A Week of Bittersweet Goodbyes

 

 

“’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson

 

This is not the first time we have loved and lost, but that still does not lessen the ache. Just two weeks ago, I wrote our Compassion International children’s long-awaited update letters. Her letter was the last to be sent…

This week though, as I obsessively counted our children on the Compassion website, something was not right. I counted again… We were missing someone. Out of all of them, why did it have to be her?

I fought back tears and sudden breath-taking panic as I spit out the heart-wrenching words no sponsor wants to repeat as if they were grains of sand stuck helplessly in my mouth. “Um, we’re missing someone… She’s gone…” Andy knew exactly who, without me even mentioning her name, because my husband is just like that. He also knows me enough to know that I would not handle the ensuing phone call well, so without questions he picked up the phone.

Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, our precious Kate is no longer part of Compassion International’s program. We welcomed Kate into our Compassion family after watching the above video in May of 2009. After five beautiful years, her frequent and affectionate letters and words of love will be dearly missed.

 

That was Monday…

On Wednesday, after some tears and moments of raw vulnerability, we received an unexpected phone call…

 

In April of 2012, I needed a reason to continue teaching voice lessons beyond myself. Naturally, my reason came through an addition to our ever-growing Compassion family. His name is Miguel.

 

I came home from running errands this past Wednesday to Andy saying, “I received a call from Compassion today…”

Miguel was not supposed to graduate from Compassion’s program until 2016, but he apparently has the motivation I have lacked this past semester. While I counted down the days until my Christmas break began on December 12, Miguel completed two years of college in just one-year’s time! Therefore, he will be graduating in 2015—a year earlier than expected!

Thank you precious son for giving your sponsor mom and dad a few months of forewarning, and please know that we are so very proud of you!

 

As I shared with a friend recently, this is kind of like being a foster parent. While many are afraid to be attached to their foster children, anyone who has ever loved one of these precious ones will tell you that attachment is what they so desperately need. Child sponsorship is similar, in that it is easy and equally important to become attached, no matter how long God places these children in our path. For us, I can say that the blessings far outweigh the losses, and we truly reap the benefits maybe more than we even know. So, while this has been a week of bittersweet goodbyes and goodbyes-to-come, we rest in the knowledge that every word written, tear shed, prayer lifted, and penny spent is more than worth the price. We have loved and we have lost, and we plan to continue doing so as long as the Lord allows.

 

In honor of our precious Kate and Miguel, would you prayerfully consider sponsoring one of these Sunday’s special children?

Day 28: Host a day or night of Compassion

We are just four short days away from the end of this series. It does not seem like it has been 31 days. Instead, it seems like just yesterday when we introduced “31 days of compassion: Spreading God’s love locally and globally”. As we have said before, this has been an incredible month. We have been challenged in ways we could have never imagined, and we will share more about that in a few days. However, today we want to encourage you to share something you have learned from the Lord this month.

 

(To the tune of “If you’re happy and you know it): If you like free food and fellowship, say “Amen”!

 

We invited you to join us for dinner on October 16, and we would like you to pass that invitation along. You can either gather some friends and participate in the $2.00 dinner challenge together, do a poverty cultural night, or make some tasty international cuisine from a country where Compassion works.

 

Ideas for your time of Compassion

 

share your favorite Scripture or something you learned from your Bible reading plan about compassion, justice, or poverty.

• Please pray for the countries and/or regions where Compassion serves, and specific children in need.

• Remember to invite your friends to join you on November 6 for One Meal One Day.

• If your friends are creative or crafty, have supplies available for everyone to make Christmas cards for unsponsored children.

• If your friends want to get involved beyond your time together, invite them to sponsor or correspond with a child.

 

You can make this time as elaborate (or not) as you wish. No matter how or when you host your night (or day) of Compassion, we encourage you to share about this series and the message and ministry of Compassion International. Invite your guest(s) to ask questions, and do not be ashamed or afraid to say, “I don’t know”. If you do not have the answers, feel free to ask. You are welcome to refer them to Compassion directly, or we would love to help in any way we can.

 

Possible recipes

 

If you are wondering where to find recipes from countries where Compassion works, you have come to the right place. Compassion has a Pinterest board where they pin recipes, and there is a series on their official blog called, “Cook with Compassion”. If you need more ideas, choose a recipe from your favorite Compassion country.

 

Our experience and a special video presentation

 

I just completed a college course in speech communication, and as part of this course, I was required to present a persuasive speech. While we were unable to make tasty treats due to time constraints, we thoroughly enjoyed meeting with a new friend who very graciously recorded this video for us. Feel free to share this video if you would like.

 

 

Tell us about your night of Compassion!

