I’m an introvert. I don’t like attention. But visitors to child development centers get lots of attention, and that means I’m experiencing a lot of discomfort and fear on this blog trip to Kenya.
My dislike for attention is connected to a fear of being “seen.” If I’m seen my “true self,” my inadequate self, might be recognized.
I embrace this lie of inadequacy often because I don’t recognize it as a lie; it feels like the truth, which I realize puts me in the same place as the children you sponsor … vulnerable to the lie of poverty.
No one told me I had “what it takes” when I grew up, or if they did, I didn’t get the message. And now, when people do tell me, “Good job!” I don’t believe it. This lie found fertile soil in my heart and now has deep roots.
The poverty in my life is emotional and spiritual. The poverty in the lives of the kids you sponsor and the kids we’re meeting here in Kenya is that and more.
I want you to sponsor a child, and I’m asking you to sponsor a child even at the risk of prostituting my emotions.
Prostituting my emotions, that’s my inadequacy talking. I feel I have to address any accusations or negative reactions about this in advance, in order to protect myself, and in order to somehow justify writing a post focused on me rather than on you.
My wife tells me you want to hear this stuff and that you want me to personalize this Kenya blog trip experience, but I don’t agree. I don’t think you want to hear about me; I’m not why you read this blog.
However, I am a newlywed, so I am trusting what I’ve often been told, that the wife is always right. So, this is what I’ve got for you.
I’m going to leave it to the other Compassion Bloggers to tell you about this boy we met today, to let you know about his situation and what makes him a highly vulnerable child in the midst of more than 300 other vulnerable children ministered to by Kabuku St. John Child Development Center. Hopefully they will do so.
For me, I can tell you with complete honesty that the only true emotion I have felt on this trip was when I met Samuel and learned that he is eight years old. He’s too small to be eight. He looks to be the size of a four-year old.
Samuel was enrolled in our Child Sponsorship Program three years ago. At the time he couldn’t walk, talk or even stand up on his own. His mother had abandoned hope of him living.
What I felt when the group I was with met Samuel (I was discreetly in the back of the group) had nothing to do with the successful intervention that Compassion helped make in his life.
I didn’t feel grateful or encouraged. I didn’t feel moved to pray for Him or to thank the Lord. I didn’t think, “He’s made it” or anything else that I imagine you may have felt or I should have felt.
In the midst of my ever present fear and the very vocal lie that was speaking at the moment, I felt his vulnerability and I respected him. I felt amazement and what I imagine to have been Jesus’ love for him.
Sadly, it only lasted a moment.