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When Sylvia’s husband Lowell died, she was left with a portfolio of investment real estate and his request that she give a substantial amount of money to those in need. Instead of making a rushed decision, she decided to take time and pray about how God would have her use the investments her husband had made.
However, before she began selling the real estate, her home was completely destroyed in a California wildfire. Although she struggled to put the pieces of her life back together, God ultimately used this experience in Sylvia’s life to remind her that she was a child of God and her identity was found in Him. She was able to rebuild her home, and it stands as a beautiful testimony of God’s faithfulness.
It was through this experience that God led Sylvia to the way in which He wanted her to invest in the lives of others. She sold her husband’s properties during a real estate boom, and, with the help of a trusted advisor, saw her stock portfolio begin to grow. Then, in His faithfulness, God placed a ministry on her heart that would reap long-term fruit for the Kingdom.
As a piano teacher, Sylvia always had a special place in her heart for children and their education. When she learned of the possibility of sponsoring children through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries (NCM), she knew this was the ministry that the Lord had called her to support and began to sponsor as many children as she could. In 2008, she was able to travel to Africa to meet some of the children she was sponsoring. She saw joyful children singing, dancing, quoting scripture, and enjoying hot meals in a Child Development Center. However, she also saw children in other villages who had no opportunity to go to school because of a lack of funding for school fees and supplies.
Instead of just investing money in real estate or her stock portfolio, Sylvia now also makes long-term investments into the lives of children. She currently sponsors over 80 children in many counties: South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, Rwanda, Madagascar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan, and the Dominican Republic. She enjoys the blessing of many children around the world praying for her and receives hand-drawn pictures and letters from grateful children, thanking her for sponsoring them.
In order to simplify the process of funding this large number of child sponsorships, Sylvia opened a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) with the Nazarene Foundation. She is now able to make gifts of stock directly into her DAF and let the Foundation handle the work of sending the funds to NCM. This has made it easy and convenient for Sylvia to give, because one or two simple stock gifts a year provide the funding for her 80 sponsored children.
With the help of the Foundation, she implemented a Living Trust and an estate plan that will contribute much of her estate, including her new home, to create the Lowell and Sylvia Child Sponsorship Endowment [last name omitted for privacy] that will provide for over one hundred children every year in the neediest areas of the world through the Child Sponsorship program. The Foundation will administer the endowment for her, and it will leave a lasting legacy on her behalf and fulfill her dream to give to children around the world. That is a true investment in the future.