Do you remember the words and kind acts that encouraged you when you were young? Who was the adult that spoke into your life? Hopefully, they spoke words of love and acceptance that encouraged you to explore an interest or talent that is uniquely yours.
You can also view the Share Your Story video on YouTube.
A life can be launched with as little as a single phrase, an uplifting word or an act of kindness. Think of the impact we could make if we were to become more intentional about encouraging the children around us!
The words of adults quickly take root in the fertile soil of a child’s spirit, for good and for bad. Sadly, some of us have been profoundly impacted by harsh words, neglect and even abuse. But even out of those tragic circumstances our heavenly Father can redeem our past.
Perhaps you know my story of childhood abuse in a West Africa boarding school. Mine is a story that Satan intended for evil but that God redeemed for good. My story is what has fueled my passion against injustice, my crusade against abuse, my fight against poverty.
It is what drove me to Compassion, where I now have the great privilege of speaking up for the little ones who have no voice and no choice.
Will you join our campaign to motivate adults to deliberately bless the children in their lives? We’re gathering stories from across the world to powerfully demonstrate that children are indelibly shaped by the words and actions of adults.
By simply sharing our true life stories through various media channels, I believe we will challenge and inspire others to actively invest in the lives of children!
Who believed in you before you believed in yourself?
Who told you that you were smart and then that encouragement planted a seed of confidence in your life?
Who said, “You have a beautiful voice; I loved your song,” and now you sing for a living or get great joy from singing for others?
Who told you they appreciated your creativity and their comment gave you a sense of self-assurance that is still with you today?
Who said, “My, what a lovely picture you drew,” and now you make your living as an artist?
Please share your unique story with us! Or, share someone else’s story: that of a friend, family member, historical figure or Bible character.
In addition to posting your story as a comment on this blog, it may eventually be printed in a book or perhaps in Compassion Magazine or featured on my daily radio program, Speak Up With Compassion. Let’s share our stories with one another and become very intentional about blessing the children God brings into our lives!
Please post your short story (300 – 400 words) below, send us a private e-mail via the “Contact Us” button at the top of this page, or leave us a voice message at (888) 503-4589, if you prefer to share your story by phone.
Written stories may also be mailed to:
Tell Us Your Story
Colorado Springs, CO 80997
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I never got the “God Thing” right. I still don’t.
I got pregnant almost three months away from my high school graduation. I found out at 8 weeks and by 9 weeks in to the pregnancy I left the father of my baby and I haven’t talked to him since. He does not know even know wether or not I had a girl or a boy. He never asked and he will never know.
I was alone. My parents were heart broken and some days wouldn’t even acknowledge me. I went to every doctor apt. alone. I went to school hiding complete devastation and random moments of morning sickness from everyone.
I had no one. But I grew up learning that Christ was The Savior. He was The Forgiver. I reached out to Him. He reached back.
I am a single mom to a 5 month old healthy. happy, smiley, 5 month old. I work full time, and I am also a full time college student.
God did not make women able to raise children on their own.
But He promises to be the widows husband. I am a widow. I mourned the loss of the husband I wanted when I had children. I mourned the life I could have had. I mourned the loss of the father my daughter deserves. God has kept his promise to be my husband. He has been my provider by providing a job inside the church. He has been my encourager and supporter by the complete attitude change in my family. He has been my comfort and companion by giving me a sweet baby who belly laughs and snuggles and sucks her little thumb.
He has been everything I needed. All I had to do was reach out my hand with a humbled my heart and listen.
In 1983 whilst a Pastor, our third child was born. Over the next few months signs began to appear that all was not “right” with her development. Her development ceased and could not eat etc. By the age of 18 months she was in second stage of malnutrition and was sent home from hospital to die at home.
As parents we could not stand by and allow this happening to our daughter. Through of long course of events, no medical diagnosis, prayer and medical assistance she recovered. But still all was not right. After four and a half years we finally had a diagnosis.
We wondered why God had given us our child and what the future held for her and us.
We had begun a journey in 1983 that would give us a heart for suffering children.
In 1991 the question was answered. I was appointed by Compassion as a manager. My role was to challenge Christians to sponsor needy children. This role was not just a job or a ministry. It cut to the very heart of what God had placed on our hearts within our own family.
Many days the thought came into my mind, “God you know what cost it has been to care for our daughter and the facilities we have in our country. But what of the millions of suffering children in the world. How can I be the best advocate for the needy little ones in the countries Compassion serves?”
I have been privileged for over 15 years I advocated for children to be cared for by Christians through Compassion. I have had the incredible privilege of visiting many countries where Compassion was assisting needy children and their families through local church communities. I have meet children we have personally sponsored in Thailand, Kenya and Rwanda.
To us our daughter is a very special person. With her significant difficulties she has personally impacted the lives of many people. She loves the Lord and is a follower of Jesus. Her coming into our lives has connected us with needy people of our community but also through the ministry of Compassion thousands of needy children have been connected with their sponsors.
What better life journey than to care for needy children and to grow them up into Christ?
I recently attended a “4Worship” conference. I was dealing with the recently miscarriage. This was my 2nd miscarriage in two years. I have two beautiful sons and we have been praying that God would give us a daughter. I attend a ministry name Genesis COGIC.
During the “4worship” conference, the pastor of the church spoke about “Compassion”. While he was speaking, he said he was holding a person name Genesis who was in need of a sponsor. I knew I had to get the individual. I asked one of the staffs to please give me Genesis. I am happy to say that I Genesis is my daughter through Compassion network. My boys 8 and 10yrs as well as my husband has begun writing to her and we consider her a part of our family. Thank you Compassion for allowing me to sow in the lives of others.