 

Did you host a night of Compassion, either in conjunction with this post or in the past? If so, we would love to hear about it! What did you incorporate into your time together? Did you make any special meal or treat? If so, are you willing to share the recipe? What did you and your guests gain from this experience? Please share your feedback in the comments, and enjoy sharing Compassion with your family and friends!

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 27: Music lovers unite, and another blog giveaway!

“Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises” (Psalm 47:6).

 

Andy and I absolutely love music. Not only do we enjoy listening to music, but also we travel to churches, camps, conference centers, and wherever the Lord leads us to share the love of Christ and the message and ministry of Compassion International. I also teach private singing lessons, take piano lessons, and sing in a local college choir. As you may have noticed, music is very important to us. Today, for day 27 of our 31 days of compassion, we want to introduce you to some very gifted musicians who are using their ministries to speak up on behalf of children living in poverty. You may be surprised at whose music you have heard before, and you may find a new favorite or a few along the way too.

 

Our Compassion story began with music

 

It was in early December of 2004 when we attended our first concert as a married couple. That night of worship with Michael W. Smith, Point of Grace, and the Katinas was about much more than music for us. It was after Michael W. Smith shared a video that we chose to sponsor our first child with Compassion International. Looking back now, I reflect on how profoundly that night changed our lives forever.

 

Music makes a difference through the years

 

Since that blustery night almost nine years ago, we have joined Compassion’s advocates network. As Compassion advocates, we have been humbled to volunteer in partnership with such gifted musicians and bands as the Newsboys, Rebecca St. James, and Tenth Avenue North. These opportunities have given us the privilege of combining two of our passions—music and the ministry of Compassion—to spread God’s love around the globe.

 

Do you love music?

 

If so, today is your opportunity to show your support and appreciation to these gifted music artists for their partnership with Compassion International to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Choose an artist whose music you enjoy, or find one whose music is new to you. Purchase some of their music to support their ministry. Spend time praying for that musician or band. Pray for their relationships with God and family to withstand the public eye, and that their ministry would glorify the Lord and impact many for Christ. Pray that many children will be released from poverty as the message of Compassion is spread through your chosen musician or band’s ministry. If possible, contact your chosen musician or band via social media and thank them for their music and for partnering with Compassion to speak up on behalf of children living in poverty.

 

Our chosen musician: Shaun Groves

 

I remember my favorite song by Shaun Groves in high school being “Should I Tell Them?” That song challenged and convicted me as I was humbly reminded of Christ’s work in and through my life and walk with the Lord. Andy and I have since read Shaun’s blog for a few years now, and we have virtually traveled with him and other bloggers as they see the work of Compassion International firsthand.

 

When Shaun began work on his latest album, “Third World Symphony”, the anticipation in our home grew to unbearable heights. Since the release of Third World Symphony, Andy and I have been challenged and refreshed each time the CD is played—unashamedly loudly and on repeat more often than not. From the first note of “All Is Grace” to the very end of “Just as I Am”, Shaun paints beautifully vivid pictures that capture our hearts. With Third World Symphony, he has without a doubt connected the first and third world in a moving tapestry of song. The first time I heard this CD from beginning to end, I had to simply be still. Shaun had already struck me as a poignant storyteller through his blog, but I was not prepared for the stories that flowed through my stereo and straight to my heart. I learned much about poverty, wealth, the Lord, and myself that day. While I love every song on this album, “Enough” has left me speechless and in tears on many occasions. These songs are as prayers lifted from a broken yet hopeful heart on behalf of a broken world—prayers for mercy, justice and healing. These prayers are lifted to the throne of our merciful healer, the Lamb of God.

 

If you want a fresh take on music that will challenge and inspire you, then please purchase Third World Symphony from Shaun’s online store or through iTunes, and support his music and ministry. Moreover, would you join us in praying for Shaun and his family as he travels to sing, speak, and lead bloggers in advocating on behalf of the children of Compassion?

 

Blog Giveaway: Two copies of Third World Symphony for you and a friend!

 

We have two copies of Shaun’s latest album, “Third World Symphony”, to give to you and a friend. For your chance to win, please comment and tell us about the friend you plan to bless with this music. What is his or her first name, and why do you feel he or she would enjoy the music and message of Third World Symphony? Whether you write to enter this giveaway or not, we would love to hear from you. Have you been blessed by Shaun’s ministry and Third World Symphony?

 

Official contest rules:

 

• Previous blog giveaway winners are asked not to enter in order to give others a chance to win

• Only one copy of the CD per household, so please be sure your friend does not live with you

• Both CD’s will be sent to the winner’s address, and the winner is responsible for giving a copy to their chosen friend

• Contest entrants need to be 13 years of age or older, and minors should request parental consent prior to entering

• Contest entrants are asked to reside in the United States due to international shipping costs

• This contest will run through Friday, November 8.

