Release Date: 11/25/2013
Debbie Sosa, a 2013 University of the Ozarks graduate, is using her education and psychology degrees to help orphaned children in Central America.
Sosa, who earned a double major in early childhood education and psychology of human behavior, is serving as a full-time missionary in Zacapa, Guatemala. She works for People for Missions (PFM) and Houses of Hope International, a pair of non-profit religious organizations that are striving to make a positive difference in impoverished areas throughout the world.
Sosa helps run an orphanage in Zacapa that houses approximately 30 children between the ages of 1 and 17. She serves a number of roles at the orphanage, but the one she is most passionate about is education.
"I believe we can really empower these children through education," Sosa said. "A long time ago, God put a special love and burden in my heart for the poor and needy, especially for children. I have come to an understanding that infancy and childhood are very decisive phases in a person's life. It is in those stages that lives can be easily molded and where learning becomes an inner part of the child."
Sosa, a native of Santa Tecla, El Salvador, said she believes that the one way to break the cycle of poverty is through education.
"We all know that children will eventually turn into a nation's present, and when this time comes, they need to be thoroughly equipped with a strong foundation in knowledge, values, beliefs, and life experiences," Sosa said. "This educational foundation will allow them to make the best decisions for their own futures and give them the ability to live in ways that enhance the lives of the people around them."
Though Sosa has been working for PFM/HOHI ministries for just a few months, she has found her work extremely fulfilling.
"Every single day has been a blessing," she said. "I thank God for the privilege that He has granted me of each day representing a new opportunity to help improve these children's lives and to minister God's love to them in every way possible."
Her background in childhood education and psychology has also been a blessing.
"My education at Ozarks prepared me wonderfully for this calling," she said. "I'm using what I learned in the classroom every single day when I work with these children."
PFM was established in 1986 to bring the light of the Gospel to rural communities. HOHI was established in 1990 as an outreach ministry directed toward at risk orphans and abandoned children. Currently, PFM/HOHI has international operations in India, Guatemala, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma/Myanmar, Bangladesh, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. The purpose of HOHI is to provide at risk orphans and abandoned children with an environment where they can grow strong emotionally and physically, and become healthy adults and productive citizens of their nations.
Debbie Sosa, a 2013 Ozarks graduate, is helping run an orphanage in Guatemala as a full-time missionary for People for Missions and Houses of Hope International.