Kenya and Compassion
My mom asked me why I hadn’t blogged lately (she and my dad are out of town)…I told her I didn’t have anything to say. Then I corrected myself and said I didn’t have anything perky to say. I felt like by now I should have cheery spring sentiments to be sharing. But I really don’t. Figuring out how life works without someone special is hard. And there is no timeline. But I did think about sharing this…
Living in suburbia, with all of our needs met on a daily basis, raising children with a global perspective and awareness of how different our life looks from much of the world – is a big challenge. It’s an easy one not to think about or to pass over because it’s a ‘downer’ or just because it’s not staring us in the face every day.
For Christopher and I both, traveling to third world countries for missions trips gave us an unforgettable glimpse into poverty. It impacted each of us differently. But both of us would agree we were better for having stepped into uncomfortable, very different places. We worked hard and our hearts grew as we served people who had been born into poverty and war.
It’s a bit hard at this point in life with 4 little ones to think of packing up and heading to Africa for a month. But I ache for them to have a love for all kinds of people in all places. So we’ve pondered ways we can broaden what can (without intending ) be our very narrow focus of our little life here in Bothell.
We have watched with the kids a good many videos on You Tube of different countries, about standards of living (poverty), about children around the world who live with nearly nothing, about organizations that bring food, water and help to nations who need it. We asked the kids if they would think about doing a couple of chores per week to help earn money to sponsor a child (that they could choose themselves) from Compassion International.
They were eager to do so (our oldest two) and they made their list, got online with me and each chose who they would sponsor. They can write to these children and pray for them and in earning part of the money, help provide for them. We could have signed up and paid for two sponsorships but it is incredibly more meaningful to have the kids feel like they are partly responsible for this gift. It is very sweet.
Caleb asked – when our sponsorship packet came in the mail and he got his picture of Mavin – “Mom, do you think he can sleep in my bunk bed with me?”
Melted my heart and I watched his face fall when I explained, again, that sponsorship wasn’t the same as adoption.
And Rylee upon perusing her packet, said “Do you know what I’m thinking about Mom?” I shook my head.
She answered “I’m thinking about Fatuma’s mom and how excited she must have been to click on and see that Fatuma had a sponsor. I can picture her face and she was smiling.”
I see we have a little more learning to do and I gently explained to Rylee that in this little village in Kenya, Fatuma’s mother probably didn’t have a computer to click on to find things out like that. But that I agreed, she would have been very happy.
The other thing we’ve been doing the past couple month is taking the kids downtown to serve meals at a homeless teen shelter. They were baffled and a little shy at first of bodies covered with tatoos and piercings. But they warm up every time and have sweet stories to tell each time they come home.
Little steps I know but just wanted to share what we’re trying around here.
What wonderful ideas! Thanks to you we are talking about sponsoring a couple kids – what a real life way to teach our kids about how to share our blessings. Tom LOVED your idea to have the older kids do chores to help pay. And how cool you are serving in a shelter with the kids – what age kids can you bring? Maybe we could come too one weekend.
We’ve even brought Kyler to the shelter (Audrey is too little), he just sort of hangs out but he gets to observe and take it all in. You should come, it would be really neat! And with the chores, I am working on laminating their list so that we can keep it handy, I’m good at starting things with them and not so good at following through…so we’re hoping to stick to it!
I love this. Growing up, our family sponsored children in Africa through Children’s Christian Fund. It was humbling experience to receive letters from the families saying that they used the money to buy goats and go to school. It warms my heart to know that you guys are doing this, and it’s a good reminder for me to continue this tradition with my own family.