The night before I left my comfortable corner, I ran to Family Dollar. In less than half an hour I’d tossed $100 worth of gifts in my cart, enough to fill a large suitcase that I could carry to the poor children and their families in the Dominican Republic. But what I’ve learned yet again is that in many ways I’m also poor and often held hostage by my own pride and ignorance. We talked about that at breakfast this morning, how we sometimes see their lack and our plenty and focus on the false guilt of that rather than the gifts we can share with each other.
We can’t always stay in our corners of the Forest. We have to go to them sometimes, to enter into others’ lives, to see on a deeper and broader level. Sometimes that might mean finding a way to fill a suitcase and climb on a plane.
Today we carry our gifts past sleeping dogs, dodge cars and motorcycles, step around trash and over dirty water flowing between the curb and street, careful not to trip on uneven concrete. This community is tightly packed, crammed side by side and climbs up the hills. Power lines string and twist and curl like vines. We’re going to visit a couple of moms who participate in Compassion’s Child Survival Program.
When I enter the first home, I gasp at the sight of two tiny peanuts sound asleep on a twin bed under a green bow of mosquito netting. I’m pretty sure they could simply blow away with a stiff breeze, and I want to scoop them these month-old twins up in my arms. Just a handful of our group can cram into this home (that’s smaller than my bedroom) to observe today’s lesson on infant care. I wonder if the family will remain here or be able to find a larger home as the boys grow. Because that’s what I’d want to do.
Two-year-old David lives with his mom, grandparents, and two uncles in a house that’s just slightly larger than where the twins live. Today mom learns some ways to work on fine motor skills, such as teaching David how to wad up tiny pieces of paper and glue them in a circle on a larger piece of paper or twist a bottle’s cap on and off.
When these children turn three, they’ll move into the Child Development Program and be eligible for sponsors.
“Sometimes,’ said Pooh, “the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
That’s Compassion’s heart–to help make room for the smallest things, for the least of these. Wess Stafford, past president and CEO of Compassion said it well in his introduction to Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most.
“Without power or voice, these little children keep silently slipping away into the arms of their grieving Heavenly Father, lost from a world that is unworthy of them, a world that has lost its heart.”
Slip out of your comfort zone and read this book. Children are our greatest gifts. They have value. They matter. And too often we ignore them.
We just can’t afford to always stay in our own corners of the Forest. We have to go to them sometimes.
If you already sponsor a child, maybe you can go even further and join a sponsor tour. Step out of your comfort zone, step into your child’s world, and learn first-hand all that Compassion does to help release children from poverty in Jesus’ name, starting even in the prenatal period.
If you don’t already sponsor a child, there’s no better time than the present. Just click below and give a child the gift of yourself.
Have you ever gone on a sponsor tour and met your sponsored child? How did that experience change you?
P.S. We visited the Compassion office today. Someone asked the staff what one thing they’d like sponsors to know. The response? Children LOVE letters. Not just once a year, but several a year. They need encouragement. They need to know their sponsors love them and pray for them. They want to know about their sponsor’s family. The ability to write online makes it easier, but they especially love handwritten letters because they’re even more personal.
In the stillness,
Note: You can find all my Dominican Republic posts here. And be sure to follow the Kris Camealy and Amy Pederson as they, too, blog this trip.
Yvonne Reynolds says
Yes!! Those little children do take up a big part of my heart!! Thank you for writing this post and sharing your experiences. My first Compassion trip was last January to Mexico, and I will be traveling to Colombia at the end of February. These trips are amazing to see firsthand how Compassion is making a difference through the local churches. And yes, the letters from sponsors are so, so important.
Sandra Heska King says
That’s awesome, Yvonne. I know those trips are a financial and time sacrifice… yet a huge investment in the lives of these children who can become their country’s future leaders. Your impact could reach far beyond the life of one or two children or even five children..because some folks are simply addicted to sponsoring. 😀
Sharon O says
We have two little girls in Haiti. They are age 6 and do write letters that are very cute. I so enjoy them.
Sandra Heska King says
We’ve talked about this before, I think, Sharon. But I don’t remember both girls being the same age. How long have you sponsored them?
Randy Bayne says
Enjoying your posts from Haiti. My wife and I sponsor a 14 year old in India and I just finished Wess Stafford’s book, To Small to Ignore, last night. Thanks for the pictures.
Sandra Heska King says
Thanks for coming by, Randy, and retweeting our posts. (I stalked your Twitter feed. 🙂 ) Have you ever been or do you think there’s a chance you’d ever travel to India to meet your child? Wess’ book = awesome.
I also stalked your blog. Beautiful photos!