Mar 4 2008

A Tribute to the Sponsor

impact of sponsorship Over the small number of years I have been around, I have come to realize that it’s quite rare for people to have a positive impact on someone’s life, but when they do the impact is immeasurable. More so if that impact is also Godly influenced.

“If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
-Isaac Newton

This is what can be said of my sponsors, a married couple, who decided to take a chance on me.

Their decision made it possible for me to know what it feels like to wear your first pair of shoes, to hold your first pencil, to enjoy three meals a day–something unheard of in the slums–a chance to have medical care and not die from malaria like many of the children in the slum do, a chance to go to school and not be part of a gang or a victim of HIV/AIDS, and the greatest gift of all: a chance to hear the word of God, which gave me the chance to have a personal relationship with Christ.

impact of sponsorship

Wikipedia defines a sponsor as a contributor, a financial provider, which in a way is true because of the amount of money the sponsor contributes monthly. But to me the sponsor is more than that; he or she is a bridge between hunger and strength, between thirst and renewal, between fear and knowledge, between desperation and hope.

Through the letters shared between the sponsor and the child, hope is not only stirred, but relationships are built, wounds healed and love blossoms. These and so many other things start a chain reaction not only in the child’s life but also in the lives of those around him or her, and impact is felt to generations. The bonds created can never be broken, and in doing so the world is changed by changing the life of one child at a time. We can learn a lot from the sponsor:

  1. It’s in taking a chance, or should I say a risk, on someone that the real change begins, and we allow God not only to change that person but also to change other people’s lives.
  2. It’s good to be vulnerable. It’s important to let other people into our lives and into our hearts. It’s important to love.
  3. God is not looking at what we don’t have–He is looking at what is in our hands, little or big, and when we surrender it to Him, He uses it to “feed 5,000 people.”

It’s no wonder that I, too, decided to become a sponsor. How ironic that a child who was once sponsored is now sponsoring you might say, but I am a product of just that. I wanted to give that chance to someone else in the same way because my sponsor gave me that chance.

Its no wonder that each night I ask God to send more sponsors into this world, more sponsors like you and me. And if you are not one, then this is your chance to become one. God bless the sponsor.

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  • Anthony grew up in Kawangware, a Kenyan slum known for drug abuse, prostitution, crime and high levels of poverty. He was enrolled in Compassion’s sponsorship program at age six and graduated from the Leadership Development Program in 2008.

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  1. Mar 4, 2008
    at 11:37 am

    I actually don’t think it’s ironic at all that you are a sponsor now. I think it’s beautiful and right and the way God works. We love because He first loved us, right?

    Thanks for the encouragement for sponsors. Sometimes it’s hard to tell from afar if we make an impact.

  2. Andrzej Gandecki
    Mar 4, 2008
    at 11:38 am

    Dear Anthony,

    As for me it’s not ironic at all that from a sponsored child you turned out to become a sponsor yourself. For me it’s just a beautiful example of how deep a change sponsorship can effect in a child’s life.

    I pray to see similar fruit in the children I sponsor.

  3. Andrzej Gandecki
    Mar 4, 2008
    at 11:39 am

    Believe me or not, I did not read what Amy had written just a minute before my comment!

  4. Sarah
    Mar 4, 2008
    at 4:09 pm

    What an amazing story! It so cool to see how sponsors are making a difference!

  5. Ken Norwood
    Mar 5, 2008
    at 9:21 pm

    Anthony-

    Just a quick note of encouragement – we had dinner together in October when I was in Kenya with donors (you taught me what to pick from the buffet line). You continue to inspire and encourage and I look forward to many more posts that reflect the hope your journey brings!
    Ken Norwood

  6. Mar 7, 2008
    at 12:17 pm

    Anthony, I am in tears, right now. I will have only two minutes to speak, during services on Compassion Weekend, at my church (May 11). I have been wondering how I could pack those two minutes with content that God could use to move hearts. I believe you have given me part of that.

    I would like to read your description of a sponsor to them, and tell them the words are those of a former sponsored child and–now–LDP graduate!

    I’m not sure whether I can simply select and print, from here, or if the blogmeister will tell me a better way, but I will find out.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m so proud of you for all that you have accomplished! If we never meet, in this life, we’ll meet in the better one, ahead. :o)

  7. Mar 10, 2008
    at 4:39 am

    To:

    1. Amy,

    You should never doubt the impact you have as a sponsor. It’s unfortunate that there are no words in any language to describe it.

    And it’s true we love because He loved us first.

    2. Andrzej Gandecki,

    Hi Andrzej,

    That’s very true, and I pray that, God answers that prayer.

    Thanks a lot for that.

    3. Sarah,

    Believe me; they are making a big difference.

    Thanks Sarah.

    4. Ken Norwood,

    Hi there,

    How can I forget you? Indeed it is a small world.

    It’s really nice to hear from you, I had a great time with you guys and hope you continue to bring more sponsors to Kenya so they can see for themselves the great job compassion is doing here.

    Karibu Sana.

    5. Vicki Small,

    Please, please go ahead and print as many copies as you want. You have my full permission to do so.

    On top of that I will be praying for you as you prepare to talk in your church on May 11.

    Thanks again and you are truly a blessing.

