Sponsor tour Sponsor tours usually cost from $2,000 to $4,000, plus airfare to the departure city.

  • Is that the best use of your money?
  • What is the benefit to your child — to children in poverty?
  • Would it be better to use that money to:
    • send a family gift
    • sponsor another child
    • donate to the Global Food Crisis fund?

When we published our first Ask the Field post, one of the questions we received was:

Is the benefit to the child and sponsor worth the cost of a visit to Uganda? I would love to visit my three sponsored girls, but I hesitate to spend a considerable amount of money for “my dream” when the money could be used to sponsor additional children or ministries. I think I would feel guilty. What are your thoughts? –Shelly Quigg

We thought it would be better to have a discussion on this, to hear more than one person’s opinion, rather than just include it as one question in an entire 10 questions post.

What’s your answer? How should Shelly spend her money?

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  1. Andrzej Gandecki
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 1:22 am

    Dear Shelly,

    I feel exactly like you. Even though I would love to visit some of my sponsored children, I prefer to give the money to sponsor another child.

    At the same time, I understand other people have different feelings and I try not to be condemning of those who go for the sponsor tours. We are not to judge how others spend their money. The Lord is our merciful Judge. So, we should allow each other to decide how to best spend their money for God’s glory.

  2. Aug 4, 2008
    at 2:08 am

    I agree with Andrzej that it should be a prayerful choice as to how money is best spent — and that there isn’t just one good answer to the question posed.

    For those who want to take a sponsor tour but feel guilty about the money, here’s an idea:

    Figure out how many kids you could have sponsored with that amount of money — 5, 10, whatever — and commit that when you return you will find that many people to sponsor kids, (through friends, family, coworkers, church family, etc.) And you can go one step farther and capitalize on your trip by doing a presentation to your Bible study, your church, your friends — or blogging about it on the Internet. Use what you learn to educate. I believe there is value in that.

  3. Linda W.
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 6:47 am

    I probably will never be able to visit my sponsored children, but I LOVE to read about other sponsors’ trips. It really justifies for me the money I spend on my sponsorships and I love reading about how the children really feel about their sponsors. I think these eye witness accounts are beneficial to other sponsors (and potential sponsors) to PROVE the benefits that these children are getting. I’m sure these trips are experiences that the children will never forget.

  4. Cheryl J
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 7:22 am

    I think going on a sponsor tour does more than one thing. First of all, you get to fulfill the dream of meeting your child. My daughter and I went to Ecuador last September and we count the day we spent with our kids as one of the most incredible days of our lives. The children also dream about meeting their sponsor. So if you get the opportunity, you fulfill that in them. But the third thing is that you get to see poverty up close and you get to see the amazing difference Compassion’s work makes. When you come home, you are so pumped to get more kids sponsored. I think there is a net gain all the way around. We have gotten quite a few children sponsored since then by having packets available and by telling the story of our trip.

  5. Carrie
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 7:45 am

    It needs to be a prayerful decision. Perhaps God will even provide the money for you.
    I think a trip would be totally worth it. I would love to visit my girls next year, but I am a college student and I don’t think I can save enough by next June.
    I think being able to tell people first hand about a visit would go a long way towards getting more children sponsored.

  6. Amy
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 8:19 am

    I’m glad to see this discussion, because I have been wrestling with the same issues.

  7. Aug 4, 2008
    at 8:42 am

    Ah, Lisa, I do like the way you think!

    I will add that traveling with Compassion, via a sponsors tour or advocates tour (if you’re a member of the Network), gives you greater credibility, when you talk to other people about sponsoring. You will have been there and seen one or more projects for yourself and the difference they are making for the children. You will have met some of the families and heard how their children are different at home (“more obedient” often comes up!), and yes, you will definitely have seen real poverty “up close and personal.”

    You may have seen the children in different classrooms at the project and done a little Q&A with them. At every project you visit, the children will have prepared a program for you. And you will share hugs upon hugs upon hugs!

    You will also have gone to the country office and listened to various staff members talk about how things work at their end–e.g., how correspondence is handled, how the money trail works. That also adds to your credibility.

    Yes, the money could be put to other good uses, but the children benefit far too much from your visit to think of going as a “selfish” use of your money. The children in projects have their own social tiers: those who receive nothing from their sponsors; those who receive letters and occasional gifts (including things you can mail); and those who receive letters, occasional gifts, and at least one visit. Guess which children are in the top tier?

    Your child will have met her or his sponsor and shared hugs, conversation and prayers. You can’t imagine what that does for the child: “You love me enough to come a long way just to see me?!”

    I am so biased in favor of visiting your sponsored child! And yet, I realize that is just not financially possible for everyone. If that’s the case, how ’bout pouring on the letters, stickers, and other items you can mail! Pray extra hard for your child, and never cease to encourage him!

  8. Melissa Coast
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 8:46 am

    I would look at it from the other side… instead of should I go? Ask, will I regret it if I don’t ever go? If something happened to them, would you regret never getting to meet them?

    I’m not trying to be morbid, it’s that I’ve been feeling a little regret of not trying harder to make a trip happen to visit my boy in Rwanda, we’ve been sponsoring for almost 8 years. I always told myself I had plenty of time to get to see him, but I just found out last week that he past away on July 10th. I know that it’s ok that I never made it there, but I really regret not seizing the moment and going to Rwanda and looking him in the eyes to tell him I loved him, and that he alone was worth the sacrifice of money it takes to be able to hug him in person and tell him ‘Jesus loves you’.

    I can’t think of a more powerful message to your sponsor child to let them know that just as it’s a sacrifice for us as sponsors to afford to come visit them, they are so much more valuable to God, and so much more important to Him.

  9. Gin
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 8:59 am

    Hi, on today’s “Chef’s menu” there is a blog link:

    “Child Development vs. Community Development … a video explaining why Compassion focuses on the former – June 21, 2008″

    But the hyperlink directs me to Ghana/Letter Writing. I tried to run a search for the video but didn’t have any luck.

    I’d like to share this post/video with someone — could you repost the link for the video?

    Thank you!

  10. Aug 4, 2008
    at 9:06 am

    Melissa, I’m so sorry to hear about your boy in Rwanda. I have a girl in Tanzania and one in Rwanda, and I haven’t met either of them. My only comfort, if one of them died, would be that both of them love Jesus, and I will meet them, one day, with Him.

  11. Aug 4, 2008
    at 9:06 am

    @Gin

    Thanks for catching my error. The link is fixed.

  12. Alicia
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 9:11 am

    I was 23 when I paid my own way to go on a sponsor tour to Uganda. Not only did I meet my child (it was an overwhelmingly wonderful day), but as a group of 50 visitng several Compassion projects, we blessed hundreds of children by representing their sponsor that they have yet to meet, just by being there and loving on them. They were so encouraged and we were encouraged to see their smiling faces as well. I say, if the opportunity arises, definitely GO — you never know how God is going to use you.

  13. Aug 4, 2008
    at 9:16 am

    There are big benefits for the children that you visit. It’s a bit difficult to measure though. I know form doing the visits to my sponsored child, that the whole project of the children got involved and they all crowded around me and wanted to meet me. I’m not saying that I was such a blessing :-) . I think they were the blessing to me. Also, the family of the child gets a big blessing. I visited 18 children and with each child, even when they came to my hotel room, (because I had altitude sickness,) the child was always accompanied by the at least one parent and at least one person from the project. Thus if you visit them, you can encourage not just your child, but the others around him/her too.

    I can tell from experience that meeting your children will really change the way you envision the child. Before meeting the children, when I thought of the children, I thought of them as what I saw on the pictures, what I read in the letters, and what my own mind filled in between. After meeting the child, I know how they walk, talk, smile, laugh, etc… They are much more real to me and I know their families and friends.

    Also, my personal opinion is that if your child is real young, like 3, 4, or 5 years old, that the visit might not be that impactful on the child, because the child might not understand the concept of sponsorship and even who you really are. I’ve even heard of a sponsor, who came to visit his really small child and the child was afraid of him, because this was the first time that the child had seen this big white guy and they ran to their mother crying. I think then it would be better use of the money to save it for a trip a couple of years down the road.

    Also, the first child I sponsored was from Ecuador. I was about ready to visit the child and I called the Compassion office that runs the visits to set up a visit. Then they told me that my child had just departed. (That was a tough day) I was glad that I hadn’t lined up the airline ticket yet. That was the next call I was going to make!!!That’s when I sponsored Dulce from Bolivia that day and I prosponed the idea of going over. I also came to the conclusion that I was going to sponsor any additional children in the same country for the reason that if one departs, that I wouldn’t sit there with a ticket that I couldn’t use or get my money back on. Now, I absolutely love Bolvia. Also, when the children are all in one country, you can visit all of them on the same trip and you also have to learn only one language and culture. I think my visit cost about $100/child on this trip. Of course if you really want to go inexpensive, you could sponsor them all in places like Mexico or Haiti, or the Dominican Republic. The airfare would be the least and it be the shortest trip.

    Having said all of that. I think that not everyone might be able to visit their children, but you can write your children regularly and that can make a huge impact on them. It’s kind of funny, because I still get the letters from the children that were written before my visit last month. Some of the letters tell me that the child is praying for me to come visit! The letters are dated one month before the visit. They hadn’t been told yet at that time, but their prayers would be answered within weeks. (I hope they weren’t disappointed! LOL!)

    I hope this helps. I think it is wonderful to visit your children. Make sure to let Compassion’s Office know at least 6 weeks in advance though if you visit.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  14. Aug 4, 2008
    at 9:26 am

    Having gone with Compassion to see the sponsored children as an intern with Bigstuf, I think that there is a HUGE benefit to going overseas.

    It’s expensive, but you can’t get that sort of passion by watching a video or hearing a story.

    I think the true point is if the Spirit is leading you to go! If God has a plan to use you in that country to give you a passion then He will get you there even if you don’t want to go!

    My mother had gone to Africa just before I got the internship with Bigstuf and told me all the stories and about how amazing it was, and that she wanted me to go. My reply was “I will support you in that and I’m excited God used you there, but I don’t have any desire to go to Africa…ever!” Well God had a different plan with that and within six months of me saying that I went to the exact same places she had been in Kenya and Tanzania! I don’t think it was an “Never say Never” but that God had a plan for me to see what he was doing in Kenya and that my heart would never be the same once I saw it.

    So, the real issue should be, is the spirit leading you to go, or is He wanting you to send that money to be used in other ways. Pray hard about it and see what exciting things God can do in your life!

  15. Aug 4, 2008
    at 9:45 am

    It is a huge question and one not to be considered lightly. When we chose our first child, we chose him based off of a country we thought we would be serving in in some capacity at some point in time. While our Plan A of moving there was never realized, my husband was sent there to speak to a group of Ugandan Navigators. While there, he was able to visit our sponsored boy.

    I guess I’d say if visiting your child is something you really want to do, try to find a mission trip in the area at some point in time. Raise the money to go for the mission trip and also see your child while you are there.

    PS – The experience my husband had of visiting our boy was priceless. He is so grateful to have had that opportunity.

  16. Aug 4, 2008
    at 10:01 am

    I have worked with Compassion as a Child Advocate long enough to know that they don’t do anything unless it is of spiritual, educational, emotional, social and spiritual benefit to all involved [and this is only the tip of the iceberg of benefits from child visits]. After 16 years, I finally visited Josue in Haiti, just before he completed his education. The notice that he was leaving the program came one week after I returned home — was I glad I had met him? Of course! The last thing he said to me was, “I wish I could see you every day of my life!” He kept my photo “on his bed” so he would remember to pray for me every day. I found out his father was a pastor who walks 4 hours every Saturday to get to the church he preaches in. I had not known this special detail from his letters. I didn’t even know how to pronounce his name correctly until I asked him in person. I now get to sponsor his little brother.

    On the same trip, I met a boy in the Dominican Republic that needed a sponsor; his family was in desperate need of help. When I returned home, I asked a friend, Mindy, if she’d like to sponsor Francisco. She did, and it has completely changed her life. She invited me to return to the Dominican Republic to introduce Francisco to her this year. We found out his entire family had become Christians, and his mother couldn’t stop hugging me or patting me on the shoulder every time she walked past me. Several things happened to us on this trip to change our lives forever–I can’t begin to go into the details, but some are described on my blog, such as Mindy’s decision to sponsor Oscar on the spot. I have gone on these trips expecting to “be a blessing” to my sponsored children, but instead have come home completely touched and blessed by the poor. Do we have any idea how badly we need them–to get rid of our greed, selfishness and materialism; and to pray for us and be examples of contentment and joy?

    Mindy’s life was changed so much by the child visits that she came home and found over 25 new sponsors! After that, she dropped all other ministries and became a volunteer Child Advocate herself, and numerous more new sponsors are finding the joy of sponsorship. Think of all the children with huge potential finding good health, education, support, and Christ Himself in their (former) world of darkness and despair, because of Mindy’s ministry. She also sponsors an LDP student now, and is doing a “Bite Back” campaign for malaria prevention this fall in her church (and spoke for one for a community VBS this summer). Are child visits worth the expense? Absolutely! Lives are being changed, in us and in the children we are helping. Our lives need to be put in perspective, and sometimes this doesn’t happened until we meet those bright, very worthwhile little faces in person.

  17. Aug 4, 2008
    at 10:07 am

    Wow I am so glad you all did this discussion!
    I understand both sides. I think if you decide to go its what you do when you come back that is the important part.
    For me I would love to go see my compassion child! I mean it will give you the opportuinty to see what a huge difference you have made in that childs life. It may lead you to sponsoring other children, wanting to becoming a missionary,bringing back your experience to your church family and promoting compassion where people from your church sponsor more children.

    M@tt
    http://www.therunforfreedom.com

  18. Aug 4, 2008
    at 10:36 am

    In February I am getting the chance to go on the sponsor tour to India and visit my sponsored child….something I have been saving up for for a long time. I have been sponsoring her for years, and this will be the last sponsorship tour to her area before her graduation from the program.

    My child does not have a mother or any sisters, and I have been blessed to be able to step in as a Christian woman role model in her life, something she desperately needs. I have been cofronted with the question on spending such a big amount of money to see her when it could be used elsewhere, but she is my Sister, and there is not a doubt in my mind that meeting her face to face will be the best investment for my money. Not only for the chance to meet a member of my family, but for her to know that she is loved and valued so much that someone would travel around the world to see her.

    Of course there are many amazing investments you can make with that money through Compassion, but I guess I would that you ask yourself how much a visit would mean to your child, and if that is something you can really put a price tag on.

  19. Chuck Guth
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 10:38 am

    It is a very hard decision to make especially once you understand all sides of the equation. My wife and I went to Honduras with Compassion in March of 2007. I know it impacted Linda ( our sponsored child) but it had a far greater impact on me. We have since sponsored 2 other children in Honduras and I have become an Advocate for Compassion. This alone has brought about child sponsorships that may not have happened if I had not gone. Compassion has become my focus and ministry as a result of that trip. The next trip I hope to involve my entire family including my teenage daughters. Yes the money could be spent on other sponsored children but it is also an opportunity to break my own daughter’s hearts and perhaps bring about greater Kingdom change.

  20. Margaret Doyle
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 10:44 am

    I feel that a lot of people, when they sponsor a child don’t realize they are sponsoring the living breathing image and glory of God. We were created in the image of The Savior! Many people who sponsor a child see the face on the paper but don’t realize the real impact of what their money and sacrifice really does.
    For some, who are sponsoring a child maybe out of obligation or because they feel it’s the right thing to do, taking a trip to meet thier sponsored child will put a new perspective on why and what they give to.
    Others are completely head over heels for their children and know exactly what their money goes toward and don’t need that wake up call of visiting their child, so they would rather send their money in gifts.
    People feel that by taking a trip to visit their sponored child will just be selfish in feeding their own desires. What they fail to realize is how much your child wants to meet you! they want to meet the person that pays for them to go to school, and clothe them! Who pays for them to go to the doctor when their sick! Imagine of you were in their situation…How badly would you want to throw your arms around the neck of the person who saved you and turned your life around?!!!!!!

  21. Aug 4, 2008
    at 10:52 am

    Excellent point! Well said! When we were in the Dominican Republic, Mindy took hundreds of photos & movies of her child visit day with Francisco. On the way back to the hotel, she accidentally deleted ALL of them from her camera! She was devastated. The only thought that came to me was this: “God has just brought you down to Francisco’s level of poverty. He doesn’t have hundreds of photos of this day. Only the memories.” She liked that and found great comfort in it. It’s true–we need to see things from their viewpoint as well sometimes.

  22. Sara Benson
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 11:11 am

    It is good to hear all of the opinions and suggestions. I too have questioned whether visiting my child would be a good way to use that money. I like the idea of finding a missions trip to your child’s country and arranging to meet your child. That way you can visit your child and serve the community.
    Committing to get sponsors for a specific number of children is awesome too. Juli, I liked how you were able to find a specific child who needed a sponsor and find a friend who was willing to take him.
    If you were able to meet a bunch of kids and take pictures and hear a little of their stories, it would be easier to find sponsors and would make a big difference in the lives of the children as well as the new sponsors. Who knows how many lives those sponsors would go on to affect.

  23. Shelly Quigg
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 11:44 am

    Thank you so much for all your comments and suggestions! I really appreciate hearing how the sponsor visits have led to more children being sponsored. If I do go to visit my sponsored children, I now have great ideas on how to use the visit to encourage others to sponsor.
    I had never thought of it in this way before, but I actually started sponsoring a girl from Uganda from a sponsor visit. I had been reading the blogs from the Uganda Blog trip and felt led to sponsor a child there. If I can share my trip with others, maybe I can encourage others to sponsor as well. Then I wouldn’t feel as selfish.
    After I wrote that question, I received a letter from my sponsored child in Bolivia and she wanted me to come visit. I will definately pray about this and see if God is leading me to do this and provides the opportunity.
    For those who have gone, I love reading about your experiences!
    Thank you!

  24. Amber Van Schooneveld
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 12:00 pm

    Can I chime in even though I’m a Compassion employee? (But I’m not in marketing, and I’m not trying to sell anything. :) )

    I read interviews each day with the children who are sponsored. Those who have been visited by their sponsor very often say it’s one of the most important events of their life. Those who aren’t visited, often say it’s one of their greatest wishes.

    Those who have been visited often say it was an integral part in them getting that “aha” of “I matter,” “I have hope,” “I have a future.”

    When a child “gets” that, the choices they make based on it for themselves and their country, it will have exponential impact, the effect rippling out to all them around them.

  25. Aug 4, 2008
    at 12:18 pm

    One thing I learned about finding unsponsored children in a country and that is that you can never promise a child to sponsor them in that situation. The reason being is that the child might already be sponsored and they just don’t know it. What would happen is that you would try to sponsor the child and if they were already sponsored, the child might be disappointed with their sponsor. As a matter of fact, when I visited one of my children, I met 4 unsponsored children in one project and I took pictures of them and some video and told them that I would *TRY* to find them a sponsor. When I got back and called about it, I found that 2 of them were already sponsored.

    Kees

  26. Aug 4, 2008
    at 1:09 pm

    I’m not seeing to much chatter here about God’s will.

    I can make a good argument for either side of the discussion, but frankly, the ultimate decision lies with God. Then we are to be obedient to whatever He says.

    Having said that, if it seems a person is amassing a huge lot of exuses as to why they cannot or should not [go on a trip], it just might be God’s will for that person to go.

    God gets the most use out of an empty vessel.

    cd

  27. Mary
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 1:15 pm

    Well, what I have to say has been stated excellently in previous posts. I have meet one of my three sponsored children. When I was picked at the airport by a Compassion staff worker he told me it is every child’s dream to meet their sponsor. For me it was worth every penny and I had so many delays and obstacles in my way. Florence and I are closer than ever. It changed both of us forever.

  28. Layna Randazzo
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 1:58 pm

    Meeting my sponsored child was one of the best experiences in my life. It is hard to imagine the extent of the poverty that these children live in until you walk with them through a day in their life and you get to build relationships with the Compassion field experiencing their day to day. Our sponsored children often dream of meeting us and visiting them confirms that there is someone on the other side of the world that cares about them so deeply and has such a love for someone that they have never met. I also believe that a lot of prayer should go into the decision and it should not just be about what you want, but more about what that visit could do for your child’s and your own spiritual growth. Imagine the difference that meeting a sponsor could make in that child’s walk with God.

  29. diane wolfe
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 2:00 pm

    I have been to Colombia and in Feb I was able to go to Ghana and Burkina Faso to visit my girl. It is well worth the money to go meet your child. Colombia brought the reality to me, of seeing the poverty and seeing the wonderful things compassion is doing and how the money is spent. We stayed in a very nice hotel while our children who had to fy in stayed in a different hotel that wasn’t so nice. I struggled with the money issue, and why should we stay in something so nice, but it truly was for our safety, and the children did not stay in the same place because it would be such a culture shock to them, they would not be comfortable, they experienced many new things, a first plane ride, staying in a hotel, going to a private beach with us, and meeting their sponsors. the projects we visited were overwhelming with all the kids surrounding us and wanting to touch us, talk to us. they felt importatan for probably the first time. In Ghana was completely different, while the hotel was adequate for our needs, it wasn’t a 5 star one which was perfect. I was able to actually go my child’s house and meet her mother, see where she lived, she was so excited and still sends me letters about how much she misses me. Her mother proudly explained our presence to her neighbors. I could go on and on, but now with the experiences and pictures, this week I will be speaking to 5 different churches about compassion. How many sponsors/money will come out of that? Only God knows and is in control.

  30. Aug 4, 2008
    at 2:22 pm

    I would love to visit the child I sponsor, but I do feel that kind of money (if I had it) would be better spent sending it directly to her through CI, or to her family.

  31. Aug 4, 2008
    at 2:48 pm

    On the sponsor tours I’ve been on with Compassion — to Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Ecuador — Compassion has provided child packets to the projects we are visiting. I always choose a child I’d like to meet and spend some time with. If the child is not there at the time, they will often go find him (as they did with Francisco, above). I make it clear I am not the child’s sponsor, nor do I plan to sponsor him/her. Also, I would never promise the child that I will find a sponsor; I only promise that I will pray about it and talk to friends about it. Then I take photos of myself with the child and his/her child packet to show my friends at home. I always pray for God to lead me to the right person, and He does–sometimes it happens in a parking lot or a store. With this method, I have found sponsors for at least eight children. I’m a member of Compassion’s Advocate’s Network, and can’t think of a better way to spend my time! People that sponsor children always thank me so much for telling them about this ministry.

  32. Steven Williams
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 3:00 pm

    I went to Ethiopia to visit my sponsored child a few months ago. I have sponsored him for about 12 years and he will be graduating soon, so I thought this would be my only chance to see him (on earth anyway). I too originally questioned spending the money on a visit, thinking I might feel guilty for pursuing my own interests (I like to travel). But after considering and praying about it, I felt that it was the wise thing for me to do (Have you ever read the book “The Greatest Question Ever Asked”?).

    For me it was worth it. Hopefully my visit was a blessing to not only my own child, but to some of the hundreds of other children I met while there. I have since sponsored two more children myself and gotten my young daughters involved. I have also given some presentations that have helped convince others to sponsor children. Remember too – the sponsor also gets a blessing from the child, and that’s not always something we can alternatively spend the money on.

    And to back it up with numbers: $32 a month for an average 10-year sponsorship is about the cost of one trip. I believe God has used my trip to get more that one child sponsored, so the trip was the wise thing for me to do.

    The trip has jump-started my faith. God has used it to provide direction for his plans with my life. Others have commented on the change it has made in me. I have discovered a passion in Compassion. I thank God that he provided the means to pay for the trip – which to me has become priceless.

  33. Aug 4, 2008
    at 3:58 pm

    Those are great comments. I think if you can visit your child, it would be great, if not great, awesome!!! I was talking to a sponsor the other day and she was telling me that she would love to visit her child. Then I asked her if she had a chance to correspond with the child. She said that she hadn’t yet, but she had gotten a lot of letters from Compassion, but hadn’t had a chance to open them. I encouraged her to open them and to read her child’s letters and to write to the child. That’s really something that the vast majority of us can do. Of course, if you’re reading the blog, you are probably writing your child regularly, because you are very interested in Compassion and helping the children. I think it is such a wonderful ministry. Thank you Amber for pointing out that the visit really made it click. I’m still getting letters from the children from before my visit. I’m kind of curious to read how they experienced it and I’d like to go back and visit them again. I miss the children. They are truly the sweetest children, I’ve ever met.

    Kees

  34. Tammy R.
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 4:00 pm

    I had the opportunity to go on a Sponsor tour to Rwanda in September 2006. You are right, it is a lot of money. However, I found the experience of going on the tour invaluable. By going on the tour, I was able to meet my sponsored child, learn more about her and her family, and to gain a deep understanding of how Compassion works “behind the scenes”. Additionally, I was able to impact thousands of other children and their families while on the tour through service, interaction, prayer, and just simply spending time with them.

    Originally when I planned to go on the tour, I was thinking of all the great things I would learn like how Compassion works in my child’s country, more about my child’s family, more about Compassion staff and fellow sponsors. But nothing could have prepared me for the joy and wonderful serving experiences that God put in my path during that trip that have helped me to further serve God as well as the Compassion ministry. Shortly after returning from Africa, I was very excited to share my story with others; thus helping other children get sponsored. God used my sponsor tour experience to deepen my desire to share Compassion with more people. After seeing what true poverty looked like up close and personal, I had to share my experiences with others. Also, after going on the sponsor tour, I decided to become a formal Advocate for Compassion, which continues to lead to child sponsorship.

    All of the Compassion programs: child sponsorship, family gift programs, LDP, AIDs initiative, etc. are important. All needed to be supported. But just as God gives each one of use special gifts, I believe he lays on our hearts different ministries within the Compassion Program in which we can serve and use our resources.

    I would suggest you prayerfully consider a sponsor tour. Maybe it’s right for you and maybe it’s not. The most important action you can take is to share your ministry with others and try to help more children become sponsored, and that can be done whether you choose the sponsor tour or not.

  35. Lindy
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 4:20 pm

    This discussion is so meaningful for me. We have been sponsoring children with Compassion for many years and have had many, many requests to “please come visit me.” Between raising our six children and caring for elderly relatives, that has never been possible, but I’ve often wondered what I would do if we had that option. Just today we received a letter from our sponsored boy in Uganda. He was responding to my recent request that he pray for our sponsored children in Kenya during the unrest there. He automatically assumed that I was so worried about these children that I would be coming to Kenya to see them, and he begged me to please spend the 10,000 shillings it would cost to come see him in Uganda while I am so “near” to him!

    One of my fondest dreams would be to visit at least one of our children! I’m still praying about it–we’ll see what God’s plan is!

  36. Shannon
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 5:03 pm

    It is definitely a personal decision, and one to seek the Lord on. I did have the opportunity to go to Honduras to visit two of my sponsored children and a friend’s sponsored child. The experience was important for all involved. The mother,father,and pastor of my friend’s sponsored child took a four hour trip to meet up with the tour. This is no small feat for a very poor family, but their son’s sponsorship means the world to them. They were so warm and grateful. The pastor wanted me to film a short thank you speech from him with my video camera. It really is a community affair. My sponsored girl was so excited to see me. She had an album filled with my letters and gifts and was so proud to show it to me. There were, of course, tears all around when we had to say our good-byes.

    My point is, the Lord led me to go to Honduras to experience human connection and blessings, and for my children and their families to be blessed. He might not lead everyone. Some my be led to donate the money instead.

    I learned a great deal about how compassion works and the extension of the Lord’s great arms on the tour, as well as a new world perspective. My connection flight back (Dallas to Las Vegas) was delayed and there was there was a great deal of complaining while passengers sat on the Tarmac. They were in such a big hurry to get to Las Vegas to blow their money, and I had just been in a third world country where I witnessed children digging though a trash dump for food. Very few people in the United States get a chance to see that type of poverty and it changes who you are and what you do with your life. For that alone, it is worth it. More people would be trying to make a difference if they saw the reality of poverty. If you are called to go, don’t feel guilty about the way God chooses to use your (His) money. Watch as He blesses His people in the experience and shows you what it means to love one another.

  37. mindy kendall
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 6:11 pm

    hello everyone. i am mindy. when the chance came to visit fransisco on a sponsors’ tour, i begged Julie to go with me.(me travel to a foreign country alone… are you nuts???) i am so glad that i went. i realize it is a lot of money, but meeting Fransisco was a life changing moment. he never stopped hugging me and his mother kept thanking me for loving her son. i learned the little boy in the picture is shy and shies away from crowds. i can pray for him to be brave and bold in school. he is unsure of himself. i can pray for God to give him encouragement and strength. i tell him frequently how proud i am of him and how much i love him. he is close to his mother and treats her with great respect, i pray for his mother to be able to work each day, so she can provide for her little family. meeting him changed my prayers. i can pray specifically for needs that i wouldn’t have known if i hadn’t met him. same with Oscar. i know his fears better now and i can pray more specifically. i came home and saw a little boy’s packet and fell in love with him, but how do i sponsor 3 children??? that afternoon a co-worker came up to me and gave me $400.00. i sponsored Claudio that day. I do understand the reasons for not traveling to a foreign country, it might be dangerous you know, then i realized that my children live there in the midst of this danger. If it is God’s will that i go, then He will take care of me. God’s awesome presence in the midst of poverty, is an experience that will change the heart of every believer. i have never felt God so close and such hourly blessings as i did in the DR. God truly loves the poor and they know Him in a way that most of us can’t fathom. i am so thankful for the sponsor tour opportunity. if you want to feel the heartbeat of God, go on a tour.

    love in Jesus’ name, mindy

  38. Linda Ferguson
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 7:05 pm

    I guess I took a very different approach when I decided to take a sponsor tour last year. I asked my minister if she thought my church family would help me raise the money for the trip. My trip was viewed as a mission trip and we raised the every bit of the money to pay for the trip. I felt guilty at how well I was taken care of on the trip, I discussed this with my church when I returned. No one I spoke with felt they had been tricked into raising money for a vacation for me. I learned so much during my sponsor tour, I saw first hand the difference Compassion is making in the lives of children. There is no substitute for first hand experience and nothing can take the place of hugging your child in person! I would have never been able to pay for the trip by myself. I thank God for putting everything in place to make it possible. Like some others have said the choice to take a trip like this is one everyone has to prayerfully consider………just don’t forget there may be another way to make it happen.

