A Birthday Gift

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.

9 responses to “A Birthday Gift

  1. that is amazing that so many people gave so fast.
    we love sponsoring ivan through cfca. we just sent off a bunch of books for him for xmas last week to make sure that he gets them in time.

  2. Thanks, Nicole, for the reminder to do what we can to help those who are less fortunate. One of my favorite Bible passages is Ephesian 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
    You said it perfectly, “God can do big things” – things we can’t even imagine, like raising $30,000 in a few hours!!
    We also love working with Compassion! It is a great teaching tool for our kids who haven’t personally experienced poverty!!

  3. i know you have spoken a lot about compassion but for those that would like to follow along with a compassion trip, kelly from http://www.kellyskornerblog.com is in el salvador right now on a compassion trip. very insightful.

    to give to any cause or help those less fortunate gives me a feeling unlike anything else in life. it’s very satisfying.

    • thanks, jamie, for linking to the compassion bloggers’ trip! i would LOVE to someday do one of these trips to the dominican republic!

      • Oh my goodness! I just read the post about the compassion trip!! That is going to be an amazing trip!! One of our girls is from El Salvador – I know there is more than one office in El Salvador – but maybe in her pictures we will see Victoria! Probably not, but I can hope, right? I would love to go on one of these trips, too. Every year I check online to see the trips that Compassion has planned and every year I look at the cost – maybe some day!!!

  4. I’d love to see your little letters from your Compassion boy! Be sure to update us after you hear from him the next time.

    I also read Jon Acuff’s blog last night about the kindergarten he committed to raise money to build and was amazed to see how quickly he raised the $30K. I added my small contribution and am hoping that people continue to give so that another school can be built!

    You are doing such a great service to your boys by teaching them about this type of giving at such a young age.

  5. This is very inspiring – and so what this upcoming season is about.

  6. Nicole – thank you so much for your post and the reminder that in teaching our children to be the best people possible, we have to teach them simple humanity. The giving of gifts to someone who is in need is so important – reaching out and lending a hand is something I try and get through to my children every day.

    Have a wonderful day lady!

  7. Great post Nicole! I have always wanted to adopt a child, so this year I am going to quit thinking about it and DO it.
    Thanks to you I now know of this great organization to do it through. I remember reading your post about Compassion last year. Thanks for all the valuable information.

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