The first annual Walk with Compassion in Tucson was held last Saturday at Brandi Fenton Park, and photographer Jodi McGinn created this slideshow to showcase the event.
There were 85 participants, and seven children were sponsored.
The first annual Walk with Compassion in Tucson was held last Saturday at Brandi Fenton Park, and photographer Jodi McGinn created this slideshow to showcase the event.
There were 85 participants, and seven children were sponsored.
Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and with so many things in my life for which to be thankful, I’ve decided to focus in this post only on those which are Compassion-related.
This has been a very busy year for me as a Compassion sponsor and advocate. It’s been filled with many blessings, opportunities to serve, new friendships and new experiences. I’ll try to sum it up in the following list of gratitude:
Guatemala Sponsor Tour: In July, I had the incredible opportunity to travel with my son Logan to Guatemala for a sponsor tour. This was my second Compassion tour, and it was every bit as amazing and special as the first. There are so many aspects of this tour that stand out, but here are the parts for which I am most thankful: meeting my sponsor children in person; meeting other sponsors, including many who are Compassion staff here in the United States; meeting the Compassion staff in Guatemala; experiencing the sights and sounds of this beautiful country; and most of all, doing all of this with my son.
There are no words to fully describe meeting your sponsor children in person. It is an experience filled with emotion, and the opportunity to see their facial expressions and movements, to interact with them and to meet their parents and project workers, really adds so much to the relationship. It is definitely the highlight of a sponsor tour.
A close second, though, is meeting the other sponsors on the tour. They are, in a word, amazing. While they share a love for children in poverty with you, they come from all over the country, with all kinds of unique experiences to share. And long bus rides and many meals offer lots of time for sharing. Sometimes you are lucky enough to meet members of Compassion’s U.S. staff on these tours, and they can give special insight into the ministry, and always confirm to me what a great organization Compassion is. These new friendships are invaluable.
Meeting the in-country staff is really fun as well. These very special people are dedicated and hard-working, and they are a wonderful source of information about Compassion and their country. They love their country and its children, and they love us sponsors. On our last night in Guatemala, one translator said to me, “Thank you for loving our children.” To be thanked after being blessed so greatly all week by her was quite humbling.
Making this trip with my son, who is 14 years old, is something neither of us will ever forget. To share so many wonderful experiences was priceless. I deeply enjoyed watching Logan make new friends, interact with the children at each project, and take in all of the new things going on around him. Since returning home, I have seen the ways the trip has changed him many times. He seems to have a deeper appreciation for the many blessings in his life.
Logan Becomes an Advocate: After returning from Guatemala, Logan was on fire for Compassion and its ministry. Within a week, he decided to become an advocate. He sponsors his own child in Guatemala, and he corresponds with another child in Kenya. He is passionate about helping children who are living in poverty, and I am proud of him.
Sponsoring Gladys: We did not sponsor a new child while on the sponsor tour in Guatemala, but we did sponsor a new child two months later from one of the centers we visited. I had requested child packets from centers we visited on the sponsor tour in hopes of connecting sponsors to children from the areas I had seen in person and photographed. One of the five packets I received was for a little girl who looked very familiar. After looking through my trip photos, I found a photo of her with Logan, so we welcomed Gladys into our sponsor family!
Continued Close Relationships with my Children in Nicaragua: After meeting my four boys in Nicaragua on a sponsor tour in 2014, we have continued our relationships with great letters filled with love. They are truly members of my family, and I know they feel the same. I can’t wait to visit them again.
Letters: Letters are our connection with our sponsor children, and this year, I continued to write monthly to each of my children, and to receive many letters in return. It can be a slow process, but it is worth it to build these relationships. Our letters are a blessing to our sponsor children, but their letters equally bless us.
Compassion Experience: In May, Logan and I volunteered at Compassion Experience. I had been waiting for Compassion Experience to come to my city, and was so excited to have this opportunity. I was thrilled to see how accurately Compassion has recreated sponsor children’s homes and projects to tell their stories effectively. For more information about Compassion Experience, click here.
