Norah sat on the striped couch generously sharing her story for another Compassion video interview. As a speaker for Compassion, she travels to events across the country and shares her experience of being released from poverty in Jesus’ name. On this particular day, she had traveled to Newport, Kentucky, to a quirky video studio in an old church sanctuary.
What she didn’t know was that her sponsors had just made the same trip.
As we shared in Part 2 of Norah’s story, Norah had been searching unsuccessfully for the couple who sponsored her when she was a child in Uganda. When she and her husband moved to the United States, she immediately started looking for them on social media with only the meager clues she had from letters years ago. She mentioned looking for her sponsors when she had speaking engagements, which gave Compassion staff an idea. They began to plan for a surprise meeting just as Norah was beginning to despair of finding her sponsors.
So on this special August day, while Norah shared details of center staff who had inspired her and letters that had encouraged her, Jeff and Bonnie of Colorado prepared to walk up the stairs of the studio and meet the person they had prayed for, encouraged and treasured for so many years.
Meeting at Last
As the film crew carefully prepared, the interviewer began to ask Norah more specific questions about her sponsors. Finally, she asked, “If you could meet your sponsors today, what would you want to tell them?”
Norah’s eyes brightened, and she leaned forward, excited to share her message, even as Jeff and Bonnie started to walk into the studio, holding hands.
“I would like to say thank you — thank you so much — to my sponsors, Jeff and Bonnie Mowry. I hope I see you one day, I love you so much, wherever you are …”
Bonnie interrupted with a quiet “How about today?” that seemed to shake the room.
Norah turned, dumbfounded, and saw her sponsors for the first time. Totally overwhelmed, she stood and retreated to the corner of the room, covering her face with her hands to hide the tears of surprise, relief and joy. Jeff and Bonnie followed, enfolding Norah in their arms and thanking Jesus that they had finally been able to meet.
Hearing the Whole Story
After hugging, crying and getting on their knees to thank God for what he had done, Jeff, Bonnie and Norah returned to the interview couch where they had gifts and stories to exchange over the next several hours.
Though Jeff and Bonnie knew some of how their sponsorship had affected Norah and empowered her as she grew, the letters they had exchanged revealed very little about how Norah’s Compassion center had slowly transformed her whole family.
Before Norah was registered in the program at a local church, her mother struggled to support the family on her meager income as a hairdresser. But as Jeff and Bonnie listened in humbled amazement, Norah shared how the Compassion center taught both her and her mother how to make jewelry. Eventually, her mother became very skilled and started selling jewelry as her main business. The training she received from the center enabled her to care for her children and send them to school. Norah also shared that her whole family came to know the love of Christ through the center.
And Jeff and Bonnie leaned close to see pictures of Norah’s husband and three children, eager to hear about her family and career. They marveled at how much work Norah has now done to advocate for children.
Gifts of Gratitude
After opening Jeff and Bonnie’s eyes to the full impact of her sponsorship, Norah had a gift for them. Many years ago, when she was about to graduate from the program, she made Bonnie a beautiful necklace and hoped that she could one day give it to her as a thank you. And when Norah moved to the U.S., her mother also made a necklace that she wanted Bonnie to have if Norah ever found her.
Norah had been asked to show these necklaces for the video story she was recording, so she had them both with her. Pulling out these two beautiful pieces of jewelry, she explained what they meant to her and finally, after so many years, placed them around Bonnie’s neck.
Bonnie in turn had a gift to give: a silver bracelet beautifully engraved with the verse she and Norah had shared in their letters, Jeremiah 29:11.
And then the conversation dissolved into reminiscing about letters, videocalling relatives to introduce the sponsors and, as always, marveling at the beautiful story God had written.
Grateful to be Part of the Story
Throughout this beautiful reunion, Jeff and Bonnie kept returning in wonder to the fact that their small act of sponsorship had done so much more than they knew. There were so many people involved, so many local church staff, each doing their job to bring about this beautiful story in Norah’s life.
“It’s not just us — it’s a whole team,” Bonnie says. “It’s a whole army of people that God mobilizes in order to effect change in the life of a child. This picture of what we’re doing is very little, but there’s so much going on in the background.”
With this whole army of people in view, Jeff and Bonnie are immensely grateful that God gifted them with the opportunity to be part of Norah’s life.
If this remarkable story inspired you to give to Compassion’s ministry, consider making an end-of-year gift today!
12 Comments |Add a comment
How honored I am to be a small part of the team working in my sponsored children’s lives. I thank God so often for the day I visited my son’s church on a Compassion Sunday and my life was blessed in such a way.
hi greet, its good story about her so can you connect with you inbox.
Hello there! Thank you for your kind words. Could you please send us an email at [email protected] with any questions you may have? Thank you so much!
oH, WHAT A BEAUTIFUL STORY ABOUT nORAH !! Yes, I can tell that God put this story together and blessed it with His Love, His caring, and His arranging the details!! thank you for sharing it with all of us! I have sponsored 3 children and I have cared about them and written to them and felt very blessed to have them in my life. It is so enriching to be able to be a part of their lives. I am so grateful to Compassion for all the relationships that you make, create, nurture, shepherd and then share with all of us!! Thank you with all my heart! Sally Akehi
Sally, I completely agree! Norah’s story is beautiful and it’s evident God’s hand was in all of the details. Thank you for blessing your three sponsored children with love, encouragement, and support. We are so thankful for the impact you are having on their lives. You are a true blessing!
What a wonderful story! Thank you for making it possible for them to finally meet.
Your absolutely right. A real “Tear jerker”. Thank you.
Love, love, love this!!! What a beautiful reunion!!! I can only imagine how wonderful it would be to meet our sponsored children face to face!!
What a beautiful story of God’s magnification of a small but faithful gift! Not just the sponsor’s gift, but the gifts of time, knowledge, love, and faithfulness of many Compassion employees and local church staff, all coming together to form a circle of transformation in this woman’s life.
Kathy, I couldn’t agree with your comment more! Norah’s story is a representation of the body of Christ working together to transform her life in such a beautiful way.
Thank you so much for this! It is very encouraging. Bonnie puts it so well. We sponsors are a part of a team! What a privilege to be a teammate in the lives of the children we sponsor. We are a small part of a miracle that Almighty God is directing! I can’t wait to meet our Compassion children in heaven. I’m praying they are all there.
Jan, this is so true! It is an honor to be a teammate in the lives of our sponsored children and play a part in God’s story for each of their lives. Thank you for being a part of the Compassion family!