Yesterday, Rick and I had the chance to spend the entire day together at the Compassion Advocate Network W.A. conference. Richmond Wandera, a former sponsor child from Uganda was the guest speaker at the conference. To hear Richmond’s testimony was a blessing and a call to action. Richmond was sponsored at the age of 8 by a 15 year old girl from America. Richmond explained that a sponsor brought dancing to his home. I love the way African’s dance! The shrill they make as they so easily move to the beat of drums. To see this spectacle is joy at its finest! A sponsor meant that Richmond was able to go back to school, to receive food and to live in a house that no longer leaked when it rained. Each sponsor has a sponsor number, AU…..-…. To be honest I have no idea what my number is and I sometimes use that as an excuse to not send a letter. For Richmond though, this number was his life line. This number meant that he could run to the middle of the dump city where he lived, to the small clinic there and receive any treatment he needed when he was sick. Richmond is still able to recite this number to you without thinking!
Since becoming a sponsor child, Richmond’s life changed dramatically but he will testify that it is not only because of the financial care he now had. The biggest change in his life was a direct result of the letters he got from his teenage sponsor. Her words encouraged him, told him that he was loved. Her stickers were a means of social standing for a boy who struggled with self esteem. Her letters meant the world to him. Now Richmond has graduated from University with Honours, studied at Moody bible Institute on a scholarship and is leading a team of pastors in Uganda. He has dreams of one day being in Public office in Uganda, making lasting social changes in a developing country. The impact a 15 year old had on his life is being turned around and given back 100’s of times over and to top it all off, he is now a child sponsor to a little Ugandan boy.
In 2004 I became a child sponsor. At the time I was 19, had just heard from the children of Watoto (a Ugandan children’s choir) and was inspired to act to change a child’s life.
I sponsored Joseph, a six year old boy from Kenya. I picked Kenya simply because I had the year before ‘dated’ a Kenyan guy. He had been funny, softly spoken, intelligent and loved the Lord. I hoped that Joseph would become a man like Kanyi, someone who wanted to see change happen in his life as well as the life of his country. Joseph was the first man in my family. Since then, Rick and I married and have of course been blessed with 3 beautiful children and another beautiful sponsor child, Josphine who dreams of being a Dr.
You don’t ofter hear people talking about their sponsor children. I don’t know if this is an attempt to not make others feel guilty for not sponsoring a child, or perhaps the opposite, you don’t want others to ‘blow your own trumpet’. I think this needs to change though. Our sponsor children need to be celebrated! We all share stories of when one of our own children does something great, we should share these stories of our sponsor children too. Be a proud mum or dad, post a picture of your sponsor child and tell others about them. Sponsoring a child is not just ‘something you do’, it means a life is changed. It means dancing happens! It means a Mum or Dad or Grandma can sleep knowing that their child is safe from mosquitoes! It means a little boy will be able to share his stickers that come with his letter to play a game with the ‘in’ kids! It means that one day, Uganda, or Kenya, or Bangladesh (or many other nations) may be governed by Christ fearing leaders with integrity, love and Compassion. It means that poverty has an expiration date.
Don’t just read this. Please act. Share your sponsor child’s picture on Facebook and tell others about him or her,
or if you can, sponsor another child.
Or if you never have….sponsor a child! Go to http://www.compassion.com.au/child_list.php and look at the children there waiting for a sponsor. Choose one who has been waiting.
This isn’t just something you do because you are a ‘good’ person. This is something you do because no child should live in poverty.