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The Blessings and Benefits of Child Sponsorship

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Quite a few years ago now, I read the book Radical by David Platt. I was instantly convicted about some things. (If you haven't read the book, I highly recommend it...unless you're afraid of a little conviction!) One thing that really struck me was the desire to make it clear to our kids that, as Christians we are to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27. I thought about it and talked with Jason about it. And after some pondering I came to the kids with an idea.

At the time, the kids were ranging from about 4th grade to about 3 yrs old. Every Sunday evening we did children's choir at our church. And every week on the way home, we would get McDonalds. (I know, I know there's a health food lecture there.) So I proposed to the kids that we give up our McDonalds suppers and, instead, choose a child to sponsor with that money. Their decision came pretty quick. They agreed to the idea, thought it would be lots of fun to sponsor a child from another country, and wanted to pick out a child to sponsor.


I chose to use Compassion because I had friends who sponsored through Compassion and had been impressed with the way they did things and the allocation of their funds. So we headed to the Compassion website. Because we have three girls and only one boy in our family, we decided to let Charles pick a boy to sponsor. We looked around the site for a while. And then we found James.

James is from the Philippines. His birthday is about two years after Charles's. He lives with his family, and he attends the Compassion school because of his sponsorship. The center sent us pictures of James, letters about his area, and a scrapbook to keep all correspondence. We support him with $38.00 each month, a birthday gift, a Christmas gift, and any other one time gifts we choose to make. We write him letters- about one a quarter. And he writes to us. His letters come in English. They don't have to be translated. He always tells us fun things about what he does at the Compassion school, and he always draws us a picture and writes a Bible verse. The second or third time he wrote, he asked if he could call me "Mom Leah." And so he does. And he tells us he prays for us. He asks about the kids each time. He thanks us for sponsoring him. But the truth is, we are as blessed for sponsoring him as he is.

Our children are learning that they are very privileged.

When we first received the information about James and where he lived and the area where he is, we were all struck by the poverty all around us in the world. In the area where James lives, it's the norm. It's not as if his family is unusually struck by hardship. It's just their way of life. He's so thankful on his birthdays because he uses the money gift we send to buy socks and underwear. When the kids first read that, they were pretty astounded. They want ipods and X-boxes and Playstations for birthdays. Nothing about socks and underwear excites them. Their lives are very privileged.

We love doing this as a family.

One of the really cool things when we first decided this was looking together to pick out a child to sponsor. We all looked, and everyone had input. When we receive letters we read them together as a family. When I'm going to write a letter, the kids sometimes suggest things to say. Our child sponsorship is a family bonding experience because it's something good that we share. It's a common work together for good.

We see the power of prayer.

Every day we pray for James. When the Compassion center first sent his information, they included bookmarks. On the back are thirty-one days with thirty-one different things to pray for your child. Each day of the month we find that day's request and pray for James. Sometimes he'll mention something to pray for in a letter, so we add that in. We are blessed to pray for him. It's also so cool that he and his family pray for us. Don't we just sometimes feel that we're so self-sufficient here in the US. We have it all together and certainly don't have needs like those poor poverty stricken people in the third world countries. But we do need prayer. Sometimes we need it more because our eyes are blind to our needs. So I'm so thankful that James prays for us.


Sponsoring James has truly been a blessing for us. One more very neat story about our sponsorship:
When Charles was about 18 months old I was pregnant, and we lost the baby. The baby would have been born the fall after Charles turned two. When we were picking a child for sponsorship and found James, we misunderstood his birthday. We thought his birthday was in the September before Charles turned one, making him a little less than two years younger. After we began receiving information about him, we realized we were mistaken. His birthday was actually the September before Charles turned three. Kathryne made the connection. His birthday was right around the time the baby we lost would have been born. And we didn't even plan that. God is kind of amazing like that.


If you would like to sponsor a child, you can visit the Compassion website and find the child meant for your family. (I'm not paid or promoted in any way to write this post, by the way. I'm just sharing the blessings of our experience.)


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