongsiders. They know that the key to real lasting transformation is in the local people themselves.
As somebody who has worked with non-profits for the last 15 years, I know firsthand how important this type of model is. It’s the only way a movement will truly be sustainable in the long-term.
Alongsiders is a decentralized movement. They consider each decision according to the the W.I.S.E. principles of Wholistic, Inspiring, Scalable, and Empowering.
– Little Sister
This approach is working. As a result, Alongsiders has spread to more than a dozen countries in the last five years.
What started as a small program in Cambodia has now spread to more than 5000 children and youth in Asia and Africa who are part of the movement.
Not only is their work making a difference in the lives of thousands of vulnerable children — it's being done in a smart, sustainable way that empowers local churches to "repair their own web".
You can learn more about their model of development work by reading their book, The Alongsiders Story: Equipping one generation to reach the next.
Why We Love Alongsiders
We love Alongsiders because they are doing God's restorative work in a way that aligns with our mission and values.
They are serving the world's most vulnerable children with integrity and excellence. Their organization is Christ-centered and strengthens the local church. They use artwork to communicate God's truth. The model is smart and sustainable.
In addition to these things, we also see these benefits:
- • Vulnerable children are being strengthened and restored
- • Youth are becoming disciples of Jesus and disciple makers
- • Families are coming to faith
- • Local churches are being transformed
When we visited the Alongsiders offices in Cambodia last year, we had the chance to meet many of the staff. We learned that many of them had started as little brothers or sisters. We were deeply touched by their stories of hope and redemption.
We also have firsthand experience with the founder Craig Greenfield and his family. We lived and served together in a ministry to the homeless in Vancouver, Canada. In the time we've known them, we've always been called higher by their example of servanthood, sacrifice and love for the poor.
We're excited for what God is doing through Alongsiders International, and look forward to seeing what the future holds as we journey together.
We hope this post will also inspire you to learn more about this amazing organization.
If you'd like to learn more about Alongsiders International, you can visit their website.
We've also included a collection of videos below. We encourage you to take a moment and watch some of these beautiful stories.
A Pastor's Story
We walk alongside those who walk alone