The above picture was from a story book that I was reading to my grandsons tonight. The book went through each Holiday that is celebrated. On each page the author listed a description of each holiday and what is celebrated during that holiday. When we came to Christmas I realized that the author had taken Jesus out of the Christmas Holiday.
My grandsons are age 2 and 4 so they can’t read yet so I read it to them with Jesus inserted where the author omitted Him.
This really bothers me that a children’s book is stating what sounds like a fact to small children, when the real fact is that this statement is missing the most important part ‘JESUS’ If Jesus is not in Christmas then Christmas would make no sense.
Our van rushed through the crowded streets of Port au Prince. We were trying to get to our destination of Mother Teresa’s Children’s Hospital by 3:00. We had been told that if we didn’t arrive by 3:00 we would not be able to get inside. A new driver and a wrong turn pushed us past our desired arrival time and now we were pulling in front of the building, our arrival time 15 minutes late. Maya our guide got out of the van and knocked at the door I held my breath while at the same time saying a silent prayer, ‘Father, if this is your will today, please get us in,” that instant Maya began waving for us to come inside, prayer answered our group climbed out of the van and headed through the door.
We had been told we were going to be helping with the malnourished babies today and that our job would be changing their diapers and feeding them. I was excited about this because I love babies and in my mind I envisioned us cuddling a cute little baby as it happily drank a bottle. What I didn’t know yet was that it was not going to be anything at all like I thought it would be and nothing could have ever prepared me for the helpless feeling that was waiting for me on the other side of the door.
We entered the room and the first thing I noticed was the white metal baby beds that were lined up head to foot in rows, and each one had a baby about the size of a newborn in it. In the first bed we were met by a cute little smiling faced baby boy. His little smiling face just warmed my heart and took a bit of the edge off my shock at what I was seeing beyond him in the other beds.
To me this hospital looked out of date and not at all like any hospital I had ever been in in my life. There had to be over 60 babies here and though I never actually counted babies, there were two full rooms of babies each with at least 25 or 30 babies per room. There room was all white with nothing in it that showed that this room was for children, other than there were baby beds. The baby beds were very small and they seemed really unsafe. They had metal bars and there were no bumper pads to block the the baby’s heads from being bumped. I also noticed that the babies who were able stand were much taller than the sides of the beds, and the first thing that went through my head was how easy it would be for one of these little ones to fall out head first onto the concrete floor below. Another thing I noticed was that the babies didn’t have blankets though I am not really sure a blanket was needed because there wasn’t any air conditioning or even a fan to stir the hot muggy air.
There was one nurse in the room and she was busy mixing cereal and filling baby bottles with milk. We were given the task of changing each baby’s diaper and then to feed them. We spread out and began going down the rows almost in an assembly line fashion. I began checking diapers and eventually reached a bed with a baby boy sitting in it. He lifted his arms up to me, I reached in and picked him up, his tiny little body seemed to mold to me as he pressed in close seeming to almost melt into my arms. I was unprepared for the panicky feeling that washed over me as I suddenly felt shocked at how feather light and tiny he felt in my arms. I was frozen in disbelief as I stood there holding him in my arms, unable to let him go, and I also got the feeling that he did not want to let go of me either. Another silent prayer went up, “God, he’s so tiny, so precious, and so sick, please do something!’ Only a few minutes ago I was looking forward to coming here and now I felt sick to my stomach wondering how could this be possible that a child could be so small and so sick?! And right now this somehow made me I feel really small too.
Holding back the tears that wanted to spring forth, I held on to that precious boy as long as I could but I also knew there were other babies waiting to be changed and fed too. I finally peeled him off my body, laid him down and began to change his diaper. I gently took his tiny cloth diaper off and once again I was in shock at what I was seeing. his tiny legs were like fragile sticks, his tummy looked somehow bloated and to big for his body that was nothing but skin stretched over a tiny skeleton. I was smacked in the face by the fact that this baby was one of those children I have seen on the television commercials, the ones who are starving. I wanted to close me eyes to what was before me right now, oh how I did not want to see this!!
So many times I have I prayed for God to open my eyes and let me see what he sees and now he had my eyes fully open wide and all I wanted to do was shut them tightly back up again. I wanted to go back and live in my happy bubble of a life where all babies were cute and cuddly and full of life. My mind kept saying this can’t be true, you must be dreaming, but unfortunately this was not a dream, this was the harsh reality right here in front of me and it hurt my heart. Tears wanted to come but I would not let them out and I finished changing his diaper and fed him a bottle. I sent prayer after prayer up for him and as I fed him he fell asleep in my arms.
