I Cancelled My Sponsorship

Hello, my name is Brianne and I cancelled my Compassion sponsorship.

File that tidbit right under, the thing I didn’t want any of my co-workers to know. And definitely something I didn’t want you to know.

But I am currently suspended in the air, wrapped up in a metal vessel, headed back to a country that haunts me. Peru.

Peru, the first country I visited outside of the United States. Peru, my first overseas mission trip. Peru, the first place I saw the beach.

The country I first sponsored a child with Compassion.

I don’t live in the age when jazz is on its rise, a hot scene. Or when the industry is booming. I live in the “social injustice” age.

When I was in college poverty, social injustice, and the depravity of the world was hot. It was burn-your-heart hot. Most of my friends were involved in missions work and worked to bring awareness to our campus.

When I was in college the question wasn’t,

“What company do you want to work for when you graduate?”

It was,

“What mission field are you going to move to?”

I think technology had a huge role in this. All of a sudden Africa, Asia and South America weren’t a faraway land. It had people, and we saw their pictures. It had statistics, and we could look them up.

Poverty in Peru: I Cancelled My Sponsorship

Family in Peru posing for the camera.

It wasn’t a world away, it was one Hotwire or Cheap Tickets purchase away.

When I was in college, I wanted to get out. I wanted to go help. I wanted to be the solution. Not the ignorance. Not the problem.

Amidst this I went on a mission trip to Peru. A rip-my-heart-out trip, an “I don’t think I ever cried on that trip, never, not even after I came back home because I was afraid I’d never stop crying” kind of trip.

And then I went to a conference and heard about Compassion.

I marched myself directly to a table after I heard a Compassion Leadership Development Student speak. I looked and looked and looked at the pictures and there she was. A girl from Peru. That day I became her sponsor.

I was told that I could write her letters and she would write me too. I was told she would know she now has a sponsor. Shortly after the conference I received materials from Compassion about their program and their financial integrity.

Quickly, too quickly, I forgot about what that Compassion student said. I was sure that it was not truly her writing me letters. A girl in poverty? Writing me?

Poverty in Peru: I Cancelled My Sponsorship

Children in the Compassion Sponsorship Program in Peru.

And Compassion somehow keeps track of that? And gets the letter to me? And then takes the time to process and translate my letter and get it to her? Um, right. But thanks for the warm fuzzies.

A few years later I decided to cancel my sponsorship.

The problem with the burn I experienced from all the social injustice hype in college was that I only let it burn me, not brand me.

After awhile I was all of a sudden graduating college. I was going to be dropped from health insurance. Oh my gosh. I needed to pay for health insurance. And then there was the real growing up.

Several of my friends did go to the mission field. But I didn’t feel that pull anymore. I needed to get a job. I needed to pay bills. I needed health insurance.

And then one day I realized I didn’t believe in what Compassion was doing. I never researched the ministry. I never read the materials they sent me. I barely even read the letters from my sponsored child.

So, I cancelled. Surely, she wouldn’t know. I mean, she didn’t even know I existed. Right?

Years later, God did call me to minister to the poor in Thailand. And then He called me to work at Compassion.

I remember when I started working here thinking, “And now I will see the underbelly of a ministry that so many people I know support.”

I’ve almost been here for five years. I now have sponsor two children. I believe in what Compassion does. I know the children I sponsor know my name. And I know they read my letters.

Now, I’m branded. I’m not branded by hype or an emerging movement. I am not even branded by Compassion. I am branded by the heart of God.

He showed me the beat of His heart. He showed me that He is close to the poor. I want to be close to Him. I want to be close to whatever it is that He is close to – even if it means being in the throes of too many, “will I ever stop crying? It’s all so much to take in” sessions.

The problem is, not everyone reads the mail they receive. Or looks up information on the ministry they support.

In fact, once in a marketing meeting I was asked,

“What can we do to really bring the reality of Compassion’s ministry to the hearts of people?”

I thought and thought about it and I could only respond with two answers. It wasn’t sending more mail. It wasn’t pushing people to get online and research us. It was either to hire everyone to work at Compassion (which is how my Compassion conversion happened) or to take every sponsor to the field. That was it.

Thankfully, in a room I wasn’t in, a few brilliant people decided that we do need to take people on trips. Trips that people who can’t go on trips could follow. And thus the birth of Compassion blog trips. You might not actually get to board the plane and walk through the villages but it is so very close.

Poverty in Peru: I Cancelled My Sponsorship

Church partner and Child Development Center in Peru

When you follow a blog trip you see through the eyes of several different bloggers and you read what they have to say about Compassion’s ministry.

