It was a dark and stormy night.
Rain lashed down on us and the few hundred other brave souls who sat huddled under umbrellas and ponchos in the outdoor amphitheater, waiting for the main act to come on stage. It was going to be Petra, and it was going to be awesome. In the meantime, the intro acts came on stage, one after another, entertaining the drenched crowd. It was hard to pay attention to anything other than keeping tucked under the umbrella.
Then one act stole the show.
A young guy came on stage. I don't even remember who he was now. All I know is that he gave a testimony and showed a pretty compelling video. It was a video that cracked open the shell of my heart. It was the video that introduced me to Compassion International.
Jonathan and I climbed the steps to the back of the amphitheater. It was a good excuse to go lurk for a few minutes under the one semi-sheltered area in the whole place. We saw the banner for Compassion and pushed through the throng to get to the table. What we saw was faces. Lots of faces. Adorable faces. Sad faces. Toothless grins. Awkward, spotty, teenaged complexions. Faces of every color, from many countries. There were a lot of faces to choose from. We fingered first one packet, then another, reading the biographies of the little children. Then I read Jeffry's packet.
I grew up living with my grandparents.
That was it. Jeffry was the one. Our first child of any kind. That one similiarity between Jeffry and myself sparked us to sponsor. Of course, his tiny, Dominican, cuteness may have helped. I can assure you, the decision didn't really seem pivotal at the time. Thirty-something dollars a month would mean a lot to this kid, but not so much to us. We could go home, tuck his child packet safely in our coffee table drawer, write our check each month, and get a few letters here and there. No big deal.
Most of you already know that there is a little more to the story. God had a plan to change our lives through this sponsorship too. If I had known how radically I would change, I probably would have ran from that table and dropped that packet like a hot potato. I'm awfully glad I didn't.
What connection do you think you might have with one of these kids? There are a lot of differences to be sure; language, ethnicity, culture, geography, socioeconomic status, and education all divide. But what is that one thing that draws you to a child? I know many who will read this already sponsor a child through Compassion. You all have a story to tell, like mine with Jeffry, or like mine with Luz
We share a birthday. She was born July 28, 1998, and I became a Christian the same day. We are both 14.
Our favorite color is pink :)
Sponsors, will you share your story below?
For those of you who do not yet sponsor, what do you think it might be? I urge you to explore Compassion's website. Not necessarily sponsor, but explore. Click on the "Sponsor a Child" link on the side of my page. It will take you to a page filled with faces...beautiful, God-designed faces, and each one has a story. Do any of them resonate with you?
Sponsors and potential sponsors, I'll make you a deal.
If you find a child that steals your heart, post your connection either here on my blog or on my Facebook link (make sure you write down the child's info so you can find them again!). I'll read all the stories and choose the one that compels me the most. If I choose your story and you are willing to sponsor that child, I'll pay your first month's sponsorship. For EVERY child that is sponsored, I will send you a home-made new sponsorship kit full of goodies to help you get the ball rolling.
Even if you can't sponsor right now, will you take a look? Will you choose just ONE child and pray for that child to find a loving, committed sponsor? Just click on the "Sponsor a Child" widget on the side of this page. Look, laugh, and then love on one child through prayer. Let us know your story too so we can join you in prayer.
Prayer is big. God listens. And it is more important than anything else we do, so your prayers are not just what you should do when you can't afford to sponsor. Prayers are what you do to shake heaven and earth in the name of Jesus.
This month, Compassion hopes to raise awareness about sponsorship. That mostly means that we want you to be another voice for a precious child who lives in desperate poverty, lifting that little name up to God's ear. Let's shake heaven and earth!