 

It’s your turn. Music lovers let us unite on behalf of children in poverty. May we spread God’s love to the musicians and bands as they spread God’s love around the globe.

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 26: Write a letter to your sponsored child

Today is Saturday. For children registered in Compassion’s program, this is usually a day of the week when they attend the local Compassion child development center hosted by a local church in their community. Amidst the meals, recreation, vocational training, Bible studies, and other classes, one of the most favorite activities for the children is writing and receiving letters. When writing about her time spent at her Compassion project, Tatiana in El Salvador once wrote, “What I like most is writing letters to my sponsors.” Then, as one of the benefits she shared with us she wrote, “I get letters from my sponsors.” As all children registered with Compassion, Tatiana enjoys writing and receiving letters!

 

Letters are very important to your sponsored child!

 

If you do not believe me, and you think a letter will not make a difference, grab a box of Kleenex and read this. It will change your life and letter writing habits. After reading this and drying my eyes, I never thought of writing to our sponsored children the same again.

 

Write your sponsored child a letter today

 

If you have never written a letter to your sponsored child, it is not too late to start that life changing relationship. We can help you write your first-ever letter, and we can also help you take your letter writing relationship beyond “hello”. If you need some letter writing ideas, or you want to know how often to write your sponsored child, we can answer those questions as well. Whether you use Compassion’s online letter writing tool or send a letter in the mail, I know your sponsored child will be eternally grateful for the time you took to write words of love and encouragement just for him or her. Your letter does not need to be long or detailed. You can send a short note just to say, “I love you and pray for you often.”

 

Have you written to your sponsored child lately?

 

If so, what did you write about? Did you reply to a letter you received from your child? What news did he or she share? What is your favorite part about sending and receiving letters? What is your sponsored child’s favorite part of receiving your letters? Please share any questions or comments with us, and thank you for taking time to nurture the relationship with your sponsored child today.

 

31 Days of Compassion

Day 25: Make sure you’re not alone

Child sponsorship can seem like a lonely calling at times. You have such a joy, love, and passion for this ministry, and while you share about your sponsored children with everyone you know, it can be difficult to find someone who truly understands. You wish there was at least one other person who is excited when a letter from your sponsored child arrives in your mailbox, or when a surprise photo is included in that envelope. You wish you had a friend who joins you in praying for your sponsored child’s prayer requests and is there when difficult news arrives. You want a friend who will eagerly listen as you share about the extra goodies you’re sending with your letters this month, or when you show off the gifts you’re sending with a friend traveling to your sponsored child’s country. Your family and friends try to be patient and bear with your incessant chatter about letters, gifts, photos, and the dollar store deals, but you know they do not share your passion for this ministry. As you shrink back in your little corner, you wonder if there is such a friend who truly understands.

 

Good news: There is more than one such friend, and they truly understand!

 

 

What is OurCompassion?

 

OurCompassion is an online community of like-minded friends from all around the world who have a shared passion and love for children living in poverty. It is a safe place to connect and learn more about the ministry of Compassion International, child sponsorship, and your sponsored child. Being part of OurCompassion for a few years now, Andy and I can tell you that the blessings we have found via this community are innumerable.

 

Blessings of OurCompassion

 

• You can learn more about the ministry of Compassion International and ask questions in a safe and welcoming environment

• If you are a child sponsor with Compassion, there is a private forum dedicated to the sponsor community

• There is a private forum not open to unregistered users where you can post prayer requests and praise reports, whether related to child sponsorship or not

• There is a forum to exchange ideas for sending letters and gifts to your sponsored child

• You can connect with sponsors who have sponsored children in the same country or Compassion church partner as you

• You may have the opportunity to send gifts with sponsors visiting your sponsored child’s country. We have had this blessed opportunity extended to us twice!

• If you travel to visit your sponsored child, you may be able to get to know others traveling on the same trip! We found a new friend going to the Dominican Republic with us this coming April!

• You can learn about other cultures, both by being involved with Compassion, and from your new friends all around the world!

 

Child sponsorship can seem like a lonely calling at times, but it does not have to be this way. Since we have joined OurCompassion, Andy and I have noticed a growing passion for the ministry of sponsorship. It is through this community of like-minded friends where we learned about the importance of writing letters. We have received creative ideas and bookmarked enough websites to browse for too many days. We have prayed, laughed, and cried together. These people are our family, united by hearts in love with children around the world. We want to extend a warm welcome to you as you join us on OurCompassion.

