Thursday, September 26, 2013

Poverty: Why Can't We Just Fix-it?

Today's society is a "fix-it" society.  If something is not what we see as "normal," "good," or "fair" we deem it "broken" and in need of being "fixed."  Some people put in excessive time and effort to right the wrongs of this world, while others simply throw money at the "problem" until it goes away.

Poverty is one such issue that is often considered a "problem" to be "fixed," however, I challenge you to view it in a different light:

"Poverty is not necessarily an issue to solve; it is an opportunity to serve.  As we go through each day, our heart's cry should be, Lord, where would you have me give, serve, and invest myself to bring hope to the poor?"
~Orphan Justice author, Johnny Carr

While visiting the beautiful country of Colombia, the Compassion staff encouraged us not to view the poverty we saw as something to be "fixed," but as a place for us to serve, to come along side people, and offer them hope and encouragement for the future.

We met sweet young Mai, whose father is not a part of his life, but he knows that God is his father, and he has hope in knowing that God cares about him.

I was able to spend time with this beautiful young lady.  While I wish I could remember her name (I think I met about 100 children that day), I will always remember her face and her precious hugs. Her capacity to love was amazing!

We met so many children who were so happy to tell us about their sponsors-from Canada, the USA, Australia, and all over the world.  Spending time with us may be as close as they ever get to meeting their own sponsors, but I hope we were able to bring even a fraction of the joy that they brought us.

Saying good-bye to my precious angels

Sponsoring a child doesn't instantly fix their situation or solve the issue poverty...but it does give them hope.  Gives them hope in a brighter future. Shows them that someone cares about their life, that someone loves them-even if they have never met them. So please, consider sponsoring a child and giving them help they need, love they crave, and hope they deserve in the name of Jesus.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Behind the Smile

Behind this beautiful smile, who is this little girl?

Is she the happy-go-lucky little girl she appears to be?

Is she able to do the things all little girls do?

Does she play with dolls?

Does she play dress up with her friends in their mother's high heels?

Does she giggle and play in the school yard?

Does she jump rope and play tag?

Does she dream of growing up to be a teacher, doctor, or scientist?

Does she dance on her daddy's toes and feel like a princess?

Does she cuddle with her mama and hear her affirming words of love?

Behind these sparkling eyes, what is really going on?

Does she have enough food to eat?

Does she have clean water to drink?

Does she have enough clothes to wear?

Does she have a bed to sleep on?

Is she cold at night?

Does she even have a doll of her own?

Does she have the love and affection all children crave and deserve? 

Does she know she has value?

Does she know that who she is is more than enough?

Does she know God loves her?

All I really know about this darling little girl is that she is from Colombia and this very photo received over 1100 "likes" on Instagram.  I have personally been to Colombia and have seen the kind of poverty that many children and families there face.  I have seen the hill-side homes, the dirt floors, and the cramped living spaces.  I have heard the stories of violence, drugs, and fear.  BUT I have also seen the joy and hope Compassion has brought to many of these children.  I have heard the stories and the testimonies of the love of God and the amazing things he has done for His people. You, too, can be a part of that hope; you can be the reason Behind the Smile. Sponsoring a child changes their life and yours.  Please Sponsor a child and find out what is truly Behind the Smile of a child living in poverty.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Joy...Unspeakable Joy

Joy can come in many different forms...sometimes it's obvious sometimes very subtle.  On my recent trip to Honduras, I saw joy on the faces of children.  The joy my girls and the other children had when meeting their sponsors.  Sponsors who have made a difference in their lives, showed them love, and gave them hope.  Hope for the future and joy in the present.  Joy of a special friend who came along side them in a world that tells them they don't matter. You, too can give this joy by sponsoring a child

Meeting my 3 girls: Heidy, Laura, & Dayana


Heidy                                      Laura

There was the Joy of the Lord in the hearts of the people.  Even in desperate situations, in the middle of a world of poverty they had hope and joy in the Lord. The depth of their praise was humbling.  It was simply amazing to be a part of their worship and see the true joy they had in our Lord Jesus Christ. Joy...Unspeakable Joy.

 Children Dancing to the worship-they never seemed to tire.

Preparing for Communion 

Heart of worship of a young child

There was joy in a mother's hug.  The joy and gratefulness of the mothers whose children got to meet their sponsors for the first time touched my heart. The joy of these mothers and their daughters gave me a joy like I have never felt before.

Please consider contributing to the joy of children, families, and communities in poverty. Sponsor a child today and experience joy...unspeakable joy.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

¡Mi Patitos, Mi Patitos!

It's late, I'm sitting here looking at the prompt for the first assignment for Compassion's blog month-a note to your childhood self-and all I can think of is ducks...little yellow ducks...and a mommy duck...squirting water all over me...

Ok, ok, I know that sounds strange, but if you were me, you'd be laughing and probably crying at this thought.  Just a few weeks ago, I spent a day with 3 charming little girls.  One of them, sweet, mischievous, little Dayana, brought along her little rubber duckies.  The little ones fit on top of the mommy-you know the type.  

They would flip over and the babies would fall in the pool, "mi patitos, mi patitos," she would squeal, giggling all the while. She would catch them and put them back where they were safe on their mother's back. As her shyness wore off she began using the ducks to squirt me with water, eventually even in the face (thankfully it was in the pool rather than the ocean).  The squirting instigated tickling (how could I resist?), to which she responded with tickling of her own.  

All barriers broken, she stole my heart with that giggle, that tickle, those little patitos...

So, my first Blog Month post isn't exactly following the prompt on talking to my childhood self...rather just addressing childhood in general.  Dayana touched my heart with her childhood antics.  Showing me her family photos, the photos I had sent her, the letters I wrote her, and the gifts I had sent were some moments I cherished from our visit together. Our little games and most of all, our hugs and snuggles will forever be etched in my heart. 

Many children in poverty don't have the chance to truly be a child, but for Dayana, at least for one day, she didn't have a care in the world, except for those patitos. 

There are hundreds of children just like Dayana waiting for a sponsor to give them hope and most of all love.  I promise you it's not hard to love these precious little ones.  My heart is breaking looking at these photos and my arms are aching to hold my "little patito" once again.

Please consider sponsoring a child today!