After my son Titus died in my grief I was grasping for something to hold to and to somehow find meaning in his life and death. Growing up my step dad sponsored a boy who lived in Uganda. Growing up I would be excited to get letters in the mail from him but also saddened and sobered by how difficult his life appeared to be. He wrote to us of war and terrible things that he saw. I remember coloring pictures to send to him. My step dad really loved “I” and he had a dream of going to visit him when he graduated high school. The time came and the money was not there to travel. Shortly after we got a letter telling us that “I” had contracted malaria and died right after graduating high school. It was devasting and we felt like we had lost someone dear to us. I remember my step dad being really sad and sending money to “I’s” mother to support her after the loss of her son.
Growing up knowing about Compassion International is why the ministry came to mind after Titus died. I got on their website my soul shattered, my eyes continually puffy with tears. While scrolling through the photos of children I asked God to lead me to the child He wanted us to sponsor. When I saw “S” who lives in Ghana his round cheeks, full lips and round eyes, reminded me of the boy I had just said good bye to who had very full lips, round cheeks and big eyes. When I went to confirm and give my credit card information I saw that when clicking on the profile of a little girl ‘K’ who lives in Uganda I had accidentally hit the button to sponsor her. I didn’t know how to remove her from our account so I showed my husband who said something like, “We can’t remove her, God wants us to sponsor her.” She made me think of the boy we sponsored growing up who had lived in Uganda and it made me feel like I was getting to sponsor a child in his memory.
Having two sponsor children has been an amazing blessing to us. I don’t get to buy birthday presents for my son but I get to send birthday presents to them. I don’t get to see my baby grow up but I get to see them grow up through photos and letters. I can’t talk to Titus but I do write my sponsor children letters and tell them Bible stories and tell them how proud I am of them like I would tell my son if I could.
What motivated me to write about Compassion today is a letter I got from “S” in the mail. His prayer request and his prayer for me moved me to tears and I am certainly not one of those cries at the drop of hat type people. His letter was dated December 3rd and he asked for pray for peaceful elections for his country. It crushed me that a child so young lives in a world where political unrest is a real burden in his life. I looked up the elections in Ghana and saw that it took place less than a couple weeks after he wrote his letter so it must have been weighing on his mind. What really got me though was the sentence, “S says he prays that all you have given him that God would return it unto you.” **tears, tears, tears!*** He isn’t old enough to write on his own yet so a Compassion worker was writing for him. S drew us a very nice picture of a cup though!
We had sent S (and K as well) and his family a gift on Titus birthday in May last year and we received in the mail yesterday a full page photo of him holding and surrounded by the things that were bought with the gift. A new pair of shoes, a shirt, corn and a bag of something that looked like rice. The letter from the compassion worker told us that the rest of the money had gone to expand S’s mother’s home business and told how thankful the family was for that. It humbled me to see the concrete floor S was standing on. Last year for Titus’ birthday money was used to purchase cement to lay a floor and make the families home more secure. Compassion had sent us a photo of the bags of cement with S’s stunningly beautiful mother standing in front holding a baby on her hip. I feel that Compassion does a very good job of spending money wisely and there is a lot of accountability and openness about how the money is being spent.
By far what makes Compassion stand out from other ministries is the relationships you can form with your sponsor children. Who knows what the future will bring? Maybe when my children are in high school we will go visit our sponsor children.
If you are looking for a Christian ministry to support financially I really recommend looking into Compassion International. Their slogan is, ‘releasing children from poverty in Jesus name.’ This ministry is something I feel really passionate about. When Casting Crowns did a concert in our town and an email came to me from Compassion looking for volunteers to hand out information at the concert I signed up right away!
Compassion asks that people don’t put online the children’s name or photos for privacy and safety is why I referred to the children by their initial.