I have always wanted to sponser a child but never had the funds with which to do so. I have been blessed with a new job, and was at a Mercy Me Concert in September and God laid it on my heart that this was something that I needed to do. I am blessed to have a lovely girl from Guatemala, and have the opportunity to go over there this coming summer. God has blessed us with so much, and it is rewarding to give back. I have never known what it was like to grow up without the things that I need, or with having five people sleep in one room. God has blessed us all, and this is the least that we can do. For me,. the $45 per month is giving up my Starbucks each day. It sounds so silly, but yet it is so true. I have been on several missions trip and God has just laid a burden on my heart for children. I am thankful for this opportunity to sponser this child and I pray for her and her family everyday!
Camp is where my life was changed forever.
The summer just before I turned 11 years old, I attended a Child Evangelism Fellowship camp in New Hampshire for the first time. I never dreamed that I would return to this place every summer until I graduated from college.
I was not from a remote village in Africa or a “zona marinale” in Central America, but I was still a young girl in need of a sponsor. I did not know how deeply my little heart needed someone to love me, someone to teach me about God’s love for me, and someone I could trust to be there for me consistently.
As I look back on my summers at Camp Good News, I can see that God provided not just one “sponsor” for me there, but many. Joyful, thankful tears fall as I remember…
-The counselor who, while star-gazing, shared Max Lucado’s story “You Are Special” and helped me see that I was important too.
-The counselor who cried with me on the steps of our cabin while we prayed that my dad would someday know Jesus as his Savior.
-The missionary teacher who inspired me to believe in God’s purposes for my own life, as she shared about Amy Carmichael, a woman who wished she had blue eyes but later discovered that her brown eyes were a gift from God enabling her to be accepted by the Dohnavur people in India and be free to share Jesus with them.
-The counselor who put her arm around my shoulders during an evening chapel service and made me feel so warm and cared for and safe.
-The counselor who wrote to me throughout the long school year when I was struggling with my pain and personal identity after my parents’ divorce.
-The Teen Service leader who jumped in the camp pool with me after we finished mopping the kitchen, even though we both were still wearing ALL our clothes, and showed me that serving God can be so much fun.
-The camp director who listened to my devotion outlines and ideas and encouraged me in my ability to teach children about God, the same way I had once been taught myself.
All these moments, all these people. All the prayers, all the love, all the joy. Even all the tears. Every one of my experiences at camp have lead me to the incredible places I have been, and the amazing place where I am today, as a Compassion sponsor.
My counselors and other leaders at our tiny New England camp showed me life-changing compassion. They chose to give of their time and their love – for me! Because of their form of sponsorship in my life, I have been able to grow up with confidence in myself and most of all in God.
Along with being a camp counselor, I have been a Sunday school teacher and foreign language instructor. Like Amy Charmichael, I had wished for my own physical changes, but today I am so glad that I am short, because I am the perfect height for my Peruvian husband and the people we minister to in his country. I may not be able to star-gaze or jump into a swimming pool with my Compassion sponsored children, but through our letters and my prayers for them, it is my desire that they can find love, safety, and consistent support, like I had during my formative years at camp. I pray also, that through me, they may learn about Jesus and discover the adventures found in serving God and choosing to reach out with Compassion to others!
I started sponsoring my child the month after I got back from a short mission trip in Honduras. I was very anxious for a letter from her. When one finally came, I was overjoyed. The last line in her letter said “may Christ’s peace reign in your heart.” A year later I came to a very difficult emotional struggle. A little voice spoke to me a said “may Christ’s peace reign in your heart.” I’m still young (13), and since this my child has left the program. I’m sponsoring a new child, but I continue to pray for my previous child too. God has been with me through every trial and tribulation, as well as the prayers of my daring Compassion child.
My defining moment was a few months ago when I read the book RADICAL by David Platt. The book challenged readers to have a passion for the lost the poor and the hurting, and to expecially serve in another context other than their own. I have since re-read the book twice, and because of its message sponsored several more children and added some correspondence children as well. I am learning more and more Jesus’ words, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” I am not sacrificing my money, but I want to show mercy to these precious kids. I have 2 kids ready to graduate in the next 18 months, and it has been such a privilege to watch them grow and develop! All the money in the world can’t make up for that tremendous joy!
Like so many of the other sponsors, my defining moment came with one of our Compassion children. Since he had parents he asked if he could call us Grandmother and Grandfather, we were really pleased, he is a correspondence child from the Philippines. We were very honored and said yes, he went on to tell us that if not for us and our encoragement,he would have dropped out of school, he is now making above average grades. When my husband was in the hospital, one of our kids wrote and was encouraging me, saying everything was going to be ok and that he was praying for us. We have several correspondence kids and sponsor some and they are always encouraging and their letters can brighten our days considerably, I guess our defning moment was when we first sponsored our first compassion girl and her letters were and still are very cheery, she is an example for us in the fact that though they are poor, they are happy in the Lord. May that be said of all of us that no matter the circumstances, we are happy in the Lord
Love this, Glenn! It’s great to share this. Thanks! And so neat that you see Compassion was in God’s heart before we knew anything of it. Praying for your good health, as well. Blessings in Christ to you!
This is a great thread!
I summed my testimony up last year with an entry to a Gospel Music Channel/Compassion contest to win a trip to your child’s country. No I didn’t win, but I still like sharing this just the same: Merry Christmas!
‘Twas the night before Christmas, they had no REAL house,
This family was praying, as their fire was doused .
Outside it was raining, and that water came in,
To their shack made of plywood, tree branches and tin.
The children were restless, but crawled into hay beds,
Forgetting to kneel, or even bowing their heads.
It seemed God had forgotten, and won’t answer their prayers
You see the hope for a future, in El Salvador is rare.
But little did they know, each prayer was a clatter,
In the heart of our God, all children do matter.
In His perfect timing, and in His glorious fashion,
He laid the foundation, for what is now called Compassion!
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a friend giving testimony, who visited Guatemala last year.
