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How to be the 1%

This post is part of a series I am writing about our trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International.

Compassion Sponsored Child

The bus pulled up and stopped outside the child center.  I briefly glanced at the building and politely declined an offer to tour the center.

We had toured two centers already, and truthfully it had been an emotional day.

We had just left Jhon Henry, one of the boys we sponsor, and the gift I had planned to give his father was now hastily tucked in my backpack.

While we were happy that Jhon Henry was one of the few children who are lucky enough to live in a home with both parents, we  also hoped and prayed that his father and mother would legally marry one day.

Instead, upon our arrival, the Center Director told us that Jhon Henry’s father had actually decided to leave his family.

He wasn’t there for his family and he wasn’t there for us to give a gift to.

As if his leaving wasn’t enough, Jhon Henry, his 2 brothers and mother were now living in a  temporary home they couldn’t afford.

Although they had previously lived in a home that was considered the ‘upper end of extreme poverty’ (if there is such a thing),  the home they were in now was several steps below where they had previously lived.

It’s hard to believe that the poor could become even poorer, and yet that is what happened to Jhon Henry’s family.

The shame his mother felt was evident on her face and through the constant tears that streamed down her face as she repeatedly thanked us for choosing her son.

 

Meeting Ericia

As excited as I was to meet Ericia, the beautiful 8-year old girl we also sponsored, it was hard to stop worrying about Jhon Henry’s situation.

In an effort to keep the bus cool, the curtains on the bus had been closed.

As we waited for our guide to return to the bus, our 3-year old daughter played with the curtain by her window.

It was then that my eyes caught a glimpse of a familiar face.

Ericia was outside the bus!

With a joy I didn’t know I possessed I ran off the bus and wrapped her in my arms.

 

What does it feel like to be a sponsor in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program?

I don’t know that I ever had an expectation of what it would be like to sponsor a child.

But now when people ask me about sponsorship, I show them the picture of the first time I saw Ericia.

 

Through Compassion International you sponsor a child but you help a family.

Through the letters you receive from and write to your sponsored child you become a life line to a child in poverty. 

You become the voice that tells them they’re good enough and that you believe in them.

You  become a real-life super hero to  a really amazing child.

 Compassion Sponsored Child Visit

How to be the 1%

Did you know that only 1% of the over 1 million children in the Child Sponsorship program EVER get to meet their sponsor?

You have an opportunity to become the 1% and you don’t need to be a millionaire.

You can visit this REAL child, with REAL needs, who your $38 a month is REALLY helping,  and just like that you’re in the 1%.

Whatever planning or sacrificing you have to do to be in the 1% I hope you’ll do it.

You won’t regret it.

 

It’s not (just) about the $38

I used to think that Child Sponsorship was just about sending in my $38 a month.

Now I realize it’s about actively participating in the life, hopes and dreams of a child living in poverty.

Visiting them is just one of the ways you get to do that.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Waiting Children

This post is part of a series I am writing about our trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International

Compassion Sponsored Child

 

 

Waiting Children

While the average wait for sponsorship for a child in the Child Development program is only 3 months, Jhon Henry had waited one year for sponsorship.

Although he had been enrolled in the program and had received every service or program a ‘sponsored’ child had, tears rolled down his mother’s face as she repeatedly thanked us for sponsoring her son.

“We waited so long.   What made you choose Jhon?” she asked us.

 

Choosing a child

In an effort to serve more families in the community Compassion limits enrollment to only one child per family.

As she sat with her youngest son on her lap, I wondered what it must have taken for this mother to choose one son over the others.

Yet, she did it…and then she waited for someone else to choose her child.

And Jhon Henry waited to be told that he had been chosen.

That someone believed in him.

I wonder how hard it must have been for him to watch other children in the program writing letters to their sponsors and receiving letters from their sponsors, while knowing that he had still not been chosen.

Did he lose hope of ever having a sponsor?

Did his lack of sponsorship reinforce his feelings that he wasn’t important and that his life didn’t matter?

I don’t think I can articulate what made us  choose Jhon Henry the day we selected his profile from all the others.

But as I saw him sitting before me with his eyes downcast as his mother tearfully asked the question,  I suddenly KNEW why we were his sponsors.

Through the help of an interpreter,  I said,

“Jhon Henry, I’m sorry that you had to wait so long for a sponsor.  I believe God had you wait because He wanted you to feel special.   He wanted you to have a sponsor that would come visit you.  So you had to wait for us, because this is the first time we could visit you.” 

As the smile slowly spread across his face I silently thanked God for allowing us to be Jhon Henry’s sponsors.

sponsored children

A child is waiting for your sponsorship

I wish there weren’t more children like Jhon Henry, but the truth is there are other  children still waiting for sponsorships.

