Mariela Lara Mendoza is 25 years old and has been teaching at our school in Piedras Negras, Mexico for four years.

Mariela arrived at the facility that houses our CRF work when she was six months old. Her mother was only 14 and simply couldn’t take care of her. Mariela’s grandmother didn’t know what to do—so she brought her to this ministry called Vida Nueva (New Life). And now she has spent basically her entire life there.

Mariela enjoys going to church, singing, and learning about Jesus. On May 12, 2002 she became a Christian and began a journey she describes as “walking hand-in-hand with Jesus.” She serves in church with the worship team, Sunday school, and nursery. Mariela is the first one in her family ever to finish grade school. Now she has been able to reach her dreams and become a schoolteacher. And she teaches at our school—the very school she attended.

She thinks future generations of her family will be changed for the better because she is the first person in the family to become educated and to know Jesus.

“If I hadn’t arrived here, I feel like my life would be completely different—probably a single mother, jobless and struggling to make ends meet,” Mariella says.

“I know that God’s plans are perfect, and I am very grateful that ministries like this one exist because they have become a great blessing to people like me.”

Mariela (right) as a young child at Vida Nueva

Along with others at CRF in Piedras Negras, Mariela hopes that more mission teams, donations and sponsorships will come there. People became afraid to go there in the past. Now that it is much safer, many people have forgotten to come and help.

Part of the great mission of CRF is to reverse the poverty cycle. You are making this possible through your continued support. Our annual report will show you the many great things that CRF has been doing this year, but let’s not forget the simple fact that we already know to be true. The cycle of poverty is turned around when we help a child.

“My name is Mariela and thanks to good people like you I have been able to break the vicious cycle of poverty.”


Keep reading to see how CRF helped break the cycle of poverty in 2016!

And don’t forget to check out Milt’s Year End Letter to see a photo of Mariela today


Research has shown that the very best thing you can do to turn around our world’s poverty is to sponsor a child like Mariela. For just $35 a month, you can sponsor a child and provide food, clothing, education, housing and spiritual care for a child.

Priscilla Wairimu, our CRF coordinator in Kitale, Kenya, is seen here taking care of some needy and now happy children as we do in over 20 other countries.


The second best thing to do next to sponsoring a child if you want to eliminate poverty is to bring clean water to a developing area. CRF has a water ministry that drilled 69 wells this past year. In places like Turkana, Kenya it hasn’t rained in many years. CRF is drilling water wells there nearly every week because of your generosity.

We still have matching funds in 2017. So you can give the gift of a water well for only $5000! We have also begun a new drilling ministry in Haiti. Children who have been orphaned because of drought and famine are only alive because of your support.

CRF’s rig drilling a deep well in Turkana


CRF not only brings water but also living water! Our mission is not only to help the poor physically but also to turn lives around spiritually.

In the very area where we have drilled water wells in Turkana, we have planted more than 80 new churches over the last three years.

In Kenya and around the world, we are helping children grow up loving Jesus by starting new congregations of God’s people.


When a disaster strikes, CRF is there to bring aid. In 2016 we continued to rebuild in the Philippines and Nepal where people have been devastated by natural disasters. We are also feeding, housing, and sharing the gospel with refugees who are fleeing Syria. Maybe no other tragedy struck our ministry more than the hurricane that hit Haiti this year. If the devastation of lives and buildings was not enough, the cholera left behind because of compromised water sources left an even bigger and deadlier disaster.

Donate to our Disaster Relief fund at

Children in the Philippines taking relief food home for their families

Students from Troy University in Honduras


With CRF you can not only sponsor children to bring them out of poverty, but you can also go and personally help them! We offer many mission trips during the year to places like Piedras Negras where Mariela grew up. You can also visit Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Nicaragua, Mexico and many other places.

Learn more at


To reverse the cycle of poverty, we want to make sure that our children get the best of educations. There are very few good, affordable schools in many of the countries where we sponsor children. Therefore, CRF is actively building and operating schools all over the world.

Here is a group of children studying at one of our sponsored schools in Managua, Nicaragua.


Healthcare is critical in reversing the cycle of poverty. We do everything we can to provide for children’s health needs. And sometimes that requires us to operate our own clinics.

In 2016 we have provided extensive medical care in Kisumu, Kenya and Hyderabad, India.

Here is a photo of our Ringroad Clinic in Kisumu, Kenya.