Concerts: Another great opportunity to be involved with Compassion is in volunteering at concerts. Compassion partners with musicians who sponsor children and promote the ministry by encouraging others to sponsor as well. We volunteered at concerts by For King and Country and Matthew West this year, and more than 100 children were sponsored at each event! It is a lot of fun to see new sponsors connected to waiting children.
Sponsorship Anniversary: Finally, this fall marked five years since I first became a sponsor. When I chose my first child, I never would have imagined that in just five years, our sponsor family would continue to grow, and I would leave the country not once, but twice, to visit my sponsor children. This has been a wonderful journey with Compassion, and I look forward to seeing where it leads in the future.
If you are interested in beginning your own Compassion journey, please click here to see the many children who are waiting for sponsors. Contact me if you have any questions.
Happy Thanksgiving and God’s Peace!
After an emotional meeting and goodbye with my newest sponsored child, Marlon, our group gathered outside to go on a home visit.
This would be our second home visit that week, and it’s a unique experience, giving us sponsors the opportunity to see the home of a child attending the project we had just toured. It gives a better understanding of the child’s home environment and of the family’s needs. And once again, we were able to give the family a huge bag of groceries provided by Compassion.
As I waited to board the bus for the short drive to the home, a light-eyed boy in a purple shirt came up and hugged me. I told him my name, and used my shaky Spanish to find out his… Michael. I said, “Miguel?” thinking he was giving me the English version. And he said, “No, es Michael.” Venturing a little more in Spanish, I was able to find out it was his home we would be visiting that day, and that his sister also attends the project.
We arrived at the home to find that it was a cluster of small buildings on one lot, surrounded by a fence pieced together like a puzzle of sheets of metal and wood. There were 16 family members living there, including Michael’s parents and four siblings, his grandmother, and some aunts, uncles and cousins, and it looked like there were three separate small homes. Chickens pecked at the dirt near us.
Michael’s grandmother and aunt sat in rocking chairs outside, and we gathered around to visit with them and the rest of the family. The grandmother told us she had recently come home from the hospital, where she had been admitted for heart problems.
In the mish-mash of tin roofs and patched-together homes, two things stood out to me.
First, there was a definite love of God in this family. There were phrases spray-painted on the doors and walls inside the compound attesting to this, including one that said simply, “Dios” or “God” in English. An uncle sat outside throughout the visit, and seemed interested in discussing his faith. He wanted to know if any of us were pastors, and at the end of our visit, he led a beautiful prayer for us.
Michael’s grandmother talked about their church, and told us that Michael’s father had recently begun attending with the family. She seemed pleased with this new development, and we were all happy to hear it. He seemed a little embarrassed by the attention. She shared with us that Michael’s sister has been baptized, and they are hoping Michael will be baptized soon. Then she asked each of us to tell her the names of our churches.
The other thing that stood out was a definite love of family. This group clearly cared for and respected each other. The teens were quick to bring out the chairs to seat their grandmother and aunt at the start of our visit, and they hovered around both ladies while we were there. Michael held his baby sister for quite a while as we all talked.
After prayers and hugs, we gave Michael’s family the bag of groceries and climbed on the bus to drive back to the project.
I had a good feeling that with faith, love and Compassion’s help, this family is richer than many.
Friday night, I had the privilege of volunteering at a Compassion table at the Michael W. Smith concert in Tucson, Ariz.
It was my first time volunteering, and my son and good friend went with me. It was an awesome experience!
Five children were sponsored before the concert even began, and at the last count toward the end of the evening, 75 children had new sponsors.
It was a blessing to me to see the emotion in new sponsors’ faces as they took that step of faith and chose to change a child’s life. I knew the incredible journey they were about to experience, so it was easy to share that emotion with them.
If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please click here. And if you would like to look for volunteer opportunities in your area, click here.
On Monday, many in the world of child sponsorship were shocked when World Vision announced its decision to change its employee conduct policy, allowing gay Christians to work in its United States branch.
