Sponsor tour Wanna peek into my e-mail inbox?

I have the great pleasure of “talking” (read: e-mailing) each day with some of our great staff around the world. They always challenge me with their perspective.

I’ve been reading along with all the posts and comments about visiting your sponsored child, as I weigh the decision of when to make a trip. (I just happen to sponsor children in two of the most expensive countries to visit!)

This e-mail from Samuel Llanes, our field communication specialist in Guatemala, about his recent experience accompanying a sponsor tour gave me a new perspective on sponsor visits.

We’ve talked a lot about how a sponsor tour impacts the sponsor and how it impacts the child, but this e-mail made me realize a whole other aspect: how it impacts the universal Body of Christ. As we visit members of our family around the world, God uses it to unify us, helping us to recognize that we are part of a global family — the Body of Christ.


Hi Amber,

I want to share with you about what I learned in this sponsor tour we had this summer.

Commitment

I knew the kind of heart a sponsor is supposed to have but NEVER had the experience of “experiencing” it first hand. It was amazing to see and feel the kind of heart they have and how humble they are. And not just them, but even their family! Some of the sponsors came with their entire family and it was so awesome seeing how their kids were so “into” everything! Some of those kids started passing around a plastic bag to collect food to give later to some of the students at the center. For me, it was really amazing. Also, there were some “advocates” there. I had never had the chance to see one of them, but I saw how a heart like theirs really is! :)

Tenderness

I saw some of them who met their sponsored children for the first, second or third time. They were so happy (they were even crying!) when they saw them! For me, it was a very touching thing to witness because I could see and prove their commitment toward our fellow sponsored children! It really touched my heart, and those people are a real blessing to me!

A Genuine Heart for the Poor and Compassion International’s Help

I know that the American culture can sometimes be seen as a cold and individualistic culture, but this trip taught me that not everybody is like that. All the sponsors had an utterly different way of treating people (and even me! Hehe!) and they broke indeed a lot of paradigms I had about the American culture. I never saw hearts like those EVER in my life, and I was completely touched by it.

Love

Seeing how humble their hearts and spirits were for the children it’s something indescribable! I could see God’s love showed there and I couldn’t believe it. It was like they were their very own children!

These are what I thought were the most remarkable things I saw. My heart continues to be shaped into something different, and know that I truly want to make a difference as I write these stories! :) I am so glad I work for God, and I want to serve him for the rest of my life!

Sam

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  1. Chuck Guth
    Sep 12, 2008
    at 8:09 am

    Thanks for sharing this. I know my heart was changed on my first Sponsor tour to Honduras. It was what prompted me to become an advocate. I realized that globally we were all in this together and our passions were shared. I am taking my two teenage daughters to Honduras on the sponsor tour in April. I am praying that their hearts are broken and they too catch the spirit.

  2. Sep 12, 2008
    at 9:04 am

    There’s nothing like our Advocate’s Network! What a great group of people — we’re like a huge family — and I’ve been privileged to be a part of it since 1994! We certainly encourage others to become Child Advocates with us, if it’s on your heart to speak up for children in need! You can speak up by volunteering to stand behind a table loaded with adorable child packets at a concert, speaking in churches, putting out displays and brochures and sharing child packets with family and friends. Nothing I’ve ever done in ministry has been more rewarding and effective [in drawing sponsors and children to Christ] than this! I can’t say enough about it, except that you would love being a part of this great body of believers that are so passionate about the needs of children!

  3. Sep 12, 2008
    at 9:18 am

    P.S. Some of the advocates are being interviewed — such as Compassion Dave at: http://compassionjuli.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/compassion-sunday-advocates-network/
    and more recently at:
    http://zachyounkin.wordpress.com/2008/09/12/compassion-dave/.

    Also, I was interviewed at this site earlier and I believe Jane Gillis’ [“Called and Chosen”] interview is coming up soon! So watch for it!

  4. Sep 12, 2008
    at 6:52 pm

    As someone from the United States, I really like what Samuel Llanes said about sponsor trips changing people’s view of U.S. citizens. This benefit of sponsor tours had had never occured to me before.

    So many people around the world, who have never traveled to the U.S., know us only through our movies, our TV shows, and our celebrities in magazines. I don’t think these mediums are a great representation of the average American, or a typical Christian.

    So, (yay!), yet another reason to consider a sponsor tour. :)

    Also, I loved the interviews w/Juli and Compassion Dave. Excellent!

  5. Sep 13, 2008
    at 9:55 am

    Awesome! I can’t wait just to get the first letter from my sponsored child, so it will be a little more real for my own kids. To travel to Peru then, would simply be amazing.

