The realisation came slowly. They usually do. It started when I read a post on the Compassion blog which talked about a woman who grew up being sponsored through Compassion. Although eternally grateful for the sponsorship, this lady couldn’t help but cry everytime she mentioned that her sponsor never wrote to her. Not one letter. Not once. I read about the children who were so disappointed and sad when their friends received letters from their sponsors but they repeatedly missed out (sorry, I can’t find that post!)
A few weeks later I read another compassion post – in which Chris Giovagnoni a Compassion advocate challenged himself to become a better, less ‘selfish’ sponsor.
Then I went to Colour. EVERYTHING changed and culminated and fit into place at Colour but as I sat and watched the Sisterhood morning presentation and watched as a young boy cried deeply, expressing his thanks to his Compassion sponsor and praying that they’d be blessed always.. that really started a stir within.
Finally, week I was reading the latest Compassion magazine. I read about the one billion people living in urban slums. I cried when Ester Maria Agrevin of Indonesia said she hoped one day that her house would have “a bedroom and a bed for her parents so they didn’t have to sleep on the floor anymore.” My heart broke when I realised that small, seemingly insignificant monetary gifts to the family of a sponsored child can literally change lives. According to the article, Welcome to My Home, gifts can install latrines (toilet facilities), connect electricity, purchase cookers or ovens, buy beds or mattresses or even add a simple lock to a front door…
I’ve never given a ‘family gift’. I send money at Christmas and try to give as much as I can when the appeals come around but, I’m ashamed to say, I didn’t even know when Josfa’s birthday was. I’d never sent him a birthday card and I’d certainly never sent him money for his birthday so that he, as a Compassion sponsored child, could help his family have a greater life. My heart broke when I realised the opportunities we’d missed over the years. I write to Josfa as often as possible but I have realised that I can do more with this opportunity. Way more.
I have finally realised, after six years of sponsorship, how much a part of Josfa’s life we are. We’re not just a cheque in the mail or an overseas pen pal. What we do HAS CHANGED HIS LIFE. That’s huge.
I have decided to try and intwine Josfa into our life even more, so that we won’t take for granted his well-being ever again.
Need more convincing? This post explains it better than I’ll ever be able to.
Here are some things I’m going to try and do:
- Find out how I should properly address my sponsor child. Does he go by his first name or last name? Or does he have a nickname?
- Write his birthday down and make sure I send a colourful, fun birthday card stuffed full of loving words and stickers and anything else I can fit – a couple of months before his birthday (to allow for distribution time).
- Save up and make sure I can give a useful and helpful monetary gift for his birthday – so that he can feel proud to be able to help his family.
- Write and tell him how I really feel about him. Not just small talk, but that I actually do really love him and that I look out for Uganda in the news and feel panic whenever something happens there – worrying about the safety of him and his family. Tell him that I feel like a part of my heart is walking around in Uganda and that he means so, so much to us.
- Pray for him. Properly. Regularly. Sincerely.
- Send him updated family photos.
- Tear out articles that might encourage him or that he might enjoy. Josfa wants to play soccer for Manchester United one day – the article about Compassion children becoming professional athletes will be perfect for me to send him.
This is a great start. I’ll be working on this list. It may seem like just more pressure pressure pressure. Sorry – it’s not meant to be. This is just a thought process I’ve been going through lately. But at the end of the day, sponsorship is their LIFE and perhaps we need to make sure it means a little bit more to us than just sending hastily written notes and regular money..
Do you have more suggestions? Let me know in the comment box below.. I’d love to read your thoughts :o)