Did you know that I sponsor a child through Compassion International?
You may. You may not. It’s not something I speak about often because–if you want the truth–I think our 21st Century Christianity is a bit misguided about what it means to love and give and serve. I don’t do it for recognition; I don’t do it for the tax break; I don’t do it to appease my conscience or because it’s what “good Christians” do.
When I first began my sponsorship, it was an act of thanksgiving. I was driving in my truck, thanking God for a blessing He brought into my life (ironically, the blessing was temporary and is long gone) and that song came on the radio: Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise. It wasn’t something I prayed about, contemplated, searched…I just decided that I was going to take God’s blessing to me and bless someone else with it–not for feeling good about myself, not for feeling less guilty about being a wealthy (comparatively) American, not with the expectation of praise or having built character or even a jewel in my crown. I just wanted to take the blessing God had given to me and return it to Him in a very tangible way, not with words and ideas, but with action and commitment.
And I wanted to do so privately. You know? I mean…I tithe, and I give…but this was different. I really just didn’t want people to know that I was sponsoring a child. It’s been several years…and there’s still a part of me that doesn’t want you to know about my child. But. One of my customers today mentioned (quite out of the blue) that he and his wife just sponsored a boy from–guess where?–the same country as my boy! And once we started talking, I didn’t want to stop.
Today, in light of this connection with my customer, I’m convicted by Compassion’s blog:
Tell your sponsorship stories.
When people are important to you, you talk about them.
So I’m telling you today. I sponsor a boy from Burkina Faso. His name is Joseph. He likes to play soccer with his friends, chase his chicken, and play with his baby sister. He makes decent grades. He works hard. He planted a tree, and it died. I just received a thank-you letter and photo from him for a birthday gift I sent.
I love his letters.
I love his drawings.
I love that when I send him stickers, he writes back and puts some of them on the letter.
And I just love his smile.
And his heart. He prays for me. Did you know that? He prays for me.
Well. Now you know it. I have a child named Joseph. As a single Christian woman with no biological children of her own, I could not have asked for a greater blessing. Isn’t that funny? Isn’t that just like God? What began as me trying to turn a blessing back to God, has become one of the greatest (if not the greatest) blessings of my life.
I know you’ll never read this, Joe, but I also know that you know what I’m about to say is true: I love you, kid!