Day 24: Sponsorship Part II: Correspond with a child living in poverty

Yesterday, we shared how you can release a child from poverty in Jesus’ name through financial sponsorship with Compassion International. As we have written here many times before, child sponsorship is much more than the $38.00 sent to Compassion International each month. While that financial gift is very much appreciated, letters and the relationship built between the sponsor and child makes an eternal impact on all involved. Go here to learn about the importance of letters and how you can build a beautiful letter-writing relationship with your sponsored child.

Today, we want to share with you another way beyond financial sponsorship in which you can bless a child and be blessed in return. My husband Andy and I can attest to how life changing what we are about to share has been for us and many sponsors and children around the world.

 

Questions to ask yourself

 

• Do you love to write?

• Can you commit to write letters on a consistent basis?

• Do you want to minister to a child who needs to know the love of Christ?

• Do you want to spread God’s love around the globe through a tangible act of compassion?

• Are you interested in learning more about another culture?

• Do you want to instill a spirit of giving and Christ-like compassion in your children before they leave home?

• Would you like to build a relationship with a child prior to making a substantial financial commitment to the ministry?

• Are you struggling financially, but wishing you could do something significant for the kingdom of God?

 

If you answered “Yes”, then correspondence sponsorship may be for you!

 

There are many children who are financially sponsored, but they do not receive any letters from their financial sponsor. The reasons for the lack of letters could be numerous—the child is among a number of children sponsored by a business, corporation, or as part of an individual’s last will and testament; the financial sponsor lacks time or interest to write; health or other concerns may be preventing the sponsor from writing, ETC. In such cases, a financial sponsor is welcome to request that a correspondence sponsor be assigned to write to his or her sponsored child in their place.

 

A few frequently asked questions about correspondence sponsorship

 

“How do I become a correspondence sponsor?”

 

If you are in the United States, call Compassion International’s Global Ministry Center at (800) 336-7676.

If you live outside the United States, go here to locate and contact Compassion’s global partner nearest you. When you contact the Compassion International office in your country, you can ask for more information about becoming a child correspondent.

 

“Can I choose the child with whom I correspond?”

 

While you are not able to choose the exact child with whom you correspond, you can request a specific gender, region of the world or country, age, ETC. Please know however, that such requests may not be able to be filled depending on the current children needing correspondent sponsors at the time of your request. Furthermore, such specific requests may delay the process of you receiving a correspondent child, again depending on the current children needing correspondent sponsors at the time of your request.

 

“Does my correspondent-sponsored child know I am not his or her financial sponsor?”

 

It is our understanding that the child usually does not know that the correspondence sponsor is writing on their financial sponsor’s behalf, and instead they believe they have received a new sponsor. Moreover, it is also our understanding that this is in no way meant to be dishonest or deceitful, but instead to avoid any confusion on the part of the child and his or her family. When we write our first letter to a new correspondent-sponsored child, Andy and I simply say how blessed we are to be his or her new friend without mentioning anything about “sponsorship”.

 

“Does my correspondent-sponsored child receive the same benefits as a financially-sponsored child?”

 

Yes, your correspondent-sponsored child receives the same benefits through Compassion, because they are in fact financially sponsored. The only financial difference between sponsorship types is that you are not the one providing the funds for these benefits.

 

“Can I visit my correspondent-sponsored child?”

 

Yes, as with a financially sponsored child, you are encouraged and invited to visit your correspondent-sponsored child. Please contact the trips and visits department of the Compassion International office nearest you to learn more about this life changing opportunity. You will be glad you prayerfully considered meeting your sponsored child face-to-face!

 

“What happens if my correspondent-sponsored child’s financial sponsor discontinues the sponsorship?”

 

If financial sponsorship is discontinued, you will be asked if you would like to financially sponsor that child and continue nurturing the relationship. If you are unable to financially sponsor your correspondent child, then he or she will be placed among the children awaiting sponsors. If in the future you are able to financially sponsor that child, please do not hesitate to contact your nearest Compassion office and ask them to see if that child is still available for financial sponsorship. The best way to request this information is to have that child’s number available when you contact Compassion. This number is on the letters you receive, and it begins with a 2-letter country code.

 

For more answers to frequently asked questions about the correspondent sponsorship program, please read this post on Compassion International’s official blog.

 

Are you a correspondence sponsor?

