“I got your letter today, Though I have never met you I feel as if I know you and I love you” ~ T
If you would have told me three years ago I would be a child sponsor I would have told you that you were nuts. Approximately two and a half years ago a friend of mine asked me if I would consider sponsoring a child through Compassion, I told him no. My excuse I gave myself was that there are a lot of children in my own country who are poor and need help. The problem with that excuse was I was not helping anyone in my own country either. No matter what I told myself I still felt something pulling me to the children he had spoken of. The more I tried to push it away the more I began to find myself intrigued with the whole thing. I did not know it yet but God was working on my heart. I was a new Christian and that part of me had not changed yet. Every so often I would go to Compassion’s website and take a look around, just to see what it was all about. Of course, there was no way would I ever sponsor a child I would think to myself. Besides, I really did not have the money to sponsor a child. We had a budget that did not have a lot of wiggle room to add and extra $38 a month. As time went on I would find myself looking at the faces or the children and wondering about them. Who were they? What about their families? Did they go to school? All the information about each child was there to read. It was very interesting reading. They also have a page with facts on poverty, there were a lot of things I never ever thought about or had any idea were going on in the world on that webpage.
I copied some of the facts from the Compassion website to share with you today.
Did you know????….
*Roughly 12 percent of the world’s population, or 884 million people, do not have access to safe water.
*Approximately 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This is around 5,000 deaths a day.
*More than 140 million or 25 percent of all children in developing countries are underweight and at risk from the long-term effects of malnourishment.
*One in six children 5 to 14 years old — about 16 percent of all children in this age group — is involved in child labor in developing countries.
*An estimated 1.2 million children — both boys and girls — are trafficked each year into exploitative work in agriculture, mining, factories, armed conflict or commercial sex work.
*An estimated 130 million of the world’s 15 to 24 year-olds cannot read or write.
*At least 1.6 billion people globally do not have electricity in their homes, and approximately 54 percent of people in developing countries lack access to modern forms of energy.
*More than 3 million children under age 5 die each year from diseases because of environment-related causes and conditions
*Each year, acute respiratory infections kill approximately 2 million children under age 5. Worldwide, 60 percent of acute respiratory infections are due to environmental conditions.
*Nearly 1 million people die each year because of malaria. Of these deaths, 80 percent are children under age 5 in sub-Saharan Africa. Up to 90 percent of malaria cases are attributed to environmental factors.
*An estimated 20 million children worldwide have been forced to flee their homes because of conflict and human rights violations
And the list goes on and on…..
I was shocked at what I found out. I really had no idea that this sort of thing went on in the world. I really had no idea what real poverty was.
Each evening I usually get online for a while and one particular evening I found myself at the Compassion website again but this evening was different. As I was looking at the pictures of the children, this cute little smiling face jumped out at me. A lot of the children do not smile in the pictures but this little girl was smiling big and bright, her eyes big and sparkling with joy. She had a feisty look to her that just told me she loved life and felt joy no matter what her circumstance was. That giant smile of hers melted my heart. I knew at that moment I was supposed to sponsor her. God had been working on me and now he was telling me to sponsor her. On May 3, 2010 I sponsored cute little Walkiris Reyes Medina from Dominican Republic. I remember thinking to myself what if I could not afford to pay for her each month? What if it’s a scam? What will I write letters to her about? Lots and lots of questions and doubts filled my mind but God reassured me it was the right thing to do. What a scary step for me. This was way out of my comfort zone. Right away Compassion sent me a packet in the mail telling me all about my sponsored child’s life. I remember being so excited to get it yet frightened and thinking what have I done? Three months later I got my first letter from Walkiris. She was only 4 years old at that time so she could not write me a letter but her parent wrote the letter for her and she drew me pictures. On th signature line was her little fingerprint. That letter made me just stop and think… “Wow. this is a real child, a child from another country and I am getting the blessing of a small glimpse into her life”. God had crossed my life with a family from another country in a way I can never ever describe to you here. From the moment I got the first letter I was hooked. I found myself checking the mail hoping for a letter. Unfortunately mail between the children and sponsors does not move as fast as mail here in the United States does. The letters have to be interpreted first and a lot of other things before they make it to me. When they did finally get here it was amazing. In her letters I found out her favorite foods are rice and beans, who her best friends are, about her school and her family. In one letter she asked me to pray for the children in Haiti who had Cholera that was something I never thought of before, we do not have Cholera here in the United States ever but this child lives with it on a daily basis. In another letter she asked me to pray for her teacher whose baby had died at birth. In her country its quite common for babies to die at birth, and if they live many never see their 5th birthday. She told me of how much fun it was to go to school, her involvement in the Compassion program and her church. She drew pictures for me in each letter. As she grows her pictures become better and better. I can see her growing by how her pictures are evolving. One of her letters made me stop and think hard. She asked me to please pray for the poor people. I remember thinking she does not even feel she is poor? Wow, she lives in complete poverty but yet does not feel poor she prays for the poor. I have learned so much from those letters. I have learned that she is rich, richer than I could ever imagine. In her country they do not have riches like we have in the United States. They live in small 1 room houses with barely anything to eat. Her family’s income is $84 a month, and no that is not a type error, really $84 a month. Many people would say she is not rich but that’s because they do not know what rich really is. Rich is not having a bunch of stuff. Rich is the joy a person has when they know what the important stuff is. Knowing that the important stuff are things like family, friends, love and most of all Jesus. She does not have a bunch of meaningless stuff to distract her from the important stuff.
Almost exactly a year from the day I sponsored Walkiris I found myself looking through the Compassion website again and a face jumped out at me. A teen age boy, there was something about him. I knew it was the same as with Walkiris, God was calling me to sponsor him. On May 2, 2011, I sponsored 13 year old Thierry Ridji Macon from Haiti. I can not ever begin to explain the connection I have to this boy. The minute I got his first letter I knew that God was working in his life. He talks about school how much he loves it. He is also and artist, I am shocked at the talent he has. He draws pictures of churches for me and they are beautiful. He talks about Jesus all the time and is always telling me he and his family are blessed because of God. He tells me that he prays for me. Something that I never considered was that my sponsored child would also be praying for me. Recently in one of his letters he wrote ” I love you you because you are my mother” that sent me into tears. I still do not know why he wrote that but I can assure you he feels to me like he is one of my family now… my son. I have never met him but I love him so much. I could go on and on about what this boy who lives so many miles away has done to my heart. He is such a blessing.
Both of these children have been a huge blessings to me. In the beginning I thought I did it for them. I never could have imagined at that time that it was somehow also for me. Two precious gifts from God. They have been two of the greatest blessings of my life. I love these children as if they were my own children and they have taught me what true richness in life is.
About a year ago I felt God calling me to do more. I sometimes wish I could sponsor them all but I know that I can not. One thing I can do is use the blessings God has given me from my own experience to speak up for the children. About a year ago I answered his call to become an advocate for those beautiful children. Those children I see on the website, the children who are praying every day for a sponsor. With his help I hope to let him use me to help those precious children receive a special sponsor of their own. One who will write them letters and tell them how loved they are. They all need a special someone to help them know that there is hope. A sponsor who will one day unexpectedly find out just as I have that the blessing was somehow also for themselves.
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly, defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9
If you would like to find out more about Compassion or have interest in sponsoring a child you can click this link for more information- http://www.compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=121431
If you do decide to sponsor a child I can promise you it will change your life.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you” – when you already have it with you. Proverbs 3:27-28
Do you have a child sponsor story you would like to share? I would love the hear it.