Just as I lay him down in his bed the nurse handed me a tiny little baby girl. To my surprise she felt even tinier than the boy had been and she just lay in my arms listless and gazing off at nothing. The nurse then handed me a bowl of cereal that resembled thick gloppy white paste and motioned for me to feed the cereal to her. As soon as I realized she wanted me to spoon feed a listless baby I was once again uncomfortable. This baby looked as if she was barely able to keep her eyes open, much less eat from a spoon. What if she were to choke?
I had no choice but to do what I was told so I did it even thought my motherly instincts were telling me this was not possible and also not safe for the baby. I was worried she would choke as I put the first spoonful of food in her mouth…. I fearfully watched as she began slowly sucking the cereal off the spoon and to my surprise she was able to swallow it!
For the next 10 minutes I fed her tiny spoonfuls of cereal. When she seemed to be finished I told the nurse she was done eating. The nurse lifted up the baby’s shirt, felt her tummy and pointed at the bowl motioning for me to feed her more. More?!? I am a mother I know when a baby is full and this baby sure seemed to me to be full! I was not the one in charge here today so reluctantly I gave her another spoonful of cereal. She held it in her mouth for a long time and I kept thinking to myself that at any second she would spit it out or start to choke, but instead she eventually swallowed it down. This went on for another 10 minutes or so and I began to realize with each spoonful she was beginning to become more aware of her surroundings and she was starting to eat a little faster. Eventually she finished the whole bowl of cereal and I lay her down to change her diaper. While I was changing her she began playing with a small pink stuffed animal that was tied to the rail of her bed and she even began to smile. While I was changing her diaper I noticed that she had a cloth bracelet on her leg with her age written on it and it said she was 8 months old!! How could this be possible? I knew she cold not weigh more than 8 pounds because she was the size of a newborn! I thought I knew what poverty was before today, but now here I was once again still having my eyes opened even further, WAY much further than I ever wanted them to be open and once again my heart was hurting.
When I finished changing her diaper I started to move away from her and on to the next baby, but just as I started to walk away she raised her arms stretching them up to me, I reached down and touched her precious little face and said goodbye because I knew I had to move on. As I started to walk away I looked over and her hands were still up and now she stuck her bottom lip out and began to cry. That was the end of me, I could not take it, the next thing I knew I had scooped her up and I held her in my arms rocking her telling her it was going to be okay.
As I rocked her she kept looking me right in the eyes, and in turn I could not tear my eyes off hers. Her little brown eyes were mesmerizing and I wondered what she was thinking about just as she reached out her tiny hand and placed it on my mouth. Once again my heart was melted to mush. There was no way I could put that precious girl down now, so I found a stool and sat down on it and just held her until she finally went to sleep, the whole time she continued to look right into my eyes
I am not sure how but somehow fell in love with that little girl as I sat there holding her. After she fell asleep and I lay her down in her bed to move on to the next baby I realized that each baby in here needed someone to love on them. I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for each one of them. that day and there were so many babies and so few of us. My heart was tearing into shreds and at the same time the feeling love was almost overwhelming as I gazed around the room and realized that all of the ladies who were here today were all loving up on these small little babies. At one point I caught eyes with another of the ladies in our group and I could tell by the look on her face she was also feeling the same heartbreak I was feeling and I also knew she loved them too. I am pretty sure her eyes spoke for the way the whole group was feeling inside.
We had been told that these babies were malnourished. I don’t know a thing about malnutrition but as our time went on that day I realized that many of the babies had fevers, runny noses, and diarrhea. I am not sure if that is part of being malnourished or if they were also sick with something else too. Either way these were the sickest children I had ever seen in my life.
As I was sitting there in that room I remembered that I had read on Compassion International’s website that 9 million Children never make it to their fifth birthday. I wondered how many of the babies in that hospital room would not make it to their fifth birthday. After I came home I looked up the facts on Haiti and found out that 76 out of every 1000 children in Haiti do not live to see their fifth birthday. It breaks my heart knowing that a lot of the babies in that room may become one of the children in those statistics.
As I left the hospital that day I felt heartbroken and I will admit I was a little upset with God that he didn’t just snap his fingers and fix these babies but then later that evening God reminded me of my last visit to Haiti. On that visit I had visited one of Compassion International’s Child Survival Programs (CSP). Mothers can come to the CSP and while there they are taught how to take care of themselves during pregnancy and they are also taught how to take care of their babies after they are born. At the CSP the moms learn about proper nutrition, and are given a safe place for their children to learn and grow. Their children also receive medical care and immunizations. Most of all at the CSP the mom’s and children learn about Jesus and they have the opportunity receive the hope that only He can give them.
You can watch the video below to find out more about the CSP
That day we were not allowed to bring cameras or take pictures in the hospital, but even though we were not allowed to do that, a picture will be forever etched in my mind of what I saw that day.