 

If so, please share your experience in the comments. Why should someone become a correspondence sponsor? How has this changed your life? Has this opened your eyes to another culture or poverty around the world? What frequently asked questions have we missed here that are not covered in the aforementioned blog post? Please feel free to ask them in the comments as well!

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 23: Sponsorship Part I: Release a child from poverty in Jesus’ name!

We are entering the home stretch of our 31 days of compassion. This has been an incredible month filled with many challenges and blessings. We have defined and shown compassion, heard God’s heart for the poor, discussed spreading God’s love in our local communities, and learned about poverty and specific issues faced by people living in poverty around the world. We have been challenged to pray, watch, read, blog, and eat with a global focus. Children have been encouraged to show compassion, and Christmas joy is being sent. Our hearts are filled to overflowing, and we are not done yet!

 

In response to all that you have learned over the past few weeks, we want to challenge you to step out in faith. We recently advocated on behalf of a child living in poverty, but we can take this advocacy one step further. Will you please pray about sponsoring or corresponding with a child living in poverty? Today, we will share with you about child sponsorship, and tomorrow we will discuss becoming a correspondence sponsor.

 

Reflections on our child sponsorship story

 

My husband Andy and I have been child sponsors with the ministry of Compassion International for close to nine years, and we can tell you that this experience has blessed and changed our lives. Our perspective on life, finances, faith, and what it means to spread God’s love has shifted. Our world has spun and tilted, and we have a global focus in our line of vision now.

 

Sponsorship is not about the $38.00 we send each month. It is about building a relationship with our sponsored child through letters. It is about praying for their studies, health, dreams, and family. It is about rejoicing with them when they pass to the next school grade, win baseball trophies, or see the Lord answer prayers miraculously. We evangelize, encourage, and disciple. They pray, send Scriptures, and give us unconditional love. We started sponsoring with the intent to bless a child, but we are the ones who have received the greatest blessings and rewards. We have become uncle and aunt, and mom and dad. Our family is spread across the globe, but we are all bound by the blood and love of Christ.

 

“Why should I sponsor a child?”

 

For $38.00 a month, just over $1.25 a day, you can release a child from physical, social, economic, and spiritual poverty. Through a local church in his or her community, your sponsored child will receive many benefits including medical check-ups, educational opportunities and support, a safe place to play, nutritional meals, life skills training, and the opportunity to hear about the love of Jesus and build a personal relationship with him. Through your prayers and letters, your sponsored child will know that dreams are possible and life is worth living. He or she will know that someone loves them, and the whispered lies of poverty will be drowned out by your words of encouragement.

 

Please, do not just take our word for it!

 

A recent independent study was conducted that shows the immensely positive impact Compassion International’s child sponsorship program has had on the success and lives of formerly sponsored children in the areas of education, employment, and leadership. Here, four formerly sponsored children share their stories of success and the impact sponsorship has had on their lives.

 

$1.25 a day—enough to buy a coffee or a song from iTunes. Or, enough to change the lives of your sponsored child, his or her family and community, and you. We have learned that every child is close to the heart of God. What is $1.25 worth to you? Is it worth a cup of coffee, a song, or releasing a child from poverty in Jesus’ name?

 

“How do I choose a child to sponsor?”

 

As you pray and seek the Lord’s guidance about the child you will sponsor, we want to introduce you to some children waiting to be released from poverty in Jesus’ name. Maybe one of these children is waiting for you.

 

Denelson

 

Six-year-old Denelson lives in Haiti with his aunt and three siblings. He is in preschool and enjoys soccer. This precious little boy would love your letters of encouragement, and you could be the one to share with him about his father in Heaven.

 

Hector

 

Hector is seven years old and lives with his grandparents and four siblings in Mexico. Hector has partial hearing loss and is struggling in school. Will you pray for and encourage him? Will you let him know that he can trust in Christ and reach his dreams despite his circumstances? Will you tell Hector he is special in the eyes of God?

 

Ruhama

 

Ruhama is six and lives in Ethiopia with her foster parents and one sibling. She is in kindergarten and enjoys running and playing volleyball. Will you please end Ruhama’s long wait for a sponsor? As of October 27, she has been waiting 244 days for someone to step in the gap for her. Will that someone be you?

 

Jackson

 

18-year-old Jackson lives in Tanzania with his uncle, aunt, and three siblings. This young man is excelling in his college studies. As he enters adulthood, he could use a mentor to walk beside him and encourage him with prayers and letters of love. Will you let Jackson know he is not forgotten today?