  39. Aug 4, 2008
    at 7:16 pm

    I would love to be able to meet my sponsored child. But, that is a lot of money. I have considered skipping my vacation to go, but that never seems like a good idea with three little ones of my own.

    If God wants me to go, Hwill let me know and work out the details. So for now, I’ll have to be content with letters and photos!

  40. Pat Bel
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 7:54 pm

    This is an excellent discussion. It is a question I wrestled with before my first sponsor tour to Nicaragua in 2006.

    I don’t regret spending the money one bit – I learned great lessons there. The first lesson is that I underestimated the value of the letters. I was one of those sponsors that rarely wrote to my child. It isn’t that I didn’t care about him, I just didn’t “get it.” After visiting a couple projects early in the trip, and hearing the stories directly from children who never received letters and how sad it made them, I knew what I had to do when I met my child. I took the opportunity to apologize to him and his mother. I also made the committment to write on a regular basis. What a blessing to be able to do that in person.

    Had I not made the trip, I don’t know that I would have ever figured out the negative impact of not writing to the kids. The letters are prized possessions!

    Now, after a second trip to Nicaragua, I sponsor four kids there and write at least every other month.

    I will never forget the “pre-school attack hug” I received in June – I was trying to take a little girl’s picture and she just charged me and grabbed me around my knees…she wouldn’t let go (not that I wanted her too). Then the girl who was so worried about me being hot that she had me sit in her chair and she fanned me to cool me off…with a huge smile on her face. Then there is the image of a mother hugging her child’s sponsor for about 15 minutes, crying her eyes out.

    For me, Compassion is no longer just sending a check to Colorado Springs – Compassion is the face of a child…who now has hope. Children who smile, laugh, and learn.

    Through these trips, I want to find sponsors for more of these kids, and it makes me want to be a better sponsor for my kids.

    It is a personal choice, no right or wrong answer. For me, it has helped me to define more of a purpose for my life. It was worth every penny to me.

  41. Aug 4, 2008
    at 10:21 pm

    I first heard about Compassion from the Robbie Seay Band. But it wasn’t until a month later after reading the posts from those that travelled overseas at Compassion Bloggres that I was finally “excited” enough to sponsor a child of my own.

    Prayerfully consider it, but don’t JUST do the math of what would this money otherwise have done. What will this trip do for you that will inspire OTHERS to do? It’s like a pyramid scheme … in a good way!

  42. mindy kendall
    Aug 4, 2008
    at 11:19 pm

    there are many reasons for a person not to wish to travel. it’s not just the money. my husband is afraid of flying. however he has sponsored Sampson in Ethiopia for 9-10 years and regularly gives to childrens causes. i wish he would go with me just once, on a sponsor tour, but i have to respect his fear of flying. he can stay home and send money and be blessed just the same. God will and can use every sponsor, whether a traveler or not.
    as mentioned before, the key to having a good sponsorship-relationship is daily pray for your child and correspond. most letters are one or two paragraphs long and simply say, “i love you and pray for you every day” you don’t have to be a literary genious to tell a child you care about them. they need to hear that their sponsor thinks about them and loves them. a friend recently said i don’t know what to write….i asked her ‘what do you tell your grandchildren in 2-3 paragraphs?’ more than anything they need to know they matter to God, and to you, and they are loved.
    the money issue can sometimes be an excuse not to go, i feel that if God lays it on your heart, then the money will be provided. I saved some, an aunt left me some, and God kept opening the doors that i couldn’t have opened myself. it was clearly God’s intention that i go. i was also afraid of going to another country without my husband. God placed Julie there as my ears (i am a lipreader)and hand-holder. i am glad that i had the experience and my husband is glad i had julie there instead of him having to fly. (he really is a scaredy cat.) again, it is most important to be where God places you, not where others think you should be.
    the money was well spent in the long run with added sponsorships and with my desire to send extra money to my families in the DR, instead of wasting so much on my own shopping sprees. why do i need a new sweater when i can buy food for a family for a month with that same money. it changed how i view materialsm and greed in my own life. mindy

  43. Catherine
    Aug 5, 2008
    at 12:47 am

    When you’re talking to someone about child sponsorship, and you can say, “I’ve been there. I’ve met my sponsored child. I can see the difference Compassion has made in their lives” it makes such a powerful impact. While I understand the pull between wanting to sponsor just one more child with the money you would pay to go on the trip, I can tell you that telling the story of meeting my sponsored girls has yielded far more sponsorships than the trip money would have paid for. Beyond the emotional impact of that telling that testimony to others, meeting your child gets you so excited to spread Compassion.

    If trips didn’t yield a net gain in sponsorships, why would Compassion do them?

  44. Katlyn
    Aug 5, 2008
    at 4:26 am

    I think it’s amazing that you have been so generous to sponsor three girls so I really congratulate you on that!!

    Going is really your decision, but I’m sure it would mean so much more to the girls having you there, than the money would ever mean. I think it will really help them see the reality that other people love them and are praying for their safety and protection. Your love means so much in itself!
    God bless you so much!!

  45. Shelly Quigg
    Aug 5, 2008
    at 5:34 am

    Katlyn,

    Thank you so much for your kind words! I feel very blessed by being able to sponsor these girls… Eliana (Bolivia), Leah (Uganda), and Marin (India). God definately placed this desire in my heart. As a single working class mother of a preschooler, I often groaned and complained about how “poor” I was. Through Compassion I am learning how greatly blessed I am in so many ways, including financially. I struggle with using my resources in the best way possible. I often fail and make selfish decisions, but I know I am a work in progress! It is because of my recurring selfishness that I worry that a visit to my sponsor child would be more about my desire and not His. I do want to visit my girls, and I will prayerfully seek His guideness.

    I have been sponsoring for a year and a half, and am just beginning to speak out about child sponsorship with my friends and family. I have recently contacted my pastor about having a Compassion Sunday. This is a big step for me as I am rather shy. Sometimes I feel frustrated and want to knock some sense into people, to make them realize that their excess can make the difference between hope and death in a child’s life. I pray that God will open their eyes, heart, and pocketbook!

    This may not be the best forum for mentioning this, but I also sponsor a child at an orphanage in Busia, Uganda (Ashia). This orphanage was founded by a former Compassion worker and has current Compassion employees on its board. It is a small grass roots organization that could really use any support they could receive. If anyone would like more information and a link to their website, please email me at SheCass9@aol.com.
    Thank You!

  46. Aug 5, 2008
    at 6:26 am

    I admit to not reading all of the responses to this, so, forgive me if this opinion has already been given. I totally understand the idea that money spent on a trip to visit a sponsored child may be better used sponsoring more children. To an extent, I agree. On the other hand, I believe there is a lot of potential to make direct, real-world, loving connections in a visit that no monthly check will replace. My wife and I intend to take our kids on a trip to visit at least one of our sponsored children once our kids approach teenage years for the distinct purpose of providing some perspective for them to live the rest of their lives from. I also agree with what another respondent said about using the trip to make presentations to others upon your return. I believe that this is very justifiable.

  47. Misty C.
    Aug 5, 2008
    at 7:44 am

    My child in El Salvador asked me to come visit, twice. I thought no way, I don’t have the money. I took a crown financial seminar and the group prayed and all felt that I was being called to go. And the trip massively changed my life. I know it impacted Nahum, my child. Also, when you go, you bring tons of gifts, not just for your child but for the projects you visit and they get the benefit of supplies! In El Salvador we even had a service day where we made bricks and built houses for those who lost homes in hurricane Stanley. When I went to El Salvador, I sponsored 3 children. The poverty hit me so hard and the love these children have for Christ hit me even harder. I saw Jesus there in ways I don’t see it in the United States. When I came home I was a different person and I began sponsoring more children. God has provided the money for me to do both, visit my kids and continue to increase the number of kids that I sponsor. Also a thought…I am taking my neices and nephews (one at a time) on the trips with me. I want them to see, as teens, the poverty in the world, that getting food is a bigger problem than whether or not you have the latest ipod or must have sneaker. If you have kids at home or neices and nephews you can take, it will change them too and they may also spread the word about Compassion, and one day become sponsors themselves.

    If you think, I have better uses for the money and act on that…actually sponsor more kids or give to the hunger relief fund, then you are likely following God’s plan for your life. If you continue to struggle with the idea…maybe God is calling you to go! He may be saying to you, yes I know you can sponsor another child, or help with aids relief…but I gave you the money and I know the best way for you to spend it..so GO! Continue to pray…ask friends to pray and see what all say!

    God bless.

  48. Aug 5, 2008
    at 10:03 am

    “If you think, I have better uses for the money and act on that…actually sponsor more kids or give to the hunger relief fund, then you are likely following God’s plan for your life. If you continue to struggle with the idea…maybe God is calling you to go! He may be saying to you, yes I know you can sponsor another child, or help with aids relief…but I gave you the money and I know the best way for you to spend it..so GO! Continue to pray…ask friends to pray and see what all say!”

    Amen Misty C–that’s what I’m talk’n about. It’s God’s picture, let Him paint it.

  49. Aug 5, 2008
    at 11:30 am

    Mindy,

    I love what you share in the response. If you can’t visit your children, but just write to them and tell that they are loved and encourage them in the Lord and do that regularly, you can make a HUGE impact on the children’s lives. Some of the best known sponsored children, that have really gone on with the Lord never met their sponsor till after they graduate. I’ve seen that several times on videos, where a sponsored child might be speaking and addressing a crowd about what it was like to be sponsored and they said: “We have a suprise, your sponsor is here.” I just saw that yesterday with the girl from Africa that is in many of the Compassion videos. It’s very emotional.

    Having said that, I think about how our Lord Jesus discipled 12 disciples and poured most of his life into these 12. At times, He was actually not available for others, but He would strategically pour His life into the 12. He did that for a few years and then He was gone. These 12 though made a huge impact on the world, so that within 20 years people were describing them in the book of Acts as having turned the whole world upside down.

    So, in that sense it spread through multiplication, not addition. So Christ focuessed on the 12, who focussed on the others, who focussed on the others, etc, etc… And as was said earlier, it is like a pyramid scheme, or I guess they mean network marketing. (BTW, I’m not trying to encourage anyone here to get involved with one of those businesses, I’m just saying that that one part of those businesses is really based on a Biblical model of II Tim. 2:2.)

    So, yes, visiting a child, that might cost $2000, might seem wasteful, when realizing how many children that can be fed with that money. The child is the fruit, but like and good fruit, it has seeds in it that will produce many other fruits, which will produce many other fruits. Think about what if your child were to become the next Billy Graham? The individual children are worth it, because there is so much beyond the visit that you will be building into.

    Having said that, I do believe that if it isn’t possible to visit the child, you can have a huge impact with writing your children.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  50. Aug 5, 2008
    at 7:46 pm

    Go. I plan to go eventually. But go so that your child/children know you are real in a concrete way.

    Go so that God can use you as His arms to hug the children you’ve prayed for.

    Go for the chance to carry blessings into the country that might not other go in or be able to get to your child.

    Go so that you are changed by seeing poverty first hand.

    Go so you can more powerfully tell others and hopefully find sponsors for others.

    I believe God wants us on those trips not as toursits but as ambassadors. Granted, I’ve got a lot of saving to do, but I’m going someday.

  51. [...] Wordle Wednesday! — Sponsor Visits There was a lot of discussion this week on the Compassion Blog about sponsor tours and visits with children.  So I thought I would entitle this Wordle [...]

  52. Aug 6, 2008
    at 8:59 am

    Wonderful discussion. I am in the midst of my own struggle about whether I should visit Tanzania. I see that the 2009 trip is now full, so I took that as God showing me it’s not a now thing. I’ll continue to work on being able to go. If I get there, I know it will be life altering for me and my sponsored child. If I don’t, I’m sure this struggle will bring benefit as well.

  53. Shelly Quigg
    Aug 6, 2008
    at 9:13 am

    Carolyn F,

    Maybe you can plan your own visit to Tanzania since the group tour didn’t work out. I think you will still be able to visit with your child, his project, and maybe even the country office if it is nearby. I was thinking I would have to go that route since the group sponsor tour dates might not work out for me. Has anyone done a private visit and still been able to get a good overview of how Compassion works in the country?

  54. Aug 6, 2008
    at 9:44 am

    Shelly, Kees Boer reported recently on his individual trip to Bolivia to see his 12 kids. He’s also got some great pic’s!

  55. Shelly Quigg
    Aug 6, 2008
    at 10:08 am

    I did read about Kees experience, but I wasn’t sure if he got all the “extras” because he was visiting 12 children instead of one. He actually brought a doll over for my sponsored girl Eliana!

  56. Aug 6, 2008
    at 11:18 am

    Hi,

    I did visit all of my children in Bolivia. The week after I took my trip, there was an advocate tour of Bolivia. I checked into going on that first. It made a lot of good stops and what have you, but the only thing was that it only gave one day to visit the children. This would have been good, if I had sponsored only one or two children in Bolivia, but since I have 12 and then my dad have 2, if I had gone on the tour, I would have only been able to either see all of them, when they came to see me in one central location or just see a few of them. That’s why I made the decision to arrange my own flight, but then Compassion Bolivia and the Compassion travel office arranged all of the details as to where I stayed, the taxis, translations, etc… They did a great job and I also got to visit the main Compassion offices in Cochabamba, which I was happy to do. I probably missed out on some things that a tour would have given, but I was there primarily for the children.

    Last February, I accompanied my dad on a trip to visit his child in Mexico and it was also the same situation. My dad booked the flight and Compassion took care of all the details.

    You do have to pay for any of the costs incurred in the country and Compassion requests that you let them know of your visit at least 6 weeks in advance, so they can arrange it. There are a few forms to sign too.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  57. Crystal Gibson
    Aug 7, 2008
    at 12:56 am

    I struggled with this question until all my sponsor children had written telling me they pray to meet me one day. I can not describe the blessing that came from meeting my children. I will be forever changed. I hope my children will also be forever changed. I plan to sponsor children through compassion for the rest of my life. And, I will continue to visit my children whenever I am able.

  58. Mike Hailey
    Aug 7, 2008
    at 7:50 pm

    If you can do it, go visit your sponsored child. Consider going on a Compassion trip to another country if a visit to your sponsored child’s country is too expensive. Just seeing Compassion at work ‘in the field’ is a marvelous experience, and you will surely be blessed by the multitude of children you will encounter in the projects you visit. I recently returned from an Advocate’s trip to Bolivia. I had the opportunity to meet a child that I had begun sponsoring only a few weeks prior to my departure. Would he even know he had a new sponsor? I hadn’t even considered that meeting him was even a possibility. But God, in His infinite wisdom, made it all happen. The morning we spent together (along with his mother, a translator, the Project Director, and his grandmother) was an absolute joy. Noe (age 5) and I hadn’t even exchanged a single letter at this point, but we bonded almost immediately. I’m so thankful for the foundation that we now have to build upon over the coming years.

    You can learn a great deal about this ministry by going on one of these trips. I thought I knew what to expect (in terms of the poverty that I was exposed to). After all, I have read many articles on Compassion’s website, as well as articles in Compassion Magazine. But when I arrived in Bolivia, I realized that I knew nothing. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the emotions…. those are things that you can’t experience on any webpage or magazine, or adequately explain to someone who has never been ‘there’.

    It was money well spent. Meeting my sponsored child was priceless. My pastor ‘gave’ me the pulpit for the entire service this past Sunday morning so that I could share my experiences with the congregation (Yes, I was a bit nervous!). I’m also the worship leader, so basically I was ‘on stage’ the entire morning.

    If you can, GO!! Show a child the love of Jesus!

  59. Jackie Kifer
    Aug 8, 2008
    at 12:54 pm

    I am visiting my sponsor daughter in Rwanda in a few weeks (Sept. ’08) I am so very happy and blessed to be able to go there! We have been sponsoring her for a few years. I had a stroke a couple of years ago, and was paralyzed on my left side. My sponsor child was my goal for recovery! I promised myself that if I could walk without help again, I would go to Rwanda. With much hard work, and lots of prayer, on my part, and from my sponsor daughter, I am walking just fine! God truly blesses those who ask…

  60. Mike Stephens
    Aug 8, 2008
    at 8:10 pm

    Shelly,

    I think you asked an excellent question. The reason I think it is so funny is b/c you actually have the insight to think…”Wait a second here…How can my money be used best???” I recently went on the Nicaragua Sponsor Tour June 14-21. The cost was $2350 and my parents bought my plane ticket from Colorado Springs to Miami for my birthday. For me it was not a question of money but I decided as far as it went with me I wanted to visit each of my sponsor children at least once while they are young and once while they are old. The reason is this: I want to see them in the flesh and blood, talk with them, play with them, and even talk with there parents a little and project director in my case. They need to know I am real as well. By actually seeing me I believe puts a face, personality, and force to the letters I write. I doubt I will ever forget the day I got to spend with Osmari, her mom and her project director. Osmari I was told wants to be a doctor so I told her I will support her in that until “she achieves a victory” i.e. becomes a doctor. If her dream changes I hope to support her in that as best I can. I took down a cheap $9 stethoscope so she can “practice” being a 4-year old doctor. My advice to you is GO! and after the trip see if next time your money will be used better elsewhere. I do not think you can know for sure unless you go. I believe the visit I made to Nicaragua was money wisely spent. I was told I was the first sponsor to visit from Osmari’s project. One neat thing by visiting is that it is like you are visiting hundreds of sponsor kids with your one visit!!! So hundreds of kids get to experience seeing one of these “Sponsors” I was told less than 1% of Sponsors actually visit there Sponsored child. I do not know if that is true, but I definitely wanted to be in that 1%. I have already made the deposit for the Sponsor Tour to the Philippines and continue to pray that God will make a way for me to go. I have no doubt He will but I pray anyways. I do not think Shelly you could make a better investment of your money than visiting your sponsored child after having to have gotten to meet Osmari this past June. There is an island south of Japan called Miyako Jima and in the Miyakan dialect they have a word “Waido!” which means “Go for it!” I think you should go for it!!! But that is just me ;)

  61. Shelly Quigg
    Aug 8, 2008
    at 9:34 pm

    Mike Stephens,

    Thanks for your encouragement!

    The majority of the comments posted here support going on a sponsor trip. I see that the relational and spiritual benefits for both the sponsor and child are priceless. I also see the benefit of meeting and encouraging the other project children, the child’s family, project workers, and Compassion staff. And I do understand now that the experience can be used to ignite a greater passion in myself to help the children and to inspire others to sponsor.

    After I thought about it awhile, I realized (besides feeling selfish) I was trying to weigh the good of helping more against the benefit to just the one child. That was wrong. That goes against what Compassion is trying to show each child…that they have individual dignity, worth, and importance to God and to me. And each of my sponsored children are definately worth the cost of my visiting them!

    My question was actually just a hypothetical/philosophical question for the staff member in charge of sponsor visits in Uganda. I didn’t expect it to be in its own post. I don’t even actually have the financial means to visit my sponsored children right now. But after hearing all the support for sponsor visits, now I have to start saving!!!

  62. Aug 8, 2008
    at 10:21 pm

    Hi, Mike,

    I like what you said. I understand that there are about 4,000 projects and about 4,000 sponsors go to visit their children each year. If so, it would stand to reason that on the average each project would get one visit per sponsor per year. Of course some of these visits are of sponsors, where the child visits with their sponsor somewhere else. I don’t know what the percentage is on that. I do know that when I went to visit the projects that all the children would crowd around me and when I would meet with a child and translator and a couple of staff and maybe the parents, I would see children all crowd in the hallways trying to get a glimpse. It’s very humbling. I felt like I was a celebrity or so, but at the same time, I felt the real celebrity were the children themselves and I was humbled to be in their presence. They are so sweet. It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it.

    On a slightly related note, I just watched a movie that reminded me a lot of sponsorship. It’s called Nim’s Island. It’s really good. Much parallels sponsorship. There is only one thing that I found was much different and that was when the two met. I found the sponsored child to really love their sponsor right from the beginning. I’m trying to not give away any spoilers though!

    Blessings,

    Kees

  63. Carolyn Cooper
    Aug 8, 2008
    at 11:12 pm

    I would also say, if you can go, GO!!! Here is my story:
    When I was visiting one of my sponsored girls in the Compassion office in the Dominican Republic,in May of this year, a young man came up and started talking to me. He said, “Hey, do you remember me? I was one of your English students years ago when you were a teacher here in the Dominican Republic. I did remember him, but was surprised to see him in the Compassion office, as I didn’t know he had any connection to Compassion. Turns out he had been a sponsored child and is now a translator for Compassion. I said, “It is so good to see you again and know that your English is now good enough for you to be a translator here at Compassion. Even though I am here in Santo Domingo today, day after tomorrow, I am giving a Compassion Sunday presentation at my church, and I have no idea what to say.”
    He said, “Tell them about me, a poor kid with no possibility for a hope and a future, until someone sponsored me and led me to the Lord.” I asked what else he did, besides translating, and he told me that he is the pastor of a church. On the plane ride home to Boston, I jotted down a few notes, and in my church service, I told about my conversation with the young pastor. I have given may Compassion Sundays, but this was the most effective one ever.
    I go to see my sponsored girls once or twice a year, but this time, it also destined by God for me to meet up with my former student who provided me with the perfect material for Compassion Sunday, 2008. I have now found over 100 sponsors, and I am sure that I could not have been as effective as an Advocate if I did not have this as well as many other personal stories to tell about my experiences in the Dominican Republic. This is my first time writing here, but I am sure it will not be my last. If you cannot go, WRITE. I can attest, after 20 years of sponsoring, that the letters are treasures to the children. When I visit the various projects of my girls (all in different parts of the Dom. Rep.) some child always comes up to me and says, “Do you know my sponsor? Please tell her to write to me.”

  64. Carrie
    Aug 10, 2008
    at 12:58 pm

    Going on a sponsor tour is an amazing experience. I think we should keep in mind that God doesn’t “need” us to fulfill anything that He desires to accomplish. We are priviledged that He chooses to use us. I don’t think you should feel guilty about using the money to take a tour instead of sponsoring more children. You are not responsible for obilerating poverty all by yourself. You should do what you feel called to do and if God is putting a desire to go on a tour in your heart then you should definatley do it. It changes you in so many ways. It’s an incredible blessing and it’s made my committment to Compassion and my children even stronger. I can’t wait to go again. I’m a different person for having seen Compassion at work firsthand.

  65. Aug 10, 2008
    at 8:28 pm

    In my opinion, I think you should give those three children a visit. I mean, yes, it’s another good idea to sponsor other children instead, but I think you should get closer to the children that you are already sponsoring.

  66. Michael Patterson
    Aug 10, 2008
    at 9:38 pm

    I was so profoundly changed by the experience of visiting the children we sponsor, and seeing what Compassion is all about, that I decided to become an advocate. In this way, I am able to help find way more sponsors than I can ever hope to sponsor.

    We also now have a much different relationship with our children – two of them recently asked me to attend their graduation, and accept their diploma with them as their “special father.”

    I cannot say enough about the experience of meeting your sponsored child!

  67. Danielle
    Aug 12, 2008
    at 10:05 pm

    I think money, either having the money and not wanting to spend that much or not having the money at all, is not a good enough reason not to do something that God may be calling you to do.

    I did not have the money and didnt see how I could get enough but God provided it with miracle after miracle. Funny thing is even now when Ive thought about going again, I still have the same worry that I dont have the money to pay for it. I do know however that the trip is worth it. So, if God wants me to go again I know he will provide for me.

  68. Adriana Piccardo
    Aug 14, 2008
    at 1:41 pm

    I would love to visit my sponsored child in república Dominicana. I chose a country not so far from mine for that reason. I´m sure that children would love to have a visit from their sponsors. But I would only travel if I have the opportunity to travel somewhere close. Of course it is better to spend the money helping more childen if I´m not going to make a trip, eg to US.

  69. Joel
    Mar 9, 2009
    at 8:35 pm

    Consider the fact that your sponsor child is longing for you to come see them one day. Consider the fact that when they see your face, you’ve just made their life reach a new level! The effect that you have on one of these little children has huge reprocussions. The children, if you have sent them a picure of yourself, are holding tight with the hope of seeing you face-to-face one day because of the wonderful blessing that you are to them and their family. I wept at the sight of seeing my child in Honduras 2 years ago. Angel cried so hard when we had to say goodbye after spending all day together at a WaterPark. The Lord knows that on that specific day that the two of us had an emotional need met that will be impacted forever. No matter what I go through, no matter what Angel goes through, we both know that we’ll never be alone because of Jesus Christ. I know that Angel prays for me constantly. I pray for Angel constantly. I am praying for another opportunity to go visit him, his family, and his project. Let me state again; going to see your sponsor child will strengthen your relationship with in Christ, will impact you heart for foreign mission, and will push you to see more children sponosored on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. May the Lord direct your hearts as you seek His will in going to your sponsor child’s country. God’s answer may be no; that doesn’t mean you’ll never go. I know that financially some people cannot afford it. I do know a gentleman who has gone to see all 25+ children that he sponsors. God has blessed this man financially in ways that are making a huge different across 20+ countries as I type this blog. God will direct, He will guide you, and He will provide the resources for you to go should He open that door. Should you feel that investing in sponorsoring several children is your mission, praise the Lord for that. I do know there are thousands of children on a waiting list to be sponsored and your tremedous efforts will not go un-noticed. Praise the Lord for each one of you who are investing in the ministry of Compassion International. As an advocate let me say THANK YOU personally for your heart for these children. God Bless!

  70. Mike Stephens
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 6:18 pm

    Lord Have MERCY!!! Is it not OBVIOUS that visiting your sponsored child is on par with doing the IMPOSSIBLE!!! That is why it must be done!!! I felt the same way before I visited Nicaragua on the Sponsor Tour last year, but now that I have been all I can say is it was worth WAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY more than the $2450 the tour cost!!! Not to mention I loved telling people I was going when I wasn’t even sure if I was!!!!!!! Guess what??? I am going to the Philippines June 6-18, 2009 to visit the boys I sponsor there!!! HALLELUJAH!!! I still am AMAZED I earned the $4299 driving a Taxi!!! I got fired a little bit before I finished paying for the trip!!! So I got another job at a hotel during the night shift and I was fired only after a week!!! But in that week I was able to finish paying for the trip!!! Which was a goal I made for 2009: Go on the Philippines Sponsor Tour!!! For me going on the Sponsor Tour feels like winning a race, because it is not easy to pay for the trip but I am proof little by little it can be done!!! If I had a car I would have sold it to go on the trip and if I had my own house OOOOO MAN!!! I would have sold that too to go!!! I had a pastor once who sad part of enjoying life is watching all the cards fall!!! I am not sure how much I agree with that, but what can we do when they do fall!!!!!!! The bible tells us at the end of II Corinthians 12:8-10 “that is why for Christ’s sake I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in HARDSHIPS, in PERSECUTIONS, in DIFFICULTIES, for when I am weak then I am strong!!! I have to admit if I wasn’t able to pay for the Philippines Sponsor Tour I would be very upset, but that is why I prayed multiple times a day so God would make it happen and I am glad HE DID!!! B/c I would have regretted it!!! Even though I am going I know I will hope and wish to do more!!! Another thing if I, Mike Stephens, do not visit I will have to rely on other people telling what is going on!!! I can’t live with that I HAVE TO GO!!! The ONLY WAY TO KNOW IS TO GO!!!!!!! Granted I will not visit the houses and neighborhoods of the kids I sponsor…this time but it is a stepping stone that maybe down the road I could do an individual visit!!! But either way I want to see them and them me so they can put a face and personality to the letters and me too for them. I believe the visit makes all the difference for me and for them!!! If you have not visited I encourage you to visit by either selling your car or your house or BOTH the joy might be twice as much!!! One thing that encouraged me even though I had already planned on going, but sometimes we all need a little help “jumping out of the plane!!!” hahahaha A very honorable fellow Advocate once said “If you haven’t visited your Compassion child…GO ROB A BANK AND GO!!!” I have to say I was probably in the minority of people who hadn’t visited when that encouraged was given to me!!! ;) But I was already out of the vault with the money bags when that was being said!!! I do not think any guilt or looking down upon should be done if a Sponsor decides not to visit or simply does not have the means. I just highly encourage people to pray that God will make a way for them to go so they can see for themselves the POWER of the visit!!! I guess another way for me to look at it is, if I was the Sponsored child what would I want? I would want my Sponsor to visit me multiple times and send many, many, many gifts and tell me to TRUST our God who can bring dead people back to life, calm the Ocean, CREATE the universe and OBEY Him and NEVER TO GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!!! Life is a MIST visit, visit, visit!!! PRAY, PRAY, PRAY don’t give up!!! “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, SO YOU WILL NOT GROW WEARY AND LOSE HEART!!!!!!!” the Bible. Well I promised Angelo I would visit him and when I visit I will dunk a basketball with 2 hands to encourage him in his DREAM to become a basketball player!!! Well the visit is set-up as much as I can do, now I need to add 7-12inches on my jumping!!! I can dunk a piece of rolled up newspaper about the size of a grapefruit on a 10ft. hoop!!! So I am almost there!!! PRAY for ME!!! PRAY that when I visit July 6-18, 2009 and when I get to meet Angelo pray that I will indeed be able to fulfill my promise and dunk a basketball for him with 2 hands!!! I need the prayer!!! PRAY, PRAY, PRAY!!! thank you!!!!!!!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because HE cares for YOU!!!”