They are in the field asking the hard questions, going through filing cabinets, asking about how finances are handled. They are faithfully conveying, the best they can, about what this thing called Compassion is and where God is in all of it.

Have you cancelled your sponsorship? Do you want to? Or have you thought about it? Do you have questions about letter writing, financial integrity, and what people without a filter have to say as they put Compassion under a microscope? Then follow them.

In fact, you can follow them this week. I know they’ll be tackling some of these questions in Peru.

If you are a sponsor, do you remember why you’re a sponsor? Are you branded by God and His heart for the poor?

Your heart for the poor can only carry you so far. My heart for the poor led me to cancel a sponsorship.


45 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Regina Smith and Jinny Feath June 28, 2016

    I am sorry to say that my my partner in sponsoring our child and I are not able to continue sponsoring and we would like to discontinue our sponsorship. I am going to college shortly and she is not able to pay for the sponsorship on her own. Thank you for all of your help and I hope I will be able to sponsor again someday.

    1. Amy Hawbaker June 28, 2016

      Hi Regina and Jinny! I am sorry to hear that you need to cancel your sponsorship, but I completely understand. College is very expensive but well worth the commitment! I would be happy to help you with this request, but I cannot find your account. If you know your sponsor number or your child’s number, can you please email us this information at socialmedia@us.ci.org?

  2. Becky June 21, 2016

    When does the sponsorship end? I have been sponsoring a little girl for 12 years now. She will be turning 18 in a few months. I haven’t heard anything from Compassion

    1. Amy Hawbaker June 22, 2016

      Hi Becky! Thank you so much for sponsoring your girl for the past 12 years. I am sure that having that consistency and longevity with you is so encouraging to her. The age when a child graduates from Compassion’s program can vary depending on the country they live in and the programming available at their church project. The young lady you are sponsoring is from Haiti, which allows children to remain in the program until the age of 22. We show that she is expected to graduate from the program in November 2020. During her last 4 years in the program, she will work on completing her high school education and will be receiving vocational training through Compassion. She also has additional options once she completes high school to attend university, a vocational school, or receive ministry training. Compassion wants to ensure that once a child completes the program, they have the skills necessary to be successful. You will receive a new photo of you girl and updated information on her around December 2016. This will include her expected graduation date, as well. If, for any reason, she will graduate earlier, her project staff will notify us of the change, and we will contact you to let you know.

  3. Brande Voss June 20, 2016

    Hello, I’m not sure if this is where I can ask a question but it’s the only form of communication I found. I started sponsoring a little boy in Burkina Faso about 4 months ago. My 13 year son is actually the sponsor, he’s the one who writes the letters. He keeps asking why haven’t we heard from the little boy. We finally received a letter but it was from the Pastor at the local development center. The letter mentioned the child’s name but no mention of him even being at the center. Nothing about the child personally. No reinsurance that he’s doing well. To me it was almost like it’s a standard letter that is sent to everyone. My son was very disappointed cause he hoping to get something from his sponsor considering we sent pictures, letters and prayers in our first envelop to him. Maybe this normal, so my son is sending another letter to see if we get a response. I want to trust the Compassion Project but after receiving the first letter I’m questioning my decision. Please advise if this the normal routine. I’m hoping to get a actually letter from the little boy very soon

    1. Sarah
      Sarah June 21, 2016

      Hi Brande! Thank you so much for choosing to sponsor your little man, Kader! I am sure you are anxious to hear from him and begin developing a relationship through your letters. First letters from children can take up to four months for you to receive. Since you began the sponsorship at the end of March, you should have his first letter by the end of July. If you don’t receive that letter by then, please let us know either here or by emailing us at socialmedia@compassion.com. At that point, we can send an inquiry to see why there was a delay in sending out that letter.

      The letters from the pastors are actually intended to give you a better glimpse into Kader’s center and community as a whole. The pastors are able to share their heart for their ministry through the Compassion program in those letters, often highlighting a few things sponsors can be praying over and praising the Lord for in that community. It isn’t intended to be a progress report on Kader himself. The letter relationship is the significant piece that will update you on how Kader is doing. We also send updated photos of Kader every two years so you can see how much he is growing. The start of a sponsorship can be hard, but I’m praying that your son and Kader become fast friends who develop a loving friendship over the years :).

  4. Melissa Cox June 20, 2016

    We need to cancel our support to our child. We have run into financial difficulties. Can someone advise me how how to do this? I am so sorry.

