Special Delivery

Look what we got in the mail a few days ago…

It’s a drawing and letter from one of our Compassion International kids, 5-year-old Aphichara from Thailand.

Isn’t the Thai writing just beautiful? (Of course, at 5, she dictated this to an adult who wrote it, then another person translated it for us.)

Her nickname is “Eye.” (Please don’t ask me why, because I have no idea what it means! LOL) One Thai friend suggested it might mean “shy”, another said it could mean “big.” According to what I know about her so far, she is neither shy nor big, but maybe one day, she’ll tell me herself how she acquired that name.

This is the first picture we received of her. Isn’t she precious?

And this is one that came with our new letter. She’s with her grandmother, smiling and her haircut is so cute!

I learned that Eye lives with her grandparents,  is 44 inches tall and weighs 39 pounds. Her favorite foods are watermelon and boiled eggs, she has a pet dog, she loves singing, and is very talkative in school. And I got a girly-girl! She also loves playing with dolls, her favorite flower is jasmine, and her favorite color is PINK!

I finally have a reason to buy paper dolls and sparkly princess cards and Hello Kitty stickers — all PINK!  LOL And I can use the previously-neglected girly accents in my photo editing…

I first learned about Compassion through Amanda’s and Kristen’s blogs, and was mesmerized by these moms’ stories about their sponsored children. They spoke about how much their families’ lives have been enriched by the relationships they’ve built with these children, and even told about going on trips to visit them. And I felt that all-too-familiar tugging at my mother’s heart to get involved.

We are not rich by American standards; if anything, we are on the poorer side of “middle class.” So it was a stretch financially to take on any new commitments. But God has shown me again and again that He blesses those who give, so I don’t have to be afraid to share a portion of our budget in charitable giving. I love how Compassion uses our small offering to be Jesus’ hands and feet to a needy, hurting child and her family, to bless them in His name.

I’m not writing about this to pat myself on the back. Rather, it’s to share about our experience and hopefully encourage others to do the same. It’s so easy here in America — where even our poorest live richer than most of the world’s population — to dwell on what we don’t have, to envy those who are wealthier than us and simply not think about the realities of living in extreme poverty.

But we need to think about it. We gripe if our clothes are more than a year or two old, not considering what it would be like to own exactly one outfit and no shoes. We buy expensive filters to further purify the already-clean drinking water that flows from our tap, while others walk for miles to bring home one pail of questionable-quality water. We get mad if the restaurant cooks our steak wrong, while others are just thankful to have a bowl of rice, only on some days of the week. We complain that we need a bigger bed, while half the world has never had the privilege of even owning a mattress.

We think nothing of dropping substantial sums on life’s frills, such as cable TV, a cell phone upgrade, or taking the family to the movies. But in India, a family of four tries to live on $37 per month, in a house built of mud, with dirt floors and a grass roof, like 12-year-old Basu, our correspondence Compassion child.

We were matched with Basu when I learned of Compassion’s correspondence program. If you truly can’t afford to sponsor a child (or another one, as the case may be) you can ask about being matched with one just as a pen-pal. Some kids, like Basu, have sponsors that pay the monthly sponsorship but for various reasons, never write. These kids are so disappointed to never hear their name called on mail day! So it’s an honor to be able to encourage them through prayer, letters and by sending things like stickers, paper airplanes, greeting cards and basically anything else made of paper that kids enjoy having. (The “paper only” rule is due to postal regulations.) We might actually ask for another correspondence child or two, because writing to them really is so much fun!

I waited to tell Zach and Eli about Eye and Basu until our first day of homeschooling this year. I wasn’t sure what their reactions would be — they’re great kids, but I thought they’d be all hum-drum, oh, mom’s found us another hobby, OK, whatever…

But I was delightfully, blessedly, humbly wrong. I’m sure I’ll write more about this in the months to come, but they were both completely enthralled with “adopting” these kids into our family. They immediately wanted to know how they could send them money, then asked a dozen questions about each child. Then they wanted to look up information about Thailand and India, and promised to pray for them daily. And they have honored that promise– a few times I’ve forgotten and they’re like, “Mom — we have to pray for Eye and Basu!” And then we do. It’s been utterly heartwarming to see their generous spirits further expand and to read the letters they so carefully wrote for each of these children. It has given my sons an entirely new perspective on just how blessed we are and how much we all have to give.

Please — click the link in my sidebar to learn more about Compassion and to see some of the cutest kids on the planet. And if your heart feels stirred as mine did, prayerfully consider that maybe God is also nudging you to sponsor one of those precious little souls. The needs are just so great, and we can help — we truly can — if we are willing.

“For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required…” ~Luke 12:48