 

Layanel

 

Living in the Dominican Republic with his grandparents and four siblings, 6-year-old Layanel is in kindergarten and enjoys baseball. Will you give this sweet little boy an early birthday present by ending his too long wait for a sponsor? His birthday is on November 23, and as of October 27, Layanel has been waiting 330 days for someone to release him from poverty in Jesus’ name. Is the answer to Layanel’s birthday wish going to be you?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 22: Skip one meal and change many lives!

 

How many times have you said, “I’m hungry” today? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be hungry, but instead of going to the refrigerator, grocery store, or fast food restaurant, you do not have any way to stop the hunger pangs from descending upon you in full force?

 

For children living in poverty around the world, there is no convenience of a refrigerator, grocery store, or fast food restaurant. There is no security of money to buy the food these children and their families so desperately need. When natural disasters such as drought strike an impoverished community, food security is little more than a memory dangling by a thread of hope in the eyes and heart of a hungry child.

 

We can do little more than imagine this daily reality. However, we can make that mental picture more than meets the mind’s eye. While it is not possible to give children living in poverty the convenience of a refrigerator, grocery store, or fast food restaurant, it is possible to give them food security. I can do this. You can do this. We can work together to ensure that children living in poverty around the world do not need to go hungry.

 

On November 6, we are skipping a meal and donating what we would have spent on that meal to the ministry of Compassion International. These funds will provide food to children suffering from undernourishment due to food insecurity.

Will you join us? It is only one meal. It is only one day, but it will change more than one life including your own.

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 21: Spread the word

As we learn about poverty, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the need and feel inadequate. You may feel as though you do not have influence to make a difference. However, we can each speak up on behalf of children living in poverty. We can each spread God’s love locally and globally through compassion. For day 21 of our 31 days of compassion, we want to help you begin to broaden your influence and encourage you to use your voice to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Whether you are a student, pastor, or simply someone with a desire to serve children living in poverty, we pray you are motivated to act in response to this post.

 

Three simple steps to spreading the word

 

Step 1: Pray

 

• Ask God where he would have you strategically placed to share the message and ministry of Compassion International

• Pray about exactly what the Lord would have you download in light of his response to the first prayer

• Ask God for wisdom, strength, and peace as you download and share these materials

 

Step 2: Download

 

Compassion gives you a plethora of downloadable materials to share the message of this ministry. From bulletin inserts and sermon outlines, to letters, email templates, posters, and brochures, there is no limit as you partner with the heart and people of God to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Once you have sought God’s direction and downloaded your materials, you are ready for the third step.

 

Step 3: Share

 

Find creative ways to share these materials in your sphere of influence. Whether on-campus, at your church, or in your local community, anything is possible with prayer, flexibility, and a ready and willing heart to serve the Lord. This is just the beginning. Later next week, we will encourage you to continue finding ways to share Compassion’s ministry in your sphere of influence. Until then, begin taking these three simple steps to spreading the word, and tell us about your experience!

 

As you prayed, what did the Lord show you he wanted you to do? What materials did he direct you to download? How did you share, or how are you sharing these materials in your sphere of influence? How are you encouraging others to join you in speaking up on behalf of children living in poverty? What is the overall reaction you receive? How can we pray for you as you share the message and ministry of Compassion this week and in the days ahead?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 20: Share a Youtube video

While the challenge for day 20 of our 31 days of compassion may seem simple, it may have a greater impact than you could ever imagine. Today, we want to share videos from Youtube that relate to the global problem of poverty and how we can show compassion and spread God’s love around the world. We chose a Youtube video from Compassion International’s Youtube channel, but you can find any video you wish to share.

 

Questions to consider when choosing your video:

 

• What caught your attention and prompted you to watch this video?

• How does this video inspire you to show compassion and spread God’s love?

• Would you be motivated to share this video? If so, please do so.

• What would you say to encourage someone to watch this video when you share it?

 

Our chosen video: “Grace finds hope”

 

 

Confession: No matter how many times I watch this video, I cry. The contrast of emotions and lies waging war in the precious hearts of the people is beautifully heartbreaking. I have seen this video many times since it was first placed online, and each time I am reminded of the blessing of sponsorship, not just for the sponsored child and their family, but for the sponsor as well. I am reminded that we all need grace and hope each day, and we need to give grace and hope through acting in compassion to spread God’s love. Please, watch this video and ask the Lord how he would have you give grace and hope to someone today.

 

Share your chosen video with us!

