After a brief trip to Africa with a colleague in 2004, Anna (Rowsell) Dearing never thought she would return.
“I knew when I came back that I would be involved with some form or mission work, it impacted me for future work, but I never felt like I had to go back,” Dearing said.
So, the Pentecostal pastor from Leading Tickles applied to be an English as a second language teacher in Russia the next year.
After three years, through the Pentecostal Assemblies of Newfoundland and Labrador, she applied for full time status as a global worker with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.
In 2010 Dearing would return to Africa to live in Mwanza, Tanzania in East Africa, where she works as a field worker for Child Care Plus. The sponsorship program, through Emergency Relief and Development Overseas, assists youth with education, food, clothing and medicine. It’s designed to help those in greatest needs in both urban and rural settings.
Aside from time back in Newfoundland and Labrador, she’s been living there ever since.
Dearing said her passion for this kind of work was instilled in her at a very early age.
“I came from a fishing community and life wasn’t always easy for us and I learned very early that we have to help those in need,” she said. “I believe this, for me, has been a calling. I never wanted to leave Leading Tickles but I believe God placed some kind of desire in my heart for this kind of work and that has led me to where I am today.”
Dearing sees great value in the work of Child Care Plus.
“We have a slogan ‘changing a country one child at a time’ because we don’t know where these children will end up,” she said. “We have a child who graduated who is now a lawyer, one who is studying to be a doctor, and one in education. We are sponsoring these children who likely would never have had that opportunity.”
And it’s the at home support that’s helping make that difference as well, Dearing added.
For instance, Ride for Hope, a Gander-based motorcycle ride fundraiser — which has since branched out into Deer Lake — has dedicated the funds from its ninth annual ride to building a new school in Tanzania.
With 45 participants on Aug. 4, Associate Pastor and organizer Mike Freake said $11,000 was raised.
“It’s the desire to help kids we may never see face-to-face, but we know what we are doing is making a big difference in their life,” Freake said about what continues to drive the success of the ride. “It’s the people who love riding but also want to make a difference.”
The total cost of the build is $15,000, but Freake said the support for the cause is so strong that donations often trickle in afterwards, and he’s hopeful it will provide enough to complete the educational centre.
Dearing has seen the benefit of the ride first hand, and she has high praise for the efforts.
“They touch families and entire communities,” she said. “Knowing that someone sacrificed their time and monies to help, people are touched and it really makes a difference.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring a child through Child Care Plus can do so by reaching out to Dearing at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visiting www.erdo.ca