The World Vision U.S. board spent several years praying about and discussing this issue, according to a letter by World Vision U.S. CEO Richard Stearns. World Vision U.S. will continue to expect abstinence before marriage and fidelity within marriage for all staff, and will continue to require every employee to agree to the doctrinal issues in the Apostles’ Creed or World Vision’s own Statement of Faith.
Stearns pointed out in his letter that World Vision employees belong to more than 50 denominations, a number of which have sanctioned same-sex marriage for Christians.
Stearns wrote, “I want to be clear that we have not endorsed same-sex marriage, but we have chosen to defer to the authority of local churches on this issue.”
And with that announcement, Christian leaders across the country were ready to voice their opinions.
Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, quickly issued a statement against World Vision’s new policy, calling it offensive. Others speaking out included Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; and John Piper, retired megachurch pastor.
Child ambassador volunteers have resigned, and sponsors have canceled their sponsorships, while many have taken to social media to debate their opinions on World Vision’s decision.
As a sponsor and child ambassador myself, it has been heartbreaking to watch this play out.
This post, however, is not intended to change the reader’s opinion on World Vision’s new policy. I will not argue this issue. It has all been said before, and likely will continue to be hashed out over and over until the end of time.
While that debate rages, though, I will urge you not to cancel your sponsorships. Please, do not give up on these children, with whom you have formed loving, long-lasting relationships. And if you have not yet sponsored a child, maybe now is the time to do so.
This new policy will in no way affect your sponsored children across the world. Why punish them?
These are real children, and much more than just a photo stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet. These are children who are living in poverty. They may have difficult home lives. Their sponsor may be the only person who affirms to them that they are loved.
No matter a person’s feelings on this new policy, I pray that sponsors will not let this come between them and their children.
Do you not believe that you are important to your sponsored child? Please read the quotes under the photos in this post. They are directly from letters from my own children, whom I sponsor through World Vision.
And for every Bible verse that backs up your opinion for or against World Vision’s new policy, I suggest there are just as many verses commanding us to care for the poor.
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” – Psalm 82:3-4
UPDATE: World Vision has announced today that it has reversed its new policy. For more information, click here.
This week, the Compassion bloggers are visiting Uganda. It’s only two days into the trip, and these talented writers have already shared many wonderful stories.
You can follow along by clicking here.
You’ll read about a young girl who is able to smile again after growing up on the run from the Lord’s Resistance Army. You’ll follow along as another young girl gives a condensed and humorous presentation of her daily life. You’ll meet a young boy who, despite a tough first impression, has a heart for leadership and ministry. You’ll be exposed to poverty, but more importantly, you’ll see Compassion making a difference in the lives of children and families, bringing hope, faith and love to the area.
Compassion’s goal is to find sponsors for 400 children in Uganda this week, and already 109 children have been sponsored. Would you consider partnering with Compassion to provide a child with education, healthcare, nutrition and the gospel? Would you consider bringing hope to a child in need?
Please click here and select Uganda to sponsor one of the 602 children waiting to hear they have been chosen.
This week, I received Christmas cards from two of my World Vision sponsored boys in Romania, Cristian and Andrei. Each country has its own style of card, which the children send to their sponsors every year. Below are photos of both the front and inside of this year’s card from Andrei, and also the front of last year’s card from Cristian.
In three years as a Compassion sponsor, I’ve had to say goodbye to several sponsor children. Children leave the program for many reasons, including graduating, moving away from the area with their families and even simply tiring of the program.
Three times, though, I’ve had children leave for an incredible reason, which is surely a testament to Compassion’s success. They left because their family situations had improved so much that they no longer needed Compassion’s help.
Can you imagine that? These families who once qualified for Compassion’s services had improved their circumstances so greatly that they were able to stand on their own.
Initially children are selected for Compassion sponsorship by the leadership of the local project, which is often a pastor or a committee of church leaders. These children are selected after being identified as the most needy in the community.
