Happyness is the product of an ongoing conversation I’ve been having with God about childhood poverty.
Read that statement again. Sounds strange, huh?
Strange but true. Happyness and happiness have resulted from our talks. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to be a part of this child’s life in some small way.
In case you’ve never heard about Compassion International and are wondering what in the world a “sponsor” is/does, here’s some basic facts:
- Compassion International is a Christian aid organization whose goal is to break the cycle of poverty and to enable children to become responsible and fulfilled adults.
- They focus primarily on children, mostly because children are the most vulnerable members of our societies. They have a holistic approach meaning that they don’t just seek to feed a hungry belly, but they try to meet physical, spiritual, economic, and educational needs in order to achieve long-term progress.
- Compassion partners with local churches that already exist in the region. Those that run the Compassion projects are natives. They know the people, the culture and the needs that exist in a community. This is one of my favorite things about Compassion.
- Compassion is fiscally responsible. Trust me, I did a lot of research before I became a sponsor, because I wanted to make sure that the money was getting where it needed to go. Compassion has an excellent reputation regarding finances.
So….what does a sponsor do? Why become a sponsor?
- Sponsors pay a monthly fee which helps pay for their child’s education, health care, social skills development and Christian training. The fee is currently $38. Ask me how guilty I felt after getting a receipt for over $40 at Olive Garden for lunch one day. The cost of one quickly digested lunch could have paid for an entire MONTH of child services!
- Sponsors write to their sponsored children.Compassion really emphasizes the importance of letter writing. In fact, they consider it one of the cornerstones of the program. Imagine the power of knowing that someone who lives oceans away–someone who has never met you or visited your village–loves you and wants to see you succeed. A feeling of self-worth…that’s powerful stuff!
- Sponsors encourage spiritual growth. The children are not required to be Christians or become Christians in order to participate in Compassion projects. They do, however, understand that it is a Christian ministry. Sponsors are encouraged to share their faith and pray for their children regularly. If Compassion weren’t doing this all “in Jesus’ name,” I wouldn’t be a part of it. There are thousands of relief organizations in the world, but not as many that provide a message of hope for the hurting.
- Sponsors may occasionally provide special gifts for the family. This is completely optional, but you can choose to provide funds for Christmas and birthday gifts. You may even donate for family gifts that can be used to purchase food, mattresses, and other needed items.
Basically, by becoming a Compassion International sponsor, you are choosing to invest in the life of a child.
Already, Happyness has a special place in my heart. She is on my mind often and I pray for her daily. Happyness lost her father to death; she lives with her mother and one sibling in the dry lands of Tanzania. I think about her mother and how hard it must be to find work as an African woman. When I look at Happyness, I see my youngest daughter–they are the same age–and I wonder if she ever cries herself to sleep at night missing her daddy. When I go to the grocery store and complain about bruises on the apples in the produce section, I consider if Happyness would see the bad spots or if she would bubble over in excitement from the sight of a huge pile of fresh fruit.
Although my mission is to invest in her life, she has already enriched mine tremendously.