With a story like the Sun, sending forth a bright ray,
Anna told all the details, of ‘Meet Your Sponsored Child Day’!
The Light of this story, made me cover my head;
I was living for self, and inside I was dead.
Sure I attended the church, and struggled to tithe,
But sharing the love of Jesus, was hardly alive.
I rushed right home, and jumped on the ‘puter
Went to Compassion.com, of course I needed no tutor.
It took only a moment, a little face did I capture
Her name is Gabriela, and my heart is in rapture!.
I started writing letters, and poured out my love
And told her of Jesus, our Father above.
She answered right back, and thanked me for caring
She drew a beautiful picture, it was her way of sharing.
She now has the chance, at a good education;
The Word and nutrition, hygiene and elation; There are good days & bad days, but one thing I love;
Every day that I sponsor, honors my Saviour above.
I just lost my job, the doctor says that I’m sick;
It’s kidney disease, hopefully not too quick.
There’s only one life, and when comes the last call,
I want to visit El Salvador, my Gabriela next Fall!
Now I speak out, on behalf of the poor,
Projecting their voices, to the ears who have more,
If only I could show them, how much my life’s changed,
Our love for poor children is a heart rearranged.
Let’s quit kidding ourselves, we are waiting on God
Millions of children are dying, and most are abroad
He’s never failed us yet and he won’t start now,
The harvest is ready, it’s your turn to plow.
If you’ve ever looked at someone, so alive for their God
And wished deep inside, that you had their resolve
The answer’s right there, all you need is to start,
To invest in poor children, the center of God’s heart!
One Child, One Sponsor, two changed lives. Compassion.com. By, Glenn Wassmer, 11.1.09
My Compassion story has nothing to do with words of encouragement, but rather with redemption. You see, on March 15, 2004, I was in Baghdad, Iraq, working with a humanitarian organization when we received word that some co-workers (and friends) who were traveling in the north part of the country had been involved in an attack. We didn’t know the severity of it until later, but three of the five (including one who had been my roommate) died instantly, and one died the next day while being transported to Baghdad for further treatment.
Many years later, our small group brought Shaun Groves to our church as the culmination of a weekend of service, within our church, within our community, and within our world. On that day, I found Millie in Uganda – born March 15, 2004. And I knew that there was no better way to redeem the evil of that day than by sponsoring a little girl who had been born that same day and helping her achieve all that God has for her.
In her last letter, she asked that we pray that when she is older, she will do important things. One day, when she is older, I’ll share with her how she already has.
I rememeber someone very special who I met during my elementary school years. I was in the 5th grade. Our regular teacher was out for awhile, so we needed a substitute teacher. I do not recall her name but I perfectly remember her and her outlook towards me.
Growing up, I always thought I could not be the best I could be, which created a low-self esteem in me. After meeting this substitute teacher, this all changed. One day, we took a Science test. I failed the test. I thought I could never do any better on my tests at school. When the substitute teacher handed me back the test to see when I got on it, she looked straight into my eyes and said, “You are smarter than this and I know you can do better, you are smart!!” This teacher was serious when she told me this, for she did not have a smile on her face. The teacher seemed upset when she told me this statement but I saw she was not mad at me, she was mad at the fact I did bad on the test when she knew I was capable of doing great. Her statement planted a seed in me that nobody else EVER did in this aspect. For the first time in my life, I saw myself differently. I saw myself as a smart girl who could pass my academics. All I needed was just one person to tell me what she told me. I needed somebody to believe in me and I needed to hear it. This substitute teacher was that special individual.
I went home and thought about her words. I was surprised at what she told me and how she treated me. I saw the sincerity, love and concern in her face. This teacher was going to give those who failed the test another opportunity to take it over again. I studied really good for the test and made sure I knew the information. I had confidence in myself for the first time in my life. Since my substitute teacher believed in me, I now believed in myself. The day came for us to re-take the test. My teacher handed me the test. I took it and this time, I knew the answers to the questions. I turned in my exam. The next day, she handed back the test to us and to my amazement, I passed!! I got a good grade on it and my substitute teacher gave me a BIG smile and said, “I knew you could it.”
GOD used this wonderful person in my young life to work out His plan in me and to tell me I was valuable and worth something special. Throughout my high school and college years, before I took a test, I remembered her words and they helped me. To this day, I still remember her kind, encouraging words.
“For I know the thoughts I have towards you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Four simple words saved my life and have compelled me to impact other women. Having grown up in a caring family with loving parents who encouraged and believed in each of their children, I am one of the lucky ones. I felt valued and secure. So much so that I had no “radar” for the destructive, controlling behaviors of those who experienced a very different world than mine. At 25 years old I thought I married the man of my dreams. Instead, he was a nightmare of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse. At first I believed that such behaviors were deserved, that it was “my fault.” But, over time, the memories and feelings of my loving childhood crept back in. One phrase in particular that my Mom often said echoed in my head: “You’re a good kid.” Those four simple words repeated again and again. They soothed my pain and helped me to regained my belief in my essential goodness. I realized that God did not want me to be in a relationship where I could not flourish and be all I was meant to be. My husband was not willing to change so my marriage ended. But, for me it was a new beginning. What I learned and gained from this difficult time was the catalyst to eventually dedicate my life to helping and inspiring other women.
Christmas Day 1991 was a very sad day for me, because I had no family.
I had been praying & researching Child sponsorship, and had decided to go with Compassion, but was putting it off.
So on Christmas Day, I called expecting to be leaving a message, however when I called, someone answered, and soon after I received a poster child (cute one) and when I received information about a sponsor tour, because of the cost, I was praying about it, and soon after I heard my child’s family had to move to find work, to an area with no Compassion sponsorships. In response I answered “yes I will sponsor another child, soon after a new little girl arrived. when i open a child packet, to me, it’s like a child being born. The second girl was not cute, and sad I went to sleep wondered, “should I ask for another child?” and feeling bad having even thought that. when I woke the next morning I looked at the photo, and the love I felt in my heart so far outweighed the joy that a cute poster child could bring.