    Mike

  71. Mike Stephens
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 6:37 pm

    I have a question…What do you guys (Sponsors, Advocates, and employees) believe is better for the child than visiting them??? That as a Sponsor I can do?

  72. Mike Hailey
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 6:50 pm

    @Mike Stephens – I’m really glad that I was able to visit one of my sponsored children this past Summer in Bolivia. As awesome an experience as that was, I know that I will probably not be able to visit all of them, and that’s okay. Writing letters, sending ‘gifts’, and praying for them will be of more ‘lasting’ value to the child…..especially the letter-writing, which is SO important. Not being able to visit your child doesn’t mean that you love and care for them any less.

  73. Pat Bell
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 7:37 pm

    Hi Mike – For me, visiting my child really brought the ministry of Compassion to life for me. I don’t know that I would have really understood how important my letters were (I was a very bad letter writer…I actually apologized to my child and his mother for not writing to them during my visit). I also now sponsor 4 kids instead of just one.

    I have also had the chance to use the story of meeting my child, as well as photos, in my work as an Advocate. I will bring the album when I work an event when appropriate (and have had some artists even encourage people to come check out my pictures when they have spoken from the stage). I think the key question is – how do you use your experience once you are home?

  74. Carolyn Cooper
    Mar 15, 2009
    at 6:36 am

    In December,2008, it was announced that my office would close, and I would be out of work. I had already planned and paid for a trip to the Dominican Republic for January,2009 to visit the 3 girls that I sponsor there. I had to decide whether to cancel the trip and get my money back, or to go. I decided to go, as I thought that it would be a very special trip, and it WAS. Though I had been to visit the girls many times in the past, they did not know each other, as they live in different parts of the island. For the first time, they were all to get together and meet me in the Compassion office in Santo Domingo, which they did. It was incredible to see how they bounded with each other. When I hugged each of them, and saw how they interacted with each other, I KNEW that I had made the right decision. No matter how long I am unemployed, I will NEVER stop sponsoring these 3 girls (two of them are 10 yrs. old, one is 7). I met
    another sponsor while I was there, and have encouraged her to become an advocate, as I am. Going to visit your sponsored child is an act of faith: that the money will be found to do it and that there will be a good result from doing so. As many others have pointed out here, it is a life changing experiences, for your sponsored child and also for YOU—and for those whose lives you will touch when you return.
    Carolyn

  75. Mike Stephens
    Mar 21, 2009
    at 8:20 pm

    Mike, Pat, and Carolyn thank you for answering my question!!! There is still a lot to learn but just like the bible says I am starting to realize it is important for me to memorize bible verses and know what the bible says, but I need to do it!!! I see it as the difference between watching a sea turtle swim on national geographic on TV and actually riding on the back of a sea turtle!!! It is still amazing and majestic to watch a sea turtle on TV but riding on the back of one adds a little more adrenaline and reality!!! I don’t think wondering is bad but as long as God gives me the ability to visit the kids I sponsor I want to put a face, name, and personality to all these letters I receive and I am sure they want the same!!! Also I love this blog b/c I promised Angelo I would dunk a basketball for Him with 2 hands and I am really close about 7-12 more inches and I should have it comfortably so I want to say it again here to put some more pressure on myself to keep practicing these next couple of months!!!

  76. Mar 22, 2009
    at 3:56 pm

    Mike,

    I’m so in agreement with you. It is important to memorize the Bible. I used to smuggle Bibles onto cargo ships from Communist countries and I’ve seen the tears in the eyes, when someone finally gets a Bible. The Bible is not just an idle word, but It is our very life. (Deut. 22)

    Yes, visiting your child will totally change your relationship. You will be able to imagine them how they walk, talk, and think. It makes them come alive so much and I still get letters from my sponsored children after I visited them, talking about the visit.

    Kees

  77. Carolyn Cooper
    Mar 22, 2009
    at 6:43 pm

    For Mike Stephens: I would say visiting your sponsored child is more like the difference between
    watching a war on the nightly news and actually experiencing the battlefront. Our sponsored children are fighting poverty and spiritual warfare every day. Meeting them on the battlefield, by going to visit them, can only increase our desire to help them in their struggle.

  78. Mike Stephens
    Mar 26, 2009
    at 1:28 pm

    Excellent responses my friends!!! Carolyn I think I like yours the best!!! B/c it is so true!!! My analogy wasn’t necessarily the best…yours is right on!!! I am going to use that many times from now on!!! I finally have the reason I need to explain why it is important to visit!!! And for myself for future trips!!! Carolyn I think that comment is the best one I have ever seen so far!!! You should win a prize!!! I think that explains Compassion the best I have ever heard ever!!! “We are joining them on the battlefield!!!” Lord have mercy Carolyn you just helped me even more!!! You helped put words to my desire to help and the strong commitment I hope to continue to have. I think one of my huge problems is I forget I am in a battle!!! I often think life is Candyland. Sometimes it is relaxing and fun but it is crucial to be on our guard. Sometimes I would joke saying eternal vigilance is the price of speeding because if you speed you have to make sure you look out for police. Carolyn that is what I believe I felt when I sponsored. Or least if it wasn’t quite that now I have a very easily understandable reason in a few words to understand why Compassion does what it does and why they need our prayers and support. I would often ask what am I trying to do as a sponsor with Compassion. There are many great things Compassion does, but what Compassion really does is go to War on a daily basis!!! And I see that!!! I can understand that!!! That is feasible in my brain!!! And just to add another thing I think the fiercest war is the war NOT against flesh and blood!!! If I want REAL hand to hand combat I should pray!!!

  79. Mike Stephens
    Mar 26, 2009
    at 1:39 pm

    Kees,

    you are so right as well b/c as the bible says also “Chirst who is YOUR LIFE…” and being that the WORD was made flesh the BIBLE is our life also…it is one in the same!!! That helps me a lot as well b/c it helps when I can grasp the “why” in my mind!!! Why read the bible is like asking why eat??? If you want to live you need to eat but even more importantly if you want to LIVE you need to read the BIBLE!!! I am not saying I necessarily love War but I love Adventure, OVERCOMING, VICTORY, and even DANGER (if I escape) like another fellow sponsor once shared with me the song “Jesus is the Winna Mon” so yet another reason to cleave to Jesus…He NEVER Loses!!!

    Thanks to both of you for answering my questions!!! And joining in the WAR and FIGHT!!! The “Questions” blog I feel is answered in its entirety by Carolyn’s explanation next time someone maybe someone closer to my age says “What’s this about?” or “Why do you do this?” I can say it’s a War my friend a FIERCE FIGHT if you will and I’m thinkin you probably do not have what it takes to HANG with this BATTLE so you might wanna just go on home and drink some coffee!!! ;)

  80. Carolyn Cooper
    Mar 27, 2009
    at 7:55 am

    Additional thoughts on visiting your sponsored child(ren):
    It helps you in your own ministry as a sponsor or advocate, to find more sponsors. When you are asked, “How does my sponsorship help a child,” then you have real, concrete answers to give, as you have seen firsthand the difference that your sponsorship has made and is making in the life of your child(ren).
    The heightening of conviction that visiting my 3 sponsored girls has given me, has enabled me to find sponsors for over ONE HUNDRED more children around the world. Who could have known, before going, that a trip to see my 1st sponsored child (in 1990), would have led me to sponsor more children and to find sponsors for so many more? Cling tight to Jeremiah 29:11-13

  81. Wendy Funke
    Apr 1, 2009
    at 2:21 pm

    A question for those who have gone on the Sponsor Tours. Did you get the opportunity to take your sponsor child/child’s family shopping while you were there?

    One of these days my husband and I will likely take the Sponsor Trip to Honduras to visit our sponsor child, and although we will probably bring him toys/books from the states, it would be hard to guess as to bringing other items like clothes in the appropriate size.

    Tell me your experiences?

  82. Apr 1, 2009
    at 3:55 pm

    Hi, Wendy,

    I don’t know if you can do that with a sponsor tour. I’ve never been on sponsor tours. I do know you can do that with an individual visit. They tend to be less expensive too.

    When my dad and I went to visit my dad’s sponsored child in Mexico, we took her to a Walmart and bought her some clothes there. The only thing is that we noticed she stayed in the dressing room for a long time. Finally, the Compassion rep went to check what was going on. They found out that she had never seen herself in a big mirror and she kept on looking at herself! So, we ended up buying her a big mirror too!

    Kees

  83. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 1, 2009
    at 4:07 pm

    One way to help the family buy clothes for your sponsored child, is to send extra money with your sponsorship payment, especially at Christmas and for their birthday. Also, you can send a once a year family gift of (I think it is) $300. The child may live in a remote area, where it would not be feasible for you to take them shopping on a Sponsor Tour. Having said that, I always take lots of clothes & shoes with me for my 3 sponsored girls in the Dominican Republic. However, I do visit them at least once a year, so I know their sizes. So far, everything has fit. You could also take clothing items such as Tshirts, sox and baseball caps, where the fit does not need to be exact. As you may know, what you are NOT supposed to do is give the family money, other than though Compassion.

  84. Jackie Kifer
    Apr 1, 2009
    at 5:45 pm

    When you travel WITH CI, you can’t take your child anywhere the group does not go,. I had no idea what size Solange wore, so I stopped people I saw with children about her age, and asked them what size they wore.

    Something to consider: in many countries girls ONLY wear dresses or skirts, NO pants, I made the mistake of taking a pair of jeans for her. I’m sure some boy in Rwanda is now wearing Tinkerbell jeans because of my mistake.

    My trip to Rwanda was a turning point in MY life! I now know that EVERYTHING we do for them, is worth it! The children sponsored by our group absolutely lit up when they met us! Solange told me when I went to leave, “I hope to meet you again in Rwanda before we meet in Heaven”….. pretty amazing for an 8 year old!

    If you can’t go visit them, WRITE as often as you can, even every week if possible! They sooooo love getting our letters! All of them had kept every letter we sent.

    God bless CI….. you changed my life, through God, who can do ALL things!

  85. Elizabeth Marvin
    Apr 8, 2009
    at 10:24 am

    I completely understand how Shelly is feeling. I will be going to Honduras next month to visit my sponsored kids, and I feel guilty … like I could be using my money in a better way. But I also agree with a lot of the responses I have read … I believe that my testimony of this trip will help get other people to sponsor children. A lot of people question me about sponsoring a child. They ask, “how do you know it’s not a scam?” Well if I tell them that I met the children that I sponsor and I saw what Compassion is doing with my very own eyes, they will know it’s not a “scam”! :)

  86. Apr 8, 2009
    at 12:41 pm

    Hi, Elizabeth,

    I know how you feel. I do have some thoughts about it that helped me with it. When I look at the ministry of Christ, I see him have 70 people that He poured His life into. Within those 70 people, He really poured His life into the 12, then if you look carefully, within that group, He really poured His life into 3, Peter, James, and John.

    Some people might consider that Christ was partial. In fact, He wasn’t. His goal was for all to get saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (I. Tim. 2:3-6). He set up a duplicatable system, so that everyone could hear the Gospel. In Col. 1:23, it says that this indeed happened. As a matter of fact, when Paul later on came to one city, the unbelievers referred to Christianity as the ones, who turned the whole world upside down. Paul used the same principle and Paul taught for others to use too. The principle was of duplication. II Tim. 2:2. Entrust to faithful men, who be able to teach others also. Paul taught Timothy; Timothy taught faithful men; Faithful men taught others.

    Even in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) this principle is found. Jesus taught the disciples, who were to teach others to observe everything that Christ had taught them, which incidentally included that command.

    Anyways, to make a long story even longer, going back on Jesus’ ministry, you see that at times He wasn’t available for others to be ministered to. He focussed on His disciples and His disciples taught disciples, who taught other disciples, resulting in the whole world hearing te Gospel.

    When I taught Math at a Christian school, I used the illustration of a Super Evangelist, who led 1000 people to Christ every day, then he left and he did this day after day after day. The guy was amazing! Every year 365,000 people were led to Christ.

    Then there was the other evangelist. He didn’t have all of these gifts, but what he did was that he led people to Christ and then he took one of them every year and totally poured his life into this person, so that after a year this person was able to do what he did. This went on year after year. The first year there were 2, him and the other person. The next year 4, then 8, then 16, then 32, then 64, then 128, then 256, then 512, then 1024. In other words, it doubled every year. Guess what? Within 16 years, he bypassed the Super evangelist and within 33 years the entire world was reached. So, anyways…. I will say that in the multiplication it tends to break down after a while some, but the principle still stands.

    So, when I go visit a child, I don’t think of it as visiting just this one child. I think of the child as someone, who will reach 100’s if not 1000’s of other children. That’s why I’m so glad, when several of my children have expressed in their letters that some day they want to sponsor a child. They expressed that without me prompting me for this. So, I was very excited about that!

    As to the integrity of Compassion, let me quote Dr. Wess Stafford in his interview with me. “The Wall Street Journal has a magazine called Smart Money. They did a study for Smart Money magazine of the 680,000 non profit organizations in North America. What they said to their readers is: “We know when you buy a stock, a bond, a piece of property, you do due diligence. You want the biggest bang for your buck. That’s what our magazine is all about. But we know that you also give to charitable causes. Do you do the same due diligence, when you give to a charitable cause? They are not all the same. You must know that. Our research tells us that you don’t. So, we’re doing it for you.” What they did was that they studied the 680,000 non profit organizations, ran them all through the same grid and then wrote up a list of the top ten organizations that you can trust to do what they say, they’ll do’ And Compassion International was one of those top ten. That was back in 1997 and Compassion is now 2 or 3 percentage points better than back in 1997.”

    You can read the whole interview here:

    http://www.positive-entertainment.com/interviews/drwessstafford.htm

    I hope this helps!

    Kees

  87. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 8, 2009
    at 6:00 pm

    Just a little addition to what Kees has stated. When you visit your child, there is multiplication for the others that he or she will reach for Christ, but there is also multiplication on this side of the pond, too. You share your experiences in visiting and your enthusiasm spreads to others, who then sponsor. You see the urgent needs of your child’s country, and you decide to do more. So you become an Advocate, and bring in more sponsors. Those new sponsors catch the vision, and go on a sponsor tour or individual visit and come back and share their enthusiasm with others, who then sponsor. A few more Advocates are recruited, and then you have spread beyond your own sphere of influence. In my case, I have been sponsoring various children (currently 3 girls in the Dom. Rep.)for almost 20 years, and have spread my passion for Compassion to my own “kids” and they have spread it to my grandchildren. I am happy to be looking for my 2nd 100 sponsors-109 so far and counting. Who would have thought that all this would have come out of my sponsoring ONE CHILD in 1990??
    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding!

  88. Elizabeth Marvin
    Apr 14, 2009
    at 7:36 am

    @Chuck Guth – I am going to Honduras next month! Are there any tips that you can give me? :) I have never traveled outside the U.S. or Canada before. I am so excited!

  89. Elizabeth Marvin
    Apr 14, 2009
    at 8:27 am

    @Kees Boer – Thank you so much for that article. It was very encouraging!

  90. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 14, 2009
    at 10:44 am

    Have you applied for your passport in plenty of time, or do you already have it? If not, leave a message here and I can help you. I have worked in US passport services for over 10 years and can help anyone get a US passport fast. As far as the visit to your child, dress conservatively. In many Compassion countries, women wear skirts, so take one or two, just in case. As far as visiting your Compassion child, no gift is too simple or ordinary to be appreciated by him/her or their family. Towels, Tshirts and toothpaste, toothbrushes are always appreciated. I have found that girls of all ages like coloring books and crayons, and boys like balls and gloves, plus with these items, you can participate with the child (coloring, playing catch) even if you don’t speak any Spanish. Be sure to take a cheap DISPOSABLE camera for photos. I do not recommend taking your expensive digital camera. If you don’t speak Spanish, remember that lots of smiles and hugs are an international language. Have fun and report back to us on this space.

  91. Apr 14, 2009
    at 12:05 pm

    @Elizabeth Marvin – I saw at the compassion store (http://store.compassion.com)under “specialty items” they sell a “compassion sponsored child backpack kit.” You might start with that and get some more stuff to add to the backpack? Backpacks are very useful items for either boys or girls.

    I think Carolyn is right about the “practical gifts.” Toothbrushes/Combs/Hairbrushes, towels, pillows/pillowcases, scented soap,perfume/cologne. A new watch perhaps?

    Barettes/Scrunchies/Hair items, necklaces/bracelets, dolls, for girls. Baseball glove/ball, ballcaps, sports balls (remember to get a hand pump and extra ball needles), are all easy gifts for boys.

    For either boys or girls: a new bible in the child’s native language, coloring books/crayons,frisbees, kites, Rubik’s cube, any non-powered toy, diary/journal to write in, pens/pencils/erasers.

    As far as Honduras travel goes, I did find a well done website by a fequent traveller to Honduras that might offer some good advice. http://sidewalkmystic.com/ I got this off the website regarding what to wear: “(for men)Khakis and a collared shirt get you anywhere in Honduras. Women? – A long skirt and blouse seemed appropriate for all our travels. You will see shorts on Roatan, La Ceiba and Tela. A recent visitor suggests that after observing local women wear less than ‘conservative clothing,’ women might want to consider capris and cotton. My wife offers that the smaller the village, the more conservative you will want to dress. Use your judgment.”

    My husband and I are hoping to get to go to Honduras to visit our sponsor child sometime next year so I’m already doing my research. (Chances are excellent we will opt for an individual visit to keep our costs down.)

    By the way, anyone going to visit HO-353 let me know. (my email address is ladycompugeek at yahoo dot com – substitute the appropriate symbols for the word “at” and “dot”) I’d love to be able to send some stuff for my sponsor child if anyone is headed his way.

  92. Apr 14, 2009
    at 3:06 pm

    Those are great suggestions. Here are a few others:

    Don’t eat raw vegetables.
    Eat food that has been cooked or baked or what have you.
    Don’t drink the tabwater.
    Always carry a role of toilet paper with you somewhere or 1/2 a role. You might not need it, but if you do, you’ll thank me for suggesting it.
    If you go to warm climates, use musquito repelant.
    Listen to them.
    Contact Compassion travel office at the very latest 6 weeks before. (I would do longer)
    If you have a nick name, make sure that if Compassion books any trip, like an internal flight or so, that they book it with the name of your passport.
    If the altitude is high, start drinking lots of water, before the trip.
    Don’t tell the child you’re coming to visit. Something might happen that you can’t and then it would be a big disappointment to them.

    Those are some suggestions that come to mind right away.

    Kees
    Blessings,

    Kees

  93. mindy kendall
    Apr 14, 2009
    at 9:12 pm

    when i went to the DR, i had an idea about the number of siblings my child had, so i went to the sales racks at walmart, and kmart and purchased shirts and shorts for both boys and girls from sizes 2 up to 14, several of each. my suitcase was full of kids clothes, hair ribbons, white tube socks(boys), and pretty socks for girls, and baseball caps. my own clothes were smooshed into my carry on. the day of your country office visit, they can look up in the files and give you an idea about ages of siblings. then on your child day you will have sorted all your kids clothes and have an outfit for every sibling plus an extra in case you sponsor one on the spot. also whatever you have left over, the project director may have a family in need of extras. don’t forget pretty dish towels as a house gift for mom. also, a nice gift bag for all the goodies to carry in. i also got for a family gift a book of the rocky mountains and wildlife.(found at local travel agency) also a photo album of you outside in the snow.etc. then they can fill up the album with photos you send after your return home. i send 3-4 photos with every letter. the parents loved it. sometimes too many gifts are overwhelming, other times you will feel like “i should have brought more…”.

  94. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 6:58 am

    With 20 years of visiting and working in the Dominican Republic, I would say that Kees is spot on about the water and the toilet paper. As far as what to wear, for women, at least, in the Dom. Rep. there is a GREAT difference between what Christian and non-Christian women wear. Bring the skirts. Also a comment on individual vs. group tours: Group tours are great it you just want to “get your feet wet” so to speak. You get a great overview of how Compassion works in each individual country, and you get to spend some time with your child, though not usually at their home or project. The group stays together. In the Dom. Rep., at least, when you are on a group tour, each sponsor has their own personal translator, to make communication easier. It is a fun time, really. On the other hand, an individual tour is less expensive, and you can spend more time with your child, see their specific project and probably go to their home. It gives you much more insight into exactly how they live. You do need to set this up way in advance, and not buy a plane ticket or make a hotel reservation until Compassion contacts you that it is a “go.” Again, you will have a member of the Compassion in-country staff with you at all times, someone who speaks both English and the native language of your child fluently. I would say that individual tours are for the more adventurous among us, though I have only been with sponsor tours when working as a translator.

  95. Apr 15, 2009
    at 9:10 am

    Very cool that some of you are getting to go!

    I wish I was!

    Here’s my thoughts on gifts. I had an opportunity to send gifts to one of my children last summer with someone going to their country. I decided I wanted to send things to her family as well as to her. But that might have gotten expensive. I hope this doesn’t sound cheap (I did buy some things too), but I went through my house to find things that were in good condition. I found a backpack in excellent condition and put everything in that. I found a 2 bracelets and sent one to her mom and one to her sister. I found a locket from my childhood when I was about her age and pasted my picture in it. Someone had given me binoculars years ago. I’m not sure why. But I sent them to her father and bought a T-shirt for her brother. There were other little things I found. Then I bought hair things, a book in Spanish, hard candy, stickers, construction paper, etc.

    Just a thought in case you are strapped for money.

  96. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 6:03 pm

    No, you do not sound cheap at all. Good for you!!! When you get to go to these countries and you see how the people make do with everything, re-use and re-cycle, it is amazing. They have an “attitude of gratitude” which I can only pray to have.

  97. Elizabeth Marvin
    Apr 18, 2009
    at 4:44 pm

    Thank you to everyone who gave me suggestions for my visit to Honduras! I will be going with the Compassion tour group … and I’m really excited about it!

  98. Mike Stephens
    Apr 25, 2009
    at 7:15 pm

    I am still AMAZED that the question is even posed!!! “Should I visit my sponsor child!!!” It helps me to visit even more!!! It’s kind of almost like reverse psychology for me. It is like asking “should I obey God?” Obviously we should obey God but do we? Obviously we should visit our sponsor child but do we? I think a real question is what is keeping you from visiting your sponsor child? What is holding you back? That is the question for me. Often times it is money. I do not have enough money to visit. So I pray and find a job and do all in my power to get the money so I can visit. It is not easy!!! It requires daily prayer, work, and prayer, and work, and prayer, and work, and prayer, and prayer and work. It is unbelievably hard, but once you visit my experience is the next visit is not as hard!!! Or maybe since I reached my first goal of visiting it was easier the second time b/c I had already run the course so to speak. Any sponsor reading this I highly encourage you to visit!!!

  99. Mike Stephens
    Apr 25, 2009
    at 8:04 pm

    @Carolyn Cooper – Carolyn that’s good to know about the passport!!! The quickest I ever got one was I applied on a Monday or Tuesday and had it expedited and got it on Friday or Saturday it took around 5 days!!! Which was good b/c my group went to the Dominican Republic on Monday or Sunday so I got it the last day so I could go on the trip!!!

  100. Mike Stephens
    Apr 25, 2009
    at 9:39 pm

    I would just like to joyfully make the point that the blog says, “usually cost from $2,000 to $4,000, plus airfare to the departure city.” The 2009 Philippines Sponsor Tour cost me $4,299 and I can recall how I got almost all of that money through Taxi driving and a little night hotel clerking and I am thankful for every penny I had to get to pay for the trip!!! Now when I go to Tanzania next year hopefully it will won’t seem so impossible!!! But even if it is we serve the God of the IMPOSSIBLE!!! Oh my Lord Lord Lord, Oh my Lord Lord Lord, I’m watching “Glory” on Youtube.

  101. Mike Stephens
    Apr 25, 2009
    at 9:42 pm

    Visit the child you sponsor and tell me if you think you could have spent the money better!!! If you think of a way let me know and I’ll join YOU!!!

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

  102. Mike Stephens
    Apr 25, 2009
    at 9:44 pm

    Visit, Visit, Visit ask questions later!!!!!!! Jesus thank you for helping do the first visit to Nicaragua!!! Without your patience and self-control enabling me it couldn’t have been done!!!

  103. Mike Stephens
    Apr 25, 2009
    at 9:46 pm

    I would rather visit my sponsor child than go to space. I think it is more interesting, more amazing, more impactful, and more worth it eventhough I have never been to space. Maybe an astronaut sponsor could verify that?

  104. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 27, 2009
    at 8:14 am

    This comment is not exactly about visiting your sponsored child, but it is about writing to them. I do not know what percent of the sponsors write on a regular basis, but I do know that many do not. How do I know? Everytime that I go to the Dominican Republic (twice a year, at least), a child in the project of one of my girls comes up to me and says, “Do you know my sponsor, they live in Michigan” (or Maryland or Massachusetts, take your pick) and they NEVER write to me. “Please tell them to write to me.” I also know, that a 27 year old woman, who was sponsored by my son when she was 11 years old, still has ALL of his letters. These letters are so precious, such treasured possesions of our sponsored children. So, if for whatever reason, you cannot go, WRITE and write often, not just when your child writes of you.

  105. Barbara M.
    Apr 27, 2009
    at 9:26 am

    @Carolyn Cooper -Thank you Carolyn for your encouragement to write. I write faithfully to my children but I confess it is sometimes a struggle. Sometimes as I drive past a grade school and see the children playing I picture someone walking up and handing them a letter from someone far away and I think, especially if they are young, “It cannot possibly mean that much.” I wonder if they even grasp the concept of a “relationship”. I suppose the older ones do but some of my children ARE older and from their letters to me……well, at times, they seem less than interested to be hearing from me or writing back. AND I think I write nice letters AND faithfully. So, again thanks for the encouragement. I guess I needed it today.

  106. Lisa Conrad
    Apr 29, 2009
    at 11:49 am

    Our Lord works in many mysterious and wonderful ways, and He speaks to his people in diverse ways too. I urge each sponsor to prayerfully consider what God’s will is when considering a sponsor trip. It could be that He will lead you to spend that money in another way, but He may also have a deeper purpose in leading you to take the trip. Seeds are planted in a variety of ways. Wishing you many rich blessings!

  107. Diana Kruse
    May 3, 2009
    at 1:47 pm

    @Steven Williams – I, too have a boy I sponsor in Ethiopia, what does it all take to get the trip planned over there? Like vaccinations, time limits, safety issues, where can I obtain this info?? I would love to visit him and bring my grandson wtih me who si 10 yrs old, as my sponsored boy is 9 yrs old….wasn’t it hard to leave the child behind???

  108. Nicolette Paulse
    May 4, 2009
    at 8:17 am

    Having read some of the comments posted the desire is stirred in me once again to one day see my sponsored child – Esther Joy – in Phillipines. There is a tour coming up soon but being from South Africa a trip would amount to tens of thousands of Rands, which in the short amount of time I would not be able to raise. But one day I want to, no I will make that trip to look into her eyes, hug her and tell her face to face that she is loved.

    When I joined about 10months ago I was overwhelmed by the amount of children in need of not only our money but our love & care and I pray that one day soon I will be able to sponsor more children to bring some light and hope to them.

    I pray that God richly bless all of you who have amidst the financial crisis in the world kept on giving to your sponsored child/ren. I also pray that we all get to visit the children whose lives we have touched.

  109. Rebecca
    May 12, 2009
    at 11:12 am

    I want to go visit my sponsored child so badly, but can’t afford to. I love to hear stories of those who do get to go though. I know seeing what Compassion does in person will def inspire me to do more and tell others about how they can help. I do not have children of my own yet and I fear that once I do, I won’t be able to afford to ever go see my sponsored child. Please don’t pass up the opportunity if you are blessed enough to be able to go.

  110. Elizabeth Marvin
    May 12, 2009
    at 1:16 pm

    Is there anyway you can put aside money until you can go? I never thought I would be going to visit my sponsored kids when I first got involved with Compassion 8 years ago. I finally decided I really wanted to meet them and see what their lives are like, and on Saturday I will be in Honduras getting ready to meet 2 of my kids! I’m a Social Worker … I barely make $12 an hour, but I managed to save my money. (I still live with my parents, so that helps tremendously!) @Rebecca -

  111. Caitlin
    May 13, 2009
    at 9:24 pm

    Kees, and anyone else who went to meet their kids outside of a group tour, (especially if you went to Haiti)

    So, I have definitely decided to visit Lilin (Magarette) in Haiti(haven’t figured out when yet…but it’s a work in progress), but will have to do so on my own, instead of with the group, because I can’t afford the group trip, would rather go individually, and don’t do well in making my schedule meet the other one!

    Is there anything you would suggest I should take into consideration that I wouldn’t have to normally on a group trip?

    Also, I remember reading that you (Kees) had a translator/guide who took you through one of your trips. Did you pay him? Do you think I could get Compassion to send someone to pick me up at the airport? Being that I am a completely unintimidating, young redheaded female who doesn’t speak French or Creole-I should paint a target on my back- (Shoot, I’d mug me, if I saw myself coming), I would willingly cover the expenses of the guide!

