Most of us have a story. Actually, most of us have a lot of stories. We have our life story. We have relationship stories. We have travel stories. We have “remember that one time when … ” stories.
Stories make up our lives. They hold memories, moments that last a lifetime. They often hold the explanation to why we are who we are.
I’m guessing that since you read this blog, you also have a Compassion story. A story about what caused you to pick up a Child Packet or visit Compassion’s website and sponsor a child who lived in poverty. Maybe you have a story about why you have continued to sponsor your child even in the midst of an economic recession, or why you have chosen to sponsor more than one child.
Your story is unique. It’s also a very powerful way to bring more people into the Compassion family.
Here is the Reader’s Digest version of my Compassion story:
I was 16 years old, a recent high school graduate, with no job and no income and a pending move to a new city. I heard a certain recording artist share his story about meeting a young girl in Bolivia that he and his family had sponsored for years.
He shared about her life and the poverty in which she lived. Pictures flashed up on the screen, pictures of slums, tiny one-room houses, and trash piled up in the streets.
Then there was a picture of a young teenage girl with a beaming smile standing next to him. He talked about how his sponsored girl now had an education, health care, nutritious meals, and a place to be a kid in a safe and nurturing environment. He talked about the letters they exchanged back and forth, how he considered her to be his daughter and she thought of him like her father.
He shared that on the day she decided to give her life to Jesus, hope broke through on her world of darkness. But then he said this: “Whatever your financial situation, God’s Word is full of promises that if you will care for the poor, God will care for you. That doesn’t mean you’ll be rich, but God promises to take care of your needs. You can trust Him in this. Completely.”
I sat down and began flipping through my Bible, reading passages that the man had shared. It was true — God gives great promises associated with our willingness to care for the poor, the needy, the orphan, the widow. So I decided to see if the promises were real. I walked back to the Compassion table and sponsored a young boy from India named Naveenababu Mutyala.
More than a decade later, I can tell you with full confidence that God keeps His promises. I have a few more sponsored kids in my family. I have gone through job transitions and moved across country, done a lot of wrestling with God and “working out my salvation with fear and trembling.”
Through it all, as I have remained faithful in sharing what I have with the poor, God has continued to share with and take care of me. It has been through my experience with Compassion that I have learned about God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises, and it has been the single most influencing factor in my willingness to walk the journey of learning to trust God completely.
I have been blessed to be a part of the life of a young girl in Mexico who gave her life to Jesus this August, the life of a teenage boy in Thailand who has gone from writing self-loathing letters to letters of hope for the future and inquiries about God, and wrapped my arms around a precious boy in the Dominican Republic who stole my heart with his quiet sincerity and silent tears at our parting.
Sponsorship is a journey. A journey of faith, a journey of learning to invest in another person, someone very far away whom we might never meet. And sponsorship changes two lives – yours and the life of a precious little one. It’s a gift where everyone involved becomes better, stronger and learns more about what it means to follow Jesus.
We are in the midst of the holiday season, a time when folks are looking for ways to share and bless others. Why not think through your own Compassion story and consider giving one to a family member, friend, neighbor or coworker this season?
Family gatherings, Christmas parties and work celebrations are all great places to talk about what sponsorship has meant to you and why you have chosen to care for the poor. The impact of your story could be all that is needed for someone else to join with you on this journey of sponsorship. Let’s work together to give hope to a child this Christmas.