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Header Image - Tony Beltran

No running water at home. Days without food to eat. This was Tony Beltran’s reality when he was growing up.

As Tony walks the dusty streets of his hometown in the Dominican Republic, he recalls his childhood: “I’d be walking around, playing with an imaginary basketball. We didn’t have enough money to buy toys,” he says.

“The first time I truly realised I was living in poverty was when I walked into my house, and my mother was praying. She was telling the Lord, “We have nothing to eat. We have nothing but you.”

It was a heavy burden for a child. “I felt hopeless,” Tony says. “That day, I asked my dad if I could help. So, we built a shoe-shining box together. I used to go walking around, asking people if I could shine their shoes for money.” Tony was seven years old at the time.

God brings Compassion and opportunity

Things began to change when God brought Compassion and the local church into Tony’s life. He was sponsored and began to attend the project in his community.

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Tony holds a picture of himself as a child

“At the project, things were different. We would play games, and there would be time for activities and lessons. People cared about me and showed me God’s love.”

Through Compassion, Tony realised God was giving him an opportunity that he was determined to make the most of — the project provided him with an education. Sponsorship paid for Tony’s schooling, and there was tutoring support and books at the project which supported Tony in progressing well.

Encouragement from sponsors

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Tony Beltran, Compassion National Director for Dominican Republic, greets a group of young people at the Compassion project

The encouragement Tony received from his sponsor also spurred him on.

“My sponsors wrote to me and told me, ‘Tony, we are so proud of you. It’s amazing that you are young and you’re already teaching others how to use a computer.’ Those words of motivation meant so much. I was encouraged,” he says.

“Today, I have a degree in systems engineering. I developed software, mainly windows applications. I have a Master’s degree in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship. And now I serve as National Director for Compassion International in the Dominican Republic and above all I’m a Christian.”

Making a difference, by the grace of God

“I think my story shows people that God is using Compassion to make a difference,” Tony says. “My story speaks about God’s goodness through Compassion and about how God is connecting people all over the world to bring glory to his name.

“God is moving powerfully. As a sponsor, you’re being the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ in different communities, and I want to say thank you to anyone who partners in this ministry.”

Sponsor a child with Compassion UK