From the Parsonage...
From the Parsonage…
In 1994, Pastor Steve and I attended the Creation Festival, a Christian music celebration in Pennsylvania. As we checked out the booths of Christian organizations, one stood out. It was a huge tent of tables filled with packets of children from poverty stricken countries…so many that it was overwhelming…and they all needed help! We spent hours looking at pictures of beautiful children but, finally, one spoke to our hearts…Maria, a three year old Indian girl in the jungle of Ecuador. Sponsorship wasn’t really in our budget, but we were in tears by this time and decided we could make it work.
Soon after that, we started donating the money we received from our music ministry to Compassion and became involved with their volunteer program, eventually leading volunteers in the Cincinnati-Dayton area. In 1998, Steve traveled to Mexico in this position and sponsored our second child, another Maria, while he was there. Our third and fourth children, Darlinton and Davidania, joined our family in 2003, when I went to the Dominican Republic, and Alysson became child number five when the two of us met her on a trip to Ecuador in 2005. Our extended family was completed with the addition of Jhanny from Mexico in 2012 and Sunil of India in 2015.
Our commitment to these children and to Compassion has offered us opportunities we never dreamed of. Not only were we privileged to be a part of these children’s lives through our support and correspondence, but we were able to travel to various missions outside the United States and see the work first hand. In addition, we were part of the yearly conferences, where we received training and heard nationally acclaimed Christian speakers and musicians. We were able to put this to work in supervising our volunteers and in representing Compassion at area radio stations, events, concerts, and churches.
Over and above these experiences was the chance to personally meet some of our children during our travels. Although we had a language barrier, it was soon broken down by the bond of love that was exhibited in these visits, and we were able to learn much more about their lives than letters could ever reveal. Of course, the saddest part of sponsorships is when they end. Compassion never shares personal information of sponsors with children, so when ours began to graduate, we accepted that we were only in their lives for a certain time.
Then, a few years ago, I was excited by a Facebook request from a Maria Elvia in Ecuador asking if I was her Compassion sponsor. I replied immediately! A year later, I got a request from Davidania in the DR, followed by a message from Darlinton. (These two met when I visited the Dr in 2003 and 2007 and accidentally ran into each other as adults in Santo Domingo.) I continue to communicate with all of them on a regular basis and now have five Compassion grandchildren, two little girls in Ecuador and three little boys in the Dominican Republic.
One thing God has shown us through the years is that He is faithful. Common sense tells us that there is no way we could possibly have come up with the money for these children…and yet, it was always there when needed! Sometimes, when He calls, you just have to step out in faith!
“…my cup runneth over.”