It was a cool October afternoon as we sat at the table enjoying lunch. This was Andy’s birthday, and we were spending it at our first-ever Compassion advocates gathering. We had been blessed to lead worship and the songs of worship and “Happy Birthday” still rang in my ears.
She approached our table and introduced herself. Amidst the other voices in the room, I barely noticed her accent, but what she said next I will never forget. “I am a formerly sponsored child.” I was blessed into seconds of stunned silence as I franticly tried to collect the questions, thoughts, and emotions fighting to burst forth from within. Looking back now, I do not remember my exact response, but I feel it was pitifully inadequate compared to what I should have said. If I could relive that experience, my first-ever experience of meeting a formerly sponsored child, this is what I would say.
• Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me, and letting me know hope is possible.
• Thank you for helping me to believe that our sponsored children can truly be released from poverty in Jesus’ name, and that my meager, and sometimes self-imposed inadequate investment in God’s kingdom, is making an eternal impact.
• Thank you for letting me glimpse the truth—Christ—amidst the lies of poverty
I have met and communicated with more formerly sponsored children since that cool October day, and while each story and experience is precious and unique, they all have one thing in common. Each of these formerly sponsored children inspire me and allow me to glimpse the truth. While as sponsors we tend to hear how blessed our children are because of our investment in their lives, I believe we are the ones who are blessed by them investing in us. Our attitudes and perspectives have shifted, we look at life and the world through newly opened eyes, and we have a passionate purpose that goes beyond ourselves. Communicating with these formerly sponsored children makes me feel closer to our sponsored children in a way, because they are a piece of proof that Compassion International’s ministry works, and releasing children from poverty is possible in Jesus’ name. So, to all of the formerly sponsored children I have or will ever communicate with, I would like to say:
• Thank you for sharing a bit of your story with me
• Thank you for being a piece of the proof
• Thank you for allowing me to glimpse the truth
Please, watch the below video and allow Anita Charles, the first-ever formerly sponsored child we had the privilege of meeting, to share a bit of her story with you. Then, prayerfully consider allowing the Lord to open your eyes, shift your perspective, and change your life by releasing one of these beautiful girls who have been waiting for more than six months for a sponsor from poverty in Jesus’ name.