My husband and I sponsor a 10-year-old girl in Burkina Faso named Evelyne. Evelyne has five siblings, none of whom are in the child sponsorship program.
Compassion’s policy is that a maximum of three children from the same family can be registered in the sponsorship program. However, some countries limit the number of children registered from one family to one or two. And when a country first opens its sponsorship program, it is common for only one child per family to be allowed in the program due to capacity limitations.
That may seem harsh, but it’s quite strategic from a Kingdom perspective. Compassion’s desire is to reach as many families as possible in the communities where a child development center has opened.
Compassion works through local indigenous churches in 25 developing countries, and these are poor churches. It’s one child development center to one church – no exceptions.
When a church partner opens a child development center, there may be room for only 200 children. And the reality is, there are more children than spots available (“the harvest is plenty, but the workers are few,” so to speak).
By registering one to three children per family, our church partners are canvassing a larger area of the community, thus having a greater opportunity to share the gospel with more families. In reality, child registration limitations help more people in the long run.
So, back to Evelyne.
Evelyne has an older sister named Elise, whom I first started noticing in the photos that accompanied Evelyne’s letters.
Whenever my husband and I would send a family or child gift, we would receive a photo of Evelyne (in the blue denim skirt) and her entire family. I love these photos because they show how the family uses our gifts. They purchase food and clothing primarily, and Evelyne’s entire family gets in on God’s love.
In one of the photos, I noticed Elise (in the pink skirt). The expression of her eyes and the smile on her face spoke to me.
“You care for my sister Evelyne because you are her sponsor, but I would like to get to know you too.”
Elise reached out and grabbed my heart from that photo.
I realize that God wants me to look at my sponsorship of Evelyne from a whole new perspective.
My goal now is to win Evelyne’s entire family to Christ.
Now, when I write to Evelyne, I always include Elise by asking about Elise and letting Evelyne know that I pray for her entire family. I also ask Evelyne to share my letters with Elise and the rest of the family.
Sponsorship is a family affair, no matter how many children from the same family are in the program.