Virtual Africa

18 02 2008

My friend Shaun just returned from a week long trip to Uganda. He was there with 15 other cyber-savvy bloggers visiting children and projects that are a part of Compassion International. Uganda is one of 25 countries where Compassion partners with local churches to pair children with sponsor families to release children from poverty (and Americans from the disease of affluence). The blog entries of these 15 people made my virtual trip to Africa possible this week. I visited homes, watched children sing and play and, listened as mothers spoke of hope in their homes. Lives were transformed before my eyes.

I’ve been a Child Advocate for about 4 months now. That means that I get to help out at Compassion events in my local area. I am helping to connect churches and individuals in my communities to children who need sponsors. I get to talk about rescuing children in lots of places. I love being an advocate! Mostly though, what I get to do is brag on our two “sons.” The two boys that our family sponsors through Compassion. These boys are incredible!

We initially chose Wedner because his birthday is the same as my mother-in-laws’ and I thought it would be easier to remember if we could connect it to a member of our family. DUH! Wedner is 9 years old and he lives in Haiti with his mom, dad and 5 siblings. They just recently moved from a small island off the coast to a village about 60 miles from Porte Au Prince. I am excited to hear about his new home. We’ve been sponsoring Wedner for almost two years. He’s such a beautiful boy. His smile is infectious and I just know he’s a “charmer.” He loves to play at the beach and he helps his parents in the market place when he’s able. He enjoys school and he always draws pictures for us. He likes to play with marbles and he sings in his church choir. I just know his voice is beautiful when he sings to the Lord in his flowing Creole. When we first began sponsoring him, he was doing poorly in school and did not pass to the next grade. This was very hard for him. Our last letter said that he is doing very well now and was promoted and he loves to go to Sunday School with his friends. Our first photo was of a little boy who seemed a little shy and scared. No smile. He just stood there. Our last photo was of a smiling, growing, happy child. Hope was in his eyes and when we read his letters, I can almost hear his bubbly voice speaking to me. He does not share our earthly home, but he will share our heavenly home. Our ability to sponsor him has blessed our family beyond measure. This child is the face of Christ. He is our son.

Our precious Byron is 7 and he lives in Ecuador with his parents and 9 siblings. 5 of his siblings are married. We began sponsoring him about 8 months ago after another child we’d been sponsoring left the program. Byron was chosen for us by Compassion. His birthday is in the same month as our daughter Mackenzie. He has beautiful, huge brown eyes and straight, black hair. He loves to play with cars and likes soccer. His favorite subject in school (where he’s an above average student) is Art. I can tell because he sends us wonderful pictures! He has two pet dogs. We received a letter from him very soon after we began sponsoring him and he asked for a photo right away. He was so excited to have a sponsor! That prompted our family to take a family photo (the first in over 9 years!) so we could send it to him right away. He’s told us all about where he lives and says that Ecuador is a beautiful country. I want so badly to see for myself! He wants me to come visit him and he’s sure I would like his home. I’m sure I would too because it’s the home of our beautiful son, Byron, a gift from our gracious God.

Our sponsorship of these wonderful little souls, while initially begun as just a part of our giving, is now something that has truly permeated our lives and changed our hearts. The blessing that comes from watching our boys grow and learn, becoming fine young men who love our Lord is something that I really can’t describe. God gave us the opportunity to be part of something so incredible. This is one thing we can do to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Christ’s mandate to all believers concerning the poor is very clear. Don’t miss out on the opportunity for this most special of blessings. I have a hard time even considering what we do with our $32 a month as mere “sponsorship.” The amount is so insignificant to us and so life-changing for them and yet; the blessings God as given our family in our two sons is priceless. Absolutely priceless!



3 responses

19 02 2008
Carolyn F

Thank you for sharing your story. I just sponsored my first child this weekend, a little girl from Tanzania. I can hardly wait to get to know her!

19 02 2008

Thanks for stopping by Carolyn and congratulations on sponsoring your little angel from Tanzania! She will change your life.


21 02 2008

I just became an advocate too. Still trying to figure out to spread the word and get more kids sponsored. So encouraging to read all these stories and hear what the Lord is doing. Thanks for sharing!

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