Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Woah... my sponsored kid knows all about me?

Compassion International Blog IndiaThat picture above? That's a photo of Remya, talking on the phone to her sponsor family in the USA. Read it here. She's wearing a dress that the "special gift" option that Compassion gives to their sponsors provided for her.

Sponsoring a child has become sort of cliche. You know - it's a cool thing to do, it shows you have a heart and you care about the world, or maybe you're just a sucker for the magazine and TV ads that show some kid in a slum with snot on his face and flies buzzing around.

Compassion International Blog Trip India

Still - despite my natural cynicism, I became a fan of Compassion International at age 13, and I remain one. I have never heard anything negative about Compassion, which is incredible. They continue to get great official reviews for their financial stewardship, they continue to expand the areas where they work around the world, and they continue to expand their reach in ministries to moms, families, and job training on top of their usual sponsorship/schooling program.

Compassion also stole my idea and is using the blog world in an amazing way to bring real stories of their work straight to us. They recruit bloggers - popular ones - and have them go overseas and SEE the Compassion sites, meet the kids, visit their families and homes, and then connect individually with the kids they sponsor. Meanwhile, we're at home reading their stories on the same day they write them. And the photos are incredible. A team of Compassion bloggers just got home from India, and I went to school with one of them (Melissa Moore, Beth Moore's daughter), and follow the blog of another (Angie Smith, author of Bring the Rain). Their stories have been INCREDIBLE. You can see all of the bloggers and their posts here... it's been fascinating to follow.

compassion-international-india  4516

While the poverty is heartbreaking, it doesn't surprise me. I get really excited when I read about the actual programs that Compassion has going in India.... particularly because my sponsored child is in India, so I feel like I'm seeing her world through these blogs.

(Photo of the home of one of the sponsored little girls, which the bloggers visited and wrote about)
Compassion International Blog Trip India

What has really hit home the most for me personally as I followed the India blogs is that every time they visited a Compassion child and their family, the family knows all about their child's sponsor. Out of their meager belongings they pull out the letters they've received from their sponsor, sometimes years worth of letters. They are all kept and reread. Treasured. That hit home with me. I write my Moriyam, but usually just because I know I should, and I enjoy hearing from her. I usually am suspicious that she is being coerced by teachers to write some faceless sponsor in a far-off land that she doesn't particularly personally feel a connection to. These bloggers have written time and again that most likely not only Moriyam but her family know all about me, have the last 7 years worth of letters in safe-keeping, and have memorized my name and those of my family.

(Angie and her sponsored kids)
Compassion International Blog India

I'm totally motivated now to write much more personally - to tell her that I love her and pray for her, to encourage her to dream and work hard to achieve those dreams, to send a lot of lovin' and photos. AND... gifts. I've always skipped over the birthday or Christmas gift options, but the kids in the India trip blogs are proudly showing off their new shirt or dress or toy that was bought for them with the extra gift money that was given by their sponsor. That's cool. I want to provide Moriyam with a bright new pink dress like the one Remya is wearing in the photo at the top of this post.

To show what I mean... click to about 1:40 on this video, and see the little girl's response when they ask her if she has a sponsor:

It really hit home that I am not just giving my money - I am partnering with Compassion, I am part of the deal, part of how they speak into the lives of these kids.

Compassion International Blog India


junglewife said...

I've been following the trip too, also the last ones - to Africa and the DR. I remember when I first started sponsoring a child - when I was in 11th grade and went to a youth convention, and Compassion was there. I think my parents went in half-and-half with me, but I kept sponsoring that child until for some reason she left Compassion (several years after Dan and I were married,) and now we're sponsoring another. (Both are/were from Ecuador, too :-))

I know what you mean about the letters - I don't write as often as I'd like, and often I think that they just read the letters and throw them away. I try to send pictures when I can, but don't think about it all that much. I also try to write in Spanish if I can which takes a lot of effort! I know that the translation is a lot of work, and when I get her letters, I can read them in Spanish, and see the differences between what she's written and what is translated - sometimes is quite different! So I try to write in Spanish - maybe that creates MORE work for them, I don't know! ha!

Anyway, I appreciate your post. And I appreciate all the work that Compassion is doing to get the word out about child sponsorship - it's an amazing thing! Incidentally, the church that my parents started in Ecuador (it's a LONG story - my dad's a doctor but a side ministry they kind of fell into ended up with them starting a church!) is now a Compassion project as well. Kind of neat.

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

Hiiii Kacie! I'm sick so I'm only online a minute and I'll have to catch up on your posts tomorrow, but I've been meaning to get in touch with you about the "pass it on" -- it's been one thing after another lately, but email me your address (misseliza123 att gmail dott comm), and I'll get on that as soon as I'm not germy. ;P Looking forward to it! Take care... :)

Jaimie said...

Ugh. I am one of those sick, sick people who's been sponsoring a kid for around 7 months now and has not written her yet.