You've probably read about the bloggers that were recently in Kenya, visiting Compassion International sponsored (and un-sponsored) children. It's pretty hard to miss.
I've always known that out of all the programs that help children in poorer nations, that Compassion was the best one. But I didn't know why exactly. I didn't truly understand what they did. I didn't truly understand the state of things in these countries. You hear the word "slum" and you imagine it, but how can you really understand it unless you see something like this. This time I couldn't just switch the channel and say "there's nothing I can do."
I remember when Pioneer Woman's husband and girls went to The Dominican with Compassion last year. I didn't really pay close attention to it. I didn't read every post, every word. This year it's different. I am different. I was ready to hear and see with a heart that could better understand. I think God opened my eyes at this time, to hear what he wanted to tell me.
Do you remember my post about our grocery budget? About feeling like $400 a month was too little for a family of 5? Well, we eventually found a way to increase it to $500, but we only really needed $450. I don't think that was a mistake. I think God was preparing us to realize we had more than enough, that we had extra. It takes just $38 a month to support a child through Compassion.
This week-end David and I read this post by Kristen of We are That Family. We were both so moved by it that together we made the decision to sponsor a child. And a couple of nights ago, with our kids, we sat down and chose the child we felt called to sponsor. He is 5 years old and lives in India with his mom (a widow) and grandfather. He had been waiting over 6 months for a sponsor. I was surprised that we didn't choose a child in Kenya, but God really laid this little boy on our hearts that night. And who were we to decide differently?
I later found this written on Kristen's blog too: "Did you know Compassion allows you to give family gifts to your sponsored child up to $1000 a year? Compassion International meets with the family to decide how the money should be spent...a new roof, beds, etc." We've also decided not to exchange gifts between ourselves for Christmas, we'll be sharing it with this little boy's family instead.
And shortly after, we watched this video. Kristen blogged about it here. It's an amazing story and you really should watch the whole thing. I don't think you'll think about sponsoring a child the same ever again.