And I thought to be a sponsor is like being a parent, there are all the good and difficult times any parent would experience, the joys, disappointments, everything, some very painful.
My first child lasted 4 months, the second one 8 months.
Loosing each little girl had a huge impact upon me, because once I sponsor a child, they are in my heart, and when a sponsorship ends, they remain in my heart.
My next child was 7 year old, and when I opened her packet, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, “this child will remain” and I had peace in my heart, and it meant so very much to me that God knew my heart.
It was my honor to sponsor Janeth until she completed the program.
God is Faithful !
I don’t remember any one particular word of praise that turned me on any given path in my life – I just remember my grandmother’s unconditional love. I grew up with an indifferent father and a strict step-mother and I always felt like almost everything I did was wrong. My Mimi’s house was a refuge and I was able to spend every summer with her – I think my step-mother was glad to be rid of me for a while, since I was two states away. After graduation, when I could finally make my own choices, I move in with my grandmother permanently. Mimi never gave up on me even when I discovered the less than good side of adulthood and thought I knew more than anyone else.
God didn’t give up on me either and kept His eye on me even when I wasn’t looking to Him for guidance or anything else. I had the example of my grandmother’s love and her life to look back on when I finally grew up. She always put others first and had a true servant’s heart. I was able to draw on her example as I raised my son and we have a much closer relationship than I ever had with my parents. I wish I could tell her about my daughter in Uganda but if Heaven has a glass floor, maybe she already knows.
Recently my 10 year old daughter impacted me. I had just received the Compassion International 2010 Gift Catalog in the mail and discovered that there was a link where anyone could view it (and make purchases) online. I decided to create a ‘Gifts of Compassion’ event on Facebook and invite everyone of my friends to participate.
At one point my daughter came in to see what I was doing. “Grace,” I said, “look at the cool stuff we can buy for our Compassion kids.”
“Did you buy anything?” she asked.
“Yup, I just bought five soccer balls!” She didn’t seem very impressed. She took the catalog and sat on the couch thumbing through the pages. I thought nothing else of our conversation until dinner.
As we sat down to eat I said to Grace, “So tell mommy about the Christmas catalog.”
She said, “Wait!” and bolted up from the table. She returned thirty seconds later and handed me five white envelopes.
I was about to ask her what they were, then I saw the hand-written words on the first envelope, ‘Chicken — $16.00.’ The envelope was stuffed with six wrinkled singles and one wrinkled ten dollar bill. I almost started to cry. There were four more envelopes (similarly stuffed) for mosquito nets, vaccinations, and a new-mom kit. The total came to $101.00. Grace had emptied her piggy bank.
I almost lost it as did my wife. And he’ll never admit it, but my 22 year old son Justin was choked up too.
I praised her for her generosity. Of course I wanted to do something extravagant for her, but I knew that would send an improper message, so I just sat and smiled. It occurred to me that she just wiped out most, if not all her savings; I wanted to do something. Then it hit me–I haven’t given her any allowance since October–what a great time to pay up.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out two crisp twenty dollar bills and said, “Here ya go Grace, go put this back in your piggy bank!” She thanked me, gave me a big grin, and run upstairs with the cash.
About a minute later she returned with a freshly-scrawled envelope that simply read, ‘4 Mosquito Nets – $40.00.’
Amazingly, I did not cry.
you may not have cried, but i totally am. thanks for sharing, dave. hope i get to meet this daughter of yours someday.
If there ever was a defining moment in my life that changed how I view the world it would have had to be after I read Fields of the Fatherless. My husband and I read the book and in an instant our lives changed. We decided to stop doing the minimum. We started the paperwork to adopt a child, we got on Compassion’s website and chose 3 kids to sponsor. We already had 4 daughters so adoption and sponsoring was never high on our list of priorities. God blessed us with a beautiful son through adoption and we hope to adopt again in the future. We now have 4 sponsored children ,5 beautiful children and advocate as much as we can for sponsoring and adopting children world wide. We now are reading Radical in hopes to give even more.
My real problem with Compassion is there lack of follow up.
I sponsored a girl for years and then out of the blue I am not longer.I worry about her still to this day since Compassion left me up in the air about what happened to her.
I can see it make me less likely to get attached to my spnosor child by writing.
Hi Dan, please don’t be discouraged in sponsoring or corresponding with another child, when we haven’t heard from a child for a while I e-mail the main Compassion office and they try to get hold of the individual country area where the child is to find out if they left the program, sometimes it takes a while. There is a child out there who needs you and you would be the perfect match for him/her. I have had one of my sponsored children for 5 years now yes I have had some leave and it breaks my heart but I pray for them. All in all it is worth it.
Hi Dan. Thank you for your comment. Do I understand correctly that you suddenly were not a sponsor and you found out after the fact? Also, did Compassion not provide any info on your previously sponsored child? I am happy to try to help with any questions or concerns. Thanks again. – Darren
I can appreciate how you feel. I too have sponsored some children and then all of a sudden, they leave the program and I don’t know what happened to them. I remember my first child “Erika, that I sponsored with Compassion.” I was so excited about this sponsorship and then one day, I decided to go visit her and right then I found out that she had left the program. I was very say… I still pray for her every day. Then I sponsored my first Bolivian child and then I’ve been sponsoring Bolivian children since then. I’ve visited them several times and I love them all very much….
I found out that the way Compassion International works is that they partner with local churches in these countries. They assist these local churches in putting on the Compassion program. But it are the local churches that are doing this hands on work. There are certain criteria they need to meet, but it is very much the local church that does that work. The people that teach the children for instance are not Compassion employees, but they are in service of that local church.
