Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Encouraging Words

It is hard to imagine that a letter means so much to a child immersed in poverty.  One thing that Compassion stresses as equal to financial sponsorship is emotional sponsorship; personally investing in a child's life through handwritten letters.   On the social networking sight for Compassion International sponsors, child sponsors report with joy when they receive a letter from one of their 'children'.  They often post those letters for other sponsors to read.  The sweet words of gratitude and love from the children convinces me that their sponsors' letters do make an impact on them.
What happens if someone wants to sponsor a child financially but does not want to or is unable to write letters to that child?  Compassion has a plan in place...correspondence sponsors.  Correspondence sponsors step in and take over the letter-writing aspect of sponsorship.  Compassion matches up each prospective correspondence sponsor with a child needing correspondence, and a relationship is born.  Children actually view the letter-writing sponsor as their real sponsor as letters and photos are exchanged.  The children form a bond over the miles with someone who truly cares for them.

Soon after financially sponsoring Andreas from Indonesia and Thamyres from Brazil (and sending them letters immediately!) I called Compassion to sign up for the correspondence sponsor list.  Within a few days I was rewarded with three new little faces on my account, Johan and Noriel from the Philippines and Dita from Indonesia.  In His awesome way, God immediately gave me an overwhelming love for these children.  And I knew He would equip me to write the words that would brighten these children's world and show them their value in Jesus' eyes.  Most of all he gave me the desire to lift each of them up in prayer daily, that their precious hearts and souls would be protected in a world full of hurt.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

How Much is Enough?

In February my heart was moved.  Twisted.  Pierced.

I came across the Compassion International website and saw 40 helpless little eyes looking back at me.  I went to the next page, and the next...there were more and more and more... 37 pages worth.  Faces of children from 26 countries, all impoverished, hurting, hungry and hopeless.  But hope was available to them through Compassion's ministry, and I could help give it to one child, or two, or more.  Compassion had already stepped into these children's lives when they were invited to sign up with their local Christian churches and outreach centers for a chance at relief from their suffering.  Extra food, clothing, afterschool tutoring and a safe place to go to get off the mean streets of desperation...all in the name of Jesus Christ.  I could not turn my eyes away.  Besides all of the stellar ratings and testimonies of how the organization was legitimate, I was drawn by the main emphasis of Compassion which was the chance to form a real relationship with a needy child through letters and pictures.  It was stressed that the encouragement and hope I could offer a child through my letters was as important as the money I pledged each month.  Just by voicing my concern, love and belief in a child,  I could lift his heart and shed the light of Jesus into an otherwise dark life of hardship.  My own children had grown up with those words of encouragement and that message of hope every day.  Surely I could give the same to children who rarely or never heard words of blessing from those around them who were just trying to survive.  I evaluated my money situation as the thought kept coming back to me over and over, "what do I really need?"  My needs were more than met every day in America; and pretty much all of my wants.  When my stomach rumbled a little bit and I said, "I'm starving!", I had no idea what that meant.  Most of the children on Compassion's website were often lucky to get one meal a day, and that often substandard by our standards.  How could I not give up my daily 44 ounce diet pop from the mini-mart and the new purse that would match my summer outfit?  And so I welcomed Andreas from Indonesia and Thamyres from Brazil into my heart.