- Why Sponsor?
Last summer, my sister Lisa and I went to a Newsboys concert in Escanaba. There, we had an opportunity to sponsor a child through ChildFund International. Adam Agee (who opened for the Newsboys), gave a powerful presentation, telling about his experience visiting the child they sponsor. He emphasized his amazement at how making such a small change in our lives (giving $36/month), can completely change the life of a child living in extreme poverty. It would ensure that a child has enough food to eat, adequate clothing, clean water for the whole family/household, and/or whatever the greatest need in their family is. All this was possible for the child, because Adam and his wife decided to go out to eat/for coffee one less time per month and use the funds to sponsor another child.
- How I Got Involved.
Lisa and I decided to split the cost and sponsor a child. We both trusted the Newsboys, that this is a legit organization. That it was really benefiting the children sponsored in the program and not someone’s private jet.
Sponsoring was so much fun! We had a blast sending letters, stickers, and postcards, Within a few weeks, we received our first letter from Meourn Makara. A three-year-old boy from Cambodia.
- Why Compassion?
- Within a few months, I wanted to sponsor another child. (Child sponsorship is like potato chips. You can’t just have one!) ChildFund is a great organization, but upon doing a little bit more research, I discovered I preferred Compassion International for a few reasons as follows:
- 1. They use a “three cord” approach to ministry by being: Christ-centered, church based and child focused. “Taken individually each cord is not unique. However, when taken together, why we serve, how we serve and who we serve creates a distinct approach to ministry.”
- 2. They’re Christ-centered. "Beginning in 1952, when Rev. Everett Swanson first developed special sponsorship programs for individuals, families or churches to help support Korean War orphans for a few dollars a month, we have worked to help children realize their full potential and develop into all God intends them to be." "Because Jesus is our core, everything we do for children's meant to reflect God's heart."
- 3. They’re church-based. They do all of their work through partnerships with thousands of local churches in over 25 countries around the world. "We work in partnership with local churches because we desire to equip the Church to fulfill its role as salt and light in the world."
- 4. They’re child-focused. "When a child is registered in our Child Sponsorship Program, the beneficiary of the support is the specific sponsored child. Siblings, parents and other caregivers may receive additional or indirect benefits from our programs, but our focus is the one child. Through our holistic child development model, we blend physical, social, economic and spiritual care together to help children in poverty fully mature in every facet of life and transcend what is often a generational legacy of poverty."
They’re focused on developing children individually and holistically, prioritizing their safety and protection, financial integrity, (I.e. Digitally scanning letters to save on shipping costs so more of your sponsorship funds go directly to the program,) linking each child to one sponsor, and giving each child a chance to learn about Jesus, respond to the Gospel, and develop a lifelong relationship with God.
- My Experience. Sponsorship is a blast. It’s so exiting receiving your first letter, updated photos, and sending letters, postcards, bookmarks and stickers. In Compassion’s program, children under nine write in a “fill in the blank” format where they answer pre-written questions about their country, weather, school, etc. I have received two letters from Kossiwa Catherine (8 year old girl from Togo, sponsored through Compassion), Telling about her family, her compassion center, prayer requests, and her pet hen. I’ve also received a letter from her pastor and a letter from her Compassion center director, telling about letter distribution, benefits the children receive through sponsorship, and children who were able to receive much needed surgeries. Letters are typically written in a classroom setting, teaching children writing and communication skills. I’ve also received a few letters from Meourn Makara (3 year old boy from Cambodia, sponsored through ChildFund). His letters are translated from Khmer, a language I had never heard of! In his letters, he told us about his family, his favorite toys, and a flood that came through Phnom Penh last summer. His mom folded a paper boat and Makara decorated it with the stickers I sent him, and they sent it back. His letters are always so adorable. In his last letter he said “I wish to receive your letter again someday.”
- What Does Getting Started Look Like For You? In Adam Agee’s presentation, he said that his wife wanted to sponsor a child. He then said something he’d said many times in their relationship: “You’re right.” So he said "We cut our cable from 200 channels to 20 channels because we only watched 2 channels." For their second child he said they went out to eat/for coffee less often. Making room in the budget to sponsor a child may look different for different people. For instance, Someone might not be able to cut cable but they might decide to buy a cheaper phone plan instead. If you eat out twice a week and spend $9.50 per meal, all it would take to have the funds to sponsor a child would be to eat out 4 less times per month (or only once a week). It becomes so worth it when you receive your first letter. Sponsorship through Compassion International is $38/month and sponsorship through ChildFund International is $36/month. There are many other great sponsorship programs which generally cost $30-$40/month.
- Scripture From Compassion’s website, they said: Jesus' life and teachings shape our programs and guide all aspects of our ministry. From how we work to how we treat people, respect communities and cooperate with nations, our response to a world filled with hundreds of millions of children living in extreme poverty is to love like Jesus did.
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
Isaiah 1:17 learn to do good: seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
Proverbs 31:8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.
Isaiah 58:6 Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
Isaiah 58:10 And if you spend yourself in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
- I’d encourage you to look up, and study these verses in their context. It’s God’s Word to us, revealing the heart of the Father for the oppressed. Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope you’re inspired and encouraged.