It’s hard to believe that $38 a month could change a life, and yet it does.

But even more than the money, it’s knowing you were important enough to be chosen.

Even if your parents leave you.

Even if you are the poorest of the poor.

When someone in a far away country says:  I choose you. I believe in you.

Suddenly,  you can begin to have  hope.

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Destination Dominican Republic

Compassion

We’re off!

You can follow our journey in pictures on Instagram (#wffoundation) or here on this blog.

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Destination Dominican Republic: Our Compassion International Mission Trip

Compassion Trip

Tomorrow morning I will be boarding a plane with my husband and our 5 children to head to the Dominican Republic to tour 3 of Compassion International’s programs.

On many levels this has been a dream come true for our family.

First, to experience first-hand what many  Compassion Blogger’s have written so passionately  about and Secondly, to utilize our Family Foundation resources in a way that is so much bigger than us, or anything we could ever do on our own.

But how do you prepare your children (or yourself) for the extreme poverty that they will see?

Until now, poverty has been a generic concept.

There has never been a name or a face attached to it.

We have never stood in the midst of it.

We have never experienced true poverty or known anyone personally who has lived in extreme poverty.

Extreme poverty is defined as average daily consumption of $1.25 or less and means living on the edge of subsistence. Via The World Bank

All that is about to change for our family and we would so welcome and appreciate your prayers.

You see, poverty now has a name for us (Erisia & Jhon Henry) and two precious faces.

sponsored children
We cannot wait to meet them, hear their stories and most of all hug them.

We have hopes and dreams for each of them and for their families.

We believe they can be released from poverty.

Internet connection willing, I will write about our experiences this week on the blog, open up discussion about what I’m learning on the TMD Facebook page and share photos from our trip on Instagram.

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Operation Christmas Child: How I’m teaching my children to consider others this Christmas

National Collection week for Operation Christmas Child is November 12-19, 2012.  Operation Christmas Child is a ministry program from Samaritan’s Purse whose mission is to demonstrate God’s love to needy children throughout the world, in a very tangible way, on Christmas Day.

 

This year our family is participating in Operation Christmas Child. I can think of no better ministry program for them to participate in to prepare their hearts for the upcoming holiday season.  Their enthusiasm has been wonderful to watch but even more wonderful for us, has been witnessing them begin to grasp that they can make a difference in someone’s life, right now.  They don’t have to wait until they grow up.  They can impact a life NOW…and that has been powerful.

It’s surprisingly easy to teach your children to consider others before themselves.  All you have to do is give them an opportunity to do so, and they will most likely surprise you.  Much thought went into every item we selected for our boxes and that lead to another gift- the realization that these unknown children they were shopping for, were not really that different from them.  They just didn’t have the same blessings.

 

How to participate in Operation Christmas Child:

Decide who your box (or boxes) are for:  Boy/Girl 2-5, 6-9, or 10-14.

Please read,  what to pack in your box and then make a list of items you would like to purchase.  Ideally each box should include items from all 4 categories: Toys, educational items, hygiene and other (sweets, clothing, accessories).

Print How to pack a shoebox forms and labels.  Place form in your box along with $7 donation (per box) to cover shipping costs. If you make your donation online, you will be given a special label to copy which will allow you to receive an email letting you know which country (or countries) your box(es) went to, along with more information about the program offered there.

Determine nearest Drop Off Location and deliver your box(es) during National Collection week: November 12-19, 2012.

Pray for the child(ren) who will receive your box and their families.

Spread the word (Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Word of Mouth, Tell a friend, involve your church) so that more children may be blessed through Operation Christmas Child and hear about the Good News of Jesus Christ!

 

How to involve your children in Operation Christmas Child

Tell your children about Operation Christmas Child and watch, the Journey of a shoebox in 3 minutes video together.

Involve them in selecting who your box(es) will be for.  Ask them what you think you should include in the box.  If possible, involve them in the shopping trip.

Consider purchasing a white Shoebox so that your child can decorate the box with markers, stickers or paint.

Make a Follow your box donation so that your family will receive notice on where your box (or boxes) went.  Read more about that country and the program offered there with your child.

How to help spread the word:

I’d like to invite you in not only participating in Operation Christmas Child (OCC) but to also help spread the word.  How can you do that? If you are a blogger you can share your own experience and link your post below.  You can Tweet about the program using #OCCboxes as the hashtag.  Tell your friends on Facebook or at Church, involve your neighborhood or encourage your extended family to participate.



As a member of iHomeschool Network’s Samaritan’s Purse Blogger Team, I write about the ministry on a volunteer basis. All posts are my own thoughts and do not necessarily reflect the views of Samaritan’s Purse. I am not an employee, agent, or contractor of Samaritan’s Purse. For official information, please see the Samaritan’s Purse website.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.