    1. Amy Hawbaker June 20, 2016

      Melissa, I am so sorry to hear that you are going through some financial struggles! If it would be helpful, Compassion would be happy to cover 3 months of support for you. Please let me know if this would work well for you, and I will update your account accordingly. If not, we completely understand and will cancel your sponsorship.

  5. Michaela Smith May 16, 2016

    Hi, I’m sorry for putting this here but I wasn’t quite sure where else too. I feel awful about this but I’m just not able to continue sponsoring the child I signed up for… some really unexpected things came up and it’s not a possibility for my family right now. I’m so, so sorry. I really hope to be able to do more with Compassion in the future. 🙁

    1. Susan Sayler May 16, 2016

      Michaela, I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling so much as a family right now. 🙁 We understand that sometimes life happens and it’s just not possible to continue. As you requested, I have made Eskedar available for another sponsor. If at some point you all get back on your feet and want to sponsor again, we would be happy to have you back!

  6. Jennifer Martens April 12, 2016

    Thank you for sharing your story, and with an eye-grabbing headline. My husband “warned” me, when I was glassy-eyed- staring at the picture of Jolie, my soon-to-be sponsored child. We had just finished the Compassion Tour at a local church parking lot, and I said this was what I wanted as a Mother’s Day gift. He said “This isn’t just a one-time thing. You can’t just stop one day because you don’t feel like giving them money. You give every year until she’s an adult, it’s like we have another child.” The seriousness of starting a relationship with this vulnerable little girl needed to be considered. I thought if at any time we canceled, she would miss being a part of the Bible studies, extra medical and educational help, and the connection to someone far away who cared for her. Breaking a bond I felt God had desired was something to consider prior to sponsoring. I’m glad the commitment set in prior to signing up as a sponsor. I hope others consider the commitment as such, prior to sponsoring a child. This Mother’s Day I’m proud to say my gift is another year sponsoring Jolie.

  7. Tyra Greene March 27, 2016

    I love knowing that we are a part of helping Compassion international in many ways. Our sponsored child has been apart of our monthly prayers and budget for 2 years now. sometimes we have cut back in other ways to make sure our little guy is cared for. We didn’t realize how much money we wasted on unimportant items until we started looking at if we can really afford this. So glad God spoke to us and laid this on our hearts to help. Thank you Compassion and we know our letters are being delivered as well as read to our sponsor child. If you are unsure whether to continue your sponsorship let me encourage you that it is so worth it.

  8. Lorrie Godwin March 27, 2016

    My sponsored child has moved out of your area, at this time I can no longer afford to sponsor another child, it breaks my heart to do this, she will always be in my heart and my prayers as well as all the wonderful work compassion does. May God bless each and every one that has a part in helping children around the world.

    1. Susan Sayler March 28, 2016

      Hi Lorrie! As you requested, I have made the other child we had on hold for your consideration available for another sponsor. Thank you so much for all that you have done for Saira in Honduras! It looks like you also had a $10/month commitment to providing bibles for children. Are you able to continue with that commitment? Thank you so much for your partnership with our ministry!

  9. cathy wright March 23, 2016

    I need to cancel my sponership also. Just can’t afford it. Need to take care of my family first. I am sorry fir this but it’s a very difficult time for me.

    1. Sarah
      Sarah March 24, 2016

      Cathy, I am sorry to hear that you need to make the difficult decision to end your sponsorship right now. As you requested, I have made Dayana available for another sponsor. Thank you so much for your love and support for Dayana while you were able to sponsor her.

      1. Regina May 27, 2016

        I am sorry to say that I have to cancel my sponsorship. It would make it very difficult to keep up on it because I have to take expensive classes over the summer.

        1. Susan Sayler May 31, 2016

          Regina, I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling. I am in school right now too and know that it can be very expensive. Would it help if we were to cover three months support to get you through the summer and then lower your support amount to $19 a month for six months? If so, please let us know and we will take care of that for you. If not, let us know and we will make Emmanuel available for another sponsor.

  10. Courtney and Riaan du Plessis January 29, 2016

    Hi, I also will need to cancel my sponsorship as i unfortunately do not have a job anymore and I need to conserve my money. i hate to do it, but i have to survive as well. Can you please advise if you are able to do this for me. Thanks and i hope someone can jump in to help my Silvia again.

    1. Susan Sayler January 29, 2016

      Courtney and Riaan, I am sorry to hear that you need to make such a difficult decision right now. As you requested, I have made Silvia available for another sponsor. Thank you so much for all of the loving letters and support that you have sent to her during the time that you were sponsoring Silvia! God bless you!

