change-your-perspective Paper scraps, bits of string, crumbs and stray Cheerios — as a stay-at-home mom who homeschools two active girls, I spend a fair amount of time sweeping up random stuff that happens to fall to the floor.

On one particular day, I found myself making yet another trip to the broom closet. I will admit, I was frustrated. Certainly, I was lacking cheerfulness and grace.

With an exasperated sigh, I grabbed the broom and went to work corralling another pile of debris that had accumulated beneath our dining-room table.

Later that same day, we received a letter from Precious in Ghana, our first sponsored child. I tore into the envelope and eagerly pulled out the letter.

With the help of her center coordinator, Precious sent greetings in the name of Jesus Christ and told us she was doing very well in school and at home. She shared that she had recently been promoted to Kindergarten 2 and that her school had re-opened for another term.

The next sentence jolted me to my very core.

Precious wrote that she had been sweeping and, when she sweeps, it brings her joy and happiness.

Those words went straight to my heart. Tears instantly came to my eyes. One sentence from a little girl an ocean away immediately and forever changed my perspective.

In our first letter from Precious, we had learned that she lives with her family in a one-room home made of clay.

Yet, despite her living conditions and the fact that her floor is made of dirt, she not only finds joy in sweeping — but she also took the time to share that fact with me.

I don’t doubt for a minute that the timing of the delivery of her message was divine intervention.

After reading the rest of her letter, I went straight to the broom closet with a permanent marker in hand. Along the top of the head of the broom, I wrote Precious.

I wanted to be reminded of her every time I swept.

Ever since, anytime I pick up the broom, I cannot help but smile and think of our sweet girl in Ghana.

Whether I am sweeping for the first or 15th time that day, I no longer feel frustrated or annoyed. Instead, I take that time to thank God for putting Precious in our lives and I pray for all aspects of her life.

I am eternally grateful for the change in attitude that I received from that one simple sentence. Thanks to Precious, now I, too, find joy and happiness in sweeping.

As you have gotten to know your sponsored children, have they changed your perspective on anything?

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  1. May 26, 2011
    at 5:18 am

    This is one of my very favorite stories, Michelle. It reminds me that sponsorship is an opportunity for both the child and the sponsor to grow — together.

    Our Compassion children have changed my perspective on almost everything from poverty to prayer, the power of words and worship, and what it means to not just believe in the gospel, but to LIVE it and live it well.

    The biggest two impacts I’ve had in letters:

    Noah (Kenya) — thanking us for the house that love built his family on a mere $75 that God stretched like loaves and fish.

    Ato Sam (Ghana) — who although he has always believed in God, wrote that what I had shared with him had proven to him that God truly exists.

    These children are becoming leaders in our world, and I can’t help but think of how much better the world will be for it.

  2. May 26, 2011
    at 5:22 am

    Even though I know this story well, I still tear up reading it and thinking about how Precious has changed our lives. I went into sponsorship thinking that *we* would be the ones helping her. I never thought how much we would be forever changed by bringing this little girl from Ghana into our hearts. As our Compassion family has grown from one to nine, those blessings multiply.
    I am so thankful for the work of Compassion International. They don’t just work in the lives of children and families in poverty ~ They absolutely work in the lives of sponsors as well.

  3. May 26, 2011
    at 7:24 am

    I like the broom idea. What a great way to not only take the drudgery out of the housework, but to remember to pray for your child as well. Have you told precious about how she inspired you?

    My children have altered my perspective in so many ways. For example, every purchase I consider I always think of how far the money would go in their community. I was never a big spender but I have become even more consious of how I steward my resources.

    My children have also changed my attitude. I have sponsored 12 year old Uli from Indonesia for 7 years. A few years ago I was going through a really stressful time and busy time and I was forgetting to be thankful for the good things in life. In Uli’s letter she asked me, “Does sister Sara live in happiness? I am so happy here.” She really convicted me to look at my life and reevaluate my priorities.

    • May 27, 2011
      at 6:38 am

      I did mention to Precious how I no longer sweep in frustration, but instead I think of and pray for her. I even found a coloring sheet of a bunny sweeping a hut-like home and sent it to her.

  4. Laura Helwig
    May 26, 2011
    at 7:34 am

    As my husband and I have just returned from visiting our child in Honduras, our perspectives have changed quite a bit. Little things like blowing bubbles or reading a book are precious moments to kids (even ours who have so much to entertain them). To stop, get down on their level and give them a little time is a gift beyond words. We will never forget the sweet children we met in Honduras, for they have changed our hearts forever.

