Hope

Hope is a powerful gift, and it is a gift you can give by sponsoring a child.

Without hope, a child growing up in poverty faces many challenges. Staying in school is unlikely as day-to-day survival takes priority. Nutritious meals and medical care are rare, and even the ability to dream of a better future may become difficult.

When you sponsor a child through Compassion, that child receives medical and dental check-ups, spiritual and educational training, meals, and best of all, hope.

If you’re wondering how hope can be lumped in with those other life essentials, take a look at recent research, which shows that sponsored children fare much better in life than their non-sponsored peers.

A study published in the April issue of Journal of Political Economy and led by Dr. Bruce Wydick, a professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, shows stark differences between sponsored and non-sponsored children. 

Former Compassion-sponsored children were found to stay in school 1 to 1.5 years longer than their non-sponsored peers. In Uganda, that average was even longer at 2.4 years. 

They were 13.3 percent more likely to finish primary school, 27 to 40 percent more likely to finish secondary school, and 50 to 80 percent more likely to complete a university education than non-sponsored children. 

Those are just the study’s findings regarding education. Employment and leadership also were affected greatly by sponsorship. 

As adults, former Compassion-sponsored children were 14 to 18 percent more likely to have salaried employment and 35 percent more likely to work a white-collar job than their non-sponsored peers. They also were found more likely to become community leaders, church leaders and teachers. 

This is all statistical proof that the hope child sponsorship provides is changing lives. But how about some personal proof? I receive letters from my precious sponsored children sharing goals for their future, career aspirations, and sometimes, just simple requests of prayer to pass to the next grade in school. 

Here are just a few examples: 

“I want to go to university to graduate as a telecommunications engineer.” – recent secondary school graduate Favian, 19, Guatemala

“I want to finish elementary and high school and become a professional.” – Luis, 7 Colombia 

“When I grow up, I would like to be a cop.” – Winston, 11, Guatemala

“My dream for the future is to be a doctor.” – Esteban, 7, Nicaragua

“I would like to become a lawyer.” – Wagner, 16, Guatemala 

Imagine how these children’s lives have been changed by sponsorship that they are dreaming of careers. 

Please consider giving hope to a child in need. You can sponsor a child today by clicking here.

 

Compassion’s Blog Month

September is Compassion’s Blog Month, and it’s a good chance to read well-written posts by people who have a passion for children in poverty.

Each week, Compassion will assign a writing prompt to its bloggers, with the goal of finding sponsors for 3,160 children. If you are a blogger and would like to participate, just click on the photo.

ImageAnd if you just want to read what others are writing, please visit the following links:

Katie’s Post: A Conversation With My Childhood Self

Alicia’s Post: To My Child Self

Hannah’s Post: Talking to My Childhood Self

Breanne’s Post: Breathe.Pray.Try.

Kimberly’s Post: Time Warp…

Brandilyn’s Post: Mi Patitos, Mi Patitos

Amanda’s Post: Letter to my smaller self

Teresa’s Post: A letter to my younger self

Beverly’s Post: Letter to Childhood Bev

Miranda’s Post: Dear Me

Be sure to check back throughout the week, as I will continue to add more links to this post. You can read my first post for Blog Month, titled “A Letter to Myself,” on my home page.

A Letter to Myself

In 1983, most of my Sundays started out the same. I woke up, got dressed, grabbed myself a bowl of cereal, then hopped on my bicycle and pedaled off to the neighborhood church.

My best friend Diana introduced me to this church. She had moved to a new neighborhood recently and was attending a new school. I missed her terribly. But one day, I spent the night at Diana’s new house, and the next morning, a shiny silver bus pulled up and carried us to church. It was a church only blocks from my own house, and after that day, I was hooked.

The Sunday School teachers were so kind, and I really enjoyed learning and singing all of the songs. I got to see my best friend every week, too.

But my favorite thing of all was earning stickers for memorizing Bible verses. Some mornings I would memorize up to four or five verses before heading home happily with my new stickers.

When I found out I could earn my own Bible by attending church for 12 weeks in a row, I committed to that goal. I was so proud the day my name was called to go up in front of the gathered Sunday School classes and receive my brand-new blue Bible.

But one day, the unintended actions of a few pierced my happiness, and doubt began to trickle into my heart.

I had just arrived at church, and like I did every Sunday, I was chaining my bicycle to a bench outside because there were no bike racks. While I was bent over clicking the lock, I sensed someone watching me. As I turned my head, from the corner of my eye I could see a couple of adults in a small group, and they were looking at me and chuckling.

My fair, freckled face turned red and hot instantly. I may have been only 10 years old, but I knew when someone was having a laugh at my expense.

And that was the beginning of a year-long battle in my head. I continued to go to church most Sundays, but the joy I had once felt in being there was being eaten away by doubt and embarrassment.

I was different from most of the children going to church every week, and I knew it. But before the bike-chaining day, I had been able to ignore it. Now it was all I could think about, and the differences began to loom before me, stacking up like bricks in a wall that eventually would block me from going to church at all.

Most children did not ride their bicycles to church. They came in a car, and not only that, they came with their parents. I saw them holding hands with their parents as they walked to the Sunday School room each week. And I saw them leaving with their parents after church, happily detailing what they had learned in class or deciding where to go for lunch.

Their parents brought them to church each week, while mine were still in bed, sleeping off the previous night’s drinks.

And most children came to church dressed appropriately, while I was dressed in the only clothes I had. Jeans with holes and old t-shirts and ratty tennis shoes made up my wardrobe.

As the weeks went by, I began to make excuses to myself not to go to church anymore. And because no one at home cared if I went, it was easy enough to just stop. It was about two decades before I returned.

Knowing what I know now, there are a few things I would tell my 10-year-old self if I could. If I could write my 10-year-old self a letter, just like the encouraging letters I send to my sponsor children each month, I would pour love and praise into that unworthy little girl, and build her up so she wouldn’t even consider leaving church.

Dear “Younger” Kerri,

How are you? I pray that you are healthy and happy, and that God is blessing you every day.

I am so happy to receive your recent letter, but something in it worried me. You said you might not continue going to Sunday School because you feel so different from the other children there.

I want to tell you, I know how hard it is to feel different. Sometimes it can be so embarrassing and painful that you just want to disappear, right? I remember feeling that way. 

Did you know that your Heavenly Father loves you no matter how different you are? In fact, he loves you just as much as he loves the girls in their pretty Sunday dresses, and the boys whose mothers kiss them on the cheek at the Sunday School door. Those things don’t matter to him. He loves you.

Job 34:19 says, “Who shows no partiality to princes and does not favor the rich over the poor, for they are all the work of his hands?”

You will be a teen soon, and it is so important for you to continue your relationship with God. It is so important for you to have fellowship at church, where people can encourage you and teach you.

You are about to enter some difficult years, Kerri. I know those adults who laughed at you made you feel small and embarrassed you, but I am sure they meant no harm. They probably were impressed and surprised to see a child like you taking on the responsibility of getting yourself to church. Please don’t think badly of them or let that day ruin the many years ahead when you will benefit from a close and personal relationship with your Heavenly Father.

Please persevere, continue going to church every week, and pray that God will ease your feelings of discomfort and unworthiness. He will be there with you. And please write to me, and tell me what you are learning each week.

You are a special and unique young lady, and I send you lots of love.

I leave you with this verse:

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Love,

“Older” Kerri

Won’t you sponsor a child today and share the encouragement and love that is unique to your personal experiences? There is a child out there who will benefit greatly from your words.

Click here to sponsor:  http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=129652