While in the program, children receive help with spiritual, economic, social and physical needs. Meanwhile, their parents also can receive training covering topics such as family care, adult literacy education, seminars on domestic violence, and nutritional food preparation.
At the point when a family feels it no longer needs Compassion’s services, the family can make this known to the project leaders, who make a home visit to confirm it.
A Compassion representative told me that many families make the decision to leave the program when their circumstances improve because they know there are children on the waiting list who desperately need the benefits offered by Compassion.
So a family in desperate need receives help and training, its circumstances improves, and the family makes the decision to step aside so another family in the community can receive help. I can’t think of a better system than this.
Please click here, browse the children waiting for sponsors, and see if there is a child you would like to release from poverty. Compassion works in 26 countries around the world, and has more than 3,500 chldren available today on the United States web site alone.
When you partner with Compassion, you could help a child and its family to reach the point where Compassion’s help no longer is needed, and isn’t that the whole point of sponsorship?
Do you feel like poverty is an issue that’s too big to fix? Are you overwhelmed by the number of people living in poverty in this world?
More than 1.2 billion people in the developing world live below the poverty line, according to The World Bank. That means they live on less than US $1.25/day.
Feeling helpless in the face of such a large number is understandable, but don’t let that prevent you from sponsoring a child.
For only $38/month, you can change the life of a child. Your sponsorship money will provide that child with nutritious snacks and meals, educational opportunities, health and hygiene training, medical checkups, the support of a local church staffed by caring adults, and the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ.
By becoming a sponsor, you also have the unique opportunity to mentor a child through letters, filling him with love, hope and encouragement.
Johnny Carr, author of “Orphan Justice,” says, “Poverty is not necessarily an issue to solve; it is an opportunity to serve. As we go through each day, our heart’s cry should be, Lord, where would you have me give, serve and invest myself to bring hope to the poor?”
Are you investing yourself or are you giving up in defeat?
In Matthew 26:11, Jesus says, “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”
It’s true the poor will always be here, and it’s true that you can’t “fix” poverty, but you can make a difference in a child’s life.
You can make a difference in Cristian’s life by clicking here. Cristian is 6 and lives with his parents and one sibling in Colombia. He has been waiting 241 days for a sponsor.
You can make a difference in Maria’s life by clicking here. Maria is 9 years old and lives with her parents and five siblings in the Dominican Republic. She has been waiting 213 days for a sponsor.
There are 3,249 children on Compassion’s web site today who are waiting for sponsors. You can view them by clicking here. Please consider helping one of these children.
Last week, I received the phone call that no sponsor wants to receive. It was Compassion calling to tell me that my sweet Roxana from Guatemala has left the program.
This is the same child about whom I posted earlier on this blog after receiving a particularly sweet letter from her. She wrote that she dreams about playing ball with me, and she hopes to see me someday. She also let me know that she keeps the photos I’ve sent to her in a frame next to her bed.
I’ve sponsored her since April 2011, when she had just turned 7.
The Compassion representative who called me said Roxana’s parents pulled her out of the program.
There could be any number of reasons for a parent to take their child out of Compassion. Moving to another area or some other change in the family’s situation could be the reason, though it’s best not to speculate because then my imagination will go wild and only cause me to worry. Instead, I must respect the parents’ choice and trust in God’s plan.
Of course, that’s not exactly easy to do.
Fortunately, my 8-year-old daughter Ryan was able to push things along. She, too, was sad to lose Roxana, but she was ready to start scouring the Compassion web site that same day to sponsor a new little girl.
I set Ryan up at the computer, and searched for girls in Guatemala around the same age as Roxana, and my daughter quickly narrowed it down to one little girl. I told her I wanted to think about it, but the next day, she was back to campaigning for her chosen girl.
She was fairly relentless. Ryan enjoys writing, drawing pictures and making cards for the girls we sponsor, and she wasn’t going to let me mope about Roxana much longer. And she did pick a very cute little girl, so I sponsored my daughter’s choice, Hania, 7, of Guatemala.