  112. Carolyn Cooper
    May 14, 2009
    at 7:18 am

    For Caitlin: The #l thing is to plan ahead, and to contact the Compassion Tour office in Colorado with about 3 months of anticipation. They can give you all of the support and advise that you need for an individual tour. The Compassion Office in country can pick you up at the airport and also help you with arrangements for where to stay. A translator will be provided to you, and Compassion will bill you a month or more later for the cost of translator, transportation, etc. It is Compassion policy not to give $ to the families or directly to anyone in the Compassion office. I DO NOT recommend trying to navigate anything on your own in a country where you do not speak the language.
    I recommend bringing a little notebook to record your observation about the country, the child, etc. Be sure to apply for your passport about 2 months in advance. I am leaving for the Dominican Republic on May 31st to see my girls, and though I have been dozens of times before, I am so excited.
    Good luck to you and please let us hear about your life changing trip in this space.

  113. Caitlin
    May 14, 2009
    at 12:55 pm

    Thanks! Do you know how much it costs for such services?

    Luckily for me, I already have a passport, so I know about the hassles of obtaining one.

    I’m so excited for you. Back before I knew Compassion was in DR, I visited DR. It was such a beautiful country! (I was actually planning on sponsoring in DR because I had been there and I speak the language…but God had other plans, which I’m grateful for) Where do you purchase your plane tickets? (Figure since we’re talking about the same island, you might have a cool connection on cheap tickets ;-) ) I was planning to go through Spirit Air.

  114. Carolyn Cooper
    May 14, 2009
    at 10:31 pm

    For Caitlin: The cost of the translators varies. If someone from the Compassion office staff does it for you, of course, there would be no charge to you. There is a cost only if they have to hire someone for you. I speak Spanish fluently and have never needed a translator in the Dominican Republic, but someone from the Compassion office always goes with me to visit my girls. Last trip (January, 2009) the girls came to the Compassion office to visit me. That was something different, as I usually go to visit them individually. But it was really neat for all 3 of them to finally meet each other, as they all live in different parts of the country. I have not been to Haiti, but I have been up to the border, when I worked as a translator for doctors and dentists who were on a mission trip with the Christian Medical and Dental Society. It was on that first trip to the Dom. Rep. in 1987 that I first saw Compassion at work, and knew that I HAD to be a part of it. When are you planning to go to Haiti?

  115. Caitlin
    May 15, 2009
    at 12:09 pm

    Well…That’s the thing. How about right now? lol, that’s what I would like to say, however, my life is currently in limbo, and I’m only allow to plan ahead two weeks at a time. My hope is to go in early December, before the flight prices rise due to Christmas.

  116. Sara Benson
    May 16, 2009
    at 8:08 pm

    I have a couple questions for those who have visited their sponsored children.

    -How did you decide how many gifts to bring? I am planning to bring a backpack with items for each child but I keep finding more items that I want to include (they are all on the suggestion list). How much is too much?

    -also, did your kids open up the gifts/backpack with you there, or did they just thank you and then look at them later.

    I want to be careful to respect the family and yet I am so excited to have the chance to give gifts to my kids.

  117. Carolyn Cooper
    May 18, 2009
    at 7:54 am

    I suggest starting with the airline. What is the weight limit for the country you will be traveling to? Then, figure out how much your own personal luggage will weigh. From there, you will know how much space/weight you have left. When I first started going to the Dom. Rep., 20 years ago, I took a carry on with gifts and 2 checked bags with my own clothes. Now I know better!!! For a 2 – 3 week stay, I take a carry on for my clothes, and 2 suitcases with gifts. But of course, now I have been to first my 3 girls many, many times so I know their needs. I bring clothes and shoes for them, sheets and towels, stuffed animals, coloring books. For Christmas, I got each one a child’s illustrated Bible in Spanish. The 2 who can read (age 10) had fun reading the bible to the one who cannot read yet (age 7). One thing that I ALWAYS do is take alot of photos and send a few at a time to them in each of my letters. This has been more special for one of them, than I ever imagined that it would be. Since I have been sponsoring her, both of her parents have died of AIDS (her Dad in 2006 and her Mom in 2007). The ONLY photos that she has of her parents are ones that I took on earlier visits. These are her most treasured possessions.

  118. Sara Benson
    May 18, 2009
    at 11:36 am

    @Carolyn Cooper – That is great that you have been able to visit your kids so often. I am sure that they love it. I will make sure to print enough copies of the visit photos to send some to them.

    I am not worried about having space for all of the gifts I want to give my kids (I will bring less other stuff if that is what it takes) but I am concerned that I do not overwhelm the kids and their families with too many items.
    I was thinking that I would pack a backpack full of items for my kids and then bring a family gift like sheets or towels for their families.

    Do you think that as long as I kept it to one bag per child I would be ok?

  119. Caitlin
    May 18, 2009
    at 11:45 am

    @Sara Benson – I completely know your feelings! Now that I’ve made a firm decision that I will go as soon as allowed, I’m constantly coming up with things I want to bring! And then sometimes I look at my list of gifts, and know, practically, there’s NO way, I’ll be able to bring that pet elephant :-D

  120. Sara Benson
    May 19, 2009
    at 12:35 pm

    I have an offer for sponsors in the Colorado Springs area who sponsor kids in Ecuador.

    I will be traveling to Ecuador at the end of June and would love to be able to help a few people get gifts to their kids.

    If you are interested you can contact me for more information. However, since I will only have space for about 5 gifts, please only contact me if you:

    - live in the Colorado Springs area

    - have never sent a gift (in this manner) to your child before.

    - have never visited your child

    You can email me at (fishterp7@hotmail.com).

    Sara

  121. Caitlin
    May 19, 2009
    at 11:57 pm

    Originally Posted By Sara Bensonsince I will only have space for about 5 gifts, please only contact me if you:

    - live in the Colorado Springs area

    - have never sent a gift (in this manner) to your child before.

    - have never visited your child

    2 outa 3 ain’t bad, is it? :-D

    Sara, wouldn’t you rather move to California, and visit Haiti? ;-)

  122. Carolyn Cooper
    May 20, 2009
    at 8:04 am

    For Sara Benson: I do this, too, for folks at my church, when I go to the Dominican Republic, so here is a suggestion. How about telling them that they need to fit the gifts into a quart (or gallon) size ziplock bagggie. Also, be sure to let them know that they can include a letter and that the baggie should be clearly marked, not just with the child’s first and last name, but also with the project #. Just a thought!!!

  123. Sara Benson
    May 20, 2009
    at 8:45 am

    @Caitlin – Sorry, I don’t have any kids in Hati. Or plans to move to Cali :)

    Maybe you can find someone who is traveling to Hati to visit their kids, who would be willing to take a gift for your child.

  124. Sara Benson
    May 20, 2009
    at 8:46 am

    @Carolyn Cooper
    You read my mind! I was planning to tell people that info when they contacted me, but yes the plan is: All the gifts must fit in a gallon size ziplock bag, bag must be clearly labeled with the child’s full name and number and the sponsor’s full name and number. I will be carrying the bags in my carry-on so all of the items also need to be ones that can get through security (no liquids). I will be delivering the gifts to the Compassion Headquarters in Quito.

    I had a friend travel to Indonesia and he was able to bring a gift for one of my girls. I was thrilled to be able to buy something and put the gift together myself-and you would be surprised how much can go into a gallon size bag!!!

  125. Jeanette
    May 21, 2009
    at 11:41 pm

    It’s funny hearing every one talk about this because I have never thought twice about whether it would be a good thing to visit my sponsored child. I have never been able to afford to go , but I always knew that I would go if I ever could. Now it looks like God has provided a way. It is not definite yet, but I pray that it will all work out. When I sponsor a child, or in this case 2 children, I always think of things in terms of what would benefit that child. I want the best for my sponsored children. I only have the ability to write to and have a relationship with 1 or 2 children so I know I wouldn’t use the money to sponsor more children. I would probably just use it for myself. I will be giving money for unsponsored children, but still I know that this visit will be the opportunity of a lifetime for me and hopefully for my sponsored children.

  126. Sara Benson
    May 22, 2009
    at 3:41 pm

    If sponsors from ANY STATE in the US have kids in Ecuador and would like to get a package to them,I have room for a few more.

    Here is the general idea.

    I will be stopping by the Compassion headquarters in Ecuador and can drop off the packages there. All gifts must fit into a gallon size ziplock and be clearly marked with sponsor and child name AND numbers.

    If you live outside of the Colorado Springs area you will have to mail the package to me (I will get you my address when you contact me)

    My email is(fishterp7@hotmail.com)

  127. May 23, 2009
    at 7:59 am

    My husband and I are going to go on our first sponsor tour in El Salvador. We would like to bring some gifts for the family. We already figured out gifts for the children and some family gifts like towels, sheets, etc. But, what do you bring for the fathers? We would also like to bring a gift specifically for our child’s father. It’s always difficult to figure out what to get for the men. The girls are always easy :)

  128. Carolyn Cooper
    May 24, 2009
    at 5:27 am

    I bring Tshirts or “flipflops” for the men (and boys) in the families of the children that I sponsor. That way, the size does not need to be exact. Also, though they will not understand the writing on the Tshirt, they love getting something that has a picture on it of the area that you are from, what I would call a “tourist” Tshirt. Additionally, the Dads love to get hygiene items, such as razors, which are expensive in 3rd world countries. I would not buy the kind that need refills, as the refills are difficult/impossible to come by over there. Instead buy disposables. Also they all love what we call “aftershave”, like Old Spice, Axe or Clubman. It is hard to know exactly what to bring, since you are going for the first time. You will have a much better idea when you go back the SECOND time!!! :-)

  129. Jeanette
    May 25, 2009
    at 4:15 pm

    Well, I have to take back what I said in my last post. Not only is ther the cost of the tour, but there is the air fare to and from the city they fly out of, inocculations, passport, incidentals, gifts, etc. I decided it just didn’t make sense to spend all that to see my children for 1 day. I will donate extra money for other Compassion projects.

  130. Carolyn Cooper
    May 25, 2009
    at 5:41 pm

    I am leaving in just 5 days to see my 3 sponsored kids. I am very excited about it, though I have been to visit each of them many times. This time will be different though, because my youngest biological child has asked to go with me. He is 26 years old and I am hoping it will open his eyes. Would anybody like a report when we get back? Also, you can learn more about my unwavering commitment to these 3 girls in the May issue of Christianity Today magazine.
    Jeannette, I hope that you reconsider the possibility of going to see your sponsored children. It would be a trip to change your life AND theirs for eternity!!!!

  131. Mike Stephens
    May 26, 2009
    at 11:46 am

    @Carolyn Cooper – How about this Carolyn…I am 26 also just like your son. I will give you a report of the Philippines and you guys can give me one of the Dominican Republic. Growing up going to school I tried to figure out the minimum effort in order to get an “A”. So I have exactly “0” expectations on the trip report and prefer pictures and videos as opposed to narration but whatever you show and or tell will be much appreciated. Have an AWESOME time!

  132. Caitlin
    May 27, 2009
    at 12:43 am

    @Jeanette – I don’t know where your kids are, but I am also working on planning the most economical trip for when I go, and have stumbled onto a possible way of saving money on airfare. spiritair.com They mostly cover vacation spots in islands, but I noticed they fly to many places that Compassion has centers in, the tickets are very reasonably priced. The only thing that it seems you have to give up is, depending on the destination, your are completely restricted to the the luggage rules (and cannot even pay extra to bring more than your initially allowed weights). I doubt it is the most luxurious flight you’ll ever have, but they seem to have a pretty good reputation, from what I’ve heard from missionaries. For me, I’ve been in just about every dinky plane aside from the WWI and II models, and all I care is that I get there without falling out of the sky, so we may be looking for two very different types of flight, but I thought I’d put another possible option out there.

  133. Carolyn Cooper
    May 27, 2009
    at 10:34 am

    Caitlin: I hope that Jeanette looks into the possiblity with Spirit airlines. I always fly with American Airlines, and for this trip, I got a flight from Boston to Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep. for $375 roundtrip including all of the taxes. Though I could fund a child for a year with that much money, I ALWAYS feel that it is worth the expense!!! Also, American allows me to take 2 bags of 50 pounds each, plus a carry on of 40 pounds. AND I get frequent flier miles, so that every 5th trip or so is free. Leaving in 3 days…so excited!!!

  134. Jeanette
    May 27, 2009
    at 2:06 pm

    @Caitlin – Well, the country is most of the problem. It is one of the most espensive, Ethiopia. I looked into a program for special discounts on missionary or church related flights and it was still very expensive. I figure, to go on the tour and cover all the other expenses it would be around 5,000 dollars.

  135. Caitlin
    May 27, 2009
    at 8:50 pm

    ouch. Should you go, however, I’ve been to Africa, and half my group went on Ethiopian Airlines, the I and the others on Kenyan/kinshasa air… and from what I’ve heard, I was among the unlucky half. Ethiopia Air was by far the best offered in the area I was traveling, the others were somewhat unnerving.

  136. May 27, 2009
    at 10:58 pm

    Hi, Caitlin,

    What you might be able to do with the luggage is to send some of the gifts to the children to the country office several weeks before. But check with Compassion first. Outside of that, your presence will be the biggest gift they can imagine. And you can also take them out shopping when you’re there. You’ll probably get more bang for your money too!

    Kees

  137. Carolyn Cooper
    May 28, 2009
    at 7:59 am

    For Kees: I don’t know about the idea of shipping something ahead to Haiti, which is where Caitlin’s sponsored child lives. Also, how is the shopping in Haiti? My understanding is that the country does not have much of an infrastructure. I never take my girls in the Dom. Rep. shopping, as the cost of clothes there is much more than here, and the quality is much less. Plus, who wants to go shopping when you could be out having FUN with them. I DO bring them a suitcase full of clothes from my own retail store, and they have fun trying on clothes and picking out what they like and what fits them. They then “model” their outfits for the Compassion staff as we do all of this in the Compassion office. It is great fun for all of us, staff included. I just got a notice in my email about a sponsor tour coming up to the DR in 01/2010, which included a suggested list of gifts. Here is the Compassion suggested gift list:
    Practical gifts are greatly appreciated. Our Compassion children are from countries where basic needs are pressing.

    backpack or tote bag
    simple toys, such as jump rope, jacks, marbles, toy cars
    doll, doll clothes
    soccer ball, Frisbee
    picture books, coloring books and crayons
    T-shirts from your area
    clothes — skirt, blouse, pants, shirt, socks
    baseball cap
    hair ribbons, barrettes
    soap, shampoo
    toothbrush, toothpaste
    hard candy (nothing that melts)
    liquid bubbles
    calculator (simple)
    bookmarks
    mini album for photos and letters you send to your child
    pens, pencils, small sharpener, markers, paper, stickers

    Most of these items weigh very little and you could even put them in your carry on, except for the liquid bubbles!

  138. Caitlin
    May 28, 2009
    at 10:18 am

    I was doing some googling ( I am the main reason google has survived during the drop in economy) and it didn’t look like there would be much shopping, it’s incredibly difficult to find a basic hotel/hostel over the internet for them. Other traveler’s have said you have to wait until you get there to find one, or go through a church or international medical mission. And though I haven’t even set a date, I’m already mentally packing. Somewhere along the line, I got into my head that I want to bring some pretty rain boots for Lilin…but the only way I’d get them there practically is by wearing them there myself. The visual of me clomping through the airports in pink and black polkadot rainboots makes me laugh, but I think I’m bound to do it anyhow! No the debate is whether I’m planning to wear the slicker too. ;-)

  139. May 28, 2009
    at 4:39 pm

    @Carolyn Cooper – HA! I didn’t even make the connection.

    This is the blog post that mentions the article Carolyn refers to … and is mentioned in. :-)

  140. Rachel
    May 29, 2009
    at 10:00 am

    Dear Shelly,
    I suggest that you pray about it, and whatever you feel that God wants you to do, do it. If you wants to to take on 10 sponsored children, then you definitely should. He will enable you to do it. If you can’t write to them all, you may want someone else to write to them. In the case that someone is unable to write to their sponsored child or children, they are taken on by someone else as a correnspondence child. Have you ever heard of correnspondence children? Anyway, whether God wants you to go on that sponsor trip or sponsor more children, I do not know. You will have to ask Him.
    This is the best answer that there is for that question.

  141. Rachel
    May 29, 2009
    at 10:05 am

    @Melissa Coast

    Dear Melissa,
    I am so sorry for you! That would be so sad to have that happen. Do you know for sure if he was he a Christian? We have a sponsored child who I do not know if he is a Christian or not. I hope that he is. His name is Joseph Jodson, and he lives in Haiti.

    With great sympathy,
    Rachel

  142. May 31, 2009
    at 7:03 am

    @Carolyn Cooper
    Carolyn: Thanks for all the great suggestions on the family gifts!

    Hopefully, this will be the start of more sponsor tours for us.

  143. Win Noren
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 9:52 am

    I have just signed up for the Compassion tour to El Salvador in October.

    For those of you who have been to visit your child I have a few questions.

    1. How did you prepare for the visit?
    2. Knowing what you do now, what would you do differently to prepare?

    I want to be sure to provide God the greatest opportunity to work in and through me in the months leading up to the trip in October as well as during our time on the trip.

    If anyone else has signed up for this same trip, let’s start a group to get to know each other ahead of time.

    Win

  144. Jeanette
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 6:42 pm

    Well, I have decided to make a committment to one more child. She is 17 so she will be in the program for only 5 more years. When I get my settlement I can pay the whole 5 years in advance so I woun’t have to worry about the money. I am getting a settlement from an insurance company because I was viciously attacked by a dog. At one point I was sure he was going to kill me. But not only did God save me, and protect my 4 year old grandson who was there too, but he has made it so I can bless the lives of others like this child.

  145. Jun 2, 2009
    at 11:39 pm

    Originally Posted By Win NorenI have just signed up for the Compassion tour to El Salvador in October.

    For those of you who have been to visit your child I have a few questions.

    1. How did you prepare for the visit?
    2. Knowing what you do now, what would you do differently to prepare?

    I want to be sure to provide God the greatest opportunity to work in and through me in the months leading up to the trip in October as well as during our time on the trip.

    If anyone else has signed up for this same trip, let’s start a group to get to know each other ahead of time.

    Win

    Well, one thing that I would think about a Compassion tour is that most of it is prepared for you already.

    Spend some time in the book of I Thessalonians and see how Paul was with the people that he ministered too and try to immitate that.

    Go there to learn and to see how you can serve, both the people from El Salvador and the people with you on the trip.

    Think about the children that you are going to visit and think about maybe what to bring them. What do they like? How old are they? Bring something small for the family too and also if they have siblings, it might be good to bring them something also.

    “Now, pay attention, 007!” Be sure to listen to your county’s health department on what to eat or not eat. Also, at all times carry a role of toiletpaper, a cheap watch, some shoestrings and some antibiotics with you. You might never use these things, but if you do, you’ll be thankful, you read it here.

    Consider making a CD with a little computer video of you talking to your sponsored children. Then leave that CD there. Most projects have a computer and they will like watching you later, when you’re gone and you can’t send CDs via the mail to your Compassion children.

    Take some things with you for the other children in the projects. Maybe a baloon, or if you go to a dollar store, you can buy 8 little cars for $1. You can buy 10 of those and give them to all of the little boys around you or something like that. Then you get something like that for the girls too.

    Take lots of pictures and video film. There is always some other people with the child, so I ask them to take up to 5000 pictures with my digital camera. You’ll be looking at these pictures for many years to come! The same with the videos. Take a look at my facebook page and you’ll see all of the stuff there.

    You can also send those pictures to your child later on. Or if you have a laptop that can burn a CD, you can burn a CD right there and then and leave it with the country office to send to the project and so the children have the pictures too.

    Make sure that your passport and everything is in order. Also, if Compassion is booking any flights make sure that the name on your passport matches with the name on the ticket. It’s important. I can tell from past experiences!

    Get people to pray for your trip.

    Share those pictures with others after you come back.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  146. Vikki Mundy
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 1:31 am

    I sort of got the best of both worlds (almost). My father, a long-time Compassion sponsor, is in India flying for Spice Jet Airlines for the year, so I asked him to go visit my sponsored child at her CDC and her home while he was there. He is in Dehli (way north) and she is in Karunya (way south) but he did it! The *entire* Center–kids and teachers and all–were waiting for him with flowers when he arrived. He did not expect such a wonderful greeting.

    Dad ate breakfast with the kids and was given a tour of the Center and the Church, and then he took my girl and her mother (and of course the translator) to the beach, out to eat, and bought her some clothes and shoes. I wish her dad and grandma could have gone, but they are disabled, presently (but getting treatment).

    I got a bazillion photos of the visit, and my dad said he was more blessed by the experience than anyone. (My sponsored child and her family disagree with that!)

    Dad was so blessed, in fact, that when he came home to the U.S. for a short break, he told several people in my grandmother’s (his mother’s) retirement home… and several of the folks there sponsored children in India! And so he went and visited some of those ones in Dehli! (Can you feel my excitement?!)

    I still wish I could go, but I’m happy (elated) with the way things worked out. Dad sponsors in the Dominican Republic and has visited the children there, so it was neat for him to be able to do that in India, as well. He spends quite a bit of time at House of Peace (Christian orphanage) also. They like his cooking!

    Okay, I’m done now…

    Vikki

  147. Nicolette Paulse
    Jun 5, 2009
    at 2:33 am

    @Mike Stephens – Hi Mike, my heart almost stopped when I read you are going to visit the Phillipines, I am so excited for you as I’m sponsoring a child there too. I would love to visit her someday and I know in my heart I will. Which center are you visiting? My sponsored child is at Capital City Alliance Church Student Center. I cannot wait to read your feedback, please let me know where you will be posting it.

    Have a safe journey if you are leaving on the 6th of June. I am sure you are going to have a fantastic time there.

  148. Nicolette Paulse
    Jun 5, 2009
    at 3:01 am

    @Caitlin – I think a individual visit for me would be the cheapest option as a sponsored tour converted to South African Rands is too expensive. I would not be able to stay as long as the group tours would allow but this way I could meet my sponsored child sooner and whether I spend two days or 2weeks with her it would still be worthwhile.

    I am sure my hand luggage would consist of my clothes and my other luggage would be gifts for Esther Joy, her family and a little something for the other kids at the centre.

    I am getting more and more excited just thinking about this; don’t know why I didn’t consider this option sooner. Although I did see it available, I guess I was just hesitant to give it much thought as I know it would take so much more planning on my part. Well I’m not going to let that deter my now, let me start by making some plans and from the other comments posted I have an idea of where to start.

    All the best with your plans, commit it to God and He will certainly make it come to pass.

  149. Jun 5, 2009
    at 10:39 am

    @Nicolette Paulse

    Be sure to let the office know at least 6 weeks in advance of your plan, so that the country office could approve the visit. This is the trickiest part, because the country office has up to 6 weeks to turn down the visit. A reason that it could be turned down for instance is if there are no staff available to assist with the visit. Also, most visits range anywhere from 2 to 6 hours. This is one of the reasons, why I sponsored most of my children in 1 country.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  150. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 9:40 pm

    Would any one be interested in a report from the field. I am in the Dominican Republic now and have visited my 3 sponsored girls. We have been having a great time, me, my son age 26 as well as the sponsored kids AND their parents. Not just my commitment to them, but our commitment to each other is very, very deep.

  151. Danielle
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 10:41 pm

    @Carolyn Cooper

    Oh, I’d love to hear more! I have two girls in the Dominican Republic and visited one of them a few years ago.

  152. Sara Benson
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 11:26 pm

    @Carolyn Cooper – I sure would. Next to meeting my own kids hearing stories from other sponsors is amazing. Tell us!!!

    (and don’t forget to post your pics on the Compassion Flicker)

  153. Nicolette Paulse
    Jun 9, 2009
    at 12:16 am

    @Carolyn Cooper – (8:13am South African time) Hi Carolyn I would definitely love to hear your report, it will definitely inspire me & others to visit their “children”.

    I would also appreciate a report from others who had individual tours to visit their children, especially the Phillipines as that is where my sponsored girl is; how their experience was, suggestions on inexpensive & safe places to stay & visit by myself & with sponsored girl (&family?)? It’s a bit overwhelming to start planning a visit when you are so far away and have lots to plan and dont know where to start.

  154. Leah A
    Jun 11, 2009
    at 6:12 pm

    I spent most of 2007 on a mission trip called the World Race. One of the “long-term” missionaries we met in the Philippines made a comment on “short-term” trips that I think is relevant to this topic. He said, “Whenever people ask me if I would rather have a short-term team or the money they would have spent on the trip, I always say to send the team. You never know how God wants to use the life of that person to impact others.” While donations of a monetary value are important support for many ministries – God doesn’t need money to accomplish His plan and purpose – He wants people to obey His leading in their life – and sometimes that is to GO, serve and LOVE! And that simple act changes lives, especially yours!

  155. Danielle
    Jun 11, 2009
    at 11:46 pm

    @Leah A

    Wow, that really makes a lot of sense! It’s the same idea to why we sponsors write letters to our children. Even though the money helps, that personal relationship is where our lives really change!

  156. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 13, 2009
    at 12:28 pm

    I am a pretty good writer, but not much of a picture taker. Anyone who would like to see photos of me and my 3 sponsored girls, should buy th May,2009 issue of Christianity Today magazine, because there we are.
    I have a very close relationship with all 3 of my girls, as well as with their families. Usually, I go to visit each one in their own homes, but on my last 2 visits, January and now, I had them meet me in the Compassion office. This has had several advantages for all of us. First of all, I do not have to be running all over the country, and also in this way, a Compassion person does not have to take a day to go out with me. When we meet in the office the girls can meet and chat with each other, too. They did not know each other, and they met through me, but now they are all great friends. They draw pictures for me and I talk to them as well as to their moms, who come with them. On this trip we developed a business plan which will help them and me, also. We are saving up collectively for the 15th birthday of 2 of the girls, even though they are now only 11, because the 15th birthday here is a very, very big deal. Miguelina and Susette, the 2 who are 11, say that Ronely, the one who is 8, will be the guest of honor at this party. My God grant that I live to see this dream fulfilled…

  157. Joy
    Jun 13, 2009
    at 12:53 pm

    for those who have visited UGANDA or GHANA:
    How long were you there? Where did you stay? What did you eat?
    What did you do each day there?

    I think it would be so awesome to go, but because of a physical disability which requires use of a wheelchair and lots of help with daily routines, I don’t think a trip to Africa would work out for me.
    I’d love to hear lots of details from others who have gone though. It must be so exciting!

  158. Mike Huskey
    Jun 14, 2009
    at 12:50 pm

    @Carolyn Cooper

    Carolyn, you don’t say which country your children are in, but it must be in one of the Latin American countries. The 15th birthday is a HUGE deal, especially for the girls. I will be praying for your business plan to all work out. I have had Quinceanera parties for Karen in El Salvador, Loida in Ecuador, and Iraida & Saidy in Honduras. I can tell you it is the best time you can have! Iraida is the only one with a father at home, so he had the honor of escorting them. But I was so honored to dress up in my suit and escort my other daughters at their parties. Not only were the whole family involved, the projects did a bang-up job coordinating and preparing for everything. It was awesome!! I am now planning for another Quiceanera in El Salvador for Katherine in July. God bless you for all you are doing for your girls! It will be a day they will never forget.

  159. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 15, 2009
    at 3:27 pm

    For Mike HUSKEY…I didn´t mention in my latest entry where my girls are, but I did several entries back. I am here with them now in the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC. It is the country of my heart and after 22 years of sponsoring, visiting, working as a translator and living here in the DOM. REP. I am very, very DOMENICANIZED. I will be sad when I have to leave later this week, but, God willing, I will be back to spend the winter with my 3 sponsored girls.

  160. Win Noren
    Jun 15, 2009
    at 4:06 pm

    Originally Posted By Mike Huskey@Carolyn Cooper

    I am now planning for another Quiceanera in El Salvador for Katherine in July.

    Mike – I have signed up for the Compassion Sponsor Tour to El Salvador in October and would love to hear more of your experience in that country and any tips for someone who has never traveled to El Salvador or to a Compassion Project. Is there a way we can swap email and chat via email?

  161. Mike Huskey
    Jun 15, 2009
    at 6:53 pm

    @Carolyn Cooper -

    I plan to go on the tour to the Dominican Republic in January. I have 2 girls there, it will be the first time to see them. I’m really looking forward to it, especially after your glowing endorsement.

    • Joy Petroff
      Jun 28, 2010
      at 3:15 pm

      Well Mike, It looks like we get to travel together again! I am also going to the DR in January…with my grown niece who sponsors a girl there. Looking forward to seeing you again. So what’s your count now? :)

  162. Mike Huskey
    Jun 16, 2009
    at 8:04 am

    Originally Posted By Win Noren

    Originally Posted By Mike Huskey@Carolyn Cooper
    Win, you are in for a real life changing experience! I am a tour junkie and have been on 17 tours to 11 countries, it is always a new a special experience. I’m not sure if they allow email addresses to be published here. If the moderator of this blog is able, please send my email address to Win. He is welcome to contact me concerning his upcoming trip to El Salvador. Win, I would also say that sometimes there is a Yahoo group set up for the tour so participants can get to know each other prior to going on the tour. There are several “veteran” sponsors going on the El Salvador trip in October and they will also be of tremendous help.
    I am now planning for another Quiceanera in El Salvador for Katherine in July.

    Mike – I have signed up for the Compassion Sponsor Tour to El Salvador in October and would love to hear more of your experience in that country and any tips for someone who has never traveled to El Salvador or to a Compassion Project. Is there a way we can swap email and chat via email?

  163. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 17, 2009
    at 7:39 pm

    For MIKE HUSKEY
    Well, maybe we will get to meet each other when you come on the January tour. I will probably be one of the interpreters for the group. I know that I am biased after working with the folks in the Compassion Office in Santo Domingo, but they are a very dedicated and professional group….dedicated to the Lord Jesus, and dedicated to His work with Compassion. It has been a special privelege for me to see how the work here has expanded and grown over the years. When I first began sponsoring in 1989, there were about 9000 sponsored kids, now I think that the number is approaching 40,000. For many years, we had to move from place to place, working in one rented office after another, but now Compassion has its own office and it is truly magnificent and has allowed the work to expand.
    You are going to have a GREAT time here, I can assure you. If you speak a little Spanish, even better. I do hope to meet you in January, even if I am not assigned as your translator, as I would really like to hear more about the quinceaners that you have helped to put on for your sponsored girls.

