I wanted to take a few moments to blog about how Compassion has touched our lives. We sponsor two children through Compassion - one from Ecuador and the other from Ethiopia. As I have mentioned before, Dan and I firmly believe in supporting organizations that help keep families together, so that children can avoid becoming orphans in the first place. Compassion is one way to help children and their families. By helping one child, you are helping their entire family.
Sponsoring a child through Compassion is so much more than writing a check each month. You develop a relationship with the child. After following several of the Compassion Bloggers' journeys to meet their children, I learned just how important this correspondence is to the child (and you!). The children absolutely treasure these letters. Many save each and every letter they receive. We try to send our children a letter every month. Only flat paper items are allowed. We usually send -
a card depicting the season/holiday of that month
coloring pages from a coloring book
sometimes we send pictures of our family or a collage like this one-
In return, we get 3 or 4 letters a year from our children. Here is an excerpt from our most recent letter from the nine year old girl whom we sponsor in Ecuador -
"God never forgets His children. He is always with us. I am praying for you and your family. I feel so glad to count on you. My dad passed away but you are always with me."
Around 300 people attend our church each week, so Compassion sent us 15 kids to match with sponsors. When I received the box filled with the pamphlets containing a photo of each child along with their info, my eyes stung as I held back the tears. My kids and I prayed for each of these kids. We prayed that they would all be matched on Compassion Sunday.
It's a good thing neither Dan nor I make a living as a salesperson, because our Compassion Sunday presentation resulted in the sponsorship of only one child. When we found out that only one child was matched, the kids learned that God doesn't always give us what we ask for, even when we ask for good things. God is not a genie. He doesn't grant all of our requests. But we also learned that we will not give up hope. We believe these kids will be matched, just not in the way we thought.
Today I called Compassion to find what to do with the packets of the children that didn't get matched. I expressed my disappointment in the outcome of our event. The man I spoke with told me not to be. He said that most of these kids' families are living on $8-$10 a month. The $38/month sponsorship will absolutely change the lives of the family of the one child who did get sponsored. For that family, it's huge. He also said that these events generate awareness and that people talk about it with their friends and family, resulting in more sponsorships.
In our case, even though only one child was matched, a handful of families said that they wanted to go online and choose a child that is the same age as their kid(s). They also wanted their children to be involved in choosing a child. They hoped to make it a family affair.
If any of this resonates with you at all, I would encourage you to go check out the Compassion website. Compassion has ranked in the top 1% of charities for the last 9 years. Your money will not be wasted. And as I said before, Compassion is so much more than writing a check - it's relational. You can even travel to see your kid(s) if you wish. Sponsoring a child will not just enrich the child's life, it will enrich yours, too. I guarantee it.
"Have the peace that passes understanding at the center of yourself, but do not be at peace with the world, because the world is not a happy place for most people who are living in it."