I emailed Compassion later that day to request an emailed digital copy of Hania’s photo on file, and found out I am her first sponsor. I also found out this little cutie had been waiting for a sponsor since she registered with Compassion back in September of 2012.
How can it be that almost a year has passed that no one decided to sponsor this little girl?
I immediately sent her an email with photos using Compassion’s online letter-writing tool, and my daughter got to work making cards and drawings for her new friend.
Later that night, Ryan came downstairs at bedtime to show me the photo of Roxana she keeps on her dresser. She leaned in my ear and whispered, “I prayed for Roxana.”
The door may have closed on that special relationship with Roxana, but I am comforted knowing that I’m not alone in continuing to pray for her.
And now we open the door to our newest sponsorship. Welcome to our family, Hania.
Sometimes I’m just going along, living my life, and suddenly God’s Timing jumps up and surprises me!
I don’t know why it’s always a surprise when it happens to me. Maybe it’s because as I get bogged down in the details of the day-to-day, it becomes easy to forget that God is working in my life. His timing is always perfect, and that doesn’t necessarily relate to our imperfect lives and world.
Regardless, it’s always a pleasant surprise when it happens.
One time, it went like this:
It was a typically relentlessly hot August afternoon. I was at home, hanging out with my kids, hiding from the afternoon sun on our couch and watching movies, waiting until the worst heat of the day had passed so we could spend the evening swimming. I heard the mailman drive past outside, and being a Compassion sponsor, I can pick out the sound of the mail truck like a mom who zeroes in on her child’s cries on a crowded playground.
Naturally, I slid on my flip flops and headed outside to check the mailbox in hopes of hearing from one of my sponsored children. The possibility of finding a cream-colored Compassion envelope in the mailbox was definitely a small price to pay for braving the desert heat.
And this time, I was rewarded for my effort! I rushed back into the house, plopped back down on the couch, enjoying the cool AC, and tore into the newest letter.
This one was from Samuel from Colombia. He was 6 years old, so his tutor at his Compassion project or his mother always helped him to write his letters. As I unfolded the letter, I was surprised to find several pages stapled together. Samuel’s letters up to this point rarely filled half a page, so I wondered what was going on.
As I began to read, I realized this was no ordinary letter. It was two full pages written by Samuel’s tutor in July, and she had some bad news to relay.
Samuel’s mother had suffered a stroke and was currently hospitalized. She suffered paralysis on her left side. And Samuel, who was living with his aunt temporarily, at the time wasn’t allowed into the hospital to see his mother for fear of upsetting him too much.
Samuel’s tutor let me know that she was picking up Samuel each day, bringing him to the Compassion project, feeding him lunch and taking him to school and back home. She also let me know that Compassion had been notified and was offering all the support and help possible.
As I took in this bad news and tried to comprehend what this all would mean to Samuel, I continued to read. I ‘d barely gotten through the explanations of his mother’s medical issues, when the letter’s tone turned thankful.
It turned out, within days of Samuel’s mother going to the hospital, the family gift I had sent to them back in May had arrived. It was only $100, but it came at a time when this woman, who already struggled to support her child, was facing a scary health problem, an unknown amount of time in the hospital and likely mounting medical bills.
Samuel’s tutor described how she and the Compassion project director visited Samuel’s mom in the hospital, and that she was able to recognize them. She said they told her about the gift, and that Samuel’s mother “expressed a faint smile of gratitude.”
And I sat there in my living room astonished that such an easy act for me, logging into my account and sending that gift to Samuel two months before, had arrived at just the right time for this family. It was clearly God’s Timing at work.
I couldn’t know in May what this single mom in Colombia would be facing in July, but God knew, and he used that simple act by one of his children in the United States to bless one of his children in Colombia at just the right time.
I’m thankful for that special glimpse of God’s Timing, and humbled that he would bless me by involving me in some small way. It occurs to me that the gift I sent in May not only helped Samuel, but it also helped me.