  164. Mike Stephens
    Jun 19, 2009
    at 3:31 am

    @Carolyn Cooper -

    Carolyn,

    I just returned from Manila yesterday and I believe you said visiting you sponsor child is like “meeting them on the battefield” I may have the wrong person. I believe you are exactly right as I said before. I don’t know what else to say except that I hope to visit again in 3-4 years. I did not dunk a basketball with two hands like I promised Angelo I would I did however dunk a small basketball with 1 hand after doing a CSP home visit. It was a joyous experience for me. I kept trying to dunk from one of the kids giving me an alley hoop but I never got it, but my hand sure got it a little bit. It started to bleed from hitting the rim trying to dunk the alley hoop. I am so thankful that my hand was able to hit the rim and make my fingers bleed ;) Just FYI for everbody the Compassion medical staff at PH-238 is second to none and have been to a few hospitals in my day ;)

  165. Mike Stephens
    Jun 19, 2009
    at 3:33 am

    I believe the REAL test of my sponsorship is did my sponsor child reach their dreams!!!!!!!?

  166. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 19, 2009
    at 8:02 am

    Nope, I am not the one with the “battlefield” quote, but it sure is accurate. I got back from the Dominican Republic at 3 am today, and I am looking forward to the next trip in December, si Dios quiere, as we say in the D.R. (“if it is God’s will”).

  167. Mike Huskey
    Jun 20, 2009
    at 5:53 am

    @Carolyn Cooper

    Hi Carolyn,
    I’ve found all people in the Compassion offices in the countries I’ve been to be very dedicated to the Lord and to the children. I am looking forward to seeing the Dominican Republic, meeting the staff and seeing my girls. I hope to meet you and if you get me started on the Quiceaneras you will have a hard time getting me to stop. Just fair warning! My Spanish is very limited, need to push myself to learn more. Most of my kids are in Spanish speaking countries.

  168. Mike Stephens
    Jun 20, 2009
    at 8:25 pm

    @Leah A

    Leah,

    I am glad your comment supported what I thought, but even if it didn’t I still would have gone on the short trip anyways!!!!!!! hahahahahaha I do not know all the benefits of my trip and maybe some of the negative but I do know I was a lightening bolt of encouragement for some and I received a few watts myself!!!!!!!

  169. Mike Stephens
    Jun 20, 2009
    at 8:28 pm

    “Should I visit my sponsored child?”

    I love the question b/c it is so ridiculous, I don’t even think you can answer the question with much accuracy unless you have visited your sponsored child. I think a better question would be

    “How many times should I visit my sponsored child?” My answer to that question would be at least 2: once while they are younger and once while they are older so they can get the maximum encouragement out of you if you are limited on visiting funds ;)

  170. Mike Stephens
    Jun 20, 2009
    at 8:40 pm

    @Shelly Quigg

    Shelly,

    Your dream is easily worth $4-5k. I just got back June 18 from the Philippines Sponsor Tour and I met my 3 boys I sponsor there kind of like your 3 girls in Uganda. I encourage you to go and ask questions later. The reason being the benefit to your sponsored kids and yourself I believe would be that GREAT, AMAZING, and AWESOME!!!!!!! It will not be easy to pay for it. But if you send me a letter or an email michaelstephens56@yahoo.com I will send you $20. Not much but maybe enough to make you think you can really do it!!!!!!!!!! I paid for the Philppines driving a Taxi and few other odd jobs. I got $20 from a lady at church and $100 from someone else. I didn’t write any letters b/c I wanted to make sure I went and I thought by working I could do it. I just pay the $350 deposit way early and use that as motivation to get the rest so I don’t lose the money by having to cancel. So far I am two for two!!!!!!! If you can get $350 I believe you can get the $4000. A girl on our Philippines tour sold her motorcylce to pay for part of her trip. I don’t have much to sell so I just start throwing my earnings towards the trip.

  171. Jun 20, 2009
    at 10:58 pm

    Hi, Shelly,

    You can save a lot of money by going on an individual visit, if your purpose is to just see your children. If you go from Miami to La Paz, Bolivia, you should be able to fly there for about $1000/roundtrip. Then you add to that the hotel, which is about $40/night. Then add to that the translation, which is $40/day. Then add to it taking the child and family and part of staff and translator out to eat, which is about another $40. (The Bolivian children love to go to Burgerking, in the South of La Paz. Or another good place is Brosso, a couple of blocks from the Plaza Hotel on the way to the San Francisco Plaza) Then there is the fee for the Taxi, which might be another $40. Then you add whatever you’d like to give to the children and if you want to buy some souvenirs for yourself. (I know some good places) That’s pretty much it. I just did this all a couple of weeks ago!

    Kees

  172. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 21, 2009
    at 7:43 am

    And you never know in what wonderful (and amazing) ways God will bless you without you even suspecting it…On my way to the Dominican Republic on May31st from Boston, we had a layover in Miami.It was supposed to be short, but it turned out to be overnight. The airline paid for our hotel and meals, and I thought that was enough. BUT when I checked my email a few days later, I found that they are giving me ANOTHER roundtrip ticket to the DOM.REP., FREE!!!! for my “inconvenience.” WOW!!! I get to go back in December for free…God is good…

  173. Mike Stephens
    Jun 21, 2009
    at 8:09 pm

    I am going to change the question b/c the answer is obviously a resounding “YES” my question is

    “What were the highlights of your visit?”

    singing “Awesome God” at one of the CDC projects in Dagupan

    letting the fish eat the dead skin off our feet at the Water Park/Aquarium in Manila when we got to meet our sponsored kids.

  174. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 22, 2009
    at 11:37 am

    To add to what Mike Stephens just wrote: (I came back from visiting my 3 sponsored girls just last Friday–06/19). The highlights of my trip included having the mothers and the girls come to the Compassion office. The girls, who live far from each other, had met once before, in Jan.09, but the mothers have never met each other, nor did they know the other girls. It was just great to have them all together in one place at last!!! Compassion just gave us a room and we took it from there—no translator needed!!! The girls colored in drawings of cars that the Compassion staff gave them, and the girls put my name on the license plate of the cars. That cracked me up, since I would never have a vanity plate. One of the girls (Susette) brought me a lovely Mother’s Day gift. (Mother’s Day there is May 31st). Susette also brought me a tuber vegetable, that I love, called yuca. There is a saying in the Dominican Repulic that the best yuca is from Moca, the town that Susette lives in, and they know that I know that, too. So they brought me some.
    Another special aspect of this trip was that my son, Giles, who is 26, was with me. He got to meet the girls for the first time, and I think it gave him a new perspective on what his Mom is all about. We ordered out for pizza to Dominos and the girls got to pick the toppings.
    The following Sunday, I went with Giles to the home of one of the girls (Ronely) for dinner.
    Although Giles does not speak Spanish, Ronely’s family made him feel right at home.
    The VERY most special part of the trip, was Bernard Okeke, a long time Compassion worker, witnessing to Giles. Giles in his youth had gone far astray, and Bernard has been praying for him daily for over 10 years!!!
    As stated in an earlier post, we also began to plan the 15th birthday party for Miguelina and Susette, though they are only 11 years old now. Ronely is just about to turn 8, but she knows that she will be a special guest.
    I look forward to going back in December to spend the winter, working for Compassion, giving workshops for the Dominican translators as well as translating (written)and interpreting (oral) myself.
    Hopefully if some of you who read this come on the January 2010 Compassion tour, I will be able to meet you!!!

  175. Dana Young
    Jul 2, 2009
    at 1:30 pm

    I am brand new to Compassion but I chose my child based on the ability to visit them. In my mind, I would probably go to Columbia before I went to Kenya or India. I do hope when my tour in Germany is up, I will be able to visit Columbia.

  176. Mike Stephens
    Jul 2, 2009
    at 10:48 pm

    @Carolyn Cooper
    j

    Congratulations!!!!!!!

    Why couldn’t that have happened to me!!!!!!!

  177. Jul 9, 2009
    at 3:15 pm

    Today’s blog post gives a 14-year old’s perspective on the question, and her conclusion is “Yes. It shouldn’t be missed.”

    Stephanie Harrison: On Travelling With Compassion

  178. Sumana Mani
    Jul 14, 2009
    at 5:22 am

    I agree with Amber. I worked in Compassion India for 10 years and for 5 of those years I visited children listening to their stories. Children have consistently told me that their dream is to have their sponsor visit them. Those whose sponsors do visit, rate it as one of their most unforgettable experiences of sponsorship. So, if you can, do visit your child. Some kids may not be very responsive in person, but hard as it can be, don’t let that put you off. This non-responsiveness by children can happen a lot in India. :(

  179. Caitlin
    Jul 29, 2009
    at 9:46 pm

    So, anyone thinking about going on either the East India tour or the Haiti tour in 2010?

  180. Kelli McClure
    Aug 21, 2009
    at 9:45 pm

    Has anyone gone on the Thailand trip or planning to go to Thailand?

  181. Mike Huskey
    Aug 23, 2009
    at 7:11 am

    @Kelli McClure
    I was on the 2007 Thailand tour and am planning to go on the tour in 2010.

  182. Sara Benson
    Aug 24, 2009
    at 7:56 am

    I was able to visit some of my children while I was already in the country for a missions trip. That worked well because it was a lot less expensive than going specifically to visit me kids. W/o airfare it cost about $130/per child to cover travel for them, or for me.

    I have thought it would be cool to go on a sponsor tour and have that experience, but I am not at a place in my life that I can afford take that kind of vacation.

    I would definitely recommend getting to see your children if you can. Being able to meet them,see their personality, meet their family, and see their church makes a huge difference.

  183. Dwight
    Aug 27, 2009
    at 11:31 am

    If anyone reads this who works at a compassion project or a country office around the world could you answer a question I have?
    I am planning on taking a missions trip to the Philippines and thought I might visit my sponsored children. I have the option of visiting the project or having the children travel to the capital city. Traveling to the project will be a difficult trip but if the project staff and others at the church would like to meet a real life sponsor it might be worth the time. If not it would be less work for me to not travel in country but stay in the capital and have them visit. Has anyone visited a project during an individual trip…sponsor trips are different.
    Thanks

  184. Carolyn Cooper
    Aug 27, 2009
    at 2:01 pm

    Dwight: I don’t work in either a project or a country office, but as a sponsor of over 20 years and frequently visitor to my kids, I would like to give you some input on visiting your kids in the office vs. going to their homes. I currently sponsor 3 girls who live in very different parts of the Dominican Republic. For years I visited each one individually at their homes and projects. It was a very time-consuming and tiring undertaking, as the travel was long and difficult. I usually visit one or 2 times a year. About a year ago I started thinking that it would be fun for them to know each other, so I arranged to have them brought to the office in Santo Domingo. This idea was a BIG HIT with everyone, the girls, the office staff and myself. Since done of them live in Santo Domingo (where the office is) it was an adventure for them to come to the city, and get a broader view of the world. It seemed to be easier for the staff, too. Since I speak the language of the girls (Spanish)we did not need an office staff person with us every minute, just a room to meet in. The first time we did it (January, 2009) it was just amazing to me to watch the girls get to know each other and how quickly they bonded. By the 2nd visit (June,2009) they were like old friends and there was such excitement in the air as the ones who had already arrived awaited the arrival of the others. The 1st they came with their project directors, but the 2nd times, the Moms came, too. I brought coloring books and new clothes for each of them, and the went into the rest rooms and came out in their new clothes and “modeled” for the office staff. We ordered out to Dominos pizza for lunch, the girls picking the toppings, and they thought it was great fun. Two of them Miguelina and Susette, are 11 years old, and Ronelly is 8.
    I don’t know how this would work with really young children. Also, it is no substitute for seeing them in their own environments. But I had been to each of their homes many times previously to this new plan. And I rememember clearly once when I tried to see 2 of them in one long day,that I got back to the city at midnight–not too good for me OR the Compassion office worker who must accompany you when you visit their homes. All in all, seeing them in the office seems to really work for all of us and I look forward, as I know that they do, to us all being together again at Christmas.

  185. Carolyn Cooper
    Aug 27, 2009
    at 2:04 pm

    Forgot one comment on previous post: cost. It costs about the same if you visit them, or they visit you. If you and an office staff person go to the project, you have to cover the travel expenses. And if the child comes to you, of course you have to pay for the expense of the child and the person who brings them to you.

  186. Carolyn Cooper
    Aug 27, 2009
    at 2:21 pm

    Dwight: I wrote a long response to your question of visiting kids in their project vs. them coming to you. #183 above was supposed to be an additional to my response, but somehow what I originally wrote got erased. See my entries # 136, 155 and 173 above—and YES, visiting them in the office, especially if there is more than one child has its advantages.
    Carolyn

  187. Beth
    Aug 28, 2009
    at 3:52 pm

    Hello Everyone! I would like some advice.

    I received an email regarding the Nicaragua group tour for May 2010. I would like to meet my girl Cinthya but I have never venture out of the USA except Puerto Rico.

    Since April I have received 3 basic letters from her and in February 2010 it’ll be 1 year since my sponsorship with her.

    Do you all think it’ll be to soon to see her on the tour of May 2010?

    Also, How much money would I need for extra expenses?

    I am hoping this trip could be the ice breaker for me to travel. Since I am eyeing the East Indonesia 2010 trip.

    Thank you all in advance.

  188. Carolyn Cooper
    Aug 31, 2009
    at 7:41 am

    It is NEVER too soon to grow your relationship with your sponsored child. Her letters are probably “basic” because of her age and/or that she is not accustomed to letter writing. I would suggest that you contact the tour office at Compassion to get a recommendation as to how much money you need to take.
    #1 is GET YOUR PASSPORT in plenty of time. You can go on line at http://www.state/gov and put in your zipcode if you don’t already know where to apply. If you don’t speak Spanish, the in-country office of Nicaragua will supply you with a translator. You will NEVER regret making this trip. It will be an uplifting and eniching experience for you AND
    Cinthya. BTW, Puerto Rico is not out of of the USA. It is part of the USA, and Puerto Ricans carry US passports, just as we do. A thousands blessings to you as you plan and prepare for your trip!!!!!
    Carolyn

  189. Mike Huskey
    Aug 31, 2009
    at 8:34 am

    @Beth – Hi Beth, glad you are thinking about visiting Nicaragua. It is never too soon to visit your child. I have met some of my sponsored children before I received their 1st letter! Just happened to have a trip planned already when I sponsored them.
    As far as extra money, it would depend on how much you want to spend on souveniers. All meals, tips, transportation, etc is included in the tour.

  190. Pat Bell
    Aug 31, 2009
    at 4:10 pm

    @Beth

    Beth – I have been on two Compassion trips to Nicaragua. I highly recommend going – the staff there is great. I have pictures from the 2006 and 2008 tours posted online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pmbell64/collections/72157604458518910/

    Pat

  191. Sep 2, 2009
    at 9:02 am

    @Dwight

    Hi, Dwight! How exciting that you are interested in visiting your sponsored children in the Philippines.

    I encourage you to read about visiting your sponsored child on our website, http://www.compassion.com/sponsordonor/tours/childvisitationguidelines.htm, and my team is available to answer any questions you might have.

    We can be reached at (visits@us.ci.org). We ask for six weeks advance notice and require some details on your travel to begin the visit arrangements.

    It’s always a special blessing to visit a sponsored child, no matter the location. Whether the meeting takes place in the capital city, either at the field office, a mall, a hotel or a restaurant, or in the child’s project & home area, both locations have advantages.

    Many children will not have an opportunity to travel to a big city and it’s a very exciting experience. Sponsors also are truly impacted by seeing a child’s home or project environment first hand.

    As you mention your children are in the Philippines, I am not sure if the children live in Manila (Luzon), where our country office is located, or on another island.

    Compassion does ask that sponsors be responsible for expenses incurred in coordinating a child visit, and we will provide an expense estimate for you.

    Often it may be cost-prohibitive for sponsors to travel to a child’s island or for the child & chaperone to travel to Manila.

    Each case is different, and we ask the country office to make the best recommendation on the place to meet, considering the sponsor’s logistics and the child’s schedule.

    If a sponsor will be in a child’s project area, then we absolutely encourage a visit at the project, if it is deemed safe and appropriate.

    Otherwise an alternate location is suggested, and we regularly coordinate visits in the city where our country office is located.

    Once we have your travel details and plans, we are happy to act as a liaison with our local staff to prepare an itinerary for you.

    We look forward to serving you!

    Grace Poole
    Individual Visits Supervisor

  192. Dwight
    Sep 2, 2009
    at 9:43 am

    Thank you for the response. I have already filled out the paper work for the visit.
    But one question that I had to answer was…do you want to visit the project or have the child visit you in the country (country office…). It is easer for me to have the child and project worker do the traveling but do projects like to have visitors. I doubt anyone in America can answer this question. It would be nice if some day we did a blog and asked some project workers around the world. How often do projects get visitors? Have some never had a sponsor visit? I put on the application to visit the project, but I am having second thoughts…is it really worth travelin to the project or should I just ask them to bring the child the Manila? thanks

  193. Sep 2, 2009
    at 11:13 am

    @Dwight

    When we receive your request, these are questions my team can discuss with you.

    Whenever we arrange individual child visits, we are happy to honor the sponsor’s preference for the visit location.

    The experience itself will be such a blessing to all parties.

    We understand that sometimes sponsors are not able to travel to project locations. I have traveled with Compassion several times to different parts of the world, and I can assure you that meeting a sponsored child is an exciting time.

    I’ve witnessed visits at both projects, when I’ve met my own sponsored children, as well as on child visit days during sponsor tours, when the meetings take place at a zoo or park.

    There are certainly projects that might have received visitors regularly and there are newer projects that might have not yet received one.

    I do know that sponsors are treated like a special guest when they visit a project and if the student center is open for activities that day, it’s a chance for all the children in attendance to the sponsored child celebrate.

    We are happy to bring your child to Manila or pursue a project visit, and we can ask the field office in the Philippines to provide us with two options for you to consider. This will help you make an informed decision.

    Please contact our visits team directly at (visits@us.ci.org), and we will be privileged to discuss this further with you.

  194. Sep 2, 2009
    at 11:23 am

    @Dwight

    Hi, Dwight, a few years ago, I heard that in 1 year, about 4000 sponsors visited with their child. At the time, there were also about 4000 projects. Given that, I concluded that on average it came down to 1 child per project per year. Of course averages are just that. Also, this was talking in terms of the child visit, which I believe with the tours many times happens that they bring the children all to one location on child visit day. Of course on those tours, they all visit all sorts of projects, but many of the sponsors don’t sponsor in that project when they visit.

    Having said that, I’ve visited several projects, where they told me that I was the first person in the project that ever visited that project and also the first person to ever visit a child from that project.

    So, it’s not a common experience for the children to see a sponsor. I always feel like a celebrity, when I go to a project. The children look through the window and crowd around you.

    I think that some projects also tend to get frequented by sponsor tours, so it might be different with those.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  195. Stephanie
    Sep 2, 2009
    at 11:31 am

    @Dwight – Having been to a few centers as part of a sponsor tour, I can attest that YES, centers like having visitors. All the children, not just the one you sponsor, get the opportunity to interact with a sponsor. The vast majority of these children will never get a chance to meet their sponsors. To get a hug, or a smile, or a high five – that shows them all that there are REAL people on the other side of their letters (because just like sponsors sometimes wonder if their kids really exist, I’m sure the kids wonder the same thing). Plus, traveling to the child’s project gives you an opportunity to see his everyday environment. You may see his house, or meet his family. When you read his letters, you’ll have a mental picture of the things, places, and friends he is talking about. Yes, a trip to a big city would be an amazing experience for a child. But the thing I didn’t realize until I got there was that ME BEING THERE was enough. The fun we had that day was a bonus; all he really wanted was to know me more. I found out from my boy’s project director that he was the first child in his project to ever have a sponsor visit. Five years of operation, hundreds of children sponsored, and he was first.

    Either way, you and your child will be blessed by your visit. But from my experience, and in my humble opinion, I think you should go to him. Just my two cents. :-) Go, and be blessed!

    Stephanie

  196. David
    Oct 3, 2009
    at 9:12 pm

    GO! GO! GO! I am from Australia and I just embarked on a crazy six day South/Central America trip to visit my girls in Bolivia, Colombia and El Salvador (am still in El Salvador now). The trip was planned for months and cost thousands of dollars, but I can assure you firsthand, IT WAS WORTH EVERY CENT. The money thing is just an excuse – I know when I stand before God, he will not accuse me of wasting his money by using it on this trip. The true extent of the impact of my trip, and what happens when I return to Australia will not be realised for sometime, but boy am I looking forward to it. So in summary, from someone who has done it, if God has given you the finances and the time, quit the excuses and just GO visit your child.

  197. Kelli Mayer
    Oct 7, 2009
    at 10:55 am

    Hello All,

    We recently completed a trip to Ecuador to meet our little boy and I can honestly say it was worth all of the cost and more. We did ours as an individual visit since we were already going to be in the country on a missions trip, we extended our visit in order to meet our child. We, as a family, took the trip together. We also were given the opportunity to either have the child come to the nearest largest city or go to his town and project. It was a tough decision but in the end, we thought it more beneficial to actually see where he lived, see the project and meet all of the people there and meet his family. I believe deep down that our choice to visit with Roberto in his town had a much greater impact on all invovled. We were able to spend time with all of the teachers, the director and many of the children from the project (we were the first sponsors to ever visit) and then were able to visit his home and extended family. We had the opportunity to take the entire family to lunch in town, take them shopping for groceries and shoes they would never have been able to purchase, and really learn how precious and humble the people are. They were so thrilled that we would take the time to visit them even in the remote parts of the country, it just made it all that much more special for everyone. And my children have taken away a memory that has made an indelible mark on their lives – they now want to sponsor more children. To see a child in his own environment cannot be compared to any other travel experience or letter writing stories. It was just sad for us that it was for only one day. They didn’t want us to leave and neither did we. Guess we just have to go back :-)

  198. Diane
    Nov 5, 2009
    at 5:30 pm

    I finally felt peace and picked a child today- a 6-year-old girl in Uganda. Whew, it’s tough picking 1 out of all those little children..
    It is already very difficult knowing I’ll never meet her face-to-face due to my health (home & mostly bed-bound). She already has my spirit bound to her. If possible, I would do all in my power to go to her, as one of my own blood children.
    Before becoming sick, my husband, I and kids (3) made 2 trips into Mexico about 1/2-way down to see missionary friends we support and their works (1 in a bigger town, 1 in a small village). It is a life-changing experience, it is a blessed experience, going out of country to mission fields. To go to your own sponsored child would be even more-so.. I will lose so much not meeting her, but will do what the Lord leads me to do, and pray from afar..and with a tear or two. But, the Lord knows, and has had sponsorship pressed into my heart for a long time..
    I’d love to send a little something for her if anyone goes to Uganda.. :-)

  199. Tony B
    Nov 6, 2009
    at 12:27 pm

    I went on my own to visit our sponsor child. I took still photos and video and use those when talking to others about compassion. It makes the talk come alive when they see the people that I am talking about. For me, it was a great day, but it’s also a great teaching tool!

  200. Barbara Suchy
    Nov 12, 2009
    at 9:15 am

    I visited my sweet Annet in Uganda in 2006. The day with her was wonderful; saying goodbye was heart-wrenching. (She has since been married & I’m so thankful to have been with her for that one day.) We visited many projects and yes, the poverty is unbelievable, but more than that THE PEOPLE are amazing! From parents to the smallest child they were welcoming & affectionate knowing that our generosity makes their lives that much better. I kept thinking “who are we, that these people treat us like royalty”; it’s a strange feeling.

    Annet’s subsequent letters reflected her excitement at meeting also. As for me, I have never been the same since that trip: I require less “stuff”, more freely share my finances, have more compassion for others, and have grown in my relationship with Jesus. If you are able to go, PLEASE GO. The children & parents & project workers would love to see you, you’ll have more passion & credibility when speaking up for Compassion, and your heart will be changed in ways you can’t even imagine. God’s hand is strong in these visits…

  201. Jeanette
    Nov 12, 2009
    at 3:50 pm

    Well, after all of my concerns about the price and whether I should spend the money on other opportunities for giving, I have actually decided to go on the Ethiopia tour! I haven’t signed up yet, but I am supposed to get my settlement money sometime next week so it will be in time to sign up.
    I just decided that it is my money to swpend the way I want, I am getting it for being viciously attacked by a 150 lb. dog. So9 I paid a big price for it. Since I have decided to go on the tour I have been ecstatically happy. I have 4 children to visit there. I just know it is the right thing to do.

    • Carol Hallifax
      Aug 1, 2010
      at 10:37 am

      Jeanette, My husband and I went to Ethiopia in 2008 and it changed my life. So many things have changed because of the trip. I realize all that we have been given and don’t take clean water or toilets for granted. I saw that strong relationships can be built through letter writing and that we can truely be a source for good in a child’s life. The home visits were the most moving to me and shocking. I remember the many smiles we received and the warmth of the children. You will be spending your money wisely for the benefits will be huge for your sponsored children and youself. Carol

    • Aug 19, 2010
      at 4:53 pm

      Wow! That will bring something of real beauty out of the ashes of a very frightening and painful experience!

  202. Nov 12, 2009
    at 4:47 pm

    This is a video of a friend of mine, who just visited his sponsored child.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK-XrgZJoeM

    Blessings,

    Kees

    • Denise L.
      Aug 20, 2010
      at 9:03 am

      Oh, Kees, this brought tears to my eyes. This child will NEVER forget that this man came from the other side of the world to visit HER, bringing love and greetings from his family. Especially in a society like hers, the child needs to know she is somebody worthwhile who is dearly loved.

  203. Ken M.
    Nov 12, 2009
    at 7:29 pm

    Go! If God is telling you to do this and you know it in your heart, then go.
    I recently returned from the Brazil tour and met all 5 of my children. Meeting them was a day I will never forget. I was able to hug them, see them walk, watch them run. I heard their voices and heard their laughter. I even saw one of them cry. Their parents were so appreciative of everything I was doing for their children. I pray that God allows me to see all of them again.
    During the project visits I connected with 2 children I had never met before. One of them brought his family to the center so I could meet them. As I was playing a game with another child, I felt a tug on my arm. I looked down and saw the boy I had met earlier that day. Then he pulled me over to his family. He and I had smiles brighter than the sun. I wish that I could remember his name. I’d send him a copy of the picture I have of me and him together.
    Another child gave me a picture that he drew. I told him to sign it so I’d remember his name. I let him know that an artist always signs his work.
    I saw poverty that I had never expected to see. The only thing I can say is that Americans are really spoiled and need to stop the petty complaints and ungratefulness.
    If you know in your heart that God is telling you to go, do it. It was an experience I’ll never forget. I feel blessed to have been chosen by God to go.

  204. Michael S.
    Nov 17, 2009
    at 1:27 am

    I sponsor three children on three different continents — each born on or right around the birthdays of my three oldest children. One of the main reasons I sponsor is so my kids will grow up with a “twin” in another land — to help us all remember that America is such an un-real economic environment compared to most of the rest of the world. And of course, to learn to be the hands and heart of compassion in Jesus’ name.

    About tours — it is my life DREAM to take each of my kids on a sponsor tour to meet their “twin” some day! I have had to give this dream to the Lord, though, as I don’t see the money for it in my future at this point. (The three kids plus the new baby may have something to do with that…hmmm)

    BUT, should the Lord provide those funds, I would go (in a heartbeat) and also take a child — which would significantly increase the trip cost. Why? Because my prayer would be that each of my kids would be so galvanized by what they experienced that they would be led to be lifelong Compassion sponsors too.

    From that perspective, then, the “return on investment” of my going on multiple sponsor trips — and even taking a child each time — outweighs by a multiple of 3 or more my giving those trip funds to Compassion in one lump sum. (Not to mention the blessing of a trip on us personally or our increased ability to represent Compassion’s work to others here)

    I’m using the generational-multiplication model of Psalm 78:1-7 as my guide in this matter.

    “…we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done.” (Ps. 78:4)

    • Aug 19, 2010
      at 9:14 pm

      I took my two girls to El Salvador and it was worth every penny. In addition, many more sponsorships came about (from us sharing and the Lord moving hearts), and even more lives have been changed!

  205. Nov 17, 2009
    at 11:20 am

    @Michael,

    You can probably save a considerable amount of money by going on an individual visit verses a tour.

  206. Rachel R.
    Dec 29, 2009
    at 2:02 pm

    Thank you everyone for your informative posts. I’m considering visiting the 8 year old boy that I sponsor in Uganda. I’m wondering, do you think I should wait until he asks? I know this may seem like a silly question, but I’ve noticed that most of you said that your children wrote in letters that they wanted to meet you and, well, mine hasn’t.

    • Denise L.
      Aug 20, 2010
      at 9:10 am

      I think in many societies children are trained not to expect too much. Your child may be too polite to ask you to come. I’ve also had experience with those supervising the children’s letter-writing who are, perhaps, nitpicky. They may think they’re doing you a favor by not allowing your child to make such a request. I see this sometimes in things my child has erased and written over.

  207. Dec 29, 2009
    at 3:35 pm

    To rachel r: we had only been sponsoring our child for about a year when an opportunity to visit presented itself and we felt we were being called to go. Our child, to that point, had not expressed an interest in a visit, either because we had only been corresponding a short time or because he was only 9? I don’t think it really matters if a child asks. They may think it never possible, may not ask, but if you decide to go and meet them, I would bet that they and the project would be thrilled. If you go to where the child lives, more likely than not you will meet everyone in the surrounding area – it is a very humbling experience.