If you would like to sponsor a child in Haiti or do something to help you can click this link – Haiti and get more information.
Here are some of the beautiful little people I met last week while on a mission trip in Haiti. These children live in a little village called Babaco on the edge of a dried up river bed. We were told that after a hurricane the river just went away. We actually drove down the middle of the river bed to get to their church/school. The smiling faces and laughter of these children brought so much joy to my heart and I know that these pictures will make you smile too 🙂
He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Mark 10:14
It’s been over two weeks since I was given this Compassion Blogger assignment and I am not sure why but of all the Compassion blogging assignments I have received this one for some reason gave me writers block. I know that’s sounds silly because if you are a friend of mine you know that the children of Compassion are where my passion is and I usually cannot stop talking about those kids.
So why then would this assignment be so hard for me?
The assignment this month was to write about what it was that inspired me to sponsor a child. I do know the answer to this question and my answer to the question is – My decision to sponsor a child was God inspired.
I know that sounds like a simple answer and I guess I could have just left it at that and been finished with my writing assignment way before now but there was just so much more to say and I had a hard time putting it all into words. So tonight I decided to just start writing in the hopes that it puts into perspective all the things floating around in my head.
I will start with the first time I was asked to sponsor a child…It was 2010 and I was a brand new Christian. My friend David asked me to sponsor a child and I told him no. I knew nothing about Compassion except for a few status’s that he had put on his Facebook page and what he had told me about his own sponsorship’s. I really did think I meant no at that time but gradually I found myself becoming very intrigued by Compassion’s website. What I did not know at that time was that God had used my friend to plant a seed for those children in my heart. I soon began visiting Compassion’s website almost every evening and while I was there I found myself reading about poverty and looking at pictures of the children who were waiting for sponsors. On May 3, 2010 as I was looking at the pictures of the children a cute little face with a big giant smile jumped out of the page at me. The more I looked at the little girl’s picture the more the pull to sponsor her became stronger. Even though I still had reservations there was no fighting it, I knew without a doubt that God wanted me to sponsor Walkiris from the Dominican Republic.
I didn’t know it at the time but that day 4 years ago was the beginning of something that has now become a very important part of my life!
Choosing to sponsor Walkiris was a God inspired decision for sure and the thing about something that is God inspired is it usually turns out in the end way bigger than you could have ever imagined it could.
Some God inspired things seem to me to be way out of my comfort zone and sponsoring a child may sound easy to some people but for me it was way…WAY out of my comfort zone! First off I was going to be making a commitment to a monthly payment I wasn’t sure I would always have the funds for. Sponsoring a child also meant taking a chance on something I knew nothing about. I did not know a whole lot about Compassion and back then I had big time trust issues. From where I stand now looking back to that time in my life, for me to sponsor a child back then was pretty huge!
At that time in my life Jesus was also very new to me and I had only been a Christian for about 2 months. I did not feel equipped to be writing about him in a letter to a child and to me the letter writing seemed like a big responsibility because I didn’t have a clue what I would say to a child that I didn’t know and to top that off she was from another country so our cultures were different and she spoke Spanish (thank you for Compassion translators). I will be honest with you when I sponsored Walkiris though I said yes to God I was not totally sure if I was really all in on the whole sponsorship thing.
Thankfully it did work out and I soon found out, letter writing was easy, it was fun, the funds always seemed to be there and I also eventually realized I was really ALL in.
Since the day I sponsored Walkiris several other things have been God inspired.
God inspired sponsoring Thierry…
Thierry – Haiti (Thierry has now graduated from Compassion’s program)
God inspired me to become an advocate for other children who are waiting for sponsors…
God inspired me to join Compassion bloggers and He inspires me to write about the kids at Compassion…
And just this past year God inspired sponsoring Ericka…
Ericka – El Salvador
God has inspired writing letters full of words of encouragement and full of love…Tears of joy have sometimes flowed down my face when I read the letters from my children. I cry because I see the love in the pictures they draw for me…or the first time I saw Walkiris’s tiny blue finger print signature because she was to young to write. I loved watching as over time the finger print was replaced by her own crooked signature and then finally the joyful day that the letter arrived fully written by her in her very own handwriting.
I love how the letters from these kids give me a glimpse into their lives. The most profound thing I have learned through all of this is that I could fall in love with someone I have never met in person. The love I feel for them is real and I feel like they are my own children. I have also found out that these children love me as much as I love them. Their letters to me are written with love and also full of encouragement for me. Every single one of them has told me that they pray for me and my family. What I have received out of all this has been a totally unexpected gift.
What started out as me helping them I think somehow has also been them helping me?!?