Milton Jones — President
Ashley Hunter — Vice-President
Isaul Verdin — Secretary
Danny Troublefield — Treasurer
Jim Barnett
Mike Biggers
Rick Chandler
Eric Dahl
Scott Gage
Julie Rawlins
Scott Sager
Audie Waite

Board member Mike Biggers with Anson in Haiti


In Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2016, total donated income was $7,648,911. Total ending assets were $6,203,221.

$6,963,962 was designated to relief projects and reserves; $422,500 to administrative costs, and $262,449 to fundraising.

From an independent audit by Johnson & Sheldon, P.C.

At CRF, we are accountable before God and before you to use your gifts in the best way possible to help the hurting around the world.

We are a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) and abide by all of its strict reporting standards. Our audited financial report is available upon request.


How did 2016 go for CRF?

In many ways 2016 was our best year ever. CRF now has more works than ever before. In fact, Christian Relief Fund is located in 96 different areas with child sponsorship programs in over 20 countries and helping in over 30 countries. We are sponsoring 7,306 children in a full-time capacity but helping many thousands more through feeding, disaster relief and providing education. Indeed we are helping more orphans and destitute children than at any time in our history.

We drilled more water wells than any year previously. In fact, we drilled 69 water wells during the last year. Most of our wells were drilled in Turkana, Kenya where it hasn’t rained in many years. We followed our drilling rig with a church planting team and tried to plant a church after every well. Obviously, you can drill a well faster than you can plant a church—but we were able to plant 11 churches in this one area of Kenya this year! Since our drilling is in the desert, we periodically give our drillers a rest from the heat and exhaustion. During these times, they go to southern areas of Kenya where orphans need water. This last year has also brought a great need for water in Haiti. After the recent hurricane, flooding compromised many water sources. As a result, people were getting cholera from their past water wells. CRF has gone into many of these areas, especially where we have sponsored children, and drilled new wells to give pure water.

The good news is that we had matching funds for every well we drilled in 2016. This means that donors can drill a $10,000 well for only $5,000. And the better news is that we have matching funds again in 2017 for water wells!

Research says and we have found that sponsoring children and bringing fresh water are the two best ways to break the poverty cycle. We’re proud to be working heavily on these two issues.

2016 was also a year of construction. Sponsorship fees pay for most of a child’s needs—but it doesn’t build new school buildings. In many places in the world, it is more cost effective to run our own schools. And usually CRF schools provide greater educational resources for our children—and certainly spiritual resources. In 2016 through generous capital contributions for schools—we have built new schools at Metkei, Lurare, Mt. Elgon, and Alara. All of these schools are in Kenya. We have also brought new educational facilities to two locations in Liberia. And we certainly don’t want to forget that there is a new school in Piedras Negras where Mariela teaches.

If there was bad news about 2016, it’s that we didn’t make our budget. Yes, contributions to CRF were down from what they were in 2015. As I have talked to other non-profits, I have found that many others had decreased donations in 2016. Relief organizations are very dependent on the media telling the world about the problems that occur because of poverty. However, as you look back, last year the media mostly covered the election. If you think about it, you just didn’t hear much about disasters and orphans in the media in 2016. But they were still there.

What does that mean for CRF? We simply didn’t get to help as much as we wanted to in 2016. The good news is that we didn’t spend as much as we budgeted. And the other good news is that we had good financial management and didn’t spend as much as we received. And in reality, it wasn’t a bad year. It was still the third best year for donations in our history!

If there is any huge change around CRF in 2016, it is the retirement of Linda Purdy, our executive director. And we miss her like crazy. She devoted herself to children and CRF for decades. We are still building on her legacy—but we certainly notice the absence of her spirit, devotion and compassion. But we also couldn’t have been blessed more than to have Kevin Wasner come to Christian Relief Fund to walk in her footsteps. Kevin brings so many skills to CRF with his background in information technology, teaching children, and international management. He also has the kind of love for needy children and victims of poverty that has always been the foundation of CRF.

Sometimes it is hard to see the end of the story when it comes to people who seem to be trapped in poverty. Certainly we want to help them even when we don’t know for sure what is going to happen down the road. But every once in awhile, it’s pretty nice to hear a story like Mariela’s.

When the ministry started in Piedras Negras, Jair Castillo found a bunch of children eating at a dump. Jair wanted their lives to be better and devoted himself to these children. Partnering with CRF, Jair was able to build a ministry and a school that now might be the best in the entire city. It provided a place for Mariela to go and stay. She received an education in the past, and now is an exceptional teacher. She found the Lord in the past, and now she spreads the Good News. Isn’t it good to know that what you are doing is indeed breaking the vicious cycle of poverty?