FAQs

Below is a list of the most commonly asked questions to Shaping Destiny. If you have specific questions that you cannot find answered here, please contact us to find out more.

Child Sponsorship Questions

What does my sponsorship help provide for my child?

Our Child Sponsors have the power to make a difference in the lives of children facing slavery, poverty, and hopelessness. Their regular donations help provide a life of joy, and hope to those who have been abandoned and are in need. The main provisions that come from child sponsorship are:

  • Food, clothing, and shelter to children who live in the Shaping Destiny Transition Home.
  • Education. Your donation helps pays tuition and provides books for our children.
  • Medical care. Your funds help provide medical care for our children.
  • Vocational /job training. Some of our children are more suitable for job training and donations for those sponsored children help pay for them to complete a training program.
  • Families for Orphans. This occurs through our local Christian Foster Care Program or Kinship Program. In the past, Shaping Destiny was primarily an orphanage that housed about 85 children and intended to increase it to 150. However, we have learned that God created children to live in families, not orphanages. Research from Harvard and the University of California has shown that children who are institutionalized often suffer brain damage that can be seen on MRI. In our experience, it is very difficult to give children the love they need when there are so many together. Putting them in an orphanage is also very expensive and has no biblical precedence. God’s solution to needy children is a family. Our partnership with local Christian families provides food, clothing, shelter, and parental guidance to the children we serve. Our Child Sponsors then help cover education and medical costs for these children. This partnership has blessed local Christians tremendously and is giving them the opportunity to participate in orphan care. It has also saved a tremendous amount of money in food costs which helps us support missions work. Instead of an orphanage, we now have a transition home with a small number of orphans living there at a time. The kids are eventually placed with a more permanent local Christian family which can care for them and meet their needs with the support of our Child Sponsors.
  • Advocacy for children. We advocate for children’s needs to be met using the “asset-based-community development” (ABCD) model.
  • Evangelism and discipleship. Our evangelism is not limited to orphans. We evangelize all people, however, we pay special attention to evangelizing and disciplining the poor especially orphans. We believe that spiritual salvation is extremely important. As such, in all our work, we make sure that we put evangelism and discipleship first. For example, hundreds of our orphans have come to Christ through our ministry.
  • Missions. We have missionaries who visit children regularly and disciple them. It also allows missionaries to dedicate their time to working to improve the organization.
  • Administration. Cover the organization’s administrative costs and other ministry costs.

How can I communicate with the child I sponsor?

Throughout the year we encourage sponsors to send notes of encouragement, letters, and birthday cards to their child. Your correspondence will initiate a response, and through that correspondence, both you and your child have the opportunity to share your lives with each other, as well as to build a lasting relationship.

Correspondence with your child has two main formats:

  1. Electronic Messages: The quick and easy way that you can submit your letter and upload any desired pictures as attachments 
  2. Mail Messages: Please mail handwritten letters and any desired pictures to our U.S. Office
    P.O. Box 200700 Austin, TX 78720

With either format, once your letter has been received, it will be forwarded to our team on the ground in Cameroon and then delivered to your child. You should expect to receive a response from your child within three to four months. Please allow more time during the summer months, as children are typically away for holiday at this time.

* Without a reliable postal service in Cameroon, Shaping Destiny staff hand carry and deliver mail directly to our children. Please understand this will considerably increase the amount of time it takes to get to your child.

What topics should I include or avoid in my letters?

Shaping Destiny children know that they are being sponsored and are very proud of their sponsorship. They love to hear from their sponsors and are excited to know that they have someone out their supporting them, praying for them, and rooting them on. Be encouraging, tell them about you, your family, special holiday or family events, Bible verses, prayers, and most importantly ask questions. Encourage your child to write back or draw pictures for you if they’re too young to write.

Please be sensitive to their economic situation. Many of our children live very minimally so please avoid discussing the material aspects of your life. Try not to sending photos that show your possessions. Please do not sharing your home address, email address, or telephone numbers. Remember, your child lives in a very different culture so using colloquialisms and slang will be confusing for them…or perhaps unintentionally offensive. Also, do not promise to visit or send them things.

What gifts can I send my sponsored child?

Many of our Child Sponsors ask if they can send a special gift to the child they have been matched with for holidays such Christmas or birthdays. We are so excited when sponsors and donors want to send a gift to the children we serve in Cameroon!

Typically the only gifts we allow are things such as:

  1. Letters
  2. Photos
  3. Blind Gifts ($25+)

Please read out Gift Giving Policy for more information about this.

 


Donation Questions

What payment methods can I choose from for my child sponsorship or other donations towards Shaping Destiny?

Shaping Destiny child sponsorship is $35 per month/per child. There are a few convenient options for giving sponsorship funds. These options apply to all other donations as well (general, missionary support, leader development, etc.).

1. Automatic payment through your bank. (recommended option)

If you have other payments set up through your bank this will be super easy for you but if this may be a first, all you’d need to do is log into your bank online and select a tab that most banks have at the top that says Bill Pay or Automatic Payments. You’d enter in $35 as the amount and schedule it to come out monthly on whatever day you desire. All you need from us is our name and where your bank should send the check.  

Name: Shaping Destiny 

Address: P.O. BOX 200700 Austin, TX 78720 

Amount: Your desired donation amout or $35 if you are a Child Sponsor (you can add “Child Sponsor” in the memo line if you wish) 

2. Send a personal check monthly.

Make check out to “Shaping Destiny”. Memo: Your sponsored child’s name or specify what you would like your donation to be designated towards. Send checks to: 

Shaping Destiny 

P.O. BOX 200700 Austin, TX 78720

3. Automatic Payment through PayPal.

Visit: https://www.shapingdestiny.org/donate-to-orphans/

Note: PayPal charges a 2.2% service charge for every transaction.

Will I receive a receipt for my gift?

One-time gifts will receive an electronic thank you and receipt via mail; recurring monthly gifts will receive an electronic thank you and receipt via email as well as mail but will not receive a receipt each time. We mail yearly tax receipts for all gifts given during the fiscal year. If you would like a receipt emailed or mailed to you at any time, please contact us and we would be more than happy to do this for you.


General Ministry Questions

How can I be sure to get regular updates about Shaping Destiny?

You can sign up for our monthly e-newsletters in the “Email Updates” subscription box located in the right hand column on our website. We’d also love for you to follow us on social media. We’re active on Facebook and Instagram 🙂

I would love for someone from the Shaping Destiny team to come and speak at my church/Bible study/small group. How do I go about starting this?

Please contact us to talk to a team member about visiting your church or small group to share more about orphan care and what God is doing through our ministry.