The thing about being someone who admittedly struggles with self-discipline and setting goals is that I've been known to let life happen to me. Losing weight + gaining strength, learning a new language, visiting a new city, cleaning out my closet, reading through the Bible in a year, planning a new chore chart for the kids, a family budget....just a few things that don't just happen unless you make a choice to take a step towards it.
Staying still and doing nothing about these things that feel TOO BIG usually means that in 365 days, you'll be one year older and no further along towards change.
I met my recently sponsored Compassion son today, and I couldn't help wondering all day:
Why did we wait so long?
I know why. It had something to do with all of this...
- Being pregnant or nursing with six babies over the course of the last decade. (I have my own littles to care for...)
- Hoping for the "right time." (We are just so busy right now...)
- Fearful of the time commitment (What if I don't know what to say to a child a world away?)
- Needing more education and information on the organization (How do I even know they use their money effectively?)
- Wanting to see the local church involved and Christ exalted, and not taking the time to fully understand (Do they actually share the gospel?)
- Unsure of the impact (Will my one sponsorship make a difference?)
Waiting a day led to a week or two. Two weeks became a few months, and before we knew it, the busy, unintentional life was happening to us and those very things we desired to act upon went unengaged.
The truth about poverty...and all that breaks our hearts about abandoned families, unequipped young mothers, hungry children, and broken lives...is that it feels beyond us. Hearing about the 95% of Ecuador's population that lives in a state of poverty today felt WAY beyond me. It's easy to let nothing but time pass...because letting life happen to us, rather than choosing to steward everything we've got to the best of our abilities...is the path of least resistance. And I know all about dislike of resistance.
But, I met Mathias and his mother, Daisy, today. We visited their home, which they share with Mathias' father, his brother, grandmother, and two aunts...all in a space that felt about as large as my kitchen. It was dark and sparse, with a window covered by stacks of furniture -- which I was told brings in some income in exchange for storage space. There was no refrigerator, closets, and the only toys and activities were provided through Compassion. Mathias' immediate family lives completely out of one bedroom.
Our Compassion son's mother told me her story, as Caleb and Ashley's son, Corbett, played blocks with Mathias.
Here's what's been waiting for me as we finally stepped into child sponsorship:
"What are some of the hardships you and your husband have known?" I ask through our translator. I'm convinced, more than ever, that people long to tell their story.
Tears welled up in Daisy. I scooted in close to her, held her close, and listened with tears in mine...
"In our first few years of marriage, I couldn't get pregnant," Daisy says through our translator. "My husband wanted a baby, and I couldn't make him happy. The pain drove me to Jesus, but not so with him. Those were hard years."
She continued to tell me: Daisy later became pregnant with Mathias and believed the Lord was answering her prayers, just to find out there were serious problems with her pregnancy and Mathias was not expected to go full term. The Lord was gracious and Mathias was her miracle baby. But soon after birth, the public health doctors found him to have a thyroid problem so serious as to require $2000 in a very risky surgery that could leave him with damaged vocal cords.
Daisy and her husband were devastated and afraid. She spoke with her pastor about registering Mathias with Compassion International's Project at their church, a partnership that would meet his physical needs, while fulfilling their desire for Mathias to have hope for the future. And I thought it was just $38 a month.
She had me on pins and needles...I had to wait for my translator:
"Because of your sponsorship of Mathias," Daisy tells me through translation, "Compassion was able to send us to good doctors who determined that Mathias did not need surgery, but only medication.
Compassion covered the cost of Mathias to have testing done with a doctor from a private, non-state hospital, where the doctors are known to be more thorough. It made all the difference for this family.
This sweet boy has not been my sponsored son for long, but both of us moms were in tears and grateful praise for the testimony of what God has done.
Caleb and I shared with her and Mathias a picture of our family, and tell them that they've gained a few more brothers across the world.
I keep coming back to this, this week in Quito, Ecuador...
What seems like simply sending $38 a month is in actuality, sowing seeds of hope in a child...in a family: Hope for stepping out of their impossible situation. Hope to believe they are not alone in this world. Hope that there is more to dream for the future than their present circumstances.
The truth is:
When we wait and let life happen to us in our everyday lives, we are really robbing ourselves of the hope for what could be the beginnings of CHANGE. It's no different with child sponsorship. When we look away, do nothing, and think it's all TOO BIG, we miss what is waiting for us...what we could be a part of if we just step towards it.
Friends, I humbly share my heart today, hoping to be honest about my own feet-dragging and slowness to act. I'm asking you to not let your desire for change to just roll of your back and to slip into the busy, unintentional life that is so easy to find ourselves in. Take the step towards HOPE for a child...and sponsor through Compassion. And if you've already sponsored a child, consider growing your Compassion family, and sponsoring again.
Because of grace,