I've heard statistics like this for years. They’re crushing, they’re heartbreaking, they’re overwhelming. Perhaps you have seen pictures of small children picking through garbage dumps, or heard stories of villages ravaged by disease from a contaminated water source. Perhaps you feel just as overwhelmed as I once was, because you know that as Christians you and I have a mandate to help the poor.
For years I have struggled with what I was supposed to do about poverty. 1 John 3:17 says, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” But the statistics were just too massive; I didn't feel as if I could make a difference. Perhaps you've wondered what you could possibly do to eradicate world poverty; maybe you don’t think that you can make a dent, but the approach I am about to explain to you is simple, practical and effective, an approach that the average Christian can take that results in radically altered lives.
I can't remember when I first heard about Compassion International, but through a series of fortunate events I came to know about the program, which is this in a nutshell: Christians fulfilling the mandate of Christ by helping the poor and spreading the Gospel to all nations. Children are the number one target. I've never been a kid-person (the kind of girl who's just dying to babysit), but once I learned how much of an impact children have on their families and on the world at large I realized that they are the perfect soil in which to plant the seed of the Gospel and start rooting out poverty. Sponsorship is the method that Compassion has chosen to help over 2,000,000 children across the world. This means that one sponsor is linked with one child; they correspond via letters and email, send small gifts, pray for and encourage one another, and sometimes even visit!
Since February of 2010 I have been sponsoring a girl in Accra, Ghana named Anita Ama Ezaah (that is her photo on the right). Anita is thirteen now, and turning into a beautiful young woman. Since the beginning of my sponsorship we have exchanged letters with each other, and I have learned more about her and her country. She lives amid desperate poverty, but through my sponsorship she is being given options and opportunities that many children in Ghana do not have. My $38 a month is giving her Bible teaching, choir practice, health screening, vaccinations, mosquito nets, hygiene education, indoor and outdoor games, tuition, educational classes and field trips. What an awesome feeling it is to know that I'm having that kind of an impact on a child's life!
After sponsoring Anita for some time, I decided to do more. Today I am a volunteer advocate for Compassion International, sharing the message of what poverty actually looks like and how normal, everyday Christians can work to eradicate it.
You can help too!
Visit Compassion's website and take a look at all of the little faces who need a sponsor. Each one of these children, if inducted into Compassion's program, will have the chance to hear about their Lord and Savior and be given the opportunity to rise above their desperate circumstances to live amazing, fulfilled lives. You can give them this chance.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post and I'll do my best to answer them! If you sponsor a child, please share your story :)