You know I love Compassion International.
To me, the most powerful testimonies for why this program works is to hear from adults who were sponsored as a child, and what it meant to them. I recently read Peninah’s story; it’s so moving. Being involved with Compassion rescued her from a certain horrible future, as her family is part of the Maasai tribe.
We’ve loved sponsoring Jeremy over the past year. Though letters are few, we’ve loved getting to know him a little bit (you may remember that he shares a birthdate/year with Luke) and seeing him grow and change. He’s clearly learning what it means to know the Lord, and while I don’t know what his family background is exactly, I’m sure that Compassion is helping him along this path. And who knows? It’s possible that he’s teaching his family about Jesus.
Several months ago, I presented our two older boys with an idea. Their piggy banks have a section for donations, and that money has gone to a couple of causes over the last 18 months (school supplies for kids, food for food pantries). However, I suggested this time that they just continue to save their donation money until it got close to Jeremy’s birthday, and then they can give that money to him as a birthday gift. They thought this was a great idea, since they’d heard me read about the things he excitedly told us our gift last year had allowed him to get: clothes for school. While my boys can’t quite comprehend poverty, I think they’re getting a better idea through the personal contact with have with Jeremy, and how a little bit can go a long way.
I can’t wait to get the letter from Jeremy in a couple of months (we had to send our gift last month so that it gets to him in time for his birthday, and then wait for his response via mail), telling us what his mom was able to get for him for his birthday. I think it will really help solidify for the boys what it means to help others.
I had intended to save this post for closer to Jeremy and Luke’s birthday, but yesterday, something really amazing happened on the internet. If you read Stuff Christians Like, you already know what I’m talking about. If not, let me quickly recap.
Jon of SCL was prompted by something his 6 y.o. daughter said about children in poverty (after seeing a picture of a starving child in a book): “That’s pretend right?” It got him thinking about finding a way to use his blog to do something big. Really big. So yesterday morning, he announced that he was partnering with the Christian organization Samaritan’s Purse to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. His daughter is a kindergartener, and seeing her love for school made this a good fit for him. He needed to raise $30,000, and hoped to do it by December 31st. And do you know what? In 18 hours’ time yesterday, the $30,000 goal was reached. Now, there were a few large donations, but primarily, this was raised by many, many people just giving whatever they could.
In scrolling through the comments, I was surprised to read someone’s comment about this being the first time they’ve ever felt compelled to donate to a cause. There is need all around us, and whether you choose to help a local food pantry, adopt a family for Thanksgiving or Christmas, sponsor a child through Compassion or a similar organization, or help with a big project like building a kindergarten (or now, maybe TWO kindergartens!), every little bit can make a big difference to someone in need. Don’t ever think that what you have to offer is too small; God can do big things with it.
I was really, really glad to get that reminder yesterday.