 

What video did you choose to share? How did you share it? What did the Lord teach you through watching and sharing your chosen video? What inspired you to share this video, and why should someone watch it? After watching your chosen video, what would you pray others would take away from this shared experience? How might your chosen video inspire others to spread God’s love through compassion?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 19: Advocate for a child living in poverty

One of the reasons we love Compassion International is their child-focused approach to ministry. By helping a child through four areas of development: physical, economic, social, and spiritual, Compassion is able to release that child from poverty in Jesus’ name and allow that young person to make an eternal difference in their world. For day 19 of our 31 days of compassion, we want to invite you to join us in advocating on behalf of a child who is still in need of a sponsor.

 

Throughout the past few weeks, we have looked at poverty and spreading God’s love locally and around the globe. We have seen how poverty wreaks havoc on the well-being of those living in its grip, and we have had the opportunity to shine the light of Christ in dark desolation. Sponsoring through Compassion International is one way to spread God’s love to a child living in poverty. Sponsorship is much more than the $38.00 donation each month. This is a chance for someone to bless and be blessed. Through prayers and letters of encouragement, sponsors are able to watch their sponsored child grow and develop into a successful young man or woman, despite their surrounding circumstances. Will you take the time to encourage someone you know to sponsor a child today? Will you speak up on behalf of a child living in poverty?

 

How do I choose a child to advocate for?

 

You may be thinking to yourself, “There are so many children in need around the world. I could not possibly pick just one child to advocate for!” Whether you advocate for one or 100 children, that choice is between you and the Lord. We want to help you narrow down your choices a bit if we may.

 

• Choose a child from the country or region you prayed for yesterday

• Choose a child who has been waiting far too long for someone to say, “I love you”

Choose a child with a specific birthdate

• Advocate for a child who has lost one or both parents

• Speak up on behalf of a child who may feel unloved because of his or her special needs

• Choose to find a sponsor for a young person who may feel forgotten as they enter adulthood

• Choose a child who has the same name as you or someone you love

 

Who are you praying and advocating for today? What steps are you taking to help that child find his or her special sponsor? We want to introduce you to our prayer child who is waiting for his sponsor.

 

Will you help us find Eric’s sponsor?

 

Eric lives in Ghana, West Africa with his uncle, grandmother, and one sibling. Those who are able to find work in the community where Eric and his family live only make an average of $32.00 a month. At the age of eight, Eric is in kindergarten. He enjoys playing soccer. As of October 19, Eric has been waiting 444 days for someone to step up and change his life for eternity through an act of compassion. Would you please join us in praying for Eric and helping him find his sponsor?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 18: Take a prayer trip across the world

Welcome to day 18 of our 31 days of compassion. Today, we want to take you on a trip, and you can choose your destination from 26 countries throughout Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Africa, and Asia. You can even travel to specific regions of your chosen country, such as the northwestern region of the Dominican Republic, the Amazon region of Ecuador, the rural region of Kenya, or the central region of Thailand. You do not need an airplane to take this trip. You just need some time and the willingness to pray for the people you will learn so much about.

 

When choosing your country and/or region, ask yourself these questions:

 

• Has the Lord placed a specific country or people group on my heart?

• Do I have a connection to someone in a specific country or region?

• Is there a culture I have always wanted to learn more about?

 

Where did you choose to travel today? What did you learn about the country and/or region you visited and its beautiful people? What were you led to pray for these people in response to your exploration? Please share your experience in the comments, and encourage others to travel across the world and pray for those they meet along the way.

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 17: Can you survive…?

For day 17 of our 31 days of compassion, please give a warm welcome to my husband Andy. Today, he is writing to share his experience with and response to the 17th challenge of compassion. I could not do his words justice, so I will let him share his heart with you.

 

Hi,

My name is Andy, and in light of today being the international day for the eradication of poverty, I have a question for you. Can you survive on $1.25 a day? I did not think it was possible until I played this game. This is a great way to learn more about the decisions that those living in extreme poverty need to make. Not every choice made will be right, and I found that 90 percent of the decisions I had to make were moderately difficult. My eyes were opened to the conditions in which these people live, and their circumstances are more difficult than even I previously realized. It became apparent as I played the game that there are two kinds of decisions to be made—practical, and ethical or moral. I found that the moral and ethical choices I had to make were easier than the daily life decisions, because I was more motivated to make ethical choices by my family’s dependence on my survival.