Anyways, how this relates is that it would be up to the local church to do any of the follow up. This wouldn’t be possible through Compassion itself. Now, sometimes, that is pretty much impossible, just like it would be in American churches. People leave the church and no one might know where they go to. The staff of these churches do follow up as much as they can, but they sometimes hit a wall. For instance, I sponsored a child in Colombia, whose father had an alcohol problem. He became violent so many times, that one day, the mother took the children and fled away and no one knows the address. So, the church or the center sent someone out to find out where this child is and all they hear is that the mother is gone and no one knows to where.
Having said that, when you write your sponsored child, you’re making such an impact on that child’s life. In general the children love their sponsors so much. Your letters get read by not only the child, but many times by the family and they share the letters with the other children. Even the translators get afffected by the letters. For instance, II know of a wife of a translator who became a Christian, because of the letters of the sponsors.
Thus your letters are a tremendous ministry to the children.
Yes, it can happen that you get emotionally attached to the child only to have the child leave the program and you’re left feeling almost abandoned. I hate to say this, but it is part of any type of ministry. Christ went through that… The apostle Paul went through that… and in some ways, when we go through that, it will cause us to know Christ better and His sufferings. (Phil. 3:10)
It will also help us to understand the children better. I never forget, visiting a project in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where a small little girl sat on my lap. She started talking to me. As she was talking to me, she told me that her father had just passed away a few weeks before that. Her mother had abandoned her. She had only one time seen her mother. It was in the bus terminal. Her dad had pointed her mother out to her. So, she was sad. I ended up taking her and one of the workers in that project out to a restaurant where we had icecream and gave her a doll. She lit up so much. It wasn’t much, but it did have a big impact on her life. (I guess there is a story)
So, keep writing the letters. Each one of them can have the impact, just like Wess described in the video.
I think I’m supposed to talk about how much I’ve helped all the kids and how great that feels and how much they need our support and it’s our Christian obligation and yada, yada, please help me save the world and so on but, no offense to all that, my story is a little different. I’ve been a long time sponsor of children via Children International at first and then Compassion International. At first, I did so merely because I felt led to do so by both the Bible and my personal convictions. I didn’t actually expect anything to come out of it for myself but I should have known. Since then, the greatest thing that has come about since my sponsorship and later advocacy, has been the assurance that, as His child, God will take care of my needs just as He blessed me with the means to help meet the needs of His other children. It may not sound like much or many may just take it as a given or agree with that statement half-heartedly. I did too once. However, the passage where Jesus encourages us not to worry for our needs by pointing out God’s provision for the little birds really just hit home for me while reading “Hope Lives,” a wonderful book endorsed by Compassion International. I still remember suddenly looking up to my husband and saying, “Look, it says here that we get to support at least seven kids (my reckoning based on tithe math)!” I said “get to” not have to, or must, or even can, but “get to” because it really felt like a gift to me. It was like a light bulb went off in my head that said “God won’t only provide for my needs but the needs of others through me!” and “If He commands me to give to the poor, He’ll provide for that. Surely, He’ll provide for the rest too!” and not because I deserve it or anything either, just because I’m a child, His child. I mean, I don’t write, give to and advocate on behalf of those kids because I know that they are really the next Einstein or anything. So, I guess what I’m saying is, Compassion International helped me by bringing my thoughts on finances a little more in line with the Bible. In this time of economic woe, peace of mind sure is priceless though.
I grew up going to church with my family, but it was mostly for appearance–or so I thought. I didn’t see any real benefit to it, and began looking for fulfillment elsewhere when I turned 16. I have always had a sense of low self esteem, and often dealt with depression despite my appearance/performance.
My feelings of low self esteem led me to look for fulfillment through my performance, which I never felt was good enough–I always needed more affirmation. I looked for the acceptance I hungered for in shallow relationships, and my friends. My reputation as a star athlete began to develop into that of a drug user and wild partier through the years.
After several attempts to straighten up my life by moving, going back to college, clean living, etc. I continued to relapse into drug use. My depression grew as I felt more and more worthless because of my activities and lack of self esteem. I didn’t care whether I lived or not and began attempts to overdose–which by God’s grace He didn’t allow.
In January of 2001 while in a severe state of depression(and self pity) and once again on the verge of relapse, I was involved in an accident in which a passenger of mine was killed. I felt bad beyond description despite it being an accident. I didn’t understand why God had taken her and left me. She had her whole life ahead of her, and mine was spent and beyond worthless..in my eyes. Due to this accident God began to humble me in that I was crippled for about 14 months. I went from a college athlete to barely being able to walk, and facing negligent manslaughter charges on top of that.
After being slowed down, and unable to be around what I had been dependent on for so long, I began to try once again to turn my life around. After moving in with my aunt & uncle whom were experienced followers of Christ, God began to work in my life (or I began to look for Him in my life). After nearly 6 months of sober living, I began allowing thoughts of the old life to linger in my mind, not knowing it would lead to relapse again. After 8 months I moved back home, but was unable to kick the habit despite praying and reading God’s Word (at times).
I continued to look for fulfillment in shallow relationships and then one night while driving home God impressed upon my heart that this was my last chance. I tried for the next couple of weeks to sober up, but was unable. I continued to be enslaved by my desires and habits. Then one night after about 2 weeks I came home after using again and tried to read His Word. I couldn’t even see straight; and then something convinced me to get down on my knees and pray. I prayed earnestly that God would do whatever it took to get me off drugs–I prayed to God, Jesus, Holy Spirit–whomever would help me. I got up lighter and went to sleep.
About 2 weeks after this, I was arrested for a traffic violation and taken away from temptation. Looking back, that night was the last time I used drugs despite being on the streets another 2 weeks. I signed a plea bargain for 10 years in Texas Department of Corrections for the accident I was in. God transferred me over the years to where He wanted me to grow, and truly prison was the most valuable experience of my life thus far. I spent almost 7 years in prison renewing my mind, graduating from a Trade school, and enduring with new Hope as God did the work IN me. This time it wasn’t my effort, but His. He has been Faithful and Merciful holding me up in Christ.