Receiving news like that, I definitely would have wanted to help out in any way, but what could I really do for Samuel with so many miles separating us? I could have sent a gift right away, but financial gifts generally take two months to arrive. I could send Samuel letters, cards and stickers, wishing him well and letting him know I’m praying for his mother, but again, those would take a couple of months to arrive, so would have no immediate effect.
With God’s Timing, I could rest assured that I had done all I could do, and all that was left was to pray for Samuel and his mother and leave the situation in God’s hands.
You’ve searched your heart, made your decision, chosen a child, and now you are a sponsor.
But what happens next?
Often you will find that you are filled with enthusiasm for this new experience and a strong desire to begin a relationship with your child. However, that first letter from your child can take anywhere from one to several months to arrive in your mailbox.
While waiting for that letter, it seems your first lesson as a sponsor is patience. But there are lots of things you can do in the meantime.
After sponsoring my first child, I created an online account at http://www.compassion.com. You can do this by using your e-mail address or your sponsor ID number if you know it. Sometimes it can take a few days for your information to be entered into the system for the first time, allowing you to create your account.
Once you have your account, your child’s photo and information will be posted there. This means you can begin writing online letters to your child. When using the online letter-writing tool, you get to choose a template from many different themes, write a letter and include up to three digital photos of your own.
When you click the send button, your letter goes to Compassion’s headquarters in Colorado. There it will be printed onto quality paper and sent to your child’s country office, where it will be translated and delivered to your child.
After sending an online letter, the next thing I always do is to send an e-mail to Compassion requesting a digital copy of my child’s photo. Children’s photos are updated every 18-24 months, and Compassion keeps the current photo and one previous photo on file. You can ask for both!
This is fun because it allows you to see how your child has grown over the past two years, and having a digital copy gives you the ability to make hard copies of the photo. I always make a few copies of the child’s photos and mail the copies to the child. Families enjoy having photos of their children!
Another fun thing to do with the digital photos is to upload them to a free photo-editing web site. There are many to choose from online. Here you can add fun borders, images and text to your child’s photo, save the new photo to your computer and make a copy to send to your child.
While you’re making all these copies of photos, be sure to copy some of your own photos as well to mail to your child. Children love to get a peek into your life. They want to see you and your family, friends and pets.
In addition to photos, you can also send things like stickers, coloring pages and bookmarks to your child. Check Compassion’s web site for a full list of items to send and size requirements. Children love to receive these things on letter day.
You’ll want to label anything you send to your child. I print out the following information onto address labels so it’s easy to label anything I send: child’s name, child’s ID number, sponsor’s name and sponsor’s ID number. I keep a sheet of these labels for each child I sponsor in a folder so they are handy when I need them.
Remember, you can begin sending letters, either online or handwritten, you your child right away, and your letters mean a lot to your child.
Soon after I opened my account on Compassion’s web site, I stumbled across another web site that has proven invaluable. It’s called Our Compassion, http://www.ourcompassion.org, and it’s a community of involved sponsors who have a wealth of information and stories to share. I recommend spending some time on there learning about sponsorship.
Finally, there are two more web sites to fill your time learning about sponsorship, sponsored children and your child’s country. One is the Compassion blog (www.blog.comopassion.com), where stories are posted almost daily covering many Compassion topics. The other is the Compassion bloggers page (www.compassionbloggers.com). Here you can read many blog posts from past blogger trips. These stories are always touching, personal and well-written and provide a unique look into the lives of the children, families and communities where Compassion works.
These things just might keep you busy until you receive that much-anticipated first letter.
Sometimes the most exciting and fulfilling journeys are those that simply appear in front of you, when you aren’t looking, and that is how my journey with Compassion began.
I had seen the late-night commercials showing children with bulging tummies swatting flies from their faces with the voice-over pleading for just a dollar a day to help these children. I always thought the images were sad, but never gave the pleas much consideration because it seemed like a scam – like some kind of cheesy made-for-TV, telethon and infomercial wrapped into one.