 

When in the game I was assaulted on my way home from work, I had to make the choice to be tested for HIV/AIDS or simply hide the fact of my assault. I decided to be tested regardless of the social and monetary cost, because my family depended on my existence. If I were living alone with no children, my consideration of being tested would be less of a concern.

 

While playing the game was a simple action and could not compare to living out these scenarios in real life, it reminded me that showing compassion to those living in poverty would relieve the burden of their decisions. In the game, when I had to remove my son from school due to the high cost of his required uniform, my stress level increased and my health decreased by 10 percent. I could physically feel the stress and glimpse the reality for this family. Later in the game, my son was sponsored through Compassion International, covering the cost of his uniform and school tuition. I was shocked and relieved. Moreover, I was grateful for my son’s sponsor, because their help allowed my stress to decrease and I could focus on other matters. While my future may not have seemed glamorous, knowing that my son was sponsored gave me hope of success where there used to be a lack of purpose and will to live. That one decision made by someone, a complete stranger from across the world, gave me the motivation I needed to make future decisions.

 

In response to this experience, the Lord has reminded me of the importance of telling someone they are worthy of living a successful life through God’s unconditional love. I survived on $1.25 a day, but it was only by God’s grace and the generosity of others. How about you? Do you think you can survive on $1.25 a day? Did you play this game? If so, what has the Lord taught you as a result of this experience and glimpse into the life and decisions of someone living in poverty?

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 16: Join us for dinner tonight!

If your family is like our’s, one of the most frequent questions posed in your home is, “What’s for dinner?” Imagine yourself going to the grocery store to buy ingredients for dinner tonight, but the only money you have is $2.00. Would you be able to feed your entire family a nutricious meal with only $2.00?

 

October 16 is recognized as World Food Day, a day set aside to end global hunger. We want to participate in this movement, and we invite you to join us. Did you know that millions of people around the world live on less than $2.00 a day? Why not join us for dinner tonight!

 

Participate with us in the $2.00 dinner challenge!

 

Tonight, we will be challenged to go to the grocery store with only $2.00 to spend on our dinner. As we go to the store, it may be difficult to make wise purchasing decisions with the small amount of money we have available. Will the meal be nutricious? Will we be satisfied after dinner, or will the nawing feeling of hunger remain?

 

Share your $2.00 dinner experience with us!

 

If you participate in the $2.00 dinner challenge with us, we would love to hear how this effected your family. How many family members did you feed with $2.00? What did you purchase for dinner? How did it feel to pay for your food with only $2.00? Did you have to make difficult purchasing decisions? How did it feel to prepare and eat this meal together? How has this changed your family’s perspective on the challenges faced by those living on less than $2.00 a day around the world?

31 Days of Compassion

Day 15: Blog with a greater purpose, and join us in the Compassion bloggers network!

We are almost to the halfway point of our 31 days of compassion, and we continue to be blessed by your participation. It is such a joy for us to hear your stories and interact with you through comments, tweets, Facebook, and so forth. We are so encouraged to learn how much this series is challenging and blessing you.

 

Do you want to blog with a greater purpose?

 

For day 15, we want to invite you to join us as part of the Compassion bloggers network! In order to be a Compassion blogger, you do not need to blog only about the ministry of Compassion. You can blog about your family, cooking, crafts, ministry, or whatever you’d like. The Compassion bloggers network simply gives you the opportunity to advocate on behalf of children living in poverty around the world by using your online voice to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. If you do not already have a blog, this is a wonderful time to create one!

 

What are the benefits of being a Compassion blogger?

 

• The ability to change the lives of children through your gift of writing

• Knowing you are part of a network of like-minded bloggers who have the same goal as you of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name

• Writing prompts sent write to your inbox to keep your creative juices flowing

• A blogging month each September with weekly writing assignments, prizes, and a ton of awesomeness!

• A bloggers’ rewards program

• The ability to travel virtually with some of your blogging friends, or maybe even in-person to see Compassion’s ministry around the world

 

Are you already a Compassion blogger?

 

If so, please encourage others in the comments. Why do you think someone should join us and become part of the Compassion bloggers network? What has been your favorite part of being a Compassion blogger?

 

Are you ready to join us?

 

If you join the Compassion bloggers network, we would love to hear about it so we can visit your blog and welcome you! If you have questions about joining or about the network, please feel free to ask in the comments of this post. We or another fellow blogger will be happy to help to answer your question or point you in the right direction. Get ready to blog with a greater purpose, and join us in the Compassion bloggers network today!

31 Days of Compassion