Have you ever wondered what it means to “sponsor a child” in another country? It’s not as hard as you think, and it’s a great way to teach your children gratitude, service and humility.
LEARNING TO GIVE TO OTHERS AS A CHILD
I’m not sure why my parents decided to sponsor a child from Compassion International when I was a child. But I remember that we sponsored a girl in Uganda and sent her money and letters, and prayed for her every night. Through Musumi, we were able to learn about a place and lifestyle we would never have otherwise experienced. As kids, we were excited when we could give her a goat for Christmas or when she wrote us back about her chickens.
One day we received the worst letter of all. It was a simple, typed letter that let us know we could no longer sponsor Musumi because her family had to flee from their village to escape the threat of violence. There was no follow-up and we never heard from her again. They assigned us a new girl in India, and promised they were doing everything they could to help the families in their care.
It was a hard lesson to learn as a third grader, and one that has affected me even as an adult. In that experience, I learned empathy, compassion, humility and gratitude. Sponsoring a child wasn’t only blessing Musumi’s family, it was blessing ours. It’s been 30 years since that letter and I still find myself praying for and wondering what happened to Musumi.
PASSING ON THE TRADITION OF GIVING TO OTHERS AS AN ADULT
When I got married and purchased my own home, I immediately decided to sponsor a child. I chose an organization called World Vision. They assigned me a 5 year old girl in Rwanda named Velene (see photo above). It was so exciting to feel like I was part of her life and able to help in some way. She would draw pictures for me and an interpreter would write her words down in letters. It was always so much fun seeing her letters in the mail, stamped with postage from across the globe.
When Velene was 18 years old, I received another typed letter, and all of those fears came back to me. Fortunately, Velene’s story ended much better—the letter was congratulating Velene for being able to now support herself as an adult! Because of the education I paid for, she learned how to work and earn money! I was asked if I would like to sponsor another child. This time it was another girl in Uganda (just like Musumi!), named Moonlight.
By now, I had a baby and a toddler of my own. I decided it was time to involve my children in how we were supporting a child in Africa. We taped Moonlight’s picture (see photo below) to the fridge and updated it as new ones were sent.
We pray for her every night and send her and her 7 siblings little presents in the mail. My children write her letters and emails monthly. We’ve even learned about how her village is dealing with the effects of COVID-19. My children always want to add coins to the envelopes and wish we could send her a TV and video games.
Sponsoring these children has given me an easy and tangible opportunity to talk to my children about gratitude, humility and serving others. It has given them perspective on what’s truly important and is a daily reminder to pray.
HOW CAN YOUR FAMILY SPONSOR A CHILD?
It seems intimidating when you see the commercials on TV, but honestly, if these companies sugar-coated what’s happening all around the world, we wouldn’t see the need to help! I only have a few more years with Moonlight before they graduate her out of the program and we sponsor our next child. I know you’ll be blessed if you take the opportunity to sponsor a child for your own family as well!
There are 3 organizations I have used that I recommend. Each vary in pricing and methods of communication, but all offer the same basic services.
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YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE…
For more posts on ways to teach your children about kindness and Christian Living, check out:
- Teach Your Kids the Fruit of the Spirit
- Teaching Your Kids Gratitude Using a Thanksgiving Tree Tradition
- 5 Ways to Teach Your Kids the Story of the Birth of Jesus in the Bible
- 14 Service Projects for Kids and Families
- Raising Your Kids on Hope Through Positive Parenting
You’ve got this!
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