  208. Pat Bell
    Dec 29, 2009
    at 4:00 pm

    Rachel R.,

    No need to wait until he asks. My boy in Nicaragua never asked me about visiting, but now I regularly get requests to come back and see him again.

    Pat

  209. Marvin
    Dec 29, 2009
    at 5:01 pm

    Rachel R
    An 8 year old is very young. The first child I visited asked us to visit and she was 15 when she asked. It was a very good visit and we had a special time meeting the family.

    I was on a missions trip last fall and visited our 8 year old child. At 8 years old she was a little young to understand the visit. I had a good time meeting the staff at the project and the case worker that writes the letters for our sponsord child. We had a better visit with the child that asked. Being older she really understood the value of the visit. With a younger child a sponsor tour is better than a personal visit. But at that age they may or may not really understand the visit. I would not make a special trip to visit a child until they are 10 or 12. But if it’s a sponsor tour or a missions trip to the same country go for it the trip will change your life

  210. Caitlin
    Dec 29, 2009
    at 6:08 pm

    I haven’t visited any of my kids yet, but I agree with Marvin just from my experience with kids in general. I have 3 sponsored kids 11, 8, and 6, and I’ve determined to wait until the younger two are at least ten (though I like the idea of 11-12 more) before trying to visit. I have heard from other sponsors that they have had a wonderful time visiting their younger kids, but I’ve also heard tell of visiting younger kids who flee in shyness (as might be expected of any younger child meeting a very distant relative).
    I just thought I’d add something that sort of runs along this line of thought, but is also a bit of a tangent. I’ve been sponsoring my Liline in Haiti for about a year. At first she was very shy about coming anywhere near the mention of a visit, and the tone left me to think she felt she was undeserving of a visit. A few months ago, I think she finally decided to believe me when I said that she was special to me. It then went from not mentioning a visit, to casual mentions of “If you should ever visit me, then we would….” to her most recent letter that said, “I hope someday you will visit Haiti. What are things that would stop you from visiting?” It made me chuckle a little. Everytime she mentions it, I write back that I would visit if I was able to…I guess this time I will have to explain a little more. I have been planning to visit her for a while, I just haven’t had a clearing to set a date for it yet. It’s like she senses everytime I get close to saying “To heck with complications, I’m goingto Haiti right now!” I’m going to love surprising her someday, and showing up.

  211. Dec 29, 2009
    at 10:56 pm

    I’ve done about 50 childvisits. I’ve not found 8 years old a problem, but younger than that, at times, it was a challenge. I remember visiting a 7 year old girl in the DR. She cried the whole time. I don’t think she understood it. But then I’ve visited other 7 year olds in the past and it went very smooth and the child was very thankful. I think it depends a lot on how well your relationship is with the child and whether the country is on the reciprocal system with letters, so that the relationship can grow a lot faster than with the 3 letters/year.

    Kees

  212. Carolyn Cooper
    Jan 1, 2010
    at 10:30 am

    Caitlin..
    I hope with all my heart that you will be able to visit your sponsored child in Haiti one day. If you do you will be seeing the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. What you won´t be able to do, is surprise her. As Grace Poole from the Colorado office has stated in other places on this blog, visits need to be arranged in advance, and the child will know that you are coming and be anticipating your visit.
    For MARVIN..
    I am writing this from the Dominican Republic, where I am visiting my 3 sponsored girls, ages 11, 11, and 8 respectively.
    I have been visiting them ALL since I began sponsoring them at age 3. Since I began these sponsorships, both parents of one girl have died of AIDS. The only photos she has of her parents were taken by me and put in an album before they became sick. What if I had waited to visit her until she was 8 years old…She would not have these photos that are so precious to her.
    Another one of the girls, the 8 year old, will be immigrating to the USA this month. If I had waited until she was 8 to visit her, we would never have met face to face.
    My conclusion is GO WHEN YOU CAN regardless of the age of the child. God will bless you in ways that you can neithe imagine or anticipate.
    As far as waiting for the child to ask for a visit—of course you should not wait, as they may never ask, thinking that it is not possible.
    FELIZ ANO NUEVO from the Dominican Republic and may each and every one of you who wish to meet your child face to face in 2010 have this wish granted by our gracious LORD.
    Here in the Dominican Republic there is a saying—Don´t tell God how big your problems are, tell your problems how big GOD is….

  213. Ken M.
    Jan 1, 2010
    at 1:21 pm

    I visited my 5 sponsored children in Brazil this past October. The youngest is 6. Due to my youngest child being sick on the day that we met our sponsored children, I was able to spend the next day with him at a project. I had no problems. He knew who I was and knew that I was at the project to see him. His mother had already reinforced that I was his sponsor and I had sent him pictures of me before going to Brazil. He probably doesn’t have the same understanding of sponsorship as my 13 year old child but it didn’t stop us from having a great time. Since we had one on one time it made things easier for the both of us. I didn’t have to share the day with him and my 4 older children. He liked the attention and I enjoyed giving him the attention.

  214. Danielle
    Jan 1, 2010
    at 2:46 pm

    Rachel R.,
    I completely agree with Carolyn. I visited my sponsored child when she was only four. The email for the opportunity to go on a sponsor tour was only a few months after I started sponsoring her. It is easy to think of reasons why we can’t go, but I’ve come to the conclusion that you go when God tells/leads you to go. I also don’t think any trip would be wasted. I learned so much on my trip, about poverty and the importance of letter writing. I would be a completely different sponsor if I had not gone.

  215. Stephanie
    Jan 1, 2010
    at 10:30 pm

    Caitlin – I think it’s still possible to surprise your kids. It is true that you need to arrange visits in advance, and the country and project staff will know you are coming, but not necessarily the children. A friend of mine visited her childrens’ centers, and none of the girls knew she was coming until they saw her there. :-)

  216. Marvin
    Jan 3, 2010
    at 6:54 pm

    I can only say what I saw on my 2 trips. Some of the sponsors of younger child had a very hard time becuse the child was very cold. Some with younger children did ok but some of the kids never responded to the sponsor. And it was very hard for them. They spent $3,500 on a trip and had no conection at all. If you only have the money to go once in your life I would wait.

  217. Jan 4, 2010
    at 12:17 pm

    If at all possible, I think it would be best to get to know the children first through correspondence. Also, it could save a lot of money to go on an individual visit verses a sponsor tour. There is also a bigger opportunity to get to see the child’s project and home on an individual visit. One time, I accompanied someone on an individual visit. The child was very cold, but the family was very warm.

    Also, realize that a lot of the “coldness” of a child is many times that they are just really shy with the sponsor. They might feel very overwhelmed. It is sort of like us, if we got a visit from a huge movie star/athelete/big politician. We might not know what to say.

    Kees

  218. Ken M.
    Jan 4, 2010
    at 6:36 pm

    I have to admit that my children who are the ages of 8, 9 and 10 were shy when I was first introduced to them. In fact, my 10 year old child cried for about 15 minutes due to being overwhelmed with meeting me and my other sponsored children along with the excitement of being around other sponsors and their children. Over the day all of my children were fine and we had fun.
    My 10 year old child needed space throughout the day so he would hang with my group and then leave to do his own thing. Eventually he would join us again. I allowed him to do that since I felt that was how he needed to handle the excitement. He still had a good day. After boarding the bus when the day ended, he got off the bus to give me an extra hug.
    My 13 year old child never seemed overwhelmed. He had a big smile on his face the whole day. His expression seemed to say “this is cool”.
    I am still glad that I went to see all 5 of my children even though four of them are 10 years old or younger.

  219. Nancy
    Apr 29, 2010
    at 10:36 am

    I would love to visit a girl I sponsor in the Dominican Republic this January, but I can’t afford it. Does Compassion provide anything to help people in my situation?

  220. Apr 29, 2010
    at 10:53 am

    Hi, Nancy,

    The least expensive way is probably through an individual visit. Calculate about $200/day plus your transportation of the flight there and back and that would take care of it. Of course, that does not include souvenirs that you might buy there or any gifts that you give your girl.

  221. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 10:27 am

    As far as I know, there are no “scholarships” to visit your sponsored child, as this would not be a good use of donor money. Kees is right, of course, an individual trip is cheaper, but group visits are really lots of fun. For the 1st time, Compassion is offering a shorter, less expensive trip January 13-17, 2011 at $1850, plus the airfare from wherever you live to Miami, where the group meets up. Not including that airfare, you would need to save $50 a week from now to when you leave. I worked as a translator on the 2010 January trip to the Dom. Rep. and can attest that it was LIFE CHANGING for all of the 20+ persons who went. I took alot of photos, and can still remember clearly the total joy of each sponsor and child as they met for the first time. It is not an expense, but rather an INVESTMENT with eternal blessings, for both you and your child. Consider it!!!

  222. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 30, 2010
    at 2:19 pm

    Another thought for you, Nancy, that I just read on the Compassion blog under Compassion Sunday. It was about an advocate/sponsor who raised the money for her trip to Guatemala my sending out a “missionary letter” looking for help to pay for her trip. Thirty people in her church each gave a little money and she had enough to go!!! If you decide to do this, I will be the first one to help you. AND if you go on the shorter of the 2 DR January trips-January 13-17,we will actually get to meet, as I plan to go on that trip, too.

  223. May 2, 2010
    at 5:42 am

    Thanks for the information, i posted your blog to my facebook group in the category `Should I Visit My Sponsored Child? » Christian Blog on Child Poverty`. Regards, Katy

  224. May 18, 2010
    at 3:59 pm

    Hello from Germany! May i quote a post a translated part of your blog with a link to you? I’ve tried to contact you for the topic Should I Visit My Sponsored Child? » Christian Blog on Child Poverty, but i got no answer, please reply when you have a moment, thanks, Sprueche

  225. Brianne Mullins
    May 18, 2010
    at 9:12 pm

    Hi Sprueche,
    Thanks so much for reading the blog. We are so happy you want to share it. Please feel free to quote the post you translated and link to us!

  226. Jun 15, 2010
    at 2:33 pm

    I have 4 sponsored children. One is 6 in Nicaragua. One is 12 in Burkina Faso. One is 19(correspondent but just the same to me) in Kenya. One is 7 in Kenya. Now, which one do we go visit first? It is very difficult. And, weather needs to be considered as well. All I know right now is that God says very clearly to me “GO”. We(hubby and me) will go on our own rather than a tour because we want to visit them in their homes, visit with their families, and have plenty of quality time with them. I can hardly wait for that first eye to eye contact, sharing smiles and hugs, and deepening our relationships. Any advice or comments greatly appreciated! Oh, we’ve got our passorts now.

  227. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 16, 2010
    at 3:47 pm

    I would recommend doing the shortest, closest trip first, and that would be Nicaragua.

    • Jun 17, 2010
      at 8:56 am

      thanks Carolyn. are you active on OC? I don’t see you there. I would love to chat about your experiences. We have thinking the same thing-Nicaragua.

  228. Anel
    Jun 16, 2010
    at 9:29 pm

    Susan, a few quick points… I would go first to Kenya. Your eldest is there and it won’t be long before s/he exits the program. Besides you can see 2 kids for one trip! BTW, as a correspondent YOU are the sponsor. The child knows no other and is not even aware cognizant of the financial support. So don’t think of yourself as a “substitute sponsor” filling in for an absent sponsor. The reality is that you are the sponsor, caring, sharing and loving your child. Think about it… is an adoptive mother not “mom” to her adoptive child.

    I wouldn’t count on anymore “quality time” on a personal trip, versus a sponsor tour. Either way you’ll have one day with the child. You can discuss that w/Compassion. There’s a lot to be gained on a sponsor tour so don’t dismiss that too quickly.

    Enjoy your visit!

  229. Christine Wildman
    Jun 17, 2010
    at 9:09 am

    I have struggled with the original question Shelly wrote. I could spread out funds among more children! But, could it be that God wants me to focus on the 8 I have?

    My desire is to go to Ethiopia before my two young men graduate from the project….that will be next June(2011). They are both orphans (but from different projects) – and turn 21 this fall.

    Each child(of the 8) has asked me, when will you come to my country? How do I say, I am praying for finances? I am praying to be able to walk with you?

    I wish I could tie ET with TZ and UG…one trip to Africa…but I cannot figure out how I could do that. I want the tour guide from Compassion! The other thing that hampers me, is I am partially disabled…I may need the help of others on the trip, which would increase my cost…but that doesn’t dampen my desire to go.

    And then, to explain to my daughter in Germany why I chose to go to visit two young men I’d never met, and didn’t come to be with her when she gave birth to her child. Explaining to your children how you choose to give something to others, and not to them can be very difficult.

    But a trip that would touch a life forever – being Jesus in the flesh – to me, that could be the best use of any money. And I pray that I will soon be part of those that have visited our children…and I can add photos of my children hugging me to my wall of joy!

  230. Jun 17, 2010
    at 3:00 pm

    Christine-I am praying for you to make the trip. Talk to Compassion about coordinating a custom trip and provide guides as well. God will make it happen if it is supposed to. And, I do understand the difficulty explaining to your daughter. Sometimes, doing God’s work, is difficult, but it is also our privelege He gave to us.

  231. Carolyn Cooper
    Jun 19, 2010
    at 8:02 pm

    For Susan Martin: I am not on OC, but you can email me at secretagent066@msn.com. My experience in Compassion, both in the USA as well as in the Dominican Republic spans about 20 years. I have been to visit my sponsored children over 50 times (not the same kids, of course, but over the years that many visits). I have never been on a sponsor tour as a sponsor, but I have accompanied tours as a translator. Tours are GREAT for first time visitors, and those who do not speak the language of the country they are traveling to. At least in the Dominican Republic, the meeting with the child is in the office of Compassion, and then we go to a camp for the day. Each sponsor has their own translator and it is a fun and moving experience. On an individual tour, it can often be arranged to you to travel to the child’s project, and to see the child in the context of their own home and to meet their family members. I have been to the homes of all my sponsored children and have strong ties to them as well as their families. So, it just depends on your preference, if you want a group tour or individual visit. In either case a translator and guide is provided. Individual visits are decidedly less expensive, as usually everyone on a group tour needs to meet up in a gateway city in the USA, wheras in an individual trip, you can look for an inexpensive flight and fly direct. In any event, a trip should be planned MONTHS in advance, and no tickets should be bought until you have your background clearance, the “go” from the Compassion office and of course, your passport IN HAND.

  232. Madelin
    Aug 13, 2010
    at 4:06 pm

    I think it depends on you and whether you feel like going would be most beneficial for you and your situation. You would get firsthand experience on what kind of difference you are making if you go. Maybe it will motivate you to sponser more kids in the future if you went because you would have a better understanding of your impact.
    If I could, I would. I just can’t for several reasons. For one, I am cuban. I came to America when I was very young. For me, I want to go to Cuba before I go anywhere else because I have family there. Cuba is a poor country as well, I want to see what kind of contribution I can make there before I go elsewhere (even though I do sponser 3 kids through compassion).
    It’s a personal thing for each person. Do what’s in your heart!

  233. Julie Fritze
    Aug 19, 2010
    at 4:53 pm

    What could possibly relay hope to a child more then to know that someone loves them enough to travel a very long way? The hope and love that that child would carry in their hearts would change their lives!! This is about relationships, hope and connections!! Go!! :)

  234. Aug 19, 2010
    at 4:57 pm

    I’m writing this from the hotel in Bogota, where I’m wrapping up a Compassion artists visit. In addition to being here as an advocate, we sponsor a little 5 year old boy from Cali. We had the chance to spend the whole day with him on Monday…and it was one of the most meaningful things ever. Now..he’s 5…and it took a little bit for him to warm up, but within a short time we were having a great time, playing with bubbles, etc. It meant a lot to him to know that we were there…and had come to see him. He will remember parts of this visit..just like there are many things I remember from being 5. There are other things he won’t remember…but it touched his heart, and worked ours over.

    We also had the chance to visit with 100s of other students…all who were overwhelmed by the fact that we came to see them. To talk with them. To love them. It’s the best trip I’ve ever taken. If you can do it..do it. It’ll change your life. And in turn, it’ll help to change their lives.

  235. Debbie
    Aug 19, 2010
    at 5:05 pm

    Sorry, I am one of those who thinks the money is better spent sponsoring another child. I love watching other people’s videos, etc., but for some of the trips I could sponsor one kid for ten years. Guess I am just not a traveler. If I had plenty of money, and could sponsor as many as I wanted, and go on a tour, maybe, but for me it just isn’t the best use of my money.

    • Carolyn Cooper
      Aug 20, 2010
      at 9:37 am

      FOR DEBBIE:Just a thought: I have sponsored 5 children over the last 20 years and I have visited all of them. Apart from the impact it has had on their lives (including the 2 that I currently sponsor) it has had an impact not just on me, but on a much wider circle of influence. I became a Compassion Advocate after visiting my first sponsored child, Esteban, way back in 1992, and over the years I have found sponsors for over 100 children. I myself could NEVER have sponsored 100 kids, but my visits to my sponsored children gave me the push to look for other sponsors and the conviction to speak up for the poor. Some of these 100 sponsors have in turn looked for and found other sponsors, and some of them sponsor more than one child. You cannot know where the boat will take you until you put your oar in the water!!!!

      • Aug 22, 2010
        at 5:35 pm

        I agree with Carolyn 100%. You effect so much more than just the child you visit. Also remember, Jesus didn’t go after huge numbers, though at times, they went after Him. He focussed on the 12, and specifically on the 3. Those 12 turned the whole world upside down, because of its multiplicative effect. That’s why focussing on helping a child can make such a huge impact on so many people in the world.

  236. Aug 19, 2010
    at 5:17 pm

    Debbie, you could save a lot of money by going on an individual visit, especially if you know the language. I did a few individual visits for less than a $1, but then I was in the country already. LOL Also, individual visits have the advantage that it is easier to visit their home/project/surroundings. Of course on a tour, you’ll have other things, such as getting a real good overview of what Compassion is doing and you’ll visit many student centers and really learn a lot about the general workings of Compassion in that particular country. You’ll also not have to worry about as to what you eat, where you go, you’ll name it. Everything is neatly planned out for you and everything that you get served, you can eat, without worrying about anything.

  237. Paige
    Aug 19, 2010
    at 5:43 pm

    I’ve never met my sposnored children but I don’t think you can put a price on meeting your sponsored child. And that experience is NOT just for you and your child. The videos, pics, stories, and testimony are all valuable RESOURCES in advocating for children. You can share that experience with everyone who will listen and ALOT more children can be sponsored that way!!!

  238. Barb
    Aug 19, 2010
    at 6:35 pm

    I don’t know if it’s the BEST use of your money, but it is a GREAT use of your money. It is a wonderful experience for both you and your child, and I don’t think you’ll regret spending the money or feel guilty after doing so. Your child will be just as excited to meet you as you are to meet him/her.

  239. Aug 19, 2010
    at 7:36 pm

    I’ve not done it yet, but stay tuned. The cry of my heart is to see my little Veronica face to face. I miss her! I say absolutely it’s worth it to spend the money. Cash comes and goes, but each individual child is worth more than any trip. I love watching videos and hearing stories from my friends who have done made the journey.

  240. Amy Rang
    Aug 19, 2010
    at 9:11 pm

    I wish I could put into words how much your life will be changed by visiting your child. I had the opportunity to visit one of my sponsored children last year, and it definitely changed my life.

    I treasure the impact I have on Angi’s life through our letters, but when I met her and had the chance to interact with her our relationship became so much more.

  241. Karen
    Aug 21, 2010
    at 8:16 am

    Sure, it cost a lot to visit a sponsored child, but the precious time and countless memories are priceless.

  242. Tim Bliss
    Aug 21, 2010
    at 12:05 pm

    I went on an advocates’ trip to Ethiopia last year and was able to meet my parents’ sponsored child, Tewodros, as I did not sponsor a child in Ethiopia at the time. As a result of the trip I now sponsor two children in Ethiopia and am able to write reasonably intelligently to them having spent some time in their country. It has also had a dramatic effect on my role as a Compassion advocate, both in giving me opportunities to speak that I would not otherwise have had, as well as a recharged enthusiasm & passion for Compassion’s work and a new love for those who they are reaching out to. It was the first time that I had ever travelled outside of Western Europe and meeting and sharing with the Ethiopians enabled me to see them as ‘real people’ rather than in rather abstract terms. I have kept in touch with several of the people that we met and now count them among my good friends.

  243. Aug 22, 2010
    at 5:27 pm

    When Doug and I go our kids we are going on our own. Will we be allowed to visit other nearby projects as well as our kids project too? Will Compassion help us plan our trip-best time to go-best days of the week to be there-where we can take our child and family for our visits-going to their home? This is going to be a cherished dream come true!

  244. Mary Stone
    Aug 23, 2010
    at 10:44 pm

    My husband and I visited our sponsored child in Honduras in July. It coinsided with a W & W trip through our church. It was wonderful meeting her. She and her grandmother made us so welcome. It was so good to meet the flesh and blood person we have been sponsoring for years. Though there was a language barrier, our friend Sandra and the missionary we were working with both helped us in conversing. God blessed us in meeting her. We pray for years more of sponsoring her.

  245. Carolyn Cooper
    Aug 24, 2010
    at 7:24 am

    I have just signed up for the short sponsor tour to the Dominican Republic (January 13-17,2011). Though I have lived and worked in the Dominican Republic with Compassion for years, and had many individual visits with my sponsored girls (Miguelina and Susette), this will be my FIRST time going on a tour. I have been told that there will be upwards of 50 sponsors on this tour. To any and all who are going, I would love to be in contact with you. I can maybe share some insights on the Dominican Republic, as well some ideas about how to prepare. You are gonna’ love it!!!!

  246. Thomas Monnier
    Aug 24, 2010
    at 11:45 am

    I didn’t read through everyone’s comments. I can tell you, having visited my sponsored children 3 times, you will not only change their life, but they will change yours. I’ve seen some people comment about sponsoring more children, rather than visit your child. I’d have to say, visit your child before you make that your opinion. Our sponsored children, and their families are now part of our extended family. Members of our church sponsor 18 children in the same project in El Salvador. So we share in the lives of many people, not just the children and their families, but also the people involved with the Compassion project as well.

  247. Beatty Collins
    Aug 31, 2010
    at 2:20 pm

    We’ll be going on an individual visit in November to visit several of our sponsored children. When one of them found out about the upcoming visit, this is what she wrote me in her last letter:
    “I pray for you and your family every day. My family and I never forget you. You mean everything to us. I know that you will be coming to visit me and I am overwhelmed with excitement about it. I am the first girl in my community that has ever been visited by a sponsor. I am waiting for you with all of my love and affection.”

    As I shared this with several friends, two of them mentioned that they want to sponsor children too. We clearly touch many lives when we go on a visit — not just the child, and not just ourselves, but others around us both here and in our child’s country.

  248. Aug 31, 2010
    at 3:10 pm

    The biggest dream for many of the sponsored children is to meet their sponsor.

    • Ken M.
      Oct 17, 2010
      at 4:20 pm

      This is true. One year ago this month I went on a tour with Compassion to Brazil. As I spent an entire day with my sponsored child during a project visit, another child made the comment that she wished her sponsor would visit her, too.

    • Richard Portsmouth
      Sep 16, 2012
      at 3:51 pm

      In the words of my sponsored young man – “all my prayers have been answered” when hearing that I was going to visit him. It was really life changing for the both of us. Highly recommended thing to do.

  249. Lois
    Oct 28, 2010
    at 12:46 pm

    I sponsor a precious girl in Uganda. Dinah’s eyes and smile seemed to brighten in a picture I received after having sponsored her. I would love to visit her but I think of how the cost of such a trip could better be used to sponsor more.

    • Oct 29, 2010
      at 10:50 am

      I think that you would find the trip to be more fruitful then sponsoring another child. The impact of a visit from the sponsor is incredible!!!

  250. Alan Jackson
    Oct 29, 2010
    at 1:09 pm

    After you make a trip to see your child the excitement and increased commitment to the cause of poverty and Compassion specifically will allow more doors to open as you are able to share with those people you touch. After my visit to a sponsored child, my letter writing improved, and now when I make it a point of conversation to share with others about my trip and Compassion, the blessing it was for me and will be for them.

  251. Carolyn Cooper
    Oct 29, 2010
    at 2:35 pm

    For Lois: Please scroll back and read all of the comments, or many of them anyway, from those of us have been to visit our sponsored children. The event is life changing, not just for the child, but for the sponsor as well. When you sponsor a child and receive the letters, then you know ABOUT your child. But, when you go to visit them, then you actually KNOW your child. It is like the difference between knowing ABOUT Christ and knowing Him as your own Lord and Saviour. I have found sponsors for over 100 children, and the conviction to do this has come from visiting my first sponsored child in 1990, from knowing him (Esteban) face to face, and from seeing with my own eyes the huge need for sponsors in his country. I myself could, of course, never have sponsored 100 children and I am just as sure that I would never have been motivated to seek and find all of those other sponsors, if I had not seen the need with my own 2 eyes.
    Read the posts of others who have gone, and you will see that NONE regret it. I look forward to visiting in January, 2011 the 2 girls that I have sponsored since they were 3 years old. They are now 12 and it has been a privilege to watch them as they have grown into young women of God.

  252. David Sheets
    Nov 5, 2010
    at 11:07 pm

    My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Uganda and Kenya. We got to visit the 10-year old girl we sponsor in Kenya, and we got to attend the graduation of the LDP student we have sponsored for the past three years.

    The experience was unforgettable, not just to the two of us, but to all the people we met – both children and project staff. Until I got there, I did not fully realize the amazing encouragement that a visit gives to your sponsored child – and to the courageous Compassion staff who work in poverty-stricken areas.

    To those who have $2000-$4000 and are deciding between making a large gift, or going on a visit I say this: “Go. You’ll find the money to give when you get back.”

    By my statement I mean this: experiencing firsthand the poverty in developing nations cannot compare to pictures, videos and statistics. Seeing the joy that your visit brings to your sponsored child and the project staff can’t compare to any other experience. When you return from your trip you will be driven to find ways to give more. You won’t find another $2K to $4K lying around magically when you get home, but you will surely find it five dollars at a time for the rest of your life.

    Going to visit your child isn’t about fulfilling your dream. It’s about fulfilling his or hers.

  253. Nov 8, 2010
    at 12:08 am

    David, I love how you put all that…. It’s perfect. I also like thinking about how Jesus focussed in on the 12 and reached the whole world. He could have added a bunch of other disciples, but He really focussed.

  254. Sarah Canez
    Nov 22, 2010
    at 10:01 am

    I went to visit my sponsored child in Ecuador last September. My husband and I were Peace Corps voluteers in Ecuador in the late 70’s, so we are familiar with both the country and the culture. He experience meeting my sponsored child and her family was unforgettable. The were so grateful, kind, and loving to me. Her mother told me that they pray for me every day! My sponsored child is the youngest girl of 4 girls and is enrolled in high school, now. I am certain that neither of her parents went to high school, and possibly not her siblings, either. She wants to grow up to be a “professional” woman and I pray that she realizes her dream. I am blessed to be able to help in a small way in her life and I hope to be able to go back and see her again. Visiting her and her family, I think, was very moving for both me and her family. I was told by the Compassion people that I was the FIRST ever sponsor to visit them in Ecuador. I hope more people are able to be privileged enough to visit their sponsors, too!

  255. Christy
    Nov 29, 2010
    at 2:57 pm

    I just returned from Indonesia, where I had the amazing opportunity to visit my sponsored child, so I can’t say enough about the value of the experience. I arranged an individual visit since I was already traveling, but I was overwhelmed by the preparedness and professional of the field office staff (especially Mathilde and Diky) from Manado (as well as Joni in the Colorado office!). To say that they were gracious hosts is an understatement. Due to their diligence and care, I never felt a moment of hesitation about being on my own with virtual strangers in a country literally half way round the world. The staff made the experience amazing.

    Not only did I get to meet my sponsored child, but I learned so much about the work Compassion does in the field. Even after witnessing it first hand, I am still amazed at what they are able to do for my child with so little in resources from me. God’s hands are evident in the heart and the spirit of the Compassion staff and in that of the villagers who work to make each project a success.

    It seems inadequate to say that visiting your child is a life-changing experience. It is simply incomparable to anything I have ever done before. Though I had none my child fro less than a year, the visit connected us in a way that is unbreakable. The tangible moment of holding her hand was worth every penny of expense, worth every one of the 44 hours of travel time it took to reach her, worth my anxiety about traveling alone to a village in a completely foreign culture, worth the sweat and the tears and the prayers and the anticipation. In fact, I felt I received far more than I will ever be able to repay during my visit.

    Not only did I connect with one special child, but I literally met an entire village! I dined in their homes, worshiped in their church, shared prayers on their porches, played games with their children, and laughed and smiled and learned more than I ever thought possible. Despite the obviously challenging conditions of life int he village, I have never been surrounded by such love and joy and openness. Though I’ll never know exactly what it meant to them, if it is one tenth the experience it was for me, then we were all blessed.

    • Dawn
      Jul 19, 2011
      at 10:46 am

      Christy,
      We are trying to plan a visit to see the two girls we sponsor in Indonesia for 2012. I would love to talk to you about your visit.

      • May 22, 2012
        at 6:38 pm

        Hey! Let us know how your trip goes (or went). I sponsor a little girl from IO787 in Indonesia, so I will especially look forward to what you have to say.
        God bless, Lizzie :)

    • Rob
      Jan 9, 2012
      at 6:53 pm

      Our family is planning a visit to Manado in July 2012 to visit our sponsor child at Penabur Student Center. We would enjoy connecting with you to learn more specifics as we plan our trip.