I have been out for over 3 years now and have been blessed with a great job, and supportive family. I have now completed my remaining 3 years of parole supervision, and continue to go where God directs me. I continue to struggle with a low self esteem and depression at times, but have a Way of escape now. I no longer depend on my performance, but His (Jesus Christ). When I feel that I am lacking in some way, I remind myself that Jesus was not lacking in any way, and what He did, he did for me!
I thank God for working in my life, and allowing me to work in others at times–however, most of all I thank God for Christ’s life and the Good Work He has done–and that it is Finished!!
I grew up with very critical and unloving parents. I was told on a regular basis that I was ugly, stupid, useless, and good-for-nothing. I got married and my now ex-husband told me the same things for the next twenty years. For the first 40 years of my life I believed those words. Although I had been a Christian for twenty years, for the first time in my life, someone told me that God didn’t think I was ugly because He created me, He didn’t think I was stupid because He created my intelligence, and He didn’t think I was useless or good-for-nothing because He created me with a very specific purpose. God has used my experiences to make me sensitive to the hurts and insecurities of others. I will ask my daughter, “Who made you so pretty?” She’ll answer, “God did.” I’ll ask my son, “Who made you so smart?” He’ll answer, “God did.” I want them to know that they are pretty, smart, and useful, but I want them to know that God is the One who gets the credit for it. I enjoy encouraging not only my own children, but all of the children that God has put into my life through church and other situations. I am so thankful that God allowed me to spend my first 40 years learning what it is like to not be loved and I hope to spend the next 40 showing God’s love to others.
When I was in 9th grade, times were TOUGH. We had no money, sometimes no running water, a step-father with a terrible mental illness, etc. Our mother and step-father went out of town for Thanksgiving that year (I don’t remember why we didn’t go) and we were alone. The admissions lady at our high school invited us over to her house for Thanksgiving dinner and we accepted. I’ll never forget that Thanksgiving – the people were SO NICE and accepted us fully, despite our probably not-so-nice appearance, and the food was the best food we’d eaten in the loooooongest time. The kindness and love that lady and her family showed to us stayed with me, and I’ve grown up to do humanitarian work now. I will never forget the kindness showed to us that year. It left an impact and was MUCH appreciated.
I grew up in a family where no one hugged, touched, or said “I Love You”. We were more a group of people living under the same roof than we were a family. I had no idea of what real love was or felt like. I was alone and isolated within myself. Then I met a young man who one day said “I love you” to me. I challenged that statement every way I could think of. No matter how hard I tried to change his mind, he loved me still. Through his love over 53 years of marriage I was able to accept the unconditional love of Jesus and Papa God. Now, That’s transformation!
Your testimony was a blessing to me. I grew up in pretty much the same situation, but the man I married who said he loved me turned out to only love himself. God had to show me His love through someone else. I am so thankful that God gave you a husband to show you what His love is like.
Here is my story – I believe in you.
I remember my father used to give me candies, little money, and one time a horse ride. he would say good things to me because I was a good dancer. I was about 3-5 years of age. now as an adult I keep dancing, I’am a good dancer. I will dance for as long as i live. what can I do.
My story is here – Wise Encouragement about Prayer
Feel free to check out my blog post today about how an adult’s wise words proved to be formative to me when I was a teen. —AND how I so desire that same support for my sponsor son, Jorge`, in Guatemala, and other children around the globe.
My story is posted on my blog here:
What a fun vision!
I finally finished my post for this assignment. It took me awhile to remember some important words which changed my life, my husband’s life and the lives of our children for the better.
And by the way here’s the slightly longer version… http://contagiouspassion.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/whats-your-story/
I don’t know who specifically said these things to me, although I know my mother was one, and I can’t recollect a specific time or place when they were said to me. But I do remember, probably around age 8, being told that I was a “good observer” and, later (when I actually learned to talk to grown-ups), that I was “good at interacting with people older than me.”
And what do you know – by a little later in my childhood, observing people and being more mature than expected in my interactions with them had become a joy, a hobby, something that I expected of myself and something that I found meaning in. The result? I’m convinced that my early love for observing and getting to know people and what made them tick led to my love for literature and my love for people… both of which have combined to create my particular set of passions, which culminate in my wanting to serve the Lord through teaching, for the sole purpose of showing love and compassion to these complex, beautiful creatures around me called humans.
And all of that, I’m pretty sure, wouldn’t be the case were it not for my mom, and whoever else, making those comments to me.
I love this stories, here is mine. My mom was my best encourager, especially when those around me at school were not. Also, I had awesome teachers who knew the power of their words, they used to tell me that I had the potential to do great things. I had this kind of people in my life until I was 19 y/o. I thank those people for buidling me up and knowing that they could make a difference in my life. I wish all children could have cheerleaders around them that would let them know how perfect and great they are, and how important they are as well.
Here’s my story:
It was the teachers in my life who encouraged my creativity and who, by believing in my abilities, helped me to restore my belief in myself after an adolescence of getting torn down by my parents.
Out of all the kind words from teachers that are ingrained in my mind, such as “I love you’re writing, it’s so poetic” and “your short film left me breathless, it was beautiful and touching,” which have encouraged me to pursue a uni course in media, it was the acts of one teacher that specifically stand out in my mind.
My year 11 maths teacher, who had taught me in the advanced maths class in Year 10, kept lecturing me throughout out year 11 on how I wasn’t working hard enough because my grades had dropped in average by 20% from the high grades I had been averaging in year 10. I didn’t understand what the big deal was since I was making the average grade to keep my place in maths methods (a difficult maths taken by students in the final two years of high school in Australia).
