Transforming Children's Lives: My Family's Simple Story of Compassion

When I was fourteen, my dad decided to sponsor a child through Compassion International, an organization that aims to release children from poverty and to enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults. Actually, my dad chose to sponsor three children so that my two sisters and I could each be paired with a child, writing letters to update and encourage each other every few months. My child--a girl from the Philippines--I and corresponded through my college years and into my early married years until she grew up. Now I sponsor another Filipina girl, Angielyn, and it's been a delight to watch her grow through annual photos and bi-monthly letters. My daughter enjoys drawing pictures for her and receiving correspondence.

Letters from Angielyn

Letters from Angielyn

Only in the past two years, though, have I realized how truly life-changing Compassion's sponsorship programs are for a child. It was through my friendship with Jill, a sponsor of dozens of Compassion children, that I learned how effectively Compassion pulls children out of poverty. Jill has traveled to Thailand and Nicaragua to see the programs in action and to meet some of her family's sponsor children. "Compassion works," she says. "They do what they say they do." She and her homeschooled daughters send their Compassion children stickers and calendars, photos, coloring pages, and other surprises along with their letters.

A few weeks ago, Jill invited me to hear a Compassion graduate speak at her church. I attended, and it was an eye-opening evening! Gilbert from Uganda shared about the simple ways that Compassion changed his life. He answered questions from the audience about how social workers select children like him due to their poverty, and then provide them with square meals, group activities and crafts, social skills, educational opportunities, attention and love. Thanks to the sponsor who was willing to encourage him through letters and financial support, Gilbert is now getting a college degree.

Children playing with a ball made of plastic bags & string as Gilbert did before Compassion provided him and his friends with a real soccer ball (photo by  Firesika )

Children playing with a ball made of plastic bags & string as Gilbert did before Compassion provided him and his friends with a real soccer ball (photo by Firesika)

Living in America, France, or any other developed country is not cheap, but the more I learn about Compassion's sponsorship programs, the more I want to make child sponsorship a financial priority. For $38 per month, my family is transforming Angielyn's life, and in return we are connected with her Filipino family through letters and love. Ideally, I'd love for each of my children to be connected to a Compassion child, and I'll be looking for a way to do this as we re-evaluate our financial priorities.

Compassion provides services to children in 26 countries, including Francophone places like Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Togo, and Haiti. Of course, there are impoverished children throughout the world, and Compassion helps children on every continent. Wouldn't it be wonderful if you and I could connect our children with Compassion children who speak the same language that we're trying to promote in our bilingual families? If you'd check out some of the children waiting for sponsors, I'd be thrilled. Together we can transform a child's life, and that's truly encouraging.

The following video shows what it is like for a child to wait for, and receive, a Compassion sponsor.

How do children respond when they find out they have a sponsor?

Merci for reading about my family's connection with Compassion. If you've sponsored a child before, I'd love to hear about your experience in a comment!