The Spirit Of Words

I love that I don’t always know why I write what I write to my sponsored children.

At first glance, words on pages may seem as though they are merely words, but an 11-year-old boy named Sam from Ghana provided a powerful reminder that words prayed over and led by the Spirit have a power and a purpose all their own.

boy working with a fishing net in a boat

I received such words from Sam many times, and the impact of those words has changed more lives than I will ever know.

The first time I realized Sam was truly receiving his words from the Holy Spirit was when he wrote to me on September 14th, 2010 and shared that his prayer for me was that God would give me a double portion of health.

He had no way of knowing how dangerously sick I had been. I didn’t tell him because I hadn’t wanted to frighten him.

Sam also had no way of knowing that as he was writing, his prayers were being answered halfway across the world. September 14th, 2010 was the day that God brought me from barely walking, to running for the first time. It was the day God helped me begin to miraculously outrun sickness – going from sick to healed literally overnight after months of illness.

It led me to wonder what else God would do through our letters.

I shared with Sam that I had traveled to Honduras with Compassion and that my best friend Tia had been on two mission trips to Africa.

boy sitting in a boat

In light of his prayer about my health, I took note when Sam responded that when he had heard I had been to Honduras and that Tia had been to Africa twice, he prayed God would bless us for our work, and he also prayed we would come to Ghana to meet face to face.

Sam shared that he had prayed and God would “let it come to pass, Amen!”

The words were simple, but it’s how the Holy Spirit translated them to my heart that caused a ripple effect that would soon reach further than either of us could ever have imagined.

Unable to shake the feeling that God had shared this through Sam for a purpose beyond meeting our beloved Compassion child face to face, Tia and I began to research the needs of children in Ghana. We were horrified to learn that child slavery is still practiced in parts of this country.

Children as young as 4 years old are sold into a life of bondage that perpetuates the cycle of poverty and destroys lives.

In fact, there are more slaves worldwide today than there have ever been, and at least 50 percent of them are vulnerable, precious children.

We launched a fundraising initiative to raise funds to provide expanded resources for children rescued from slavery in Ghana, which would in turn help facilitate the rescue of more children. Having raised $30,000 in mere months to provide for these children, we set out for Ghana in November of 2011.

That is when Sam’s prayer, which had been answered all along, was answered “face to face” when I, along with my 13-year-old son Joshua, my best friend Tia, and our friend Debra met him face to face.

woman sitting with boy

Together, we celebrated the impact his letters had made not only in our lives and in the lives of our families and friends, but in the lives of children in his country who would be rescued from slavery — all because of words the Holy Spirit led him to share in what seemed like a simple letter from a child.

I used to think that when sponsors chose not to write to their children, it was simply the children and the sponsors who lost the opportunity to affect each other’s lives in beautiful ways. Now I can’t help but ask myself what we’re robbing the world of when we don’t take a moment to write to these precious children.

The words on the pages don’t have to be perfect. The Holy Spirit will make them so.

If you’re interested in writing a guest blog post, we are happy to consider publishing it. Read our guest blog post guidelines.

15 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Ted Silcock July 3, 2012

    JD, please would you drop me an email at ‘[email protected]’,so I can write to you about questions I have about child slavery in Ghana. I believe the Lord is calling me to this area. Many thanks,


  2. Elaine February 8, 2012

    I love that! I have just been more convicted to write more often and be more dedicated. I feel all too often I limit God’s ability when i think “Why should i write that to her”? God knows… i just hold the pen or type the letters. Thanks for the encouragement! Blessings…

  3. Jill Foley ~ Compassion Family February 8, 2012

    I love this, JD. As always, your writing is beautiful.

    I also loved your “about the author” description : )

  4. Shelly February 7, 2012

    Amazing story!

    I’m intrigued by the “about the author” details — you gave up housework for lent? What did that look like exactly? Could you email me with details, please?

    1. JD February 7, 2012

      I used to endlessly obsess about housework and realized a few years ago that I had become a slave to it… and I simply can not serve two masters. As I became a sponsor & Compassion Advocate, and even more so after traveling to Honduras with Compassion in 2010, I began to experience housework completely differently… It no longer ‘owned me’. I do in the house what God leads me to do and provides me the energy and time for, and the rest simply does not get done and I feel peace. As well, the housework I do, I do with a joyful heart and gave it to the Lord as praise and gratitude for all that we’re blessed with…

      Floors to wash? Thankful for the floors He has provided to us. I have been in homes that had dirt floors and barefooted babies walking on such floors, and I can’t help but be grateful to have floors to wash, and remember to pray for those who go without.

      Laundry to do? Thankful to Him for running water, electricity, and clothing, and for a washer & dryer that I can use in the comfort of my own home. Seeing women and children do laundry in developing countries brought it into perspective… Gratitude and praise to Him has helped lift the “burden and chore” and helped me experience it with joy.

      I feel so liberated since seeing the housework not as a noose, but as a vessel for praise and worship. Throw on the worship music, and sing joy to Him while scrubbing.

      It has not felt like work since… it feels like serving Him.

  5. Lindy February 7, 2012

    My husband and I love this post!!! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Your Sam is a very spiritual little guy, and I have a feeling there is more of this story to come!

    1. JD February 7, 2012

      God is raising leaders throughout the Compassion program worldwide — just recently in Uganda and now Haiti, not to mention all the stories that have not yet been unearthed widely — amazing, beautiful, awesome!

      So pleased that His story brought delight to you both! I have the same awareness, I see that God is raising Sam to be a leader in his community and for his country, and witnessing Him shaping this young man into a leader at such a young age has been breathtakingly beautiful.

  6. Mom February 6, 2012

    Dear Jolaine, your faith has inspired me, has moved me, has changed me. May you always shine God’s love into what you see, what you hear, what you witness. May I learn to do so as well.

  7. Gail February 6, 2012

    Children have amazing faith in their prayers!

    1. JD February 7, 2012

      Yes, such a purity…! It really helps put into perspective what Jesus meant when He said that we need to become like children in our faith.

      It takes a child to raise a village.

  8. Linda Shinn February 6, 2012

    Great blog, J.D.!!!

  9. Akang February 6, 2012

    I have just made a decision to sponsor a child through Compassion. I couldn’t understand fully why sponsors had to write their sponsored children, but this write-up settles it now.
    This story makes our Christian walk so real and stands to prove that Compassion is God-inspired.

    1. JD February 7, 2012


      Through you, God has answered my prayers… Your response touched me deeply. The steps you took to sponsorship were also God-inspired, and I’m so grateful and excited for all that you will experience through this sponsorship. The impact you’re making has already begun!

      Thank you for the blessing of your decision, and your words.

  10. Elisa (@AverageAdvocate) February 6, 2012

    Such a cool post about how sponsoring a child changed this woman’s life! What happened with the funds that you raised to help end human trafficking in Ghana? I love this story because its about an average person who really just sought God and changed the world. If you are interested in guest posting something on my blog ( ), PLEASE let me know. This is inspiring, and crosses the lines between both seeking justice and loving the poor. Wonderful! Thanks!

    1. JD February 7, 2012


      We have been preparing a finance/project/mission update for our donors and all who have come alongside of us in this journey, we anticipate posting it in the next day or two.

      Yes, amen… it’s what I love too, it’s a reminder that God doesn’t call the “special”, we’re all special, He calls the willing. We need only say yes to Him. What I love even more is that there is really no way that we can explain the fundraising success other than to point to Him. He never asked us if we could provide the funds, He only asked us to trust that He had already promised and provided.

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