Cross International is blessed to work with many inspirational missionaries around the globe — and we are always excited when one of them stops by our office headquarters in South Florida. On one such visit, I sat down with Teresa Susong, founder of FACES New World Christian School, a Cross-supported project in Ecuador offering evening classes to child laborers.
Teresa, along with her husband Dan and daughter Lydia, became missionaries to Ecuador in 2003. The Susong family was greatly impacted by the number of children who spent their lives shining shoes or selling candy on the streets instead of going to school. They felt God’s call to help eliminate the problem of child labor by helping children and teens obtain an education. Most of the youth served by this ministry have left their indigenous villages to come work in Quito. They often don’t have anyone to live with and have no time for school because they are working to help support their families back home.
We bring children hope through a personal relationship with Christ by providing basic needs like health care, nutrition and education,” Teresa said. “We are working toward the progressive eradication of child labor.”
The Susong family started their ministry with 15 shoeshine boys. Teresa would bring them bread and yogurt, while taking the time to learn their names and pray with them.
“I started by building relationships and that developed into the opportunity to set up programs,” she said.
Today, the Susongs serve 1,000 children from the poorest families in Ecuador. Cross helps cover the salaries of 13 certified teachers at FACES School, which offers evening classes to child laborers so they can still benefit from a Christian education and vocational training.
“You don’t know how much it means to have Cross support each month,” she said. “Cross is behind us. Without you, what would we have to offer?”
Teresa asked me to tell you, our faithful supporters, “thank you!” for joining them in their ministry of love to some of Ecuador’s most vulnerable children.
“We want these children to know they are in the hands of God. They have meaning and God has a purpose for their lives,” she said. “It’s about restoring dignity.”