It was over a year ago when I got that package in the mail. I had been so excited! I was ready to do something that might reach outside these four walls. I received my first phone call, giving me encouragement and the next steps to take. I finally found a night to begin my online training! It took a series of nights to finish. Then, the emails came offering the next trainings…and I saved most of those emails. The training has not continued yet. I thought being a Compassion Advocate would be easy – a way to reach out from within. And maybe it will be, if I can push through the lack of energy and take hold of even small amounts of time to do more training. Until then, it may be good for me to take stock on why Compassion – why children in poverty?
Why do I want to stand side by side with little girls and little boys who have less in this world?
First, it was just because I kept seeing people all around me doing it. I live in Colorado Springs – home of Compassion International. I had heard of it many times before – seen pictures on chairs at Christian concerts. Then there are beautiful bloggers who are doing what they can with their keyboards, and there are Compassion Sundays filled with opportunity to put you in direct connection with a boy or girl in another country. Compassion was everywhere I was, and sometimes a calling doesn’t have to come out of the blue. Sometimes the calling is as apparent as your next breath.
Then, there was this deeper connection. While I didn’t grow up in a third-world country with environmental issues that could endanger me with my next drink, I did grow up wondering if we were going to have food to eat in the cupboards. I didn’t know if Mom would drop me off at school and head to work or if she would go back home and curl up in bed or in front of the tv because she had lost her job. While the apartments we lived it were definitely more secure than the small rooms I’ve seen most of the Compassion children live in, their locations were not always in the safest places. I didn’t know that then; I do now. It was there, in that dark, small, unstable place that God sent someone, full of compassion, to help me out. Betty came and sat on our floor because there was no furniture. She talked for a bit, and then she opened the gift she had been waiting the whole time to give. Just 10 words, and my life was changed. “I was wondering if I could take Anastasia to church?” Hope. Light in my darkness. The day a woman of compassion found a child in need of it, and she didn’t hold back or wait or mull it over in her head. Betty sat right down on the floor of need and offered real help.
If I could in any way reach a child the way she had reached me, I wanted to.
And then this: I wanted my children to know these children. My children have never known the despair of my childhood or of the greater desperation of these children. They have never gone with out a necessary meal, though they come into the kitchen almost every hour protesting their extreme hunger! They have always had an overload of clothes. They have always had a bed inside a bedroom, except those first few weeks of Christopher’s life when he shared with Mom and Dad. They have always been inside the love of a Church Family. They have never had to walk more than a few steps for water and never had to drink the same water they or an animal bathed in. They have had so many gifts that sometimes what’s in a shoebox does not impress. They have had a mom that has “schooled” them for their entire lives; so, the excitement over getting to learn kind of escapes them.
Here they are with a mom who has a heart for missions and they have no clue that there are children – families – that live way different than them! I wanted them to know. I don’t just want them to know from letters or pictures; one day, I want them to walk into their homes, eat and drink of their offering, and truly experience the rich.