Notes on Our Compassion Experience

While we’re on the subject of Compassion, I wanted to chime in with a few words about our experience.  Bethany and her husband are obviously very involved in the ministry, but my perspective is just your “average everyday” sponsor.  Hopefully I can explain a little bit of the how and why’s.

Why we decided to sponsor

I can’t remember when I heard about Compassion the first time, probably at a concert or through a friend. But I definitely had heard of it somewhat regularly over the years. When Bethany and her future husband were dating (or engaged?), she tagged along with him on a visit here to Colorado. Compassion’s headquarters in Colorado Springs. She stayed with me for a couple of days and then we both went down to the headquarters, where we took a tour of the facility and got lots of information about their programs, how they sort all the mail, etc. Its a great tour and I recommend it to anyone passing through that area. Then a year or two passed… One Sunday a college kid from our church spoke about the child he was sponsoring and the impact of the Compassion program on that child’s life. After hearing everything he had to say, my husband and I both felt like this was a ministry we should be involved it. There were no downsides, no major time or financial commitments, really a no-brainer. The cost is $38 per month and we are well aware that we blow that much money on trivial nothings every month. Why were we not helping a child who truly needed it? So that was that.

How we decided on Alba

When you go to Compassion’s website to sign up, you can literally pick the child you want to sponsor.  This is simultaneously really cool and really overwhelming.  How do you pick?  So my husband and I visited the website several different times, not quite sure how to just pick one.  We were just about to hit the button that says “Select a child for me”.  For no real scientific reason, we ended up putting in “Central America”, just because it was the closest.  Then my husband suggested we put in our son’s birthday.  And only one child met those two criteria: Alba Patricia in El Salvador.  To anyone in this process, my advice would be to just pray for guidance and don’t sweat it.

Our experience so far

We began sponsoring Alba last summer.  Our sponsorship means three things on our end: we pray for Alba regularly, we write her letters, and we send Compassion $38 each month.  Alba’s participation in the Compassion program in El Salvador includes tutoring, medical checkups, Bible classes, etc.   Alba also writes us back from time to time and its through her sweet letters that she has stolen our hearts.  The Compassion staff on site translate our letters back and forth between Spanish and English.  She always always tells us that she is praying for us and she always asks for our prayers as well.  For her birthday, we sent her $20.  Here is a quote from the “thank you” letter we received.

I thank you for the $20 you sent me. I want to tell you that with the money they bought me cornflakes, milk, sugar, oil, toilet paper, rice, and beans.  My family is thankful for all the help you are giving us.  I was excited when they told me I had a gift.  I know that I will grow up healthy and strong with that food.

2nd grade, folks.  My family is blessed to get to know Alba, and any help or support we can give her is an honor.

My hope for our blog is that we can be one more voice to anyone who is where my husband and I were last year, hearing about Compassion from lots of different sources and wondering if we should sponsor.  I also want to second Bethany’s request – we would love to post some other people’s stories so please let one of us know if you would be interested in sharing.  Bethany and I plan to continue to highlight the Compassion program from time to time.

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About Mary-Hall

loyal southerner, exceedingly frugal, compulsive DIYer

2 responses to “Notes on Our Compassion Experience”

  1. Momma Daniel says :

    I would like to add that, being in the top 1% of Fiscally Responsible Charities and receiving at least 9 years of very high ratings from Charity Navigator, I feel very comfortable knowing that the money I send on behalf of my sponsor child is used for the benefit of that child in a responsible manner.

  2. Bethany says :

    If you need more convincing than Mark-Hall and I, read this blog post written by a good friend of mine on from last-year’s Kenya trip. And because a picture is worth a thousand words, he posted lots of pictures. (Scroll down and you’ll even see a few of Keith and I with our two kids and my mom’s kid. A cute sponsor-child family portrait) http://jaredabrown.com/2011/02/21/sponsor-a-child-20-2-2011/

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