  256. Christy
    Nov 29, 2010
    at 2:59 pm

    Going to visit your child isn’t about fulfilling your dream. It’s about fulfilling his or hers.

    Beautifully said!

  257. Denny
    Dec 15, 2010
    at 11:52 pm

    I’m recently new to sponsoring a child for 2 years now. After I read your concern about whether to visit your child or save the money for other gifts or sponsoring others in need; I had to post my thought to you. I’m very sure others may agree with me about this and hope that you might understand. I believe that before making the decision to visit your sponsored child/children, or keep the money towards other gifts and/or children I really think that this decision must be made not by your will, but the will of our God. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (as it says in Proverbs 3:5). I hope that these words typed by my hand were that of Gods word and works, and that you would agree to speak to God in prayer about this decision and do what God wants by his will AMEN!!!!! I also I’d like to ask of your prayers through my journey to where ever God sends me. Thank you and may the good Lord bless you always. Your brother in Christ; Denny.

  258. Kalah
    Dec 18, 2010
    at 12:40 am

    My dream is to go see my sponsor child! One stantement I like that really gave me really insight, Going to visit your child isn’t about fulfilling your dream. It’s about fulfilling his or hers. After reading that statement, God was saying to me, not about me, it is all about fulfilling her dream to see me! I have been sponsoring my child for 3 years! I am praying that I will make a trip! It is all in God’s timing!! I have that hope!! Praying!

  259. Dec 28, 2010
    at 10:31 am

    In my prayers I have received the answer that a Gift from me for the cost of a trip would give a family 40 times what they might receive in a month and that would be like a Miracle to them. I have the power to do this rather than to just have another travel experience. I think my sponsored child and her family would rather have the experience of having a better life than to simply meet me. (They also have to spend money when company is coming.) I have seen the poverty and we have the ability to do something about it. My miracle will start today, even though I am unemployed, I know God will return it to me.

    • Carolyn Cooper
      Dec 28, 2010
      at 12:35 pm

      I read with interest your recent post. Before doing anything, I would check with the Compassion Office. I believe that the limit for a family gift is $300 a year. There is a good reason for this. Often when folks receive a very large (to them) amount of money, it creates more problems than it solves. Never having had that much, they often have no idea how to administrate it. You have no way of knowing if it will be put to good use.Also, if you are giving that much ($38 x 40=$1520), then you may be putting them out of the range of income to qualify to be in the Compassion program, and I am sure you do not want to do that.
      Also, such a large gift causes strife and discord (jealousy) among the other sponsored kids in the project. If you want to help the family and the child, a better bet would be to check with Compassion about the limit on gift size, and put the $1500 aside and send it in amounts and at intervals designated by Compassion policy. Another thought is to sponsor another child, as that amount of money will sponsor another child for almost 4 years. Or, you could give to Compassion’s Bite Back program. You can by alot of life-saving mosquito nets with $1520!!!!!
      I am writing this, having been a sponsor for various children over the course of 20 years. Once, on a visit to his sponsored girl, my son noticed that they had neither a bathroom nor even an outhouse. He went back a few months later and with the help of the family and neighbors, he built them a bathroom, including digging the septic with shovels, no backhoe!!!! Now that was a gift worth giving, as he worked along side the girl’s family and aside from the bathroom being built, relationships were built, too. That was over 15 years ago, and the bathroom and the friendship between the 2 familes exists to this day.
      Also, you cannot assume that the child(ren) would prefer $ as opposed to a visit from you, a special, important and essential person in their lives. Just as I know for sure that my 2 little granddaughters would rather spend time with me than any monetary gift I could give them, so too, I am sure that my 2 sponsored girls, Miguelina & Susette, would rather spend time with me than anything material that I could give them. This is why over the last 9 years, I have gone back to visit them again and again. Of course, I take them clothes, shoes, bookbags, Bibles in Spanish, and buy food for their families when I am there, and they always show their gratitude. But it has become crystal clear that our relationship is the most important thing to them as well as to me. Just some food for thought…..

    • Dec 28, 2010
      at 4:24 pm

      Katy, I love your generosity and your heart for your child. I wish that everyone thought about it that way. I had the privilege of spending quite a bit of time with children in the Compassion projects this last summer and I got to know a lot of them. If you were to ask most Compassion children what their biggest dream is, you would hear to meet their sponsor… Also, you can make the visit so that it wouldn’t cost them a penny. For instance, you can go visit them at their center and home and take them to a restaurant and make sure that you pay for all of the taxis and of course the meal and your child would be so full of joy. (Most likely, if your child is like most of the children) Remember poverty is not primarily a lack of money. Those are the symptoms. Most of the time, it is a lack of hope and of knowing that they are loved…. You could truly break the cycle of poverty a lot by visiting the child. Also, because you are the sponsor, the child might have all they need… So, you might not need to supply the child with more money. Your letters also make a huge difference in the life of the child. And don’t forget your prayers for the child. That is the most important part of your sponsorship. I always tell people that the sponsorship consists of three things and in order of importance, they are: 1. Prayer, 2. Letters, 3. The Funding part.

      • Jeannie
        Jan 3, 2011
        at 6:17 pm

        Kees, I am planning on visiting my girl this fall on the sponsor tour to Columbia. You mentioned that it is cheaper to go on an individual trip, but not knowing the language, and never having been to South America, do you recommend the tour for the first time? On the tours are you able to visit the child’s home and meet the family? I thought that since you had been on so many visits that you may have some good insite into this. Thanks, Jeannie

        • Win
          Jan 4, 2011
          at 10:05 am

          Jeannie – I went on a sponsor tour to El Salvador in October 2009 making the first trip to meet one of our sponsored children (but it won’t be the last!).

          The trip was very well done and in addition to meeting Bernardo we got to see several of the projects in action, visit the country office and learn how the office operates, we met LDP students and also saw a Child Survival program in action.

          For sponsors making a first trip I think going on a Compassion group tour is the best way. You learn a lot about the organization you are supporting (and I walked away very impressed by everything they do for only $38 per month).

          On a tour they bring all of the children together at a central location for a day with the sponsors. On our trip we visited a children museum and had McDonald’s for lunch which both were big treats for the kids. Each child travels with someone from the project (the project director in my case) and a guardian (his mother in my case) and so while I didn’t get to meet the entire family or visit their home, I did get much out of the time with the child and the entire time I was in El Salvador.

          Bottom line – for first time Compassion travelers I recommend doing a group tour.

          Win

        • Jan 4, 2011
          at 12:30 pm

          Hi, Jeannie,

          I agree with the other person, that if you have the funds and aren’t that confident, that the tour would be the best way to go, because it would pretty much guide you through the entire trip and you’d get a thorough view of all of Compassion and how they operate in the country.

          WIth an individual visit, you can still get the help from people from the Country office and you do get a translator assigned to you and they will pretty much guide you through the entire time.

          What I definitely do not suggest is going to Colombia by yourself and start wondering around through the areas where Compassion operates in. There are a lot of gangs around in Colombia and it can be a bit of a dangerous place, if you don’t know what you’re doing.

          I guess, it also makes a big difference where your child is located and how you’re going to get there. For instance, if the child is located in the Bogota area and you fly right away into Bogota and someone from Compassion or the hotel, that they suggest come pick you up from the airport and the next day, they meet you in the hotel and from there you go to the home and to the project and then after the visit they bring you back to the hotel and the next morning, you are brought to the airport, you would save a lot of money that way. But if your child is located somewhere totally different, it might take a bunch of travelling through the country. You can pretty much count on that where the child lives, it is a dangerous area for gringos to go without being accompanied by someone that knows Colombia. Even I wouldn’t go there by myself in Colombia. It’s too dangerous.

          If you get to hang out with the LDP students, bring a small Disney souvenier for Dina. She is very friendly.

        • Ginger Hannah
          Jun 28, 2011
          at 7:30 pm

          Jeannie, I’m registered for the Columbia trip as well. If you’re on FB, please send me a friend request so we can exchange notes! I am so excited about meeting Angie!

          • Jeannie Millikin
            Jul 29, 2011
            at 8:57 pm

            Ginger, i just saw your note today. If you see this, I couldn’t find you on Facebook, but do believe I found you on the OC site. Friend requested you there. :)

    • Jeanette Mahnke
      May 22, 2012
      at 1:59 pm

      I know this is an old post, but I would like to respond anyway. I felt God was telling me to go on my trip, but I have also given large family gifts. Both are good. One family was very proud to tell me, on my visit that they had bought a milk cow for the child i sponsor. Compassion assists the families in their purchases and they are usually things that help the families financial situation long term.
      Do what God tells you to do, as Denny said. Then you know the money is going where he wants. But don’t discount the trip just because you could do other thiings for them with the money. My trip was invaluable to all of us. Just listen to God.

  260. Rachel
    Jan 3, 2011
    at 8:43 pm

    People in the comments keep saying that the difference it makes in their lives and your own justifies the money. But why should seeing a person face to face once or twice significantly affect your relationship?

    My dad was gone for long periods of time during my childhood because of the military, and now my husband is in the military too. I probably see my husband half as much as most wives do, but I don’t love him any less because of it. We learn to value what opportunities we do have to communicate.

    Personally, I would only visit my sponsored child if I was using money I had put away for a vacation anyway and if I had been sponsoring for more than a few years. Any extra money I have to use I feel would be put to better use in other charitable ways.

    • Jan 4, 2011
      at 12:42 pm

      Rachel,

      I have done over 100 child visits. It makes a HUGE difference, not only in your life, but even more in the child’s life.

      WIth the examples of your dad and your husband, you had met both of them in person. The child has never met you. They tend to see you as almost like a parent. Most of them if you were to ask them what their biggest dream was in life, they would say to meet their sponsor.

      Remember one of the big differences between them and most other people you know is probably that they have been told their whole life that they are worthless, insignificant and in some ways treated as if they are trash, like we deal with pestcontrol. When you visit that child, you’re telling that child that they are important. That you came all the way to them to visit them. They probably have never gotten a visit in their lifes before and from then on, they will be known in the project as the child, who got a visit.

      Also, you will be able to understand them so much better and you’ll probably find yourself to speak up for the children more when you see it face to face.

      The statements that I made above are general statements though. Many times the child might be very quiet during a first visit. To them it feels like to us, it would be if you would be visited by some huge celebrity that you are a fan of. They sometimes don’t know what to say or how to act.

      I can think of most of my children what they are like, how they sound, how they smile, what their voice is like and what they smell like. This all brings tears to my eyes typing this.

      When my dad visited his child, I had never seen him so radiant as that time.

      Kees

    • Thomas
      Jan 5, 2011
      at 7:41 am

      Rachel, that’s a good and fair question. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Consider it as if you’ve never met your husband, and yet are married to him. Wouldn’t you want to meet him? Do you think it would make the relationship more special by meeting him in person and learning more about his life? Meeting his family? Seeing the conditions in which he lived? That may be a little extreme to imagine, but that’s the difference.

      Ever been to a concert? Is it more special seeing your favorite music group live in concert with front row seats and back stage passes vs. only ever hearing them on the radio/CD/MP3? It’s kind of like that. Visiting your child is a more personal experience because your sponsored child and their family truly appreciate you.

      Every child dreams of meeting their sponsor. Meeting your sponsored child face to face makes a WORLD of difference for you and them. There’s so much insight you gain into their lives. It’s quite an emotional and fulfilling experience. One you’d never forget or regret.

      Ultimately, it’s doing what you feel led by the Spirit to do.

      God Bless

  261. Carolyn Cooper
    Jan 4, 2011
    at 2:38 pm

    For Kees: 100 child visits!!! Wow, I hope you are in the Advocates Network, ’cause we need people with your enthusiasm and oh, yes, insight!!! If I have not had 100 child visits, then the number is pretty close to that and they have always spurred me on to look for more sponsors when I return to the USA. Just as no one ever said on their deathbed, “I should have spent more time at my office” so too, I believe in light of eternity, that no one who has ever visited their sponsored child would wish that they had done otherwise. As I set out next week for my umpteenth visit to my sponsored girls (not in the same family), I am reflecting on all of our past visits and what they signify for all of us. One of the girls has lost both of her parents during the years that I have been sponsoring her. The only photos she has of them, were taken by me. What if I had not gone??? Another girl’s mother died while I was visiting (2010) and I went to the funeral. What if I had not been there for this vulnerabel little 8 year old?
    As I prepare for this trip, in which the girls will be coming to visit us at a resort, I am tucking into my luggage a photo of the girls together, from 2005—the last time we were together at a resort. I am thinking of how much fun these kids will have seeing themselves from 6 years ago. Also, I rejoice in the love and friendship that these 2 – 12 year olds have for each other–and that they would never have met, if I had not gone to visit them and introduced them to each other. I am the one constant in their ever shifting lives, and I feel humbled and grateful to be that for them.

    • Jan 4, 2011
      at 5:14 pm

      Hi, Carolyn,

      Yes, I am part of the advocates network. It is a huge blessing. I think that you really focus in on the DR, don’t you? I focus in Bolivia like that and so most of my children are in Bolivia. :-)

      Do you ever visit DR521?

      Blessings,

      Kees

      • steph burke
        Jan 11, 2011
        at 9:20 am

        Hi Kees- I was wondering if you had ever been to Burkina Faso or the Philipines? That is where my kids are and since I just over the last few months have been more involved in this site I didn’t know if at some point you had posted pics from either of those places.? Thanks! Maybe one day I can be well traveled too. :O)

        • Jan 11, 2011
          at 12:04 pm

          Hi, Steph,

          I have never been to either one of those countries. I’d love to go, because I have children in those countries too. Most of my children are in South America though. :-)

          In general it is a bit less expensive to do an individual child visit, then to go on a group tour, if your main goal is to just visit your children.

          Kees

      • seena
        May 3, 2011
        at 12:27 pm

        Hi Kees,
        Bolivia!we are sponsoring a little girl from bolivia.never even gave south america, let alone bolivia a second thought, until we found and fell in love with our girl there. now just hearing the word makes my heart and ache and swell with love. One day, we do hope to visit her. Not bcoz we have alot of money stored away-but plan to save for this trip-but bcoz we so desperately like stated above, want to see her, hear her voice, hold her hand, see what her life is like, her home, her country, just want to know more about her…would love to know more about her…and her country..God bless

        • May 4, 2011
          at 12:05 am

          Hi, Seena, can you tell me what project she is in? It are the first three numbers after BO in the child number. Maybe I’ll be teaching at that center. If you want to see some things of Bolivia, just go to Youtube. I put about 48 or so videos on there. Just search for Compassion Bolivia. You might even see your little girl in there.

          • seena
            May 12, 2011
            at 12:14 pm

            Hi Kees, sorry, didn’t see your response till today. it is 426-yesica laura. i will DEFINITELY be checking youtube!!thank you for that info!!!!we would love to go and visit her one day. that would be awesome if you actaully know her and her family..i would be so overwhelmed…God bless you..

            • May 12, 2011
              at 2:29 pm

              I don’t know that project. It’s on the very western outskirts of El Alto. It’s 4004 meters high or about 14,000 feet. The sponsors are very important to the children. They look at the sponsorship as a very dear relationship. You could visit her. There are several ways of doing so, depending on the economics. But I tell you this, that if you were to ask most of the children what their biggest dram in life is, it would be to meet their sponsor.

              • seena
                May 12, 2011
                at 4:48 pm

                thats too bad you dont know that project:(-yes we paln to visit her one day..we just started this past march. checked thru the youtube pages and saw many of the videos. am not too sure any of them is yesica-esp since many of them are from 2009 and before..anyway, will keep looking..thanks again.

                • May 13, 2011
                  at 1:48 pm

                  None of the videos that I posted were of that project. I don’t know if a “sponsortour” ever went through that project. Be sure to become a member of OC, there you can probably meet people, who sponsor in that project. There might be photos and also a map of that project.

                  • debbi mcginnis
                    Aug 1, 2011
                    at 6:59 am

                    did you video 540?

  262. Carolyn Cooper
    Jan 4, 2011
    at 9:19 pm

    Kees: Yes, the Dom. Rep. is the country of my heart, and where I have been sponsoring since 1989. I have never been to DR 521, but I know that it is in the capital, isn’t it? I have just found out that on the sponsor tour to the D.R. on January 13, we will be visiting DR 125. I do not have a child in that project, but in 2003 my church took a missions trip to the church attached to that project, and actually built the building that now houses the Compassion project. I have not been back to see the finished building since that time, and I am so excited to be reuniting with old friends at that church and project–and of course am looking forward with joyful anticipation to seeing my girls for a FULL DAY on Sunday, 01/16. Please email me at secretagent066@msn.com as I would like to hear about how you go about finding new sponsors, and that is not what we should be writing about on this forum.

  263. Beatty Collins
    Jan 25, 2011
    at 8:09 pm

    It’s probably been said by others, and in other and better ways, but a visit to a sponsored child has a huge impact on the attitude and self-image and life of the child. Put yourself in the position of the child. You may have been sponsored for a short time or even a long time; you may have received no letters or some letters or many letters. But suddenly, this day, this one special day your sponsor comes to see YOU! Suddenly you realize that you mean so much, you are so special to your sponsor, that they will travel — in some cases — half way around the world just to see you!

    Our ongoing support is critically important, our occasional extra gifts are important, our letters are important. But a visit in-person makes a very important statement to our child that we really, truly, care so much about them that we will do whatever is necessary to come to be with them, if only for a few hours.

    • Ken M.
      Jan 27, 2011
      at 8:35 am

      This is true. I went to visit my children in Brazil a little over one year ago. The correspondence monitors of my 7 year old child have written to me 3 times about the change in his behavior since my visit. He was so excited and told his peers that I came to see him. At first he didn’t like to participate in the activities; now he is eager to participate with an interest in everything he does. He no longer talks back to staff. The time I spent with him along with the letters and prayers worked together to bring a change in him. If you have the opportunity, don’t hesitate to visit your child. And keep writing those letters and never stop praying.

  264. Misty C.
    Feb 1, 2011
    at 10:41 am

    A few years ago, I decided to sponsor an older child, Pui was 16 at the time. I was her 3rd or 4th sponsor. I went to Thailand w/ a compassion tour to meet her. During the visit, I asked her what church she went to, and she said she was Buddist. I knew that Compassion reached out to non-christians, but the this was the first sponsored child that I had that wasn’t already a christian. A few months after that visit, she wrote and told me she had accepted Jesus as her savior! She had been in the program for many many years, but God used my trip to see her to let her know she was loved and valued. God used my caring and love to reflect His love for her, and she saw it truly for the first time. If God is whispering to you that you need to see your child, He has a reason. For me, it was how He led Pui to the gift of life. For Ken, his child became more active, in a good way. You never know how God will use your visit to change a child’s life.
    God bless!

  265. Carolyn Cooper
    Feb 1, 2011
    at 4:00 pm

    Yes, you never know the impact that your visits have for all of eternity. I visit my sponsored girls every year, and take lots of photos over and their family members. One of the girls has, over the years of my sponsoring her, lost both of parents and the ONLY photos she has of them were taken by me. Another one lost her Mom last winter to a heart attack and I was able to be there at the funeral to comfort the girl, when everyone else was just lost in their grief and not paying attention to her. It was not the ideal visit, but it was an honor to be able to share this saddest moment with her, and it is a bond between that would never have happened if I had not been there at that time. I believe that it was destined by God for me to be there at that time. This child also has many photos of her, her Dad and her Mom all together over the years that were taken by me.

  266. Peggy
    Feb 7, 2011
    at 9:35 am

    We sponsored our Ayda last July, our 1st sponsorship. Then in Nov. we were able to go and visit her & the center she attends & 4 other childrens centers. It was a life changing experience for us. We plan to go again this Nov. It gives you a real since of relationship to your child plus CI programs. You also can see the needs first hand & see what has already been accomplished. We would not take for the experience of a lifetime for us.

  267. Jeannie
    Feb 22, 2011
    at 6:36 am

    I registered to visit my child in Columbia this fall. I was wondering if Compassion contacts the child to let them know of the visit, or can I let her know that I will be coming? Also, they ask you to bring arts and craft supplies for the different projects that we will visit. Any suggestions of what would be good to take, and do we take enough to just fit in the luggage? The weight restrictions are so strict and I want to bring gifts to my little girl and her family.

    • Misty
      May 12, 2011
      at 9:26 am

      I called once and asked them about telling my child I was coming, they don’t seem to have an offical policy but it was recommended that I don’t tell them, just in case something happens. One trip I was on, a sponsor that was going to go broke her arm shortly before the trip and couldn’t go, since the child didn’t know she was coming the kid didn’t get hugely disappointed. My carry on luggage gets stuffed w/ things for my child and the projects. I take two suitcases and cram them full as well. I bring toys, blankets, school stuff, back packs, soap, shampoo etc. Anything I think they will like! ON the way back I put one of the checked suitcases inside the other!

  268. Win
    Feb 22, 2011
    at 8:41 am

    Jeannie – yes, your child will be notified but not until very close to your arrival. They wait so long because it is devastating to the child if something happens and you are not able to make the trip. I am not sure if there is an official policy regarding a sponsor communicating an upcoming visit through a letter. Perhaps someone else reading this blog would know.

    On my trip to El Salvador, I took supplies to make gospel bracelets (leather straps, beads of the gospel colors – gold/yellow, black, red, white, green). I was also able to obtain booklets in Spanish that explained the bracelets. They were a huge hit.

  269. Debbie Blair
    Mar 5, 2011
    at 4:48 pm

    we have sponsored several kids at a time for over a decade. It is so gratifying to know every cent works to give hope and help to a child for the sake of Christ.
    We ache to meet our children, but have always opted to send the money rather than gratify our curiosity and fill our own hearts with that joy.
    Well, it has taken 5 year to set ourselves up with reasons, but we did it! First, we decided which of the 5 countries (that our kids were in) we would like to see. Then we sponsored a second child from the same country, so two of the 6 were near eachother. Then, we started a family business selling hair tinsel and feathers to stylist each night after work to make the money for the trip. The tinsel actually comes from Thailand, so part of it willk be a business trip.
    We have dicided to make it our last family trip, since our daughters are in their 20’s and we just finished paying for their college. A year from now, we hope to use half out the proceeds to finance our family trip over to visit our two compassion children and half to give to the project’s needs. It will be fantastic to see what needs they have and just hand them the money to tackle it.
    So far, we have grown so much in our faith through this project and our 25% to our goal already, here in March. The joy of the Lord is our strength! Working after work has never been such a delight!
    Go for it! Make a plan. God will make it happen. It is for his glory, so I am sure out of His abundance He will bring more than what is necessary to bless you and your children,

  270. Sarah
    Mar 11, 2011
    at 12:18 pm

    I am still AMAZED that the question is even posed!!! “Should I visit my sponsor child!!!” It helps me to visit even more!!! It’s kind of almost like reverse psychology for me. It is like asking “should I obey God?” Obviously we should obey God but do we? Obviously we should visit our sponsor child but do we?

    Mike, I love your enthusiasm, but I don’t think it is a case of “should” with visiting sponsor children. Everyone has to listen to their own heart and to God’s leading, and each one will be led by him, not by “should”. For some people it is genuinely impossible for whatever reason, and for some it is not the best use of their time energy or resources.

    • May 12, 2011
      at 12:09 pm

      Yes, I take that word “should” more in terms of as opposed to using the money to sponsor another child.

      The underlying question is really: “What is sponsorship all about.” If someone sees it as a financial commitment primarily, then the answer is no. But sponsorship is really more about a relationship…. The financial commitment is necessary. And without it, it doesn’t work. The finances is kind of like a person’s vital organ like a liver. We don’t live our lives centered around our livers…. but without the liver you can’t function. So, sponsorship is really about discipleship…. and now that question becomes a very easy question.

  271. Beatty Collins
    Apr 16, 2011
    at 6:04 pm

    I need to confess that we sponsor several children through Compassion and several through World Vision. Regardless of the program, each child is a precious child of God and we try to visit each one at least once. Recently we went to Nicaragua to see several World Vision children for the first time, and I later received many letters. Here is what one child wrote:

    ” Thank you for coming to visit me. I am the first person in my village that has ever had a sponsor come to visit. What a fantastic day it was! I hope that it is not the last time. I am so happy that you came. I have known you through your pictures and your letters, but now I know you as a person. I will be praying for you and your wife because I love you both as if you were my own parents.”

    As a sponsor we hope to impact on the life of a child. Nothing can do more to build that sponsor-child relationship than a visit that enables you to meet face-to-face. As a sponsor, a visit has an impact on you far beyond what you can imagine. And for the child? It could be one of the most significant things that has ever occurred to them.

  272. Carolyn Cooper
    Apr 17, 2011
    at 6:36 am

    This opinion comes from one of my sponsored children, Miguelina, age 12. When I last saw her, last month, I asked her what SHE thought about whether or not a sponsor should visit their sponsored child. (We know each other VERY well as I have sponsored her for 9 years, and visit at least twice a year, but she is VERY shy). She thought for a moment and then she said, “Yes, because you always visit the people that you love.”
    We get a lot of opinions here on this blog, both pro and con, but I think it is hard to argue with Miguelina’s reasoning!!! By the way, is there anyone out there who has actually been to visit their sponsored child, who thinks that they should NOT have gone?

    • Helen ONeal
      Aug 31, 2011
      at 6:58 pm

      i couldn’t agree more with Miguelina! Thank God for the wise simplicity of a child :)

  273. Carolyn Cooper
    May 11, 2011
    at 2:26 pm

    The cost quoted above is for a Compassion sponsored and organized GROUP TOUR. If you go on your own, the only costs that you should incur with Compassion are the cost of your Compassion interpreter/guide, which you must arrange through Compassion beforehand. And, of course you should give the Compassion USA office time to contact the Compassion office in Ecuador who will contact your child and arrange for the meeting. The lead time on that is usually at least 8 weeks.

  274. Brittany Dearing
    May 11, 2011
    at 2:35 pm

    “When God chose to bring salvation to you and me, he did not send gold or silver, cash or check. He sent himself—the Son.” –David Platt

  275. Sherie Bolick
    May 22, 2011
    at 6:24 pm

    Three weeks ago I returned from my dream visit to see my ‘son’ in Rwanda. It was the most amazing experience for all the reasons sited above. Absolutely go! It meant more to my little guy than any words can ever express! It made the connection between us so much more personal and emotional. He was sweet, cute, adorable, fun, funny, happy so happy, playful and loving. He told me he missed me and was so happy to see me and that he loved me. I fell more deeply in love with that little guy and will be able to encourage him so much more having met him. If you can possibly put together the cash to go I say go! It means more than money and things to them and to you. You will find the money when you get home to do more and you can help so many others to understand more deeply. God is working miraculously through Compassion. It is amazing to see it first hand and meet the country workers and hear their hearts and see their love for these children and their families. I will go back and I will help more just because I was there. GO!

    • May 29, 2011
      at 7:34 am

      Hi Sherie, Did you went on an individual trip to Rwanda to visit your child? If you did, I would like to know more about your experience because I’m thinking of planning an individual trip to see my friend in Ethiopia sometime in the future :-)

      • May 31, 2011
        at 10:43 am

        Christine – I am also wanting to plan an individual trip to Ethiopia but my husband isn’t keen on my traveling alone. Perhaps we could travel together?

        • Jun 1, 2011
          at 4:35 am

          Hi Win, It would be great if we could travel to Ethiopia together! I have also asked a friend of mine to accompany me there because I didn’t want to travel by myself. In the meantime, I’m still trying to raise the funds to go(Hopefully, it won’t take too long :-)).

          • B Kenerly
            Jan 21, 2012
            at 8:58 pm

            Win and Christine, Have either of you taken the trip to Ethiopia yet? My husband and I plan to travel on an individual trip in the near future (2012).

  276. Jeanette Mahnke
    May 26, 2011
    at 7:49 pm

    I went to Ethiopia to see my children in March of 2010. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I met my children, some of their parents, and some of the workers of their projects. Through the interpreter we were able to ask each other many questions. I was surprised to see how many questions they had about me and my life.
    At first the two little ones were shy and held back. But by the time our visit was over they gave me big hugs. Now I have a much better connection with my children and I know who I am writing to.
    When I first thought about going on a tour I thought about all of the children I could help with the money it would cost. But I wanted to go so badly. After telling myself over and over that it was not the best use of the money, I felt as if God told me it was okay.
    I really believe it made a difference in my children’s lives and I know it did in mine. If you can go I urge you to do it.

  277. Deseri
    Jun 2, 2011
    at 8:33 am

    I just started sponsoring a child a few months ago and would LOVE to visit my little girl in Bolivia. I am a clown and wondered if anyone else has ever gone to their sponsored child’s school and did any ministry and how it is looked upon. What is the primary language out there? I only speak English but possibly through an interpreter could share Jesus with a clown show. I would love to give my child a visit, but also share my love for her and also Jesus’s love for her and her friends. Are there any suggestions. Would it be better to go and NOT offer a clown show as well? How long do you usually stay for a visit. We only have one child. What else could I take for her and her family? Thank you for this blog!

    • Misty
      Jun 2, 2011
      at 9:21 am

      If you go on a tour w/ Compassion they usually send a list with suggestions. I tend to go overboard! A backpack, fill it with schoool supplies, a teddy bear and a doll (depending on age) hair stuff. a little purse, nail polish, any “girl” stuff. hand towels, toothpaste , toothbrushes, shampoo etc for the family. If you know when you are going…and you have several months to shop, just everytime you go to a store look and see if there is anything you think they would like or could use.

    • Jun 15, 2011
      at 7:04 am

      Hi, Deseri,

      You can ask about organizing a clown show for your child’s visit, but I’m not sure if Compassion in Colorado Springs can organize that. They maybe able to request it.

      Generally, the visits last anywhere from 2 hours to 6 hours. That’s the general rule. They may last much longer. But that’s what the office in Colorado Springs will quote.

