Life as a Sponsored Child

From yesterday’s post:

Compassion staff decided to extend grace and enroll ages 4 to 12 years.

That was the moment I knew I was now completely netted. I could see my mother smiling broadly after the pronouncement. She had her fingers crossed all this time.

family photo of man and woman with girl on her lap and two boys standingI was among the first lucky ones to get a sponsor, and when I did I had a new family — the Pendleton Browns from Atlanta, Georgia. I became a big brother.

They had two sons: Eliakim, who was 5 at the time, and Ace, who was 4. Later my sister, Hossanah Joy Brown, was born.

I remember going to school with the family photo they had sent me, and when I showed it to my friends, they asked me, “Who are those?”

I answered them with so much joy — “My family in Atlanta!”

One of the kids gave me a mean look, then replied, “Hmm … they’re white and you’re black.”

Sure enough, it did not matter to me what color they were or what color I was not. All I knew is that I had found a family. I cherished every single letter they wrote me.

Every Saturday I attended the Compassion Saturday program. When I was first enrolled I knew for sure the weekly meetings would interfere with my soccer time, which was also on Saturdays. But when sports were introduced I became comfortable with the idea of attending.

I looked forward to receiving a letter or photo from my family, and if I did not get one, I went home unhappy thinking that maybe I did not do a good job in replying to their last letter.

Compassion took care of my educational needs by buying school uniforms, books, clothes and other necessities. This played a big role in restoring my self-image because I used to go to school in a torn pair of shorts that had patches all over and some of my classmates made fun of me.

Medical care was also provided by Compassion, which played a great role in ensuring that we had access to better medical facilities.

Health screenings at the child development center ensured monitoring of health conditions and those cases were referred to the medical facility before it was too late.

Spiritual development through the Saturday devotion program and Bible study at the child development center facilitated my decision to receive Christ as my personal Savior at the age of 15 when I was in high school.

I became an active Bible Study leader and during Compassion Sunday, I got a couple of opportunities to preach and share my testimony before the congregation in church.

During the vacation, the child development center organized camps, hikes and game park tours. My social life was now active through exposure from various activities offered by the center.

Life skills training also became an integral part of life at the child development center. I learned soon how to cook, weave and how to operate computer applications.

16 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Paul Omondi December 3, 2009

    Hey Elizabeth!
    Thank you for your feedback! I want to assure you that the story is mine, is a story of what God has done in my life!

    The main reason for sharing this story is to give God the glory for what He has done! He used the sponsors to support the Ministry of Compassion.

    One gets the feeling that you are passionate about meeting the needs of the poor in your community. I commend you for that!

    A vision is born in the heart of a person who is frustrated or even angered by the way things are in light of the way they ought to be!

    There is no doubt that you are frustrated by the situation in your community (that makes you a candidate for a vision) and maybe it is just a matter of time before you respond to the needs.

    I will be more than happy to use my professional background in Community Development (if invited) to help you respond to the needs and transform your community.

    Looking forward to hear from you on how you are responding to the needs in your community.

    God bless!
    Paul Omondi
    Graduate- Compassion’s Leadership Development Program, Kenya

  2. Becky November 16, 2009


    The story was written by a former Compassion sponsored child and Leadership Development Program graduate, who as most college educated people writes in a sophisticated manner. If you click his name, you will find all of the blogs he has written. Perhaps the top of each column he wrote should state that to avoid confusion.

    God loves all people equally and I strongly believe that children who need assistance internationally should not have their needs put behind those who need help domestically in the US (and other partner countries). The US has many programs, such as welfare, unemployment, WIC, food stamps and Medicaid (which I know quite a few people who use it) that do not exist in most (perhaps all) of the countries Compassion serves. Food pantries and other non-governmental organizations, which are an additional safety net here, frequently do not exist in the same form (if any form) in other countries as they do here in the US. In the US, education is free of charge to students whereas in many countries Compassion serves children need to pay money to attend school and the parents simply do not have the money to educate their children, thus continuing the vicious cycle of poverty. No, the US system is not perfect, we all know some children have parents who cannot navigate the system or have parents who simply don’t care, which is why US children AND international children both need assistance of varying forms. However, there are other national organizations working to assist US children.