    Anthony

  8. Sammy Kaunga
    Mar 13, 2008
    at 5:40 am

    Hi Anthony,
    Your insights on ‘The Sponsor’ are indeed illuminating. As a leadership development program specialist with Compassion, I have listened to students as they share their stories of how a sponsor’s letter changed their lives and made them achieve more than they could ever dream without their kind words. Moreover, a few more with tears in their eyes, approach me to find out how they can get their sponsors to write to them, albeit a line, ‘just to let me know she/he receives my letters and for encouragement’

    Such is the yearning of a sponsored child/youth in Compassion. In a sponsor, that is probably the only adult who will show genuine care and love to a child who has known nothing but depravity and harshness throughout their lives. It makes a difference to communicate.

  9. Mar 14, 2008
    at 10:29 pm

    Thank you, Anthony. I will carry your words to my church. I appreciate so much your prayers for our Compassion Sunday (which actually begins on that Saturday evening, May 10). I’ll let you know how we do!

    Sammy, I have been blessed to hear a number of LDP students and graduates, and a couple of other graduates of the CDSP. I’ve also heard children, on sponsors tours, asking whichever adult they latched onto one of two questions: “Will you tell my sponsor to write to me?” or “Will you be my sponsor?”
    “Don’t you have a sponsor?”
    “Yes, but she never writes to me!”

    I know that tug on the heart.

  10. Apr 26, 2008
    at 12:25 am

    I have been a sponsor for several children over the years, mostly in Central and South America. I had the delight of meeting my sponsored child in Bolivia after several years of corresponding and sponsorship. He was about to graduate from high school. We explored La Paz together for a day. I am currently sponsoring another Bolivian boy. You have given me new incentive to keep corresponding. I spend a lot of time in South America working and can see the effect education can have on the options for these children and the poverty particularly of the rural children and the limited opportunities available. I am a metallurgist and am helping to develop mineral resources that provide employment and education opportunities for rural families. Sponsorship helps to provide links to each other and to cultural understanding particularly for the sponsor.

  11. Alysha
    Apr 29, 2008
    at 10:17 am

    Hey Anthony~

    I just started sponsoring a precious little girl from Ethiopia. She is only eight years old and has already expirienced so much pain. She was orphaned and her sister can only work sometimes at the market. Despite all of this, in her picture she is smiling big! I have written her letters but I want to know how I can make her feel valued and special. As a sponsored child, what meant the most to you? I know every child is different, but I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to make my sponsor child feel loved. Thank you and God bless!

  12. May 8, 2008
    at 11:18 am

    Hi there,

    Its amazing how this post has continued to inspire more comments, which just goes to show the power words have… (I guess it’s a high time I talked to Chris about writing a book… ha)

    To Richard:
    I am humbled that you took time to read this post.

    Indeed your sponsored children must be very lucky to have someone that has found value in them and wants to invest in them… They are indeed precious stones…

    I pray that God will continue to use you to change the world and share His love..

    To Alysha:
    Hi there,

    Let me just say that the very fact that you choose her as your child to sponsor; that is the most special thing you can do for her.

    The other thing is to continuous pray for her for the challenges are much more greater for a girl child living in poverty than that for a boy. Pray that she overcomes the challenges of living in the slums and that God will give her the love and confidence that she needs not only to server Him but also to live as fulfilled Christian Lady.

    And yes, don’t get tired to writing those beautiful letters, they mean a lot…

    God bless you big time..

    Anthony Njoroge

  13. Daniel Njenga (a kenyan ldp student)
    Jul 9, 2008
    at 11:48 pm

    dear anthony,
    sponsoring a child is not in vain. i can’t imagine am finishing college education; a number of my friends and classmates have not come this far.
    thanks anthony for reminding me and the world on the importance of supporting a child.
    your newsletter just reminds me that i promised my self to be a sponsor in the future apart from sponsoring the child in india as a group.

  14. Mike Stephens
    Apr 2, 2009
    at 9:07 am

    Anthony thanks for sharing!!! It still amazes me how so little can do so much. However the love of Jesus is not little!!!

    Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners Christ died for us!!!”

  15. Apr 9, 2009
    at 11:53 am

    Let me begin by saying that the comments still being generated by this post is a clear sign that this post was truly inspired by God and all gratitude goes back to Him.

    To Daniel (Daniel is a fellow Ldp student in Kenya),
    Sasa,
    Its great to know that you read this blog and I completely agree with you. By the way congrats on sponsoring a child.

    To Mike Stephens,
    Hello Mike,

    Thanks again for taking the time to read this post and I ma humbled that you were touched by it. Indeed its amazing how the love of god works.

    God bless,
    Anthony

  16. Mike Stephens
    Apr 21, 2009
    at 1:01 pm

    Anthony I was visiting old blogs for encouragement etc. and really liked how you put this in your blog

    God is not looking at what we don’t have–He is looking at what is in our hands, little or big, and when we surrender it to Him, He uses it to “feed 5,000 people.”

    My favorite verse is II Corinthians 12:8-10. Which at the end in verse 10 says …”when I am weak then I am strong.” the story about how God uses the boys lunch of 1 basket of 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread to feed 5,000 illustrates my favorite verse to me in a new way!!! I can only do so much, but with God like the bible says “everything is possible for Him who BELIEVES.”

  17. Apr 28, 2009
    at 10:46 am

    To Mike:

    Hi there,

    Great to hear from you.
    I completely agree with you and Its amazing how this old age wisdom can be so uplifting and relieving when you realize the power that lies behind it.

    Thanks again for taking time to write back and I am blessed to know you were encouraged by this story.

    God bless
    Anthony

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