  6. Ken M.
    Sep 13, 2008
    at 10:15 am

    Steve,
    When you get your 1st letter it is really exciting. Actually I get excited when I receive any letter from my sponsored children. Sometimes I’ll call a friend and read it to them or show the letters to people at my church. I’m looking forward to visiting my children, too. I hope within the next year or two.
    I liked the video on your blogsite, Baby Got Book. Funny and brings back memories of the late eighties/early nineties along with the seriousness of learning from the Bible.

  7. Heather
    Sep 13, 2008
    at 3:05 pm

    I would really love to go on a sponser tour one day also! I think I sponser a child in one of the most expensive places to go on a tour to-Ethiopia. I wasn’t even thinking of sponser tours when I decided to sponser the little girl; She was one of the poorest children I saw on the website and also a complete angel..:)

  8. Sep 13, 2008
    at 5:47 pm

    Ken ~ The video was too funny not to pass up, very clever … kids today probably don’t even know the original … good thing!

    Regarding waiting for my first letter, my family first sponsored a boy in May, but two months later he dropped out of the problem because he “no longer needed services.” I never even heard if he got the letters/pictures or not. We now have another boy, and still waiting … patience is a good skill to practice anytime!

  9. crystal
    Sep 17, 2008
    at 12:16 am

    Thanks for sharing the perspective. I know on my trip to Ethiopia there was a problem with interpreters and the Compassion staff dropped everything to come interpret for our day with the children. I believe they usually hire that task out. Several people commented that we hope it becomes a regular practice. You could tell it really blessed the staff members to see us interact with the children. Seeing how much the staff appreciates the sponsors and want our input and fellowship was just one more blessing I did not expect. I felt so close to each person I meet and felt so honored to be someone who could help encourage the true heroes in this ministry. I am sure, as a sponsor, I have the easy part. My interpreter and I discussed how he does what I can not do and I do what he can not. I told him I believe that is all part of God’s plan and how he keeps his family strong, by keeping us dependent on each other. Please remember to pray for the Compassion staff.

  10. Rebekah
    Jan 12, 2009
    at 7:46 pm

    Sam,
    I was just browsing Compassion’s website and I saw this blog and I came across your picture and thought you looked familiar. I had to look back through my pictures from my trip to Guatemala when I visited my sponsor child. I looked at the one picture of the translator with my sponsor child and her family and I looked at the name tag of my translator and it said Samuel. I can’t believe I never even asked you your name. I guess I was just so excited to meet my sponsor child. I want to thank you again for translating for my sponsor child and I on such a memorable day.
    Thanks,
    Rebekah

  11. Mike Stephens
    Jun 27, 2009
    at 1:53 am

    It is amazing the far reaching impact sponsorship often has!!!!!!!

  12. Dwight
    Aug 27, 2009
    at 11:33 am

    If anyone reads this who works at a compassion project or a country office around the world could you answer a question I have?
    I am planning on taking a missions trip to the Philippines and thought I might visit my sponsored children. I have the option of visiting the project or having the children travel to the capital city. Traveling to the project will be a difficult trip but if the project staff and others at the church would like to meet a real life sponsor it might be worth the time. If not it would be less work for me to not travel in country but stay in the capital and have them visit. Has anyone visited a project during an individual trip…sponsor trips are different.
    Thanks

    • Nov 3, 2011
      at 7:27 am

      Dwight, I went on a sponsor trip, and was surprised when they told me I could go to his project and home because we were near it. I highly recommend going to the project! I was the first sponsor to ever visit, and those children treat you as if you were there own. It is a special moment that I will NEVER forget. I wrote about the experience here http://rallholt.blogspot.com/2011/09/peru-unexpected.html

      The beauty of going to the project is meeting his tutor, the person that knows your child almost as much as his parents, they are the ones that invest their time with your child at the project, just think they are the ones that continue feeding the gospel to them. It was amazing moment meeting her, the kitchen staff that make their meals, and the director of the project and her devotion was unforgettable. My child even had a great sense of pride me seeing his project. It maybe a difficult trip, but if it is truly an option I’d do it. The blessing you will receive will amaze you. However, going at all and meeting your child is, too.

      I pray for great blessings on your trip!
      Aislynn

  13. Nov 3, 2011
    at 7:22 am

    I had the opportunity to go on a sponsor tour this past September to meet our child, Smith. I recommend any sponsor to at least to try and go on an individual trip to meet their child. The blessing that you will receive is unexplainable, but I can say that it effected me so that our family will be going again to see our boy in the summer. The new unity that we have with him is unimaginable. The relationship I now have with his mother and his sister was unexpected. You can read about my trip on my blog because really I cannot say enough about it on here. http://rallholt.blogspot.com/2011/09/peru-meeting-smith.html
    http://rallholt.blogspot.com/2011/09/peru-unexpected.html

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