“Why aren’t these kids in school?” asked Dennis Matter, member of Bellevue (Washington) Christian Reformed Church.
He was surrounded by children running freely around the village in El Salvador where his mission team worked. He learned that many of the children had never attended school because their parents can’t afford fees and supplies.
So Matter and other members from Bellevue CRC formed a ministry called Ninos Tres Rios that provides education and disability assistance to about 240 children in twelve villages near Nahuizalco, El Salvador.
Because of a growing influence of gangs moving from San Salvador to the remote villages, Ninos Tres Rios has tripled the number of high school students they are supporting.
“The gangs are attempting to recruit the naive and penniless youth of these villages to fill in their bottom rung. . . . It is a race we must win!” explained Matter.
Volunteer leaders in the villages select children to receive the scholarships. Two social workers who reside in San Salvador oversee the program by managing funds, delivering school supplies, and checking grades and attendance.
A team from Bellevue traveled to El Salvador in March, bringing Bibles for students and 200 stuffed toys for children in a local hospital.
Matter said, “Ninos Tres Rios was founded due to the Holy Spirit's calling. Our eyes were opened to a need, we responded as Christians should, and our lives have been enriched as God promises.”