Shortly after I returned home from Thailand in 2013, I began partnering with Compassion International to sponsor a little girl there. Through the years I added another girl from India, and then one from Ecuador (who I got to meet in person in 2016). Last winter, the Indian government forced Compassion out of India, so I transferred that sponsorship to another little girl in Ecuador. We’ve exchanged letters and pictures over the months and years of sponsorship. It never fails to brighten my day when I get a letter and a drawing from one of my little girls. Last year, I was blessed to visit all three of them in person.
I’ve sponsored Suwanni for over four years. She has a sister and a brother and she lives with her grandmother. Although she lives a good eight hours outside the city, her mother works in Bangkok. It wasn’t until my most recent trip to Thailand, where I actually spent time walking through the Red Light district there, that I realized how much Compassion International means to girls like Suwanni. Her education is being paid for. Medical expenses are covered. Her parents aren’t forced to sell her for money. We met in Chiang Mai for the afternoon. She had never been to a big city before. She was full of wide-eyed wonder. We took her to the zoo, where she fed sheep and elephants, and walked through an aquarium. She tried her first slice of pizza for lunch. I saw girls Suwanni’s age outside the red light district begging for money. Common sense says that in a few short years, they will be inside working for it. I am so, so grateful for Compassion and the work that they are doing in Asia and across the globe. And I’m so blessed that Suawanni is part of my life.
July found me back on Ecuador’s coast in the little fishing village of Rocafuerte. Seeing these two smiling faces was definitely a bright spot of the trip.Guadalupe lives with her mom and brother. Sometimes her dad comes home, sometimes he doesn’t. Genesis lives with her mom and seven siblings in a one bedroom house. Her dad was murdered two years ago. These girls are growing up in a dark place. But I am so thankful that they are learning about Jesus at the Compassion project.
Being able to see these girls and spend time with them in person was such a gift. You realize that your sponsorship is so much more that just sending money every month. There’s a face behind that money. A person that’s being cared for. A soul that’s being fed.