  11. Diana Magana January 26, 2016

    I would like to cancel my sponsor. How do I go about in cancelling the payments?

    1. Susan Sayler January 27, 2016

      Hi Diana! I am so sorry to hear that you are faced with such a difficult decision. Please rest assured that I work for Compassion and have stopped your automatic withdrawal. I am not sure what you are going through but if this is due to a short term financial difficulty we have some options that may be able to help you to keep the relationship that you have started with your children. For example, we could cover your support for three months between February and April. Then starting in May, we could lower your support amount to $19 per child or $38 for two children for six months. Please let me know if this would help. If not, let me know and I will make your children available for other sponsors. You are also welcome to email us at socialmedia@compassion.com.

  12. Luaipou Anoai January 6, 2016

    Hello! I need to cancel my sponsorship. Please send instructions asap. Thanks

    1. Susan Sayler January 7, 2016

      Luaipou, I am sorry you are faced with such a difficult decision. I am sending you an email right now to assist you further.

      1. Claudia March 1, 2016

        Hello

        I need to cancel my sponsorship.
        Kindly please advise what I need to do.

        Thank you

        1. Emily Vanhoutan
          Emily Vanhoutan March 1, 2016

          Claudia, I’m sorry to hear that you need to discontinue supporting your child but I can certainly help you with that. Regrettably, I was unable to locate your account under your email address. Please post your child ID or sponsor number so that I can locate you in our system. If you’d prefer, you can also email our office at socialmedia@compassion.com or call our office at (800) 336-7676 and we’ll be happy to assist you. Please let us know if you’d be interested in hearing options that are available to sponsors going through financial difficulties. I’m not sure what your situation looks like but we’d love to help you maintain your relationship with your child if you’re experiencing short term financial difficulties.

  13. Susan Shumway October 27, 2015

    I would like to cancel my sponsorship. Please advise me as to the process. Thank you.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan October 28, 2015

      Hi Susan! I’m so sorry to hear that you wish to discontinue your sponsorship of Anthony but I can certainly help you. I’m sending an email to you right now to assist you further.

  14. Liz November 20, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your story, The child that I sponsor is also from Peru so your story kinda hit home. I am currently going through some financial struggles and got a little behind in my sponsorship but was recently able to catch up. God Bless : )

    .

  15. Marcia Sabin November 14, 2012

    Thank you for your honesty and the realization that we must remain faithful to the Gospel — proclaiming the good news but also doing the good news. My husband and I recently sponsored a young girl from Africa. We are just beginning our journey. Your testimony confirms that it is so easy to reason our way out of not giving of our time and stewardship in general. Jesus Christ calls us to endure and remain faithful. We are not to be distracted by human events by not being a neighbor to our sisters and brothers throughout the world in need.

  16. Brianne McKoy November 14, 2012

    Thank you to everyone for their sweet and encouraging comments! I am so grateful my honesty was received with such grace! And I am filled with gratitude for you and your commitment to your sponsored child.

    1. kris January 9, 2016

      Brianna,

      I am sad to say that a few years ago I had also cancelled my sponsership to a sweet boy in South America. I didn’t want to do it, but I thought at the time there was no way to support him. I have prayed for him constantly and tried to find him on here later, no luck. I hope that people realize their sponser child will have more effect on them after time then they could ever imagine. I wish I had kept my sponsership.

  17. emi November 14, 2012

    I was once a sponsored child of Compassion & have been truly blessed to be a recipient of this wonderful ministry! Words are not enough to express my gratitude to our loving God who showed us the perfect example of love in Jesus & for people – total strangers like you – who respond to the challenge of making a difference in the lives of the underprivileged. My life has been changed in so many ways.. And I am happy to share that in my city, our Compassion alumni group has decided to sponsor a child soon! We are very, very excited to now become a channel of blessing to somebody else’s life as we are living testimonies of how this ministry works. Glory to God!

  18. Amy November 13, 2012

    I’ve been sponsoring for 3 years now. One of my sponsorships just ended, because she graduated the program. I have 2 others, Maxwell from Kenya, Yuri from Guatemala and I write letters to Sofia in El Salvador.

    Sometimes I have the same doubts, the same questions etc. it’s hard to believe that it’s real and with so many unscrupulous organizations in the world, it’s sometimes hard to fathom that Compassion is completely real. On the other hand, I truly believe God would to have led me to them, unless they were.

  19. Sally Magallanes November 13, 2012

    I have been a sponsor of numerous children for over 30 years. I didn’t know about the ministry until I heard a presentation at a Christian concert. God led me to go check out the sponsorship table, at least one child caught my heart, and I began the wonderful relationship, with letters, photos, cards and more, for… as long as I live! I never doubted the letters or photos were not real. I knew Compassion had a high level of integrity — I kept up on nonprofits to make sure no red flags came up.