Imagine my surprise when I was reading a newly found favorite blog a few years ago, and suddenly the posts were about a trip to Guatemala. The writer was going to visit her sponsored child there, and she detailed her preparations for the visit. She described standing in a department store and picking out just the right clothing to take to her girl, even having her son of the same age try on the dress to be sure she was choosing the right size. She carefully selected other items to take to the girl’s family. The care and thoughtfulness that the writer and her family put into preparing for this visit sparked my interest.
She was traveling with a group of sponsors who also were bloggers. Veteran sponsors know this event as a Compassion Blogger Trip, and wait for the announcement of each year’s trip destinations with great anticipation. Compassion picks very talented writers to go on these trips, where they write each night, describing the day’s experiences and offering an intimate look into the lives of sponsored children and their families, and into the amazing work Compassion is doing in these areas.
But I was not a sponsor yet, so I read these “pre-trip” posts with curiosity, and planned to follow along reading posts throughout the trip. It turns out, I had no idea how my life was about to change.
Each day, as I read these stories of extreme poverty and viewed photos for which there are no adequate words, I was drawn in. Here I was, sitting in my comfortable home, maybe eating a warm breakfast, and reading about lives and situations that couldn’t be more different from my own.
I began to research Compassion and to read everything I could find about the organization. And I began to pray. I couldn’t get these stories out of my mind.
Just three days into the trip, I sponsored Anderson. One week after that, I sponsored Winston. Both boys were from Guatemala. They were 10 and 8 years old – close in age to two of my own sons.
As many sponsors have experienced, I was surprised by the immediate love I felt for these children. I couldn’t stop thinking about them. I wrote them letters, gathered items to send to them in packages and continued to gather any information I could find about Compassion and Guatemala.
Just that simple act of choosing to sponsor these two boys began to change my way of thinking. It began to put things into perspective, and the change seeped into many areas of my life.
I began to equate things like dinner at a restaurant or taking my kids to a movie with the funds to sponsor a child. I didn’t stop doing these things entirely, but realized that by cutting out one or two of these outings each month, I could add another child or two to our sponsor family.
Not only did this cause me to put more thought into how I spent money, it also gave me an even greater appreciation for what my husband and I were able to provide our own children.
I felt lucky; blessed to be born into this time in this country, when I could just as easily have been born a neighbor to Anderson or Winston.
As God worked on my heart, my Compassion family grew. I have sponsored several children now for more than two years, and they have helped me every bit as much as I have helped them.
And it is ironic that as I set out to bless these children, they also have blessed me.
Winston’s letter to me last month brought tears to my eyes when he wrote, “I am very happy because you always remember about me because you have supported me during two years, and I hope you don’t stop writing to me because I am very happy with you being my sponsor.”
My heart is full, and I am blessed.
Compassion is a feeling of sympathy or empathy for the suffering of others.
Often it is what leads to a person becoming a child sponsor.
So it seems appropriate that when I decided to become a sponsor, I teamed up with Compassion International, a company dedicated to easing the suffering of others by lifting children out of poverty.
Compassion is a child sponsorship program operating in 26 different countries and serving more than 1.2 million children. Compassion works through local churches with the goal of releasing children from four kinds of poverty: economic, physical, social and spiritual.
The unique way that Compassion works toward this goal is by providing one-to-one child sponsorship. In other words, when you sponsor a child for $38/month, you are the only sponsor connected to that child. You are able to write to that child, pray for that child and send monetary gifts for that child.
A sponsored child receives many benefits in addition to a personal relationship with a sponsor. Compassion provides educational opportunities, Christian training, hygiene training, and often meals. When Compassion partners with a local church, it becomes a safe environment for children to learn and grow.
In addition, Compassion is a non-profit organization committed to financial integrity. For 11 consecutive years, Compassion has earned Charity Navigator’s highest ranking of four stars. More than 80 percent of every dollar is spent on the organization’s child development programs, and expenses are detailed on Compassion’s web site, http://www.compassion.com.
That covers the basics of Compassion, but Compassion is so much more than goals and numbers. I urge readers to go to Compassion’s web site and see what it’s all about, and check back here often for more Compassion-related stories.