the world turned upside down My sponsorship story started almost 20 years ago after hearing a Compassion presentation. The name of my first sponsored child was Danny and he was from Honduras.

I was a churchgoer living in a fog, not surrendered to Christ. I sponsored a child because I thought it would be “fun.” Little did I know what God had planned!

One day out of the blue, Compassion called. My sponsorship of Danny had ended because Compassion had to close down the child development center. I was devastated.

Surprisingly, they asked if I wanted to sponsor another child and I said,

“Not at this time.”

I couldn’t understand how they could ask me this in a time of such pain.

But then I got the itch to sponsor another child.

I told God,

“You know how much I loved Danny from Honduras and you know how much I want a boy. Yet, I will trust You and love whomever You select for me.”

When I opened up the packet and I saw the name and country, I started to cry … Daniel, age 10, from Honduras. I couldn’t believe it!

In his first letter Daniel said,

“I prayed a lot so God could give me a sponsor … I love you very much even though I don’t know you.”

One year later he wrote,

“I always pray that someday we could meet.”

A few months later,

“I want to thank you for all the love you have for me. I want you to know that I love you, too, and that my best wish is to be with you and to tell you in person all that you mean to me and my life.”

That did it! I had to meet this child!

I looked up trips on the website and saw that the trip to Honduras fit perfectly into my Spring Break vacation. However, the price tag was more than I expected so I decided to wait, figuring it wouldn’t fill up.

Well, I was wrong.

I waited so long I couldn’t even get on stand-by. When the next trip came up I vowed to sign up as soon as possible regardless of when it was or what it cost.

A few days before the trip the fears started infiltrating. However, I’m a finisher, so although very afraid, I took my first solo trip abroad to meet my boy and God showed me countless times that I was right where He wanted me.

I’ve never felt the presence of God so strongly every step of the way.

I quickly discovered the sponsors on the tour were different from other people I knew. They were much closer to God than I was and I wanted what they had. To this day I treasure their friendship.

We went to different child development centers, meeting many people and it wasn’t long before I decided that I was born for this!

Playing, praying, laughing, crying. I loved it all! And then the moment had come …

When I saw him, I gasped. I watched as he looked into each of the sponsors’ faces from a distance. Then, his eyes met mine and as soon as I said, “Daniel,” he sprinted to me, just like I had imagined. It couldn’t have been better.

We spent the day on water slides, boats, and sitting atop a hippo. At the end of the day his father said,

“I have seen how my son looks at you with such love. You cared for him like a mother today.”

One of the hardest things I had to do that day was walk Daniel to the bus that would separate us.

Recently, we again spent a day together … this time for perhaps for the last time.

You see, Daniel turns 18, and his participation at the child development center will end.

The hug Daniel and I shared after I first got out of the van was one of those hugs where neither one of us wanted to be the first to let go. His child development center gave us another warm welcome with song and heartfelt words.

After enjoying the day and having pizza together, the dreaded, gut-wrenching goodbye was at hand. How do I say goodbye to the child whose words moved me to visit him, which subsequently turned my world upside down so I could live right-side up?

I went into sponsorship thinking it would be ‘fun,’ but it was exceedingly, abundantly above all that I could ever ask or imagine. And now I see life through different eyes.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carolyn Mielke (“CC”) became a sponsor in 1995 and then became a Compassion Advocate in 2009. Currently she sponsors two Leadership Development Program students, seven children, and is a correspondent sponsor with nine more.

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  1. Karen
    Sep 27, 2013
    at 8:54 am

    After coordinating and directing a collection center for 6 years and then going to Mexico on a distribution team with Operation Christmas Child, it was important to me to “adopt” so I, too, went to Compassion for a girl from Mexico… and the same thing happened to me, TWICE. I was told my sponsorship was no longer needed, which after seeing what I did in Chiapas, was a total surprise to me to hear.

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Nov 30, 2013
      at 10:19 am

      Karen, I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s a VERY hard situation, as you well know. As hard, as it is, I do hope that you continue to open your heart to those in poverty as God calls you. You are a wonderful LIGHT to those near and dear to his heart. Thank you for all you do and those you reach for the Kingdom! I LOVE OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD! God bless you and your ministry!

  2. Emily
    Sep 27, 2013
    at 7:20 pm

    The same thing happened to me when I visited my sweet girl in El Salvador last summer. I’m now trying to find a way to go back for a longer period of time (maybe a year). It’s truly amazing where God can lead us through sponsorship.

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Nov 30, 2013
      at 10:22 am

      Emily, I’ll be praying for God to open that door in His perfect timing! What a heart you have! There aren’t many people that would move to their sponsored child’s country for 1 year! (Although, I would in a HEARTBEAT if God was in it)! Feel free to keep me updated! I love hearing what God is doing!

  3. Teri
    Sep 27, 2013
    at 8:28 pm

    Oh! CC!!! I remember talking with you at Lifest…and you had such a way with words and people that day…it shows in this story as well! I am so happy you were able to visit Daniel one last time…but I know that your relationship with him will be forever etched on both of your hearts. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! :)

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Nov 30, 2013
      at 10:29 am

      Teri, thanks so much for taking the time to read it. LOVED working with you! There’s NOTHING like connecting sponsors with precious children, especially if those sponsors are kids! I still tell people about that 5th grader who asked if the elevation in Bolivia would decrease his chance to visit his child! Any chance you are working the Roadshow in Madison in January?