At first I was irritated by his comments and kept translating his words as personal attacks on my character and intelligence until I realized that he had never once called me stupid or criticized my ability or character. What he’d been saying all along was that he thought I was extremely talented and clever. What was really happening, was that he seemed to feel the disappointment in the drop of my grades that I should have felt, but didn’t, because I didn’t value myself or believe in myself anymore. I realized that the same teacher who had held up and read aloud my rather creatively written maths assignment the previous year in front of the highest achieving maths students in my year level whilst beaming and lavishing me with kind words like a proud father, was the same teacher who was now disciplining me in the way that a caring parent would have. He clearly didn’t enjoy lecturing me about how I could do so much better but he was doing it because he believed in my potential and ACTUALLY cared about what happened to me. He cared whether I failed and didn’t go on to live up to my potential or whether I tried my hardest to do my best. When I had no pride, value or belief left in my-self or my work to even try, he did on my behalf. It meant so much more to me than his praise for my high achievements & I will never forget it.
I blogged by story today:
Here’s my story!
and….here’s another one
I’d have to say this was the most moving thing I’ve ever seen in my life. So autienthc and sincere. This is not exploitation. They told an emotional story and it just happen to be in front of thousands of people. Was it intended to enlist more Compassion sponsors. Yeah. So what. You could exploit the heck out of my life if it meant rescuing kids from poverty.
Here is my contribution 🙂 I hope it will encourage others in the same way that others have encouraged me.
here’s one….though i am sure i have more….my unexpected encouragement came through a peer….that had much less than me.
Here’s my story:
Thanks for listening.
As we all know, the Lord works through words of love and encouragement. He can also work through negative words, turning them around to create good. Back in the late 1950s, my parents tried for 3 years to have a child. They eventually became discouraged and began proceedings to adopt. It was at this point that my mom became pregnant with me, the only child they were to have. At that time, it was nearly impossible to adopt after having one biological child.
When I was a young teenager, my father told me that he wished I had been a boy. Those are powerfully negative words to a child in middle school, a time in one’s life in which there is so much insecurity. Although I was deeply hurt and will carry those words with me always, thankfully the Lord has given me a resilient and optimistic personality. I’ve used those feelings of being less valued and less important, not because of who I was, but because of my gender, to pour love and affirmation into the lives of the Compassion girls I sponsor.
I shared my story on my blog as well http://jennifermwil.blogspot.com/2010/11/tell-us-your-story.html
I’m enjoying reading these stories! Here’s mine, too.
The investment of a lifetime
by HUMJAH on OCTOBER 29, 2010
I woke up this morning to find a rather helpful writing prompt (I suspect this won’t happen every day, but gee, it’s so nice when it does!) from Wes Stafford via Shaun Groves, whom I follow on twitter. Wes is the founder and president of Compassion International, a charity that invests itself into lifting children around the globe out of poverty. Compassion is an awesome project, and John and I have sponsored two children with Compassion so far, and we’re also working with a program to sponsor moms and families whose children are too young to enter the program themselves. Compassion offers education, food, clothing, and medical care to families and children to give them a chance they wouldn’t have had otherwise to succeed, and all based on the giving of ordinary people like you and me.
Wes asked for people’s stories for part of a project he’s doing. He’s wanting to inspire other people to donate, so he’s asking for the stories of adults who touched the lives of children. I loved the idea; looking back over my life, I see a tapestry of adults who poured themselves into me and changed me forever.
I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I grew up an abused child. Between my mother and her succession of husbands and boyfriends, there was no end to the mind games, beatings, or even inappropriate sexual exposure. I had at least a half dozen adults who seemed determined to destroy me before I ever became an adult. I still carry the scars from their actions today.
But for every destroyer I had, I had a dozen people pouring life back into me. Take my mother’s first husband, my father, Jim, for instance. My Dad was my hero. Mom moved us two states away to get around a custody order so we didn’t see him as much, but the time I had with him was the happiest, most carefree time in my life. I was allowed to be a child, with all the benefits and drawbacks that come with childhood. Dad taught me personal responsibility by giving me the freedom to play, but making me accountable for my mistakes. He never let me lie or manipulate my way out of trouble, something I had to do with my mother to survive. He had to work, but time off was time together, and life with him was normal. I saw what life was supposed to be.
Or you could look at the way my mother’s parents invested into me. The way they still do, even now, when I’m nearly as old as they were when I was born (ok, that thought sort of blows my mind). They took custody of me when I was an infant and raised me until I was three years old. My parents took me back at that point, and my grandparents actually fought my parents to keep me (I never understood until now just why the fact that I called my grandparents Papa and Mama bothered my Dad so much. Now I begin to comprehend the full impact of what those names represented to him). After my parents divorced, my mother moved closer to them. When she lost custody of us again, they were the ones who stepped in and took care of us until she took us back. Over and over again, my grandparents have intervened to make sure that we had what we needed, not just as doting grandparents, but as substitute parents.
Then there’s my adoptive family that came to my rescue by the time I was 16. I’d met them when I was 13 and we were going to church together, but it wasn’t until I was 16 that there was a means for them to really step in and intervene for us. By then, I was running away all the time. I called my grandparents every time (I was no dummy; I knew a white girl on the streets alone was in for a bad time, and if I went to the police, they’d take me right back to my mother, who would beat the tar out of me for turning her in again. The only chance I had was going to them), and this time, these friends from church got called in, too. They got my mother to agree to let me stay with them overnight… and that overnight stretched gradually into 7 months. After a short return to my mother’s, a judge allowed me to return to them, and I’ve never left them. Their daughters accept me as their sister. Their siblings accept me as their niece. I’m Aunt Heather to my sisters’ children, and the story of how I came to be adopted into the family is an illustration of how God’s love stretches to include us into His.
