Some of you know that I have a heart for children, especially orphans. When I was young — around the ages of 8-11 — my family lived in Bangkok, Thailand. It was one of the richest times for my family, a time where we had amazing community and a place where we, somewhat ironically, all came to know Jesus. I think it was also pivotal for me as a child to see a part of the world so different from the US. Bangkok was exciting and vibrant but also dirty, smelly and full of poverty just outside our fancy front door.
I remember as a third grader walking by so many beggars on the street, many of them children my age or even younger. I’d ask lots of questions. Why are they here? What happened to them? What can we do to help them? There were so many children on the street…so many without homes…so many being abused and forced to beg for another persons gain.
Those images have never been forgotten. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to listen to the news and realize the scope of need in the world. There are so many without… so many people without the basics of food, water, shelter and education that we take for granted. Even when our bank account dwindles, I still have more than most of the world. So what can I do. What can we do?
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one. (Mother Teresa)
God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them. (Bono)
About ten years ago I decided I could do something. I had just graduated from college and finally had a steady income where I didn’t need to ask my parents for gas money. I don’t remember how I chose him but this one boy caught my eye…”Manny” as I call him since his full name I can’t begin to pronounce. He was just a little guy looking timidly back at me in his photo, unsure of this whole picture taking thing. I took the step and started sponsoring him through Compassion International, an organization I had heard about and trusted. We started writing letters back and forth and I’ve watch him learn and grow and mature into a young man.
Recently J and I decided it was time to sponsor another child. J specifically wanted to pick out a little boy, so I left him to the task of sorting through photos of all the happy faces. He had heard me talk about my experiences visiting a couple Compassion projects when I visited Africa and he wanted to make a difference, too. He wanted to be a hero and pen pal and pray warrior to a child.
And so, it is with great joy that we welcome Alfredo to our sponsorship family! Alfredo (or Fred as J likes to call him) is from El Salvador and like art and soccer. He won us over with his adorable and unsure smirk in his photo. We can’t wait to start writing him letters to get to know him better. Our sponsorship will provide Alfredo with food, education and medicine…even better, his WHOLE FAMILY will benefit from this sponsorship. Amazing!
There is a lot of need in the world but you really CAN make a difference. The Bible tells us to “defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy.” This — sponsoring a child — is such an easy way to do just that and make a huge impact on a child’s life!
Why Compassion? Because I’ve seen their heart in motion. I’ve met kids who grew up in their programs and went on to have careers and healthy families. I’ve seen the circles of children in Kenya learning about math and reading and God and AIDS. I met Sitonik, a Masai child in rural Kenya and saw the difference his sponsorship was making for him and his family. They do what they say they are going to do, and they do it well.
A couple facts about Compassion:
- When the Wallstreet Journals’ Smart Money magazine evaluated the fiscal integrity of over 680,000 North American non-profits, it put Compassion International in the top ten charities that give givers “the most bang for the buck.”
- Charity Navigator, the premier non-profit watchdog, has awarded Compassion their highest honor – four stars – for the last nine years in a row. Compassion is the only U.S. based child development organization to receive so many consecutive four star ratings.
- The American Institute of Philanthropy has also awarded Compassion its highest rating year after year.
- Worth magazine included Compassion in its short list of the most fiscally responsible non-profits.
It only costs $38 a month to make a difference in the life of a child. Be a hero. Be a sponsor.