We Are The Same: Making A Connection
I love sponsorship. I remember growing up and seeing commercials on TV from other organizations for sponsorship and I didn’t really understand it. The sad pictures of kids playing in the dirty, wiping their runny noses with flies around were depressing for sure, but I didn’t understand how sponsorship worked – the transition from the poor reality to a community transformation.
I have since learned so much about sponsorship, getting to see it in action in Mozambique, witnessing villages in every stage of their transformation with children as the source of the blessing, consequently raising their worth in the whole community. It was here that others met with children they had been sponsoring for a while and I met an incredible little girl that our family began sponsoring once we went home. Now, sponsorship is my weakness – the kind of shopping that I don’t feel guilty about when I come home with another sponsorship packet, even if it means changes for our finances.
But that isn’t just it. What is crazy about sponsorship is that it isn’t just about the children sponsored, or even the whole village that is changed because of it. If it was about just one child, that would and should be enough. Yet the village change is extraordinary, with ripple effects that make sponsorship just smart giving. But, even still – that isn’t all. Like so many things that God asks of us, like giving, we are SO BLESSED in return. He is just that sweet to us.
For the past 3 years (since my daughter, Adelaine, was 3 and son, Lukas, was 5), both of our children have had sponsored children their exact ages born on their exact birthdays. At the time, I just thought that it would be good for them to grow up, having a minimal pen-pal relationship with someone who was born in a very different situation than them on the very same day. I longed for them to have perspective – and honestly, for me to have perspective. However, it has turned into so much more.
They indeed started writing. My daughter drew pictures and even at the age of 3 wanted to send packages to Yinith in Honduras. (At one point we had to convince her that we didn’t need to send Yinith some bugs and often we have to deter her from thinking we can send huge boxes of her toys and dolls.) Lukas has taken to drawing comics to his boy in Lesotho, Southern Africa. Though I’m quite sure Lesotho wouldn’t have access to Sonic the Hedgehog, that poor boy has received about 30 comic pictures of Sonic at this point. My son also sent a shirt to his friend, Morapeli, that matched his own.
Then the responses came – letters and pictures that made connections for my children that I cannot quite explain. Morapeli held the shirt that Lukas also was wearing. Adelaine held a picture of Yinith who in turn was holding a picture of Adelaine (which the cycle has continued even further). These were real friends, real kids now who they wrote and knew and cared about.
In an International Fair a year ago, my kids did projects of the countries their friends were from. Granted, I had an underlying motivate to tell people about sponsorship who came to the fair, but in reading the kids’ notes on their posterboards, I see the gifts God has given us in this sponsorship relationship – gifts I couldn’t have created with my own hands. My daughter writes, “I love Yinith” as she proudly displays pictures of her and her friend’s interactions of pictures and writing. Lukas writes beyond his comic book norm about what sponsorship does to writing, “I care about Morapeli. I hope to meet him someday. God loves him. We are the same.”
While clearly there are many things that make my children and sponsored children worlds apart and in many minds, NOT THE SAME, it is that fact – that God LOVES them, that makes them the same. It makes sponsorship incredible, empowering, and an expression of God’s very heart as we live that out. I am so thankful to God for His abundant blessings on my children as they fumble through these truths… and His mercy on their mom who is still catching up. In that regard, I echo:
We love all our sponsored children. We hope to meet them someday. God loves them. We are the same.
by Anna Goodworth, WOV Hartford, CT