I could continue all day. My sixth grade teacher took us under her wing after I left her class, and I still keep in touch with her today. I was registered with the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, and I was lucky enough to have two Big Sisters… both of whom I keep in touch with even after I aged out of the program and moved away. There have been youth pastors, sunday school teachers, pastors, neighbors, teachers, step-parents, even boyfriends of step-sisters that poured life into me. At every step of my life, I can look back and say, “Here. Here God touched my life through the simple intervention of someone taking the time to speak to me.”
Not everyone will make the sorts of huge impacts on a child that my Dad, my grandparents, or my adoptive parents made on mine. But small words can make just as meaningful a memory as the large actions. It’s the accumulation over time that makes the difference. It’s so simple to pour life into others, but oh, what a profound difference it makes.
Thanks, Wes, for the invitation to share. I hope it helps make a difference.
(By the way, this was written yesterday and was much longer, published at my website. (http://www.humjah.com/505) Feel free to use either version)
I grew up with some challenging situations, but somehow my Daddy God provided a safe haven in teachers, family members, coaches, and church friends who believed in me and made me feel like I could do anything. I was willing to try anything, from singing on stage, to competing on the track field, and studying about everything from American History to cell and sentence structure, always confident that ‘I can do this!’ It is an incredible gift to give to a child, one that i am now trying to pass on as an elementary school teacher myself.
Here is my story: http://presentquest.blogspot.com/2010/10/compassions-tell-us-your-story.html
Here is the link to my blot post with my story.
In 5th grade I was struggling with math. Eventually I got far enough behind that my school provided a volunteer tutor. She was a woman from the community with a thick German accent named Miss Tobin. During my tutoring sessions she talked to me about things I like to do. What I liked most was art. From the first tutoring session on, she encouraged me about my artwork. Eventually I passed the math I had been struggling with and on my last session with Miss Tobin she told me she was proud of me, and could not wait to see what I did with my art. Then she presented me with a very nice set of art supplies. I floated home that day on a cloud. That was 37 years ago, and the memory is as clear as yesterday. I eventually went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and worked for 12 years as a freelance graphic designer. Eventually my career in art was no longer fun, and I switched careers becoming a firefighter, but I still enjoy sketching for relaxation.
Comments are posted here: http://ethanandme.blogspot.com/2010/10/whats-your-story.html
Thanks for this opportunity to write about the way someone has shaped our life! Here’s the link to my post: http://showerstoflowers.blogspot.com/2010/10/adults-shape-kids-lives.html
Thanks for this opportunity! Here’s my story: http://tousey.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/my-story/
I wrote my story on my blog today:
Here’s mine … http://krishill10.blogspot.com/2010/10/piece-of-my-story.html
Here’s the link to my post entitled 9 simple but powerful words http://bit.ly/cF8xJf
I wrote my story on my blog today:
Here is my story, please add yours as well:
When I was in high school my Young Life leader Steve Blacksmith told me that I had a “Servants Heart”… that has stayed with me and encouraged me to strive to live up to the compliment.
I wrote my story on my blog today. Thanks for letting us share. Just the memory of that moment reignites passions in my heart that I sometimes allow to lay dormant. It’s good to pull them up again.
I was never a good student and didn’t much like going to school; the only things I was any good at was art and music. Mrs. Sherrel (the art teacher) always pointed out my work to other kids as the “This what your project should look like,” example. While Mrs. Stout (the music teacher) and Mr Dollhause (the band teacher) always encouraged me in those pursuits. I am retired now, but I had become my police departments composite sketch artist. To this day I love singing, enjoy playing the guitar, and drawing the occasional picture. Once a week I go the local train station with my guitar and sing worship songs for whoever might take the time to listen.
True story … I wrote a report on Venezuela in my 7th grade Spanish class. My teacher gave it an A and wrote across the top, “Have you a knack for journalism?” I did not know what that meant and had to look it up! I went on to major in journalism/public relations in college and for the past 30 years have enjoyed a fulfilling career in public service communications, including a three-year stint as assistant PR director for a Christian college. I now serve as public outreach coordinator for the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Thank you, Miss Reck! I wish I had tracked her down years ago to let her know how she inspired me.
I have always been told that I have a funny sense of humor and that I am creative. That is probably why I still like to color and enjoy laughing and being like a little “KID”. ( I like to color pages for my sponsor kids or make them cards or crafts). I am always the goof-ball at work.. I have learned that Life is so much easier when you laugh in whatever circumstances you are in…and I try , through my example , to show others the beauty in life when you surrender to the One who gave it to you.
Mine really isn’t a story….but it is something that I’ve never forgotten. My mother and I were putting together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child (I didn’t know what it was called at that point!) when I was around ten years old and I used my own money to put together a box. My mom said that I was very generous…and I felt so warm and fuzzy. From that point, I was always super excited to give gifts and learned that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive. If actually piqued my interest in CI when I was around 11….and at 19 I became a sponsor 🙂
Katie, your story really is a story and that you so much for sharing it. I’m raising four children and we put together our first shoe boxes this year. I encourge my children to write to our Compassion sponsored children. We also put together boxes for children in Mexico with used clothes, toys, jackets, and blankets. I try to praise my children when they are generous, and your story has encouraged me that it can make a difference in their lives. Thanks for sharing.
I must say, that I can’t think of anything right off hand…. But it does make me think of what people could probably have “programmed” into my mind. Maybe I’m really good at something, but didn’t believe that, because of what someone told me. I know they always said that I was no good at music, because I didn’t play a musical instrument, then I decided to play the guitar and all of a sudden, I was the best guitarist in the school of our little village in Holland.
There is a film called “Memoirs of a Geisha” which illustrates that principle perfectly. (BTW, I haven’t seen that film in around 4 years or so, if I remember right, some things aren’t that great about the film. It’s basically about a little girl, that gets trafficked into being a Geisha.)