      Your visit is the big gift to the child. It’s good to brings some gifts to the child and the family, but I wouldn’t go overboard on it. There are several reasons for this. One is that you don’t want to overwhelm them with gifts. The other is that you might get into difficulties at the airport with customs in Bolivia. So, if you do bring gifts, remove all the tags and the boxes, so that it doesn’t look like stuff that can be sold. Also, in Bolivia, you’re only allowed to bring in two suitcases per person by the government. Another thought is that if you go to Bolivia to visit your child that everything, except for electronics is pretty much so much cheaper here, then you ever can buy it in the States. But if you don’t speak Spanish and don’t have experience, you want to make sure to have a translator with you…. Otherwise, you can have much difficulties, buying the stuff and if not careful, you can run into problems with getting robbed, i.e. go to the wrong places. But again remember, your visit is the big gift to the child, more than any materialistic things you could give to the child. And their family and student center would love to meet you….

      I’m here in Bolivia. Maybe I know your child. What is the child’s number? Who knows, maybe I know your child and take some pictures of her…..

      • Deseri
        Jun 15, 2011
        at 4:41 pm

        Hi Kees,

        I am still working on funds to go visit, but it would be amazing. My little girls number is BO1790885. It would be awesome to see more pictures if you are near her. We just started to sponsor her a few months ago and got our first letter last week before the postal strike happened here in Canada. It is amazing how much even that first letter does mean to us.

        Would I have to talk to compassion in Bolivia if I wanted to do a clown show? Also you said I can purchase stuff in Bolivia with an interpreter? It would be such an amazing experience to go I am sure. I will Pray that God leads me as I work toward the funds to make a trip.

        From others that have gone to visit your child if you are to visit for 2-6 hours, and the flight is 2 days… How long do you stay in Bolivia or that country? and what other things can you do there? As I said I would LOVE to bring my clown stuff and give shows and make balloon animals. Any other suggestions?

        Thank you again.

        • Jun 15, 2011
          at 7:25 pm

          Hi, Desiri,

          That student center is in Oruro. I won’t be there. I’m so sorry. I would contact Compassion Canada and talk with them about an individual visit. That’s what they are called. I would also talk with them about the clown show, though I would say that this might be good the second time, because you probably want to spend as much time as possible with your child…. Also, the altitude is very high there. About 13000 to 14000 feet. It is also very cold in Oruro. You might not feel like doing a clownshow. But that is just my opinion.

          As far as what else there is to do there…. I can think of a lot of things in Bolivia. The only concern I have is that I don’t know you and don’t know how well, you can adjust to this culture. It might be a little dangerous to go all by yourself hiking around there… Again, maybe you are well accustomed to being in a country like Bolivia and it might not be dangerous at all. But I see tourists do things here that are just asking to be robbed. A one day visit would seem pretty short. Maybe a grouptour would be better for you…. When I’m back in Florida in a few months, I’ll be happy to talk with you about it via the phone and I can explain it all more.

          Kees

          • Carolyn Cooper
            Jun 16, 2011
            at 5:52 am

            Hey, Kees, I am glad to see that you are in the country of your heart!!!
            I just got back from mine (the D.R.). I have written to my sponsored girls to let them know that very soon, I will be living and teaching there full time. I am sure that they are as excited about that as I am!!!
            Anyone out there who is thinking of visiting their sponsored child in the Dom. Rep. on an individual tour, feel free to contact me!!! I have sponsored in that country for over 20 years, with many visits both individual and tour and would be happy to share all that I know about the country and the wonderful work that Compassion is doing there.

            • Helen ONeal
              Aug 31, 2011
              at 5:12 am

              Carolyn, i am extremely excited to say that i have registered for my first C.I. group tour to go to the DR next spring! i have been sponsoring Carlos for ten years (he is now 19) so this has been a dream for a long time…i am very thankful for this opportunity to see firsthand what Compassion is doing in the DR and, of course, to meet him in person!

              • Helen ONeal
                Aug 31, 2011
                at 6:59 pm

                Have you been to Fronterizo in Dajabon? It’s #381.

      • debbi mcginnis
        Jun 23, 2011
        at 10:04 am

        my child is also in BOlivia, but isnt it a rather large country?

        • Aug 1, 2011
          at 8:51 pm

          It is the size of Texas. But the airfares can be quite inexpensive. I just flew from Cochabamba to La Paz for $40.

          • Andrea
            Aug 15, 2011
            at 10:20 am

            Hi Kees,

            Mom & I are discussing trying to visit Moises (who you found for her) but I can’t seem to find a site that sells tickets to Cochabamba. Where do you get your tickets to Cochabamba from?

            Thanks,

            Andrea

            • Aug 15, 2011
              at 10:25 pm

              Andrea,

              That is great. You will have a good time. You would take a flight to La Paz or to Santa Cruz. From there you would take another flight to Cochabamba with a Bolivian airline. I suggest BOA. You would request for the tickets to be bought by the Compassion Office in Bolivia. Then you would reimburse Compassion.

              I hope this helps.

              Blessings,

              Kees

              • Andrea
                Aug 22, 2011
                at 8:47 am

                Very much, thank you!

                Andrea

  278. Alan Jackson
    Jun 14, 2011
    at 11:22 pm

    All good answers and thoughts. Having gone to two different countries, I can say a sponsored trip has really activated my desire to share with others about Compassion. Most of my vacation dreams now entail visiting or revisiting our Compassion kids. Never having the money for the big sponsor trips, I do individual visits and have a great time.
    By the way, the clown idea is great. Maybe some of the LDP students could help organize some neighborhood kids or even at the project. They would all love it. I would think it could be coordinated thru the Compassion office in the country but originated thru the Compassion office here in Colorado.

    • Aug 1, 2011
      at 9:10 pm

      Yes, and your visits have made a huge impact on the ones you have visited in Bolivia at least.

      Several of the LDP students in Cochabamba do clown shows for projects. Dennis is probably the biggest clown of them all. (Maybe in real life too!!! jajajajaja)

  279. Stephanie
    Jul 8, 2011
    at 11:29 pm

    Your visit has the potential to change someone’s life as much as the money does. There are two Christian motivational speakers I know of that you can refer to . Rene Godefroy who has come to America from Haiti with only a suitcase and a change of clothes, $5. and no English to become a motivational speaker recommends planning out a perfect day in five years and living it in your mind. You can see Rene visiting orphanages on the internet. I met Edward Edebiri who came from Nigeria where he only wore shoes on special occasions, there was no refrigerator until he was a teenager in his family home but he acomplished a list of goals a mentor showed him how to make as a child; including becoming a plane pilot, getting a BA degree, purchasing a new Jaguar auto… I bought his motivational book. Mr. Edebiri’s goal is to improve global happiness. Both men visit where they came from quite often to lift up the people there. You can find both men on the internet. These two men who have been where some of these kids are now think it’s important to visit. These two men are an example of what a mentor can do to inspire. Mr. Godefroy also gives credit to people who inspired and motivated him.

  280. Kimberly
    Jul 13, 2011
    at 5:22 am

    Keens, I have a sponsored child in Bolivia! BO421. Have you been there? It would be really neat if you have! And if you have pictures of that project that would be cool because i might see him in them. His name is Abraham and he just turned 13 last month.

    • Jul 13, 2011
      at 4:43 pm

      Hi, Kimberly, I am glad that you sponsor a child in Bolivia. I won´t be at BO421. I spent the day today at BO521….

  281. Carolyn Cooper
    Jul 14, 2011
    at 5:41 pm

    Only 3 more weeks and I will be going to LIVE in the country of my sponsored girls. I am so excited and they are, too.
    Kees–when you have a chance, email me (in Spanish, of course)

    • Aug 1, 2011
      at 8:00 pm

      Carolyn, Si. ahora, no puedo email a personas…. Pero en 5 dias, estoy en mi casa, y puedo email at ti….. Muchos chausitos!!!

  282. jessica
    Jul 18, 2011
    at 9:24 pm

    I think about visiting my child every week, I wish that day comes sooner rather than later. I have been her sponsor for over 10 years, I just turned 30 this year and I think about her like she’s a part of my family. If given the opportunity I would definitely go visit her. Definitely.

  283. irene holloway
    Aug 16, 2011
    at 5:51 am

    i think one must go by their own heart and desires and leave the rest up to God to deal with us with our decisions.. i personally would love to meet my sponsored child and her family, because it could only help me understand better what they deal with daily and others like them. it also would bring reality to the child who doesn”t understand, that we are that live human being from afar that does care. i don”t know that i will ever be able to see my sponsored child, but if it were ever possible, i know that i would truly try to.

  284. Helen ONeal
    Aug 31, 2011
    at 7:09 am

    Can anyone give me some sort of idea as to how difficult or easy it would be for a person to travel between countries within South America on an individual trip to visit sponsored children. i am looking ahead to the next year or two to possibly going from Ecuador to Peru and back. i am good at navigating, have had quite a bit of travel experience (although not a whole lot overseas!), and i love a good adventure :)

    • Aug 31, 2011
      at 11:17 am

      Hmmm…… that’s a tough one. I would suggest talking with a travel agent about this. I was in Bolivia just last month and then I wanted to go to Lima, Peru to visit my children there. Now Peru and Bolivia are neighbours. So, an inland flight in Bolivia is very inexpensive about $50 or so, if you know where to look. But a flight from Bolivia to Peru is about $500. I’m not sure why so different. But I ended up using my frequent flyer miles and getting a free trip to Peru. So, I went back from Bolivia to the USA, then a few days later flew to Peru for 5 days.

      I would not suggest travelling with a bus between the two countries. From what I understand, it’s quite a bit dangerous and if you haven’t had much experience travelling oversees and especially, if you don’t speak Spanish fluently, you’re an easy target for a robbery. Also sometimes these busses are being stopped in the middle of the country road and robbed, like an old train robbery in the past in the West.

      I’ve travelled by bus from Bogota to Medellin to Cali and back to Bogota and I was with a Compassion representative and a native from that country. I had quite a bit of trouble on that trip. You can not assume anything in the other countries, like you do in the USA. So, unless you’re fluent in Spanish and fit and really understand the culture, I would strongly advice against it. But it is a lot cheaper….. But very dangerous. So, I would do it by air.

      Then if that’s financially feasible, then you want to coordinate this with the Compassion Experience the department under an individual visit, but be sure to align a lot of this way in advance. I understand the Peru office is from time to time not able to facilitate the visits. So, you definitely want to coordinate this with someone in the office in Colorado Springs.

      • Helen ONeal
        Sep 9, 2011
        at 4:13 pm

        Thank you so much for your helpful comments! I’ll definitely try and keep all this in mind as I pray about this future trip.

  285. Carolyn Cooper
    Aug 31, 2011
    at 7:19 pm

    For Helen: First you should contact Compassion in Colorado to set something up for you in the 2 countries. This should be done 3-6 months in advance. Also you should look at the US State Department Website: travel.state. gov to get more information about the 2 countries that you mention above. I live in the country where my 2 sponsored girls live (the Dominican Republic) and I believe that if you are planning to travel between 2 Latin American countries, it would be a good idea to know some Spanish. Blessings to you on your plans.

    • Helen ONeal
      Sep 9, 2011
      at 4:16 pm

      Thanks Carolyn! i really appreciate your insights, and will sure keep them in mind for this potential trip. For now, I am preparing for my first group sponsor tour ever–to the DR! i am terribly excited about it, and can hardly wait for the end of April to get here…but i know the time will go by quickly :) What part of the DR are you living in?

  286. Beatty Collins
    Sep 2, 2011
    at 7:10 pm

    Helen, the best way to go between the two countries is via air (such as LANChile) from Guayaquil to Lima. It’s a 2-hour nonstop flight for about $400. There are also two bus companies — Caracol and Ormeno — who travel that route and to other countries in South America. By bus you might be talking 15 or 20 hours.

    I’ve used bus companies to travel internationally in Central America and love them; some of them are inexpensive, safe, reliable and more comfortable — and with better onboard service — than an airplane (example: Hedman-Alas between Honduras and Guatemala). But I don’t know anything about Caracol or Ormeno in South America. The advice about speaking Spanish is a good one. If you do bus travel you won’t find many English-speakers around to help translate.

    • Helen ONeal
      Sep 9, 2011
      at 4:17 pm

      Thanks for the tips–i really appreciate it!

  287. Jeannie Millikin
    Sep 7, 2011
    at 6:19 am

    I am so excited to be going on my first sponsor tour in October, to Colombia. I was just wondering how and when the children are told their sponsors will be visiting, and what their reactions are.

    • Sep 7, 2011
      at 9:20 am

      Hi, Jeannie,

      Normally, they wait till everything is totally confirmed till the end to tell the child. Just in case that something goes wrong. What the reactions are…. mmmmm….. They can be totally varied, depending on the child. Most children are a bit shy. It’s like most people would feel when they meet their favourite sports figure or movie star or the President of a country. If you ask most children, their biggest dream in life is to meet their sponsor. But I can’t say that of course of your child. Colombians in general are pretty open….

  288. Lindsey
    Sep 7, 2011
    at 8:06 am

    For those of you who have visited your sponsor children, what sorts of gifts do you bring? I’m thinking about visiting my child next summer and was curious.

    • Sep 7, 2011
      at 2:02 pm

      Hi, Lindsey, This is so wonderful that you want to go see your sponsored child. I will say this. I’ve done around 150 childvisits myself. You are the biggest gift that you will give to most children. It’s not so much about the material things that you can give. It is you being there. I think it is important to give some things, but it’s not as important as we tend to think with our Western mind. I try to buy things in the country itself, but then I know how to maneuver in Bolivia, so it’s not that big of a deal, But I end up spending about $3-$5/child on the childvisit for the gifts. I would not take a lot of things from the USA over there. You could get into the biggest problems entering this into the local country. Trust me I speak from experience. It can be really difficult and extremely time consuming. I’d buy some things and consider doing a family gift instead of buying things in the USA and taking it with you and over there it is alot cheaper. Once you’re there, you will be able to see what the need of that family is anyways. I hope this helps.

      • Phyllis
        Jun 16, 2013
        at 11:14 am

        I have been reading everybody’s posts and questions about visiting their child. I have sponsored a child in Bolivia for nine years and have watched her grow into a beautiful young lady- in pictures. I was excited to sign up for the Compassion tour to Bolivia in October. When my son found out about the trip, he was very concerned about my safety(according to the US State Dept. travel warnings). Is there anything I or he should be concerned about???

        • Jun 20, 2013
          at 9:58 pm

          Hi, Phyllis,

          Greetings from Cochabamba, BOlivia.

          I do have some suggestions.

          First of all, if you go with a tour, you will be guided throughout the whole time. In other words, the vast majority of what could be dangerous is avoided. Be sure to follow the instructions of the tour personel, especially of Rachel. She will be with you all and she knows what to do. She is very friendly and you will love her. Do not leave the group or go on your own to places that you don’t know and you’ll probably never even notice any danger. It would be very unlikely.

          But here are things that I do:

          Never carry with you, which you don’t need that day. In other words, I do not carry a US driver’s license with me. I don’t carry money with me that I don’t need that day. If I get robbed (which has happened to me once, but I’m not with a Compassion tour, then I lose the lease amount.)

          Carry most money with you in a moneybag under your shirt. Like when I got robbed, I had about $50 with me, but only $6 in my wallet and that’s all they got. Again, I don’t have any credit cards or things like that in my wallet. So, they didn’t get any major documents.

          Do not, I repeat, do not go off by yourself outside of the tour. People are watching you, including thieves. If you go to dangerous areas, there is a good chance of getting robbed, especially at night.

          Bolivia is full of street dogs. They are probably the most dangerous of all. If you feel like a street dog is trying to attack you or approach you, act like you are picking up a stone or something from the street and that you are about to throw it to them…. I use this all the time, even today…. They’ll run away with their tales between their legs….

          Do not eat food from street vendors. (unless you want to loose weight in a very unpleasant way. The same goes for not eating raw vegetables or water from the tab. Of course on a tour, you’ll eat in very nice hotels.

          While we’re at it. In all South America, bring your own toilet paper and don’t throw it in the toilet, but in the bucket or trashcan next to the toilet.

          Don’t get into deals on the street with strangers….

          If something unexpected happens, like someone bumps into you with a milkshake and you’re all dirty…. realize that you probably are about to be robbed.

          Do not stick out your camera outside of the tourbus to take a photo, or have the window open while you are speaking on a cellphone. It’s easy to rob those.

          Do not display how much money you have.

          Do not shower your child with gifts and material possessions. I’ve done over 200 child visits. Realize that YOU and your visit are the greatest gift to your child, not any material things that you might give. If you ask most Compassion children what is their biggest dream, it would be to meet their sponsor. So, go light on the gifts. Also, realize that the child might be very quiet at first and very shy and reserved. This doesn’t mean that they don’t like you, but that they are overwhelmed that you are there. It would be like if you were a huge fan of a celebrity and that celebrity decided to spend the day with you.

          Then enjoy your time in Bolivia. It’s the most amazing country in the world and you will love it.

          Most of these suggestions about safety will be a very little issue to you, because if you go with a tour, you will be protected every step of the way.

          • Carolina Cooper
            Jun 21, 2013
            at 7:58 am

            Kees, when I read Phyllis’ questions about the “danger” in going to Bolivia, I was hoping that you would reply…no one better than you, who is in Bolivia so much, to let someone know what it is really like. The US State Department warnings paint the worst case scenarios, and probably it they posted US crime statistics, no one would come to the USA, either!!! When I read about the crime in the Dominican Republic, I think, hmm, that is not the DR that I know and love so well. Compassion does EVERYTHING possible to make each and every visit safe, enjoyable and life changing for each and every sponsor and visitor.

            • Jun 21, 2013
              at 10:56 am

              Thanks, Carolina. Yes, I know how you feel. They can be a bit dramatic. Kind of like the weather channel about the weather. :-)

              And again, if you go with a tour and just follow the instructions, it would be very unlikely that you would experience anything that is remotely considered as dangerous. It would be like being in a cruise ship and going through shark invested waters….

              Oh, I forgot, but in Bolivia, they love to make little steps everywhere and also have uneven pavement. So, watch your walk. :-)

          • Donna Price
            Jun 21, 2013
            at 10:28 am

            That has got to be the most thorough and help post I’ve ever seen about a sponsor tour. I’m going to bookmark this just in case I ever get to go on a sponsor tour.

            • Jun 21, 2013
              at 4:25 pm

              Thank you Donna. That means a lot, especially since I’ve never been on a sponsortour myself. Though I’ve known a lot of people, who have gone. And I’ve lived with the lady and her husband, who organize sponsortours. :-)

        • Jun 21, 2013
          at 5:10 pm

          Hey Phyllis!
          Yep, Kees is the best to tell you about Bolivia! He’s been there so much. I have a question for you- you see, I sponsor a girl in BO559. She will graduate May 2014, and I have been sooo wanting to give her a little gift. I made a blanket for her. But I obviously can’t send it unless I know someone going to Bolivia to take it. Is there any way you might consider taking it to her for me? I know this is asking a lot, and not at all the advice you’re looking for. But I can’t go, sadly, and I just want her to know that I am always thinking of her. So if you would like to chat with me, I would love that! my e-mail is lizzie4compassion(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you. And blessing on your trip. Bolivia is beautiful. Someday I really want to go there!!! :)

  289. Helen ONeal
    Sep 9, 2011
    at 4:11 pm

    I have really enjoyed this exchange of comments! I have now registered for my first group sponsor tour, and it is nothing short of a miracle to actually be preparing for this spring trip! I had always dreamed about it, and was glad for those who COULD go, but used to think that it would never be a possibility for me. After sponsoring Carlos for ten years, I am so excited to think about meeting him in person and to see Compassion in action in the DR! I am so thankful to God for this amazing opportunity, and can hardly wait to see what He has in store next!

  290. Beatty Collins
    Sep 11, 2011
    at 3:03 pm

    Kees, what a fantastic ministry you have with all of those child visits! Thanks for sharing your insights with us. You’re right, the biggest gift we can give is of ourselves — to be there in person to show your child that you cared so much that you wanted to be with him or her.

    As for gifts, if it’s a group tour I believe that Compassion will ask you to bring along some general gifts for the children in the CDCs — small toys, crayons, hair ribbons, etc. (things you can pick up in a dollar store). In addition I’ve brought along maybe $15-20 worth of purchased things for my child — a penlight, a small backpack, a diary, maybe a foto album for pictures that I’ll be sending, etc. But in addition and even much more important I try to include some special thing that is very personal — that is clearly from me to the child. For one child I handmade a small silver cross that I’ve gave her; for another, I made a small glass out of pottery. Do you have any hobbies that express who you are? Photography, sewing, poetry, painting or sketching, etc. By all means, share a bit of those with your child during your visit. On my group tour to El Salvador, my child gave to me a photo album showing her from the time she was born until now. What a gift; I look at it constantly. I believe that a similar gift from you to your child will have the same impact.

  291. Oct 7, 2011
    at 2:27 pm

    Visiting a sponsored child is often a “short-term mission trip” fo sorts. With many other forms of short-term mission trips, there is indeed only short-term help for the community visited. Those who sponsor children have already made a long-term commitment to help both the child and the child’s environment. All short-term missions should include this kind of long-term commitment to help. God bless you for sponsoring a child! Go!

  292. Shannon
    Nov 22, 2011
    at 8:47 pm

    Oh… to visit a child or send money? I guess the best analogy I ready was in the book Radical…. God could have sent gold or jewels to help our dyer poverty and need but he sent his Son Jesus to be with us, comfort us, heal us and ultimately die for us. My husband and I were able to visit our sponsor child in India this past October. It was the hardest trip we have ever taken. It was an assault on all our senses but it was life changing. We will never be the same! We saw how our child lived, the dyer poverty, and for the first time could understand that Jesus left the splendor of heaven to come to this!!! This filth, this desolation, this unending misery to be with us. To love us, comfort us, heal us and die for us. That love is overwhelming. Every believer needs to experience this. You will never be the same.

  293. Jan Crossett
    Jan 13, 2012
    at 10:20 pm

    In October, 2011, I visited my children in Bangladesh on a sponsor tour and I have to say that it was one of the most profound weeks of my life. I am beginning to hear back from some of the children that I visited there and all of them comment on how loved they felt by my visit, and many couldn’t imagine that anyone could love them that much. Several have asked when I will be back and are making plans about what they want to show me or where I should go. Was it an easy trip? No way, as it took us more than 24 hours to get there. But the staff there worked their hardest to make us comfortable and to share their country and organization with us. And they were so moved that we would make such an effort to come see their country. It was a blessed experience for the sponsors, the kids, and all of those who work so hard to serve those kids. I would go back tomorrow…

  294. Ken M.
    Mar 2, 2012
    at 7:05 am

    In 2009 I had a decision to make. I had just received a settlement from a car accident. Should I save my money or spend $3300 on a sponsor tour to see my children in Brazil? I didn’t hesitate to go to Brazil to see my 5 sons. I have no regrets in spending the money.
    Now it is 2012. One of my children left the program April 2011 but I thank God he returned in December 2011. Another son moved out of the Compassion area in June 2011. And one week ago today I lost the son I sponsored the longest. His project closed. I’m in deep grief. I watched my son grow up. I started sponsoring him when he was 5 and 1/2 years old. This year I looked forward to receiving an updated picture and wishing him a Happy 12th Birthday. My grief over losing him is deep.
    Today I thank God that he gave me the opportunity to see my sons in October 2009. God gave me the opportunity to hug them, meet their families and spend an entire day playing games with them. I have the pictures and the memories in my heart of that day.
    Even though my grief over losing 2 of the 5 children is too deep to describe, my grief would be deeper if I had not walked through the door of opportunity to see my sons face to face.

  295. emily
    Mar 2, 2012
    at 6:15 pm

    I would love to visit my two little sponsors from Ghana. I feel like God is really leading me to and opening my heart to the children of Ghana. I would like to visit as my grad present after i get my masters in 2013. I have sponsored a girl named Sandra and a girl named cristelabel. Sandra I have sponsored for a year and a half now,Cristabel I sponsored today. I would also like to sponsor a boy from Ghana around grad time as well. I really hope to meet the children they are a blessing.

  296. Apr 18, 2012
    at 6:35 pm

    The Lord isn’t going to run out of money anytime soon. I can guarantee that a trip to visit your sponsored child will result in you sponsoring 5 more :)

  297. Lois Cummings
    May 3, 2012
    at 3:05 pm

    Shelly – – GO ! ! ! ! ! It is the trip of a lifetime and your sponsored kids will never forget seeing you and being with you. We went to Kenya last year to see our boy and came home to add a girl to our sponsor-family. I truly can’t wait to go back. The experience is mind-blowing and you will be blessed in so many ways.

  298. ann
    May 20, 2012
    at 3:11 pm

    I just returned from a group tour to Rwanda. I can’t described to you how much joy and pleased I am to witness the staff at the CI office work, but most especially having to spend time with my cute little boy (everybody said he is sooooo cute!). We only spend a day together but it felt like I’ve known him for a long time. True the expenses are a lot, but I have to weigh in things personally for myself and decide what really matters to me. Seeing my little boy in person matters a great deal for me. I don’t know if I will have the chance again to see him (I’m praying that I will see him again in 3 years). But I think this is a personal thing that only the sponsor can decide. Either way, I think all sponsors are great in their own way. God bless you faithful sponsors!!

  299. Hope
    May 21, 2012
    at 2:36 pm

    I have been sponsoring a little girl in Ethiopia and finally made the commitment to go on the Nov Sponsor trip. Thank you, all of you for the encouraging posts and your testamonies. It’s confirmation that there is something extra special and worthy in the love expressed by exchanged hugs, smiles and words that we can’t experience without the trip.
    Hope

  300. Jeanette Mahnke
    May 22, 2012
    at 1:44 pm

    I visied my children in Ethiopia in 2010. I feel that it was the only thing of real value that I did with my money in the last 2 years besides their sponsorship. I know people say the money could be spent to help other children. I thought the same thing but felt God was telling me to go. I had gotten a settlement from a vicious dog attack and was able to use that money to pay for my trip.
    Now things are very difficult for us financially. Seeing their faces, their love and their trust makes it so much easier to be committed to them during this time. I even added another child because I know no matter how bad my circumstances they don’t compare with the poverty of these children.
    I also know it made a big difference to the children, parents, and project workers to meet me. They asked a lot of questions and found that instead of being a “rich American” I was just a regular person, struggling to make ends meet who cared enough to share what I had.
    I wish it were not so expensive to go on a trip but I think it is worth it to the children you sponsor. If you ever get the chance, go!!!

  301. Sherilyn
    Sep 28, 2012
    at 10:41 pm

    My husband had the amazing opportunity to meet our sponsored child this past spring. He was taking a couple of youth group kids on a mission to Haiti and our child lives in Haiti. It took some doing, but they were able to arrange an afternoon where they drove to her location and met with her and her father. It was an amazing experience for all involved. I think her father was particularly impacted.
    We were able to send with my husband a backpack filled with clothes, coloring books, a doll and some other items that our child would not ordinarily receive.
    If you ever have the opportunity to couple a mission trip with a trip to visit your sponsored child, I think this is an awesome and God honoring way to be able to do it!

  302. Roth
    Oct 21, 2012
    at 8:06 pm

    My daughter and i visited our sponsor child in bolivia. Yes its costly, but. Its so worth it. My daughter said its the best trip she experienced. Its amazing, joy tear & love. Compassion for God’s great commission.

  303. gottabigheart
    Jan 16, 2013
    at 2:22 pm

    I would love to sponsor my little girl, yet she lives in India, and I in the Usa, my mom would love to go too, but am I too young to go? Im 13

    • Jan 17, 2013
      at 8:52 am

      If you go with your mom, you only have to 10! Go here for more info- http://www.compassion.com/get-involved/trips-visits.htm

      BTW, I am 14. I think it would be soo cool if you could visit your child. I hope you’ll let us know what happens. my e-mail is lizzie4compassion@gmail.com if you want to chat about Compassion :)

      • gottabigheart
        Jan 18, 2013
        at 8:50 pm

        thanks, I will let ya know, if we go…

    • ann
      Jan 17, 2013
      at 10:49 am

      Dear gottabigheart, I can imagine your heart is bigger than you. I went on a group tour and travelled with this 12 year old girl with her mom from Texas. She is 12 yet she is intellectually mature and was able to adapt to the country we visited. I did not once hear her complain about minor incovenienes. If you feel that you are open to learning about the culture of that country, love to explore diferent places, get to know more of the children in the country and is flexible to most everything, then you will have a great time. Good luck.

    • Jan 17, 2013
      at 11:29 am

      Hi, Gottabigheart!!! What a good description of you. I am so proud of you being the sponsor of your little girl. And I have to say this. I’ve worked in a lot of the centers with the children and if you asked most of them what is their greatest dream in life, they would say that it is to meet their sponsor one day!!! That is if they are old enough to understand what a sponsor is. Generally by the time they are about 6 or 7 years old, they know what and who their sponsor is. I think you can go, but you would have to go with a parent or so. But I’m so proud of you for being the sponsor to a little girl!!!

      • gottabigheart
        Jan 17, 2013
        at 3:17 pm

        thanks, my mom and I were talking about it, so i would love to meet her, she’s 8, so I think she knows what a sponsor is..

  304. Carolyn Cooper
    Jan 17, 2013
    at 8:45 am

    Yes, you are certainly to young to go to India by yourself, but get your mother convinced to go! Sponsor tours are more expensive than individual visits, but sponsor tours have many benefits, too. Look into it, and plan and save for the future. It is a worthy goal!

  305. Carolyn
    Mar 23, 2013
    at 11:52 am

    I remember asking myself that question, too, & for the sa