    American children do not always have all of their wants met, but overall, through many government sponsored programs, such as free school lunches (and breakfasts), low income housing, Medicaid and public schools, the typical American has a safety net for when parents do not have a job or are underemployed. In many foreign countries these numerous government run programs only exist in modified forms through the church.

  3. Caitlin November 16, 2009

    Elizabeth, I’m glad you want to help children in America. What are you doing to do so? What group do you work through to help these American kids?
    I’m not so sure why you have a hard time believing that a new pair of clothes, a game of soccer, and letters from a family who has taken a liking to a kid would be a relief to the child, though.
    Why do we have to choose which kids to help based on the country they were born in? It doesn’t seem fair to the children, who had no control over it. And who is to say that many of us aren’t also helping children in our own countries? It seems to me, many assumptions have been made in your theory. It doesn’t seem right to throw stones at people who are at least taking moves to help somewhere, and it seems rather too easy to do so over the internet where you have never met them to know what they’re doing. I doubt it matters though, because likely, this was a hit an run attack, and you won’t check to see if there are replies.

    (P.S. Be careful about offering to allow people to “gag” you with a “pitchfork”…it sounds quite a bit more painful than simply having to read a mushy story.)

  4. elizabeth November 16, 2009

    Gag me with a pitchfork – what a contrived story. I have no doubt whatsoever that this story was not written by a sponsored child – it was written by a paid advertiser trying to make this company sound so wonderful. I don’t doubt that Compassion does some good things – but the money these sponsors spend on these children should be spent at home – on the American children (no matter what their color) who have substandard housing, food and education. Guess what – there are people right here in the USA who live without clean running water or medical care. How about we help them first?

  5. Dana August 30, 2009

    Hi Paul – thank you for sharing more of your story. It’s always awesome hearing from Compassion children themselves as they share their stories. I often find myself listening to stories like yours and wondering about my own sponsor children and what similarities their might be to their own lives. I’m really enjoying your story!

  6. Dana August 30, 2009

    I love hearing about the work that Compassion is doing and how it’s impacting the lives of the children in their programs. Thank you for sharing the differenced Compassion made if your life, Paul!

  7. Paul Omondi August 29, 2009

    Thanks Amy!
    Paul Omondi

    @Amy Wallace

  8. Paul Omondi August 29, 2009

    Thank you Rebecca for sponsoring those two children! You are transforming their lives and we thank God for that!
    Paul Omondi


  9. Paul Omondi August 29, 2009

    You are welcome Juli!
    Paul Omondi

    @Juli Jarvis

  10. Paul Omondi August 29, 2009

    Jennifer, God is doing amazing things in the lives of many Compassion children and it is such a joy to see the impact that the Ministry has on the lives of children!
    Paul Omondi


  11. Paul Omondi August 29, 2009

    Josh, The Lord has blessed Compassion Ministry to be a blessing to so many children!
    Paul Omondi

    @Josh Valley

  12. Amy Wallace August 27, 2009

    It’s so amazing to get an insider view into the life of a sponsored child!

  13. Rebecca August 25, 2009

    Thank you for the posts. i sponsor 2 kids and its nice to see how it affects the children and how they grow and feel. Thank you so much compassion for what you do

  14. Juli Jarvis August 25, 2009

    I’m enjoying your posts so much! Thanks!

  15. jennifer August 25, 2009

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am eagerly awaiting tomorrow’s blog!

  16. Josh Valley August 25, 2009

    I rejoice when I hear how Compassion impacted your life on so many levels Paul. I pray that more and more children would experience what you did in your life as a sponsor child.

    This just in: There is no question that God is in the business of changing lives. What Good News!

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