  5. May 26, 2011
    at 8:12 am

    Thanks, Michelle, for this wonderful insight from your Precious girl. Love the photo of the broom – fantastic! Hmm, this makes me think about how I can be creative in remembering my Compassion kids in my everyday work. Work / remember / pray / give thanks

    Do you think my family would think I’m crazy if I tape cards near the stove with “Joseph” (who got a charcoal stove with a family gift). “Hannah” by the faucet (her family got a water cistern last year). “Diana” by the medicine cabinet (she had heart surgery last year). “Galuh” by my computer (our LDP is saving for a laptop). “Sarah” by the washer (she does the family’s laundry). “Leah” and “Phanice” by the pencil cup ( they are student teachers in classrooms with scarce supplies).

    Yet another way to connect prayerfully with our kids. Great post, Michelle!

    • May 26, 2011
      at 10:26 am

      That sounds like a good plan to me! Your family might think you are crazy, but then you can join the club. :)
      I might have to go back through all my letters and find a specific way to remember each of my own chilren. lables on everyday items would be a good way to remind myself to pray for each child individually.

      • May 26, 2011
        at 7:13 pm

        Sara – your house will have labels EVERYWHERE! ;-)

        • May 27, 2011
          at 3:27 pm

          yep! sounds like a project for when I get back from my trip.

  6. May 26, 2011
    at 8:29 am

    I love this story! I love that you wrote her name on your broom….

    The very first girl I sponsored (16 years ago) used the extra money I sent to buy a blanket so she could sleep better at night. When I read that in her letter, something inside me broke and I saw the profound difference between our lives. It was then that I considered becoming an advocate – to help make a difference in more lives.

    More recently, when I returned from Peru we moved into a new house. Our new home has very light carpet and I find myself frustrated with the lint and other stuff that shows up so easily – feeling like I need to vaccuum every day. As I was begrudgingly vaccuuming one day, I remembered the homes I stood in while I Peru – homes that literally had dirt floors – and my perspective was changed.

    • May 26, 2011
      at 4:23 pm

      Being in Honduras w/ Compassion changed that perspective for me as well — housework/laundry in general has become a time of gratitude and worship… literally. I throw worship music on, praising God that I have housework to do, and I no longer complain.

    • Marijke den Blaauwen
      May 27, 2011
      at 12:27 am

      I read about those dirt floors many times on child packets and I hardly could imagine how that would be like till we stood on one in the houses of children in Ecuador. It really was a dirt floor! And there were two babies in that house who would start to crawl soon…on that dirt floor! That actually hit me the most on that trip and now I am really happy to be able to vacuum and mop my floor and to know it is really clean then. How comfortable can we live here,,,

  7. Ryshel
    May 26, 2011
    at 8:30 am

    My little girl and her family have changed my perspective on life drastically. Her father died 3 years ago. She has a 3 year old sister and a 12 year old brother. Praise the Lord, He urged me to send a family gift. The thank you note she wrote back said that they were in hard times and her mother could not feed them! They bought an enormous bag of corn with the money. It breaks my heart that it is such a struggle for them just to get enough to eat. Now I know what a blessing it is to have an abundance of food to feed my 3 children. God has made me aware that I need to bless others because I have been blessed. I have been thinking about the fact that most of us get too many calories each day. We pay money trying to burn them and we complain about eating too much! My sweet little girl in Africa has changed my life. I pray that the Lord will be greatly glorified because of her! I know He is doing His beautiful work!!!

  8. Susan
    May 26, 2011
    at 8:48 am

    This is sure to become a favorite – as it speaks to many of us right where we are. It is a ‘precious’ reminder of the value of children and how God works through relationships to open our eyes to those things that are dear to the heart of God.

    • Katy
      May 26, 2011
      at 11:00 am

      I agree with Susan! I love this and the picture of your broom with Precious written on it is a beautiful reminder. Thank you for bringing fresh perspective to us.

  9. May 26, 2011
    at 2:25 pm

    Wow—you certainly gave me a brand-new take on sweeping! I, like you, find myself sweeping many times a day, and in all honesty, it’s one of my least favorite things to do. But I love that Precious enjoys sweeping—she definitely gave me something to think about! I’ve taken a cue from you and have nicknamed my trusty old broom “Precious”—and now I don’t hate sweeping quite as much.

  10. Lindy
    May 27, 2011
    at 5:07 am

    Michelle, This is such a powerful, yet gentle post! My husband and I both love its message and the way in which you delivered it!

  11. barb
    May 29, 2011
    at 8:00 pm

    Praise the Lord that He has given you this “precious” perspective and a new appreciation for seeing things thru the eyes of a child!

    love you, Michelle!

  12. Denise L.
    May 30, 2011
    at 12:58 pm

    A few years ago, I sent a gift to Mabel in Uganda. In her thank-you letter, she wrote that among other things, her family bought salt with it, and her siblings thank me very much for the salt. SALT? That was an eye-opener! I looked back at her Christmas thank-you letter, and she said they celebrated by eating meat. (Tthey were otherwise subsisting on beans and millet seed with no salt.)

  13. Heather
    Mar 10, 2012
    at 7:25 am

    This story brought tears to my eyes. It truly is the little things that bring the most joy, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing this, Michelle.

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