February 3, 2011

Happy with a hint of tears