 

Are you part of the OurCompassion family?

 

If so, we want to hear from you! What blessings have you found while being part of OurCompassion? How has this community helped you in your ministry to children living in poverty? Please leave your feedback in the comments, and tell us why you love OurCompassion.

 

31 Days of Compassion

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 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

From solver to servant: Rethinking the heart’s response

Puzzle pieces

Photo credit: Cory Doctorow

 

I am a solver

 

I will confess, I worry about situations, both big and small. When a problem arises, my natural tendency is to want to fix it right away. This tendency is present even amidst circumstances over which I have no control.

 

Poverty is one such situation that I cannot control, let alone fully comprehend. I cannot fathom lacking access to food, education, healthcare, or safe water and adequate sanitation. I cannot imagine the fear of wondering if my child will live past his or her fifth birthday, or if he or she will die from something that could have and should have been prevented. These are very real problems, and while I want to solve them, I realize I cannot begin to do so through my own imperfect strength. So, what then should I do? What then should we do, we who see the need yet must go against the grain of our natural tendencies of worry and problem solving?

 

I want to be a servant

 

Orphan Justice author Johnny Carr once said, “Poverty is not necessarily an issue to solve; it is an opportunity to serve. As we go through each day, our heart’s cry should be, Lord, where would you have me give, serve, and invest myself to bring hope to the poor?”

 

Instead of desiring to solve such a complex problem as poverty on my own, instead of being overwhelmed by the notion that I alone must save the world, it’s time I let the Lord do the solving and be willing to step back into the role of humble servant. It is time to remember that I can make a difference right where he has strategically placed me, without wishing I had all the answers. What does it look like to be a humble servant? Moreover, what does it look like to bring hope in the midst of hopelessness, light amidst the darkness, and truth amidst poverty’s web of lies and deceit? What does this look like in your life? Do you, like me, wonder what would happen if we each prayed the prayer found in Johnny Carr’s profound statement?

 

Maybe in response to God’s mandate to care for the poor you feel called to change the life of Marten, Mariela, Love, or Justine. Maybe you aren’t exactly sure what the Lord would have you do, but you are willing to take the next step and join us starting tomorrow and continuing through October in our 31 Days of Compassion. No matter what it looks like for each of us, let us seek to serve and let the Lord solve. May we, along with Johnny Carr, give, serve, and invest ourselves to bring hope to the poor. Let us turn from being a solver to being a servant, and rethink our heart’s response.

Walk the Gospel mile

Old Shoes

(Photo credit: Compassion International)

 

They have loved sacrificially and been cherished by many. Whether walking 4 miles with five-year-old Maria and her mother to get water each day, trudging through the mud-soaked earth on a rainy Saturday to take Carlos to his Compassion project, or serving as the “Sunday best” shoes for Ruth, Daniel, Cindi, Blessed, Hope, and Jole, the goal of these two servant-sized soles has always been to walk the Gospel mile. They have reached this goal many times over and have just one request as they step out of the limelight.

 

They are asking you to step up and walk the Gospel mile for a child whose feet and heart are weary and torn. The road is winding, muddy, and steep, and you may be worn and frayed in the end. However, you can protect a child from the shattered glass of life and the scars that poverty’s trash leaves behind. You can continue the legacy left by two soles whose inward light still shines despite the outward fade of time.

 

Marten

 

At age 4, Marten lives in Indonesia with his parents and 5 siblings. He has been waiting just a few days shy of a year for someone to be the feet of Jesus and walk the Gospel mile on his behalf. Is that someone going to be you?

 

Umasha

 

Umasha turned 9 on August 8, and she lives in Sri Lanka with her parents and 2 siblings. She too has been waiting just a few days shy of a year for someone to cheer her on as she succeeds in her education. Will you walk the Gospel mile with Umasha and let her know she can reach her dreams and make a difference for Christ in her world?

 

Lokhikanto

 

Lokhikanto lives with his parents and one sibling in Bangladesh in an area of high risk for child abuse and exploitation, and he will turn 6 years old on October 10. Lokhikanto shares his birthday with my husband Andy. Will you help this precious boy run to Jesus’ everlasting love?

 

Justine

 

Justine will turn 8 on October 31, and he lives in Uganda with his parents and 7 siblings. Justine is not presently attending school, and his community is in need of scholastic materials. HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and waterborne diseases are health-related concerns within this community as well. Justine’s parents are not always able to find work, and those who are employed as subsistance farmers in Justine’s community only make $16.00 per month. Will you step into this precious boy’s life and walk the Gospel mile on his behalf?

 

“How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Isa 52:7; Rom 10:15).