  4. Jeremy Vance
    Sep 27, 2013
    at 8:53 pm

    Love, love, love this story CC. Forever thankful to God for how He continues to use precious little children like your Daniel. And if he were asked to describe the impact of your faithful love and support in his life, I’d be willing to bet Daniel’s face just might light up as bright as a Christmas tree. Thanks for sharing your story, my friend. Glad your world was turned upside down (for God) because that perspective is the only way to experience this life.

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Nov 30, 2013
      at 10:34 am

      Thanks for giving me the gentle push to share it. I still remember where we were when we had this conversation….the picnic table at the park during our first and only visit. God is doing an amazing work through you, my friend! I LOVE hearing YOUR stories and can’t wait to see where God is going to lead you next. (Hopefully one of those places is Peru)!

  5. Sep 30, 2013
    at 10:15 pm

    I love your story – thank you for sharing it! I, too, am a life changed by sponsorship!

    I love how God brought you another Danny from Honduras. When my first sponsored child graduated, I did ask for another but wasn’t specific. I had always said that if I ever had a son of my own, I would name him Domnic (my mother’s maiden name), Well…a packet came in the mail for a little boy named Dominic. I was floored.

    Dominic graduated last year at the age of 21 – we still communicate through email. And it turns out I never had a son of my own…I’m the mother of two beautiful daughters. But God gave me a “son” named Dominic in Kenya.

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Nov 30, 2013
      at 10:38 am

      Your story is SO LIKE GOD, isn’t it? Incredible that your child was named Dominic. That is an inspiring “God-wink.” Praise God that you continue to stay in contact with each other. What a story! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Mary Ricciuto
    Oct 2, 2013
    at 7:18 am

    Love your story! I am posting it on my Facebook page! Your title “My World Turned Upside Down, So I Could Live Right-side Up” explains what sponsorship does for so many of us! After the death of my only child, I feel God lead me to become a sponsor of 2 children in Bangladesh. The experience that Compassion International has given me as a sponsor and Advocate has been “Priceless”!! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Dec 14, 2013
      at 2:01 pm

      Mary, thank YOU for your kind words! My heart breaks for you just thinking about your experience of losing a child. Praise God for your heart for those in poverty. Thank you….thank you for loving them! You are a life-changer in Christ! God bless you!

  7. Nov 14, 2013
    at 6:41 am

    tears, joyful tears that someday I too will meet my sponsored child, Santiago

  8. Carolyn Mielke
    Nov 30, 2013
    at 10:55 am

    Lisa, we are praising God for your sponsorship and thanking him for working behind the scenes to make your trip happen all for His glory! I will continue to pray expectantly for your wish to come true!

  9. Carol Stine
    Dec 5, 2013
    at 5:43 am

    I love your story! I sponsored a girl named Myomy from Bolivia for almost 10 years when her family removed her from the program. I was sad because I wanted to sponsor her until she graduated from High School or turned 18. That was almost a year ago. I recently remembered the joy I felt in sponsorship and now have a boy, Isaac from Columbia. What a wonderful gift these children are.

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Dec 14, 2013
      at 2:13 pm

      Carol, losing Myomy after sponsoring her for 10 years….I can’t imagine the heartache. Praise God that you weren’t too heartbroken to sponsor again. You are a special gift to Isaac AND I’ve been to Colombia…great country! If you don’t get there in the next 4 years, I’m willing to take a gallon zip lock full of gifts for Isaac, if you wish. I plan on going when Jose’ graduates. He’s 14 now.

  10. Lisa
    Dec 5, 2013
    at 10:09 am

    I wanted to share the great news of our new sponsored child. Her name is Prawe and she is 13yrs.

    Last month the Lord showed me Matthew 19:14. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    A few days later I received a packet in the mail from Compassion with pictures of seven children. I felt so overwhelmed because, I did not know who to choose and financially, I knew I couldn’t sponsor all of them. If I could, the Lord knows I would. My husband is unemployed for six months or so now.

    I began praying, and said, Lord, you are our provider, and if you want me to sponsor all these children; then you will give me the means. I know You can; but I just can’t choose. It would be to me like saying this child can eat; but the other’s can’t! My heart was so broken. He showed me this verse again. I then asked him to choose another child for me. I asked him to answer some one’s prayer.

    He sent me Praew. to me her name sounds like Pray. She has been waiting the longest for a sponsor and of course all the praise and glory is His alone!

    • Susan Sayler
      Dec 5, 2013
      at 6:26 pm

      What a wonderful testimony! Thank you so much for sharing God’s faithfulness in leading you to sponsor Praew. You are a blessing and an encouragement more than you know!

    • Carolyn Mielke
      Dec 14, 2013
      at 2:19 pm

      Lisa, thanks so much for sharing about your sponsorship journey to Praew! What a story! What an answer to prayer! I LOVE how God works!

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