Come make a difference for a child in need.
I've been a sponsor for Compassion International since I was in high school, though it wasn't just me when it started. As a "project," my class decided to sponsor a child from the Dominican Republic via CI. Someone who knew someone sponsoring children with them offered the idea. With about 15 students (give or take per year) in our class, the monthly fee would amount to about a dollar per person, maybe two. That was a worthy cause for teenagers, yes? Find a trustworthy organization to which we'd give a measly portion of our allowances, all in an effort to teach us the value of charity. Alas, even two dollars a month proved too much a commitment for our class, and the support of this little child became the labor of a few.
As time went on, we realized there would be a problem: What do we do with him when we graduate? Many of us would be running off to college; addresses would change, income would be little to nonexistent, no one would be able to write the boy back (if he chose to write us), and so on. The obstacles of keeping him as a class project mounted to the point that my close friend and I asked our parents if we could co-sponsor him. Just the two of us. "Of course," we reasoned, "we don't want to just throw him back into the sponsor pool. That's irresponsible, and you're always teaching us about being responsible." So, our respective folks agreed that any month we couldn't make the donation amount, they'd make up the difference.
Within a year, my friend and I realized that co-sponsoring wasn't working out. There was too much confusion over getting money to each other, making payments on time (this was before online payments), so I asked my friend if she'd mind if I converted all the information over to me. She agreed.
Since then, I not only sponsored Aroys de Jesus Martinez from the Dominican Republic until he turned 18, but I continue to work with Compassion International to sponsor Muthu Mari Murugen from India. She turns 18 next week, which means my sponsorship of her will be over.
I actually hadn't done the math on that until just now. I think I might cry.
You see, Compassion International doesn't just give kids in impoverished nations food and clothes and means of education. They work in the entire area to improve living conditions, provide vocation training, even pay for tuition expenses. They clean the water, they encourage the children's growth as individuals, and aid the child's family. But most importantly, they teach the Bible to them and help them become all God means them to be.
Of the two sponsor experiences I've had thus far, Muthu has proved to be the more conversational. Children in the Compassion International program write to their sponsors on a regular basis, and I expect that when they're younger, this task is less than appealing to them. However, as they get older, some actually WANT to write to their sponsors. Want to write to you. To me.
Muthu and I write regularly to each other. She tells me about her life in India, the festivals she attends, the dances in which she participates, what she's studying in school, what she likes studying versus what is challenging, who her friends are, and her favorite vacation spot. I tell her about my work and what I read and what I perceive of the world around me. Muthu speaks and writes English as well as her own native language, so our letters don't have to be translated. Whenever I get a letter from her, I'm so happy; when she doesn't write for a long time, I get sad. I miss hearing from her.
And now to my point: Compassion International is doing an initiative for the month of October (RIGHT NOW!). Sponsors who volunteered to participate (me!) are assigned three children from various parts of the world for whom they are to find sponsors. Usually, we do this via our churches, maybe our schools, but due to some complications, I'm unable to display my information at church.
So I chose to blog about it. :)
Risda (from Indonesia), Jose (from Guatemala), and Augustin (from Africa) are my assigned children. They're young and in need of preventative care for illnesses, education, and aid for their families. For $38 a month, you can provide these things, and more, for Risda, Jose, or Augustin. It's a significant commitment, I know, but the incredible difference it makes in the life of a child is invaluable. You'll not only be saving a life, but intersecting that life with yours, praying for them, writing to them, sending them pictures or postcards, developing a bond with that little life as they grow up.
If you want to talk to me about them, feel free to comment or post on my Facebook. I'd be more than happy to tell you about my experiences as a sponsor. Or, you can check out their website to learn more about the organization and their ministries, and how you can participate.
Watch a video of one child's reaction when she finds out a sponsor has chosen her.