    As for Peru, I just came back from my first sponsor trip to this country and I can assure others that there is a dedicated, honest and loving staff. These bloggers will experience the same–they will not need to “go through file cabinets.” Just visiting Compassion programs and meeting the children, families and staff will say it all. The love of Christ in the most tangible way. I love Peru and all that Compassion stands for.

  20. Garry November 13, 2012

    The title of your blog sure got my attention. I have been to Guatemala and Colombia to see my sponsored kids. Once you have played with them, prayed with them, visited with their family, and processed just how little they have and how important you are to them, there is no quit. I am on my seventh, eight and ninth kids now, and have watched four of them graduate. I am in this for the long haul, one child at a time. Alice, I know where you are coming from. My kids are family.

  21. Gail November 13, 2012

    I’m a sponsor because as a children’s minister I know how much a little support can go in changing a child’s life and how transforming the message of Jesus can be making a whole life count for Christ.

    I’m a Compassion sponsor because I started working at Compassion’s I was in the accounts department and I saw for myself their financial integrity. I’m a Compassion sponsor because the more I learn about Compassion the more convinced I am that it is a great ministry that God uses to bless, challenge and change all sorts of people in both the developing and developed world.

  22. Lisa Davila November 13, 2012

    Hello, I am so looking forward to reading the blogs from Peru. I look forward to learning more about the country where our sponsored child is from. If you come across a 4 year old girl named Yohana Troncos Castillo, please give her hugs and kisses from us…She lives in the Lima area…thank you bunches! Jesse and Lisa Davila

  23. Nikkita November 13, 2012

    Wow, what a story. Thank you for sharing this as I think a lot of people are this way with not believing that the sponsored child really gets our mail or all of the money goes to the child, ect…. I do look forward to getting Silvia’s letters and drawings (she is our sponsored child in El Salvador) and she is absolutely beautiful and delightful and we feel blessed to be able to get to know her. We have been saving up our change to visit her some day. She doesn’t know this yet and when we get the money saved we then will tell her we will be on our way 🙂 She is as real in our lives as our children and grandchildren…we count her as one of the kids. Please, if your reading this and have not sponsored a child please consider this information and look for a child to sponsor. They will be grateful and you will find the joy in this also. God bless you and yours and all of the children sponsored and waiting to be sponsored. Peace be with you, Nikkita

  24. Alice Skaggs November 13, 2012

    I met my sponsored child and her mother for the second time in 3 years. We have a relationship and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  25. Toni Welch November 13, 2012

    I have sponsored a boy from Bolovia for several years now.Actually, I guess he is becoming a youg man now. He will be 15 this month.What a blessing to be a small part of his llife. I only wish I could do more. I will admit to a bit of frustration: None of my questions are never answered, and I don’t feel I know him any better now than I did in the beginning,. Of course I understand the language barrier..perhaps his translator is unable to follow through. I am 90 1/2 years old now. I was so happy to learn that when the Lord takes me home my young man will be turned over to another sponsor until he reaches the age of ineligibility. May the Lord continue to bring forth more sponsors for these precious ones. Toni Welch

    1. Barbara November 13, 2012

      You have given me courage to not give up because of my age, I will be 79 in 7 months but feel more like in my 50’s. I have been blessed by being a sponsor and my notebooks for each child are getting pretty full. I decided to add 3 Child Survival Projects (CSP) so that I could reach even more children from birth with out having to pay a lot extra. I am thinking of adding another CSP but not sure which country I want to include. These CSP’s help several entire families including the newborn or the expected newborn.

  26. Yvonne November 13, 2012

    I am so glad that so many people have had the opportunity to go on these trips and share their experiences with us! Don’t know if it is in God’s plan for me to ever visit one of our sponsored children, but I am so thankful for what a difference Compassion is making in their lives and in the lives of their families. Can’t wait to read about all the experiences this week!

  27. Jessica Cushman November 13, 2012

    Thanks for this great essay. Our family just started sponsoring a little girl in Peru this year. Maybe you will get to meet her. Her name is Yaritza and she is beautiful. If you do, hug her for us and remind her she is loved and prayed for by a family far away. I look forward to following the posts this week.

  28. Eric Lovin November 13, 2012

    Thanks for sharing! I’m a missionary here in Cusco, if y’all are around this area hit me up. We could grab lunch or coffee. eric@spiritledexp.com

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