I give $38 a month to a child in El Salvador. He writes letters about his home, his school, and his family. Each time I see his 11 year-old handwriting, I want to convince the world that the Lord's heart is with the poor.
I give through an organization called Compassion International. They focus on children and provide education, food, and the gospel to each child and their families. They call this their "holistic approach," striving to impact every aspect of life.
A couple of weeks ago, they hosted an event called "Change the Story Tour." Katie, a fellow Compassion supporter and I, decided to go and let our hearts be open and humbled. We came to the small church and became mesmerized and thrilled by the big, blue trailers arranged like a jigsaw puzzle in the parking lot. We didn't know what to expect, but we took confident steps through the front door. We were greeted by an older man with short white hair and a smile that could fill a room.
"Welcome, ladies. Where are you from?"
We gave the short answer, “Gardner-Webb. Boiling Springs.”
“Great!” he kept beaming with pure joy. “I know where that is. So do you know much about Compassion?”
Suddenly we were both in our element, talking about our precious sponsored children in El Salvador and our somewhat limited experience blogging on behalf of the organization.
“Oh, you’re bloggers! That’s so cool!” he said. I was simply impressed that he knew about blogs in general. The sweet man set up our audio devices and headphones for the walk-through tour. He pointed us to a set of metal stairs leading up to two glass doors. We made our way to the landing and opened the doors to the story of a child.
When we first came through the doors, Katie and I looked at one another for a brief second as if to confirm we were in this together, no matter what emotions came spilling from our hearts. Then we pressed he “Start” button on our devices. The voice of a young girl came through. I knew it wasn't the real child’s voice, her English was too good. In the end, it didn't matter. The story was real. She thanked her sponsors and Compassion for their impact on her life.
At the child’s prompting, we moved a curtain and pressed “Next.” We were in a small, dark room with one chair. The thin rug on the floor was covered in dirt and there was no food in the pot sitting in the corner. The voice came through our headphones and the young girl explained that this was her home. She was constantly in danger here. There were gangs and drunk men that lingered outside of her door.
Eduardo, my sponsor child, never mentions dangers that face him. I’ve been to countries where gangs are a major fear, but is that true in El Salvador? I suddenly wanted to see Eduardo’s house. I wanted to know if he had a bed or a table or food for his family.
We continued moving through the rooms, pressing “Next,” and listening to the story of a girl that found hope in Jesus through Compassion. In each new poverty-stricken room, I thought of Eduardo. What was he doing every day at his Compassion project? What are his dreams for the future? He has written me and told me that his parents and sister are all Christians. He said that he believes in Jesus and thanks God for me.
We made it to the end of the story. The last room had pictures and letters and seemed much brighter than many of the others. Katie and I pressed “Next” and instead of a simple voice, a video appeared on the screen. The little girl’s voice was suddenly a young woman’s with a lovely face and bright eyes. She explained that they story we walked through was true and Jesus changed he life through Compassion and her sponsors. Katie and I shifted our eyes to one of the pictures on the wall: the young lady’s graduation photo taken with her mother.
I lingered in the room, smiling at the photo, I prayed for Eduardo, that His life would be full of hope and light in Jesus.
I am continually amazed at the way the Lord has woven my heart with Eduardo's. Then, as if that wasn't enough, He chooses to weave His heart with mine over and over again. Stories create bonds. Even though I have not met Eduardo, my heart is with him. When I chose to sponsor him, I didn't just change his story. He changed my heart.
Will you change the story of a precious child? Click here to join Compassion in ending extreme poverty in the name of Jesus.