During the past 4 years God has taken this heart of mine and broken it into a million tiny pieces while at the same time he has been picking them up and putting them back together again, molding them into a heart that is full of trust, hope and love. Those things all rolled together form a heart so full of joy at times that it feels as if it may burst. This whole ‘God inspired’ thing has blessed me beyond anything I could ever have imagined and I am thankful to be a part of something so life changing on all sides of the story.
When looking at Compassion’s website and seeing all those faces of children looking back it can be really hard to imagine that sponsoring just one child could make any difference at all, but I know now without a doubt that it really does make a difference. The truth is sponsoring a child not only makes a difference for that child’s life but also for his whole family and it can also change the sponsor’s life too.
Below is a video by Caitlin Jane. She is a singer songwriter and also a Compassion sponsor. When she was visiting her sponsored child in The Dominican Republic she was inspired to write this song.
What is God inspiring you to do? If he is inspiring you to do something then go for it! I know you won’t regret your decision to do it if it’s God inspired. If you would like to share what God is inspiring you to do please tell me about it in the comments below, I really would love to hear about it.
If you feel God is inspiring you to help make a difference in the life of a child consider leaving this blog post by way of clicking the link below which will take you to Compassion International’s website. While there you can view pictures of children who have been praying for someone to choose them and to be their sponsor. YOU can be that person…YOU can make a difference…YOU can change the world — one child at a time! http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431
I have exciting news! This week is the five year anniversary of Compassion Bloggers and to celebrate a group of Compassion bloggers are in Uganda and have a goal to release 400 children from poverty during this week. You can follow along by clicking the picture below to read their blog posts. Today was their first day and the blog posts were amazing!
YOU can also join us in celebrating this five year anniversary by helping us get 400 children sponsored in Uganda. You click the link below and find out more about how you can sponsor and help release a child from poverty in Jesus name.
You can also help by praying for the children of Uganda and also by sharing this post or one of the bloggers in Uganda’s posts on facebook, twitter, pinterest or instagram, using the hashtag #compassionbloggers.
Thanks for your help! 🙂
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18
It’s blog month at Compassion again! I am not sure If you remember but last year during the month of September we had the goal of 3,108 children we wanted to find sponsors for and we achieved that goal! This year our goal is to get 3,160 children sponsored online by 11:59 p.m September 30th.
This is my first blog assignment…
Dear Childhood Self,
I am writing to you today to give you a bit of advice. When you are grown you will see things differently than you do now and I hope these things will help you as go through life.
I would like to start by saying your worth is not in what you have, what you do, have had done to you and it’s not what others think of you. Your worth is in God and to Him you are worth more than anything.
The second thing I would like to tell you is….The summer between 4th and 5th grade you will attend Bible school and will give your life to Jesus. you must always remember to not believe anyone who tells you he is not real, not even grownups. He is real and your life will be so much easier if you allow him to stay in it now instead of meeting back up with him when you are in your 40’s. Trust me on this.
You will move 11 times between 4th grade and 9th grade during some of these moves you will be moving to different states. The other kids will pick on you because you talk different and dress different.
Remember People will like you for who you really are so be yourself, do not try to change to be like them. Those who like your fake self don’t really like you.
Don’t do things you don’t want to do or follow the crowd just so other kids will like you.
Don’t act tough, you are not tough, you are a sweet girl, stay that way.
If someone is mean to you forgive them, you don’t want to carry that anger around your whole life.
Pay attention in school especially History class, I know you think its boring right now but trust me on this, one day you will love History and wish you could go back to school.
Don’t ever say you can not do something. It’s not a failure to try something and not succeed. Failure is not ever trying at all.
Always do your best.
Don’t be rushed to be a grownup, you have your whole life to be a grownup.
You are not what happens to you.
You are loved and very special, don’t ever believe anything less.
Never cut yourself down and when someone gives you a compliment believe them and say thank you.
Love others, Love yourself but most importantly love God. If you put him first in your life the everything else will fall in place.
I know I probably have missed a lot but these things I have listed would have probably made my life a bit easier had I known them when I was your age.
Written with love,
From your grownup self
The month of September is blog month at Compassion again and this is my first assignment. The assignment was to write a message from my grownup self to my childhood self. I think a lot of the things I wrote to myself could also be written in a letter to my sponsored children. Writing to a child can make a world of difference in their life. Sometimes children in poverty have low self esteem and nobody to tell them how special they are and to love them. This month our goal is to find sponsors for 3,160 children. You can find out more information about sponsoring a child by clicking the picture below.
Click to find out more information about sponsoring a child
You can also join us by using your own blog to help us with our goal. You can get more information by clicking below.
If you decide to sponsor a child or use your blog come back here and let me know 🙂 Have a blessed day and thank you for reading!
You must be logged in to post a comment.