For an unsuspecting family in Colombia celebrating a wedding rehearsal dinner, a single word was powerful enough to bring every member to tears: “Sorpresa!”
Wondering what the surprise could be, the family turned to see the last person they could have expected: the Compassion sponsor of the groom, Mateo. For eight months, sponsor Kristen had been regretfully telling Mateo and his family that she wouldn’t be able to make a trip to Colombia for his wedding. But what they didn’t know was that she was determined to be there — and Compassion staff were helping to make it a surprise.
The world that 6-year-old Sophia sees around her is one of poverty and limitations. But Compassion’s photojournalist in Brazil, Sara Navarro, is among the caring adults who inspire her to dream without limits. Here’s Sara’s story of the day she visited Sophia.
“My dad does everything for me! … I love him so much. One day I asked him to buy me ice cream and even without much money, he managed to buy it for me,” exclaims Davi about his father, Damião.
Upon hearing his son’s words, a tear falls from Damião’s eyes. In their culture, men rarely cry in front of others. But in the last few months, crying has been a normal part of Damião’s life.
Have you ever had one of those awesome, world-colliding moments when people from two different parts of your life meet? Like bringing a significant other home to meet your family for the first time. Or introducing your friends from church to your friends from work at your birthday party. These experiences only come around every now and then. And I love them.
I’ve always loved the sentiment “It takes a village.” To me, those four words encapsulate the most powerful aspect of human growth and development: community. We all have a village surrounding us. And so does each and every child in the Compassion program.
Kids sure do love their birthdays. As I write this, my wife and I are in the midst of planning a birthday party for our two sons. They are turning 9 and 7. Their birthdays are within two weeks of each other, and since they are so close in age, they share many of the same friends. So, we’re able to do a bit of a two-for-one deal.
Baby Deinner was delivered prematurely via emergency surgery as his mother, Cindy, battled COVID-19. Tragically, Cindy died the day after — leaving Deinner’s grandmother, Bridis, to raise her baby grandson and his two siblings.
Bridis shares her daughter’s story and expresses her hopes for Deinner’s future in this letter she wrote for him to read one day.
OK, so I need to make a confession … I’m not as good as I should be at writing letters to my sponsored child. And I make all sorts of reasonable excuses for it, too:
“My life is already so busy with my work and kids that it’s hard to find the time.” “I feel like I just wrote a letter a couple months ago.” (It was 10 months ago.) “I need to wait until I have more to say.” “My letters don’t really matter anyway.”
In early March 2020, I was on a storytelling trip to El Salvador for Compassion. One minute we were loading the van to head to a child development center, the next we were packing our bags to rush to the airport — urgently called home as COVID-19, a seemingly distant threat, suddenly became very real.
Here are beautiful moments from the past year that represent prayers answered, lives changed and lessons learned. They show what is possible when together, we rise as one.
The impact of sponsors’ generosity on children multiplies far beyond their childhood years. Compassion centers at local churches offer them safe spaces to discover and lessons on how to steward their God-given talents. Access to resources and exposure to various activities, coupled with vocational and financial training, allow children to dream big — beyond their circumstances.
Check out these incredible stories of talented young entrepreneurs!
Many of the children in our program think about their sponsor as an extension of their family. Maybe you feel the same way about the child you sponsor. You know you want to pray for him or her daily and write letters often. And through those actions and your financial gifts, you’ll no doubt make a powerful impact on your sponsored child’s life. But … you feel the need to do more. You want to incorporate your sponsored child into your daily life as much as possible. The question is: How?
As a sponsor during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been hard to lose the connection to my child in Colombia through our letters. I miss learning about his life and hearing him describe his day-to-day activities. Yet, as I reflect on our past letters, I realize they reveal a whole world of support that my child has hopefully been able to stay connected with during the pandemic!