I can get passionate about most things.
And be all in.
I’m notorious for trying everything and if I’m not good at it right away, I give it up. Likewise with causes. I’m an emotional appeal kind of girl.
Tell me statistics of there being more people currently enslaved than the entire trans-atlantic slave trade combined and I’ll advocate on behalf of anti-slavery movements until I’m blue in the face.
At least, for a while.
But where I am weak is in follow through and sustainability. I’m not an executor beyond the short term. So when the LORD really started changing my heart and I saw the things that break His heart, my heart stayed broken, for a long time.
The brokenness began through many of the causes I participated in throughout various years. And there was always a theme – injustice. Be it child soldiers or slave labor, I walked the line of whatever was happening in current culture.
But I always came back to injustice. Especially against children.
When I began working for the ministry, my heart came alive at fighting for the cause of children in poverty. I knew that in order to truly end the horrors of injustice, it must begin at the root of the problem – poverty.
Poverty is enslavement in and of itself. To break the cycles of vulnerable children, child soldiers, child brides, sex slaves, etc, we must give these children a chance at life outside of poverty.
I saw this firsthand in India.
Our final day in Kolkata we went to a child development center visit. Before this, I had never seen the ministry’s work in action. I was excited and a little nervous about the experience.
As soon as we disembarked in an unfamiliar urban setting, the eager children shyly put their flower garlands around our neck.
I was one of the last people off the bus, so somehow I ended up with three.
We were taken on a tour of the facilities and saw teachers trying to gently control wriggling children who were so excited about the foreigners they could hardly contain themselves. We played games in the courtyard and got to experience the registration process.
It was a mock registration but insightful and interesting nevertheless.
During some downtime, the center facilitator explained that when they actually register children, it becomes a mad house.
Though children are preselected, when word gets out in the community that the ministry is registering new children, people in the urban slums storm the gate.
He explained that the people will shove against the gate of the development center, jump over the walls, and sometimes get violent. Because they know their child’s only chance at escaping poverty is to be registered with us. I curiously asked,
“Well, why can’t you take more children? Are you at capacity? Could more children come?”
The facilitator shared,
“No, no, we could take many more children. We have room, we just don’t have anyone to sponsor them.”
Indignation rose in my chest.
Not on my watch. Not while there is breath in my body.
I vowed right then to tell this story. Because that is the story of this ministry. There is room – there is just no one to sponsor them. It’s really easy to sell sponsorship by making people feel guilty, but that’s not what we do here.
What I learned during my time in India is that what we do works. We are used by God to bring hope and a future to kids who might not otherwise have a chance.
For example, this child.
I got to meet this boy and his family during our home visit.
He’s a sponsored child who lives in a tiny little shack with eleven other people.
But I didn’t see poverty or despair while I was balancing precariously on their bamboo floor; I saw joy and gratitude on the faces of his family.
This family knows their son has a chance at life because of what the tireless staff and volunteers are doing in his community.
That is what I walked away with – we get the privilege to participate in changing the lives of these precious kids. That is the real reason to sponsor a child.