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What child sponsorship has taught me about life

Compassion International is a name that I’ve known as long as I can remember. If you’re unfamiliar with this organization, it’s a Christian nonprofit that’s dedicated to releasing international children from poverty through sponsorship.

They ensure each child has access to food, water, shelter, clothing, medical attention, an education, and the opportunity to learn about Jesus and make friends in a safe environment. Not only this, but you have the opportunity to correspond with your child to build a relationship with them!

My family had sponsored three children throughout my upbringing, but I had always dreamed of sponsoring my own child one day.

Almost four years ago, I was finally blessed with that opportunity when I began sponsoring my little girl in the Philippines (who is now almost 8). And one year ago, I became a correspondence sponsor to a little girl in Rwanda (who is turning 5 this week!).

Through my sponsorships, I’ve seen how much these girls have grown as individuals, especially in their faith!

But when I signed up to become a sponsor, I never would have expected to learn what I have about life from these two girls.

 

There are worlds beside my own with unique stories

If you were to google “history and culture fanatic,” my picture would probably be one of the first images to show in the search results . I was the kid that whenever I went to the library, I ran straight to the History section to check out as many biographies as I could get my hands on.  Attending cultural events where I could learn more about others within the United States, but also internationally, were one of my favorite activities.

Sponsorship further opened that door for me as it allowed me to learn about the culture of countries, while getting an authentic perspective. It’s not a commercialized or painted depiction of what these countries are to Americans: it’s learning from real people who create the backbone of the culture and society. There is always something new to learn.

It allows me to look beyond myself

Sponsorship helps keep things in perspective. When you read the country bios on the Compassion website, you learn about the challenges these children face in their societies: financial insecurity, human trafficking, malnutrition, fatal diseases and other health issues, drug and alcohol influence, and violence.

Receiving the “thank you” letters of what your sponsored child purchased with their birthday gift from you, your heart breaks as you read the excitement expressed for the simplest of necessities that we often take for granted.

We have been blessed in the United States financially and resource-wise. I’m not saying that we don’t have our struggles, but in the perspective of the overwhelming majority of the world, we live like royalty.

It reminds me to be grateful for the blessings I’ve received, and reminds me to be generous in sharing what I have received.

I have the opportunity to shine hope into someone’s life

Sure, the money is incredibly helpful to the children enrolled in the Compassion program. But every sponsored child, Compassion employee, and advocate for the organization will say the same thing: the difference in a child’s life begins with their relationship with their sponsor.

Regular correspondence with your children through letters helps deepen that relationship. You learn about each other’s interests, hobbies, families, cultures, and faith in Christ.

When you become a sponsor, God is blessing you with the incredible opportunity to be the one that says to a child in poverty: “you are loved, you are not just a number in the world’s population. You are a unique individual that was created by God, and He has wonderful plans for you. Not only this, but I believe in you and love you.”

It taught me about my relationship with God

This was something I learned in my first year of sponsorship, and I never would have anticipated this. As I mentioned in the last section, the key to helping these children is by developing an encouraging relationship with them. You’re assisting Compassion in equipping children to defy the odds set against them.

Through the program, children will write their sponsors between 3-6 times a year, with sponsors being able to write as frequently as they wish. In those times where I received letters less frequently, I realized our relationship with God is similar.

Like my posts about seasons of spiritual dryness and how to combat it state, oftentimes our communication with God isn’t the greatest. When we aren’t spending time in communion and fellowship with God, that relationship can’t grow.

He plays His part in the relationship, but He allows us to play our part as well, not forcing us to participate. I can’t imagine His longing for us to return to Him, His desire for us to speak to Him.

In those long periods of time when I may not hear from my sponsored children, it reminds me to evaluate myself to see how often God is hearing from me.

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Sponsorship has truly been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I can’t speak highly enough about the wonderful things Compassion International does, and I will forever have a special place in my heart for the Philippines and Rwanda.

Today, I want to encourage you to look beyond yourself. How can you be involved in serving God by helping others?

Maybe it’s sponsoring a child through Compassion International, which you can learn more about here.

Perhaps the monetary or time commitment isn’t right for you in this season of life to become a sponsor. What I ask, then, is this: what can you do?

How can you give in another way? Whether it’s a different form of monetary commitment, through volunteering your time, or donating resources, what can you do to help serve others, regardless if it’s in your neighborhood or in another continent?

Maybe you want to be involved with another nonprofit. If so, you can visit my page of recommendations for ideas; or simply help with an organization that’s close to your heart.

No matter what you’re doing, you can help bring hope and encouragement to someone.

Hebrews 13:16 – “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

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