Most of us have a story. Actually, most of us have a lot of stories. We have our life story. We have relationship stories. We have travel stories. We have “remember that one time when … ” stories.
Stories make up our lives. They hold memories, moments that last a lifetime. They often hold the explanation to why we are who we are.
I’m guessing that since you read this blog, you also have a Compassion story. A story about what caused you to pick up a Child Packet or visit Compassion’s website and sponsor a child who lived in poverty. Maybe you have a story about why you have continued to sponsor your child even in the midst of an economic recession, or why you have chosen to sponsor more than one child.
Your story is unique. It’s also a very powerful way to bring more people into the Compassion family.
Here is the Reader’s Digest version of my Compassion story:
I was 16 years old, a recent high school graduate, with no job and no income and a pending move to a new city. I heard a certain recording artist share his story about meeting a young girl in Bolivia that he and his family had sponsored for years.
He shared about her life and the poverty in which she lived. Pictures flashed up on the screen, pictures of slums, tiny one-room houses, and trash piled up in the streets.
Then there was a picture of a young teenage girl with a beaming smile standing next to him. He talked about how his sponsored girl now had an education, health care, nutritious meals, and a place to be a kid in a safe and nurturing environment. He talked about the letters they exchanged back and forth, how he considered her to be his daughter and she thought of him like her father.
He shared that on the day she decided to give her life to Jesus, hope broke through on her world of darkness. But then he said this: “Whatever your financial situation, God’s Word is full of promises that if you will care for the poor, God will care for you. That doesn’t mean you’ll be rich, but God promises to take care of your needs. You can trust Him in this. Completely.”
I sat down and began flipping through my Bible, reading passages that the man had shared. It was true — God gives great promises associated with our willingness to care for the poor, the needy, the orphan, the widow. So I decided to see if the promises were real. I walked back to the Compassion table and sponsored a young boy named Naveenababu Mutyala.
More than a decade later, I can tell you with full confidence that God keeps His promises. I have a few more sponsored kids in my family. I have gone through job transitions and moved across country, done a lot of wrestling with God and “working out my salvation with fear and trembling.”
Through it all, as I have remained faithful in sharing what I have with the poor, God has continued to share with and take care of me. It has been through my experience with Compassion that I have learned about God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises, and it has been the single most influencing factor in my willingness to walk the journey of learning to trust God completely.
I have been blessed to be a part of the life of a young girl in Mexico who gave her life to Jesus this August, the life of a teenage boy in Thailand who has gone from writing self-loathing letters to letters of hope for the future and inquiries about God, and wrapped my arms around a precious boy in the Dominican Republic who stole my heart with his quiet sincerity and silent tears at our parting.
Sponsorship is a journey. A journey of faith, a journey of learning to invest in another person, someone very far away whom we might never meet. And sponsorship changes two lives – yours and the life of a precious little one. It’s a gift where everyone involved becomes better, stronger and learns more about what it means to follow Jesus.
We are in the midst of the holiday season, a time when folks are looking for ways to share and bless others. Why not think through your own Compassion story and consider giving one to a family member, friend, neighbor or coworker this season?
Family gatherings, Christmas parties and work celebrations are all great places to talk about what sponsorship has meant to you and why you have chosen to care for the poor. The impact of your story could be all that is needed for someone else to join with you on this journey of sponsorship. Let’s work together to give hope to a child this Christmas.
12 Comments |Add a comment
This is my story of how God led me to child sponsorship:
All my life I wanted to be married. Single at age 35 without many dates to my name, I assumed singleness was God’s will for my life. I signed up to visit my Compassion child in Uganda in 2007 on a summer trip with 49 other American Compassion sponsors. I get to Uganda & discover one of the 49 Compassion sponsors is a handsome, single 40-year old man who lived 28 miles away from me in Southern New Jersey!!! We were married within 6 months. How many people meet a spouse while visiting their children?
Message to all singles…..be patient, be expectant, serve and give not looking for a spouse. Lastly, go on a Compassion trip!!!
That is truly one of the most awesome “How I met my husband” stories I’ve ever, ever, ever, ever heard…. EVER!
This is our story: http://taraandmattfraser.blogspot.com/2010/12/transforming-christmas-one-child-at.html
We made it a part of our Christmas countdown this year!
When I was growing up, my mom sponsored a child through a different organization that didn’t really promote Christ. She was disappointed in that. I had her example of sponsoring when our family was struggling finacially. When I was in law school, I heard a christian artist talk about Compassion, and it sounded like the real thing. With Jesus at the center of it all. When I was able, I became a sponsor. The other half of the story is ….I went to El Salvador in 2006, to meet my sponsored child Nahum. I loved every minute of the trip. While there, I was hugging a little girl at the project, and clearly heard God. He was telling me what I was to do, I was to sponsor many kids and travel and visit them all. And love them. When I got home, I told my mom and she said that the same night I realized what God’s plan for my life was she, dreamed that I spent the rest of my life sponsoring kids and travelling around to visit them! That was so amazing. My compassion kids have so blessed me and given me much joy.
I’ve posted our story on my blog at http://murray.thelahnfamily.com/2010/11/how-did-we-get-started-with-compassion/.
We just love Compassion and would love to be more involved than we are, but time and money make that difficult. While my brother-in-law has visited one of our Compassion kids in Uganda, we’re hoping to visit one of them ourselves some day.
Songs and Tears: How I Became A Compassion Sponsor
One Saturday during the summer of 1986, I bought a recording of a concert performed by Petra. Most of the songs were up-beat, but one song in particular wasn’t. It was a song titled “Hollow Eyes”, and its lyrics were as follows:
“Another day in Nigeria the children beg for bread. The crops failed, the well went dry when they lost the watershed. A baby dies. Its mother cries. The children gather around. They are wondering what the day will bring. Will they be the next one found? Do you dare to gaze into their hollow eyes?”
“Beneath the crowded sheds the children lay their heads to escape the Haitian heat. Their hunger pain drives them to the street to see if today they’ll eat. Some find food in the refuge heap. Others find disease. Some find it harder just to live when they could die with ease. Do you dare to gaze into their hollow eyes?”
I was crying like a baby by the time the song ended. I cried because I knew that the song was describing something real – children being killed by poverty, and I believed that I could do nothing to stop what was happening. Afterwards, I cried whenever I heard that song, whether it was on the recording or on the radio.
One day during the summer of 1987 while listening to the radio, I heard another song about poverty. It was titled “Do Something Now”, and it was performed by a collection of the most popular U.S. Christian recording artists of that time. The song began like this:
“Do we see Jesus in their hungry eyes? Are we so numb that we can’t sympathize? Maybe we’re too willing just to eulogize instead of rolling up our sleeves and trying to resurrect a world that’s dying. We got a world that’s dying.”
The chorus went like this:
“Do something now. See their broken lives. Pick up the pieces. Do something now. Open up your heart. Share the love of Jesus.”
As it turned out, I was listening to a special program that promoted an organization that I had never before heard of – Compassion International. The program contained testimonies by the recording artists featured in the song. Through their testimonies I learned that there was something that I could do to rescue a child from poverty. All that I had to do was sponsor a child through Compassion International. I did not hesitate to call the toll-free number given during the radio program. I stopped crying and became a Compassion sponsor.
(This story was originally posted in my journal at ourcompassion.org )
Beautiful story David, I do felt that way, I’ve always wanted to sponsor one but I kept delaying it for so long. I’ve picture myself passing through any doorway and there on the ground was a person begging for their need. With this I felt guilty for not responding. Now my heart was blessed with joy for I have sponsor 2 boys in Mexico. Received many letters with lots of love and I dearly love my boys. Going to see one of my boys this Feb. 2011 for 2nd time–in his letter to me– he had wish it was Feb now.
We just shared our story last week. http://joyceandnorm.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/compassion/
Love it! Amazing testimony. God does stay true to promises
Great post, Tiffany! I enjoyed reading your story, and like you, I have found sponsorship to be a journey. I’ve been on this journey for 17 years and am enjoying it now more than ever.
Thanks for the encouragement to share our story this time of year!
http://meeshimama.blogspot.com/2010/06/happy-birthday-dear-precious.html This is the story of how we came to sponsor our first Compassion child.
Being involved with Compassion has changed my life so drastically, I am talking about it much of the time. I hope that I can plant seeds in people’s hearts to look into sponsoring. It is such an amazing opportunity. Now, as out Compassion family has grown from one to eight children, I just feel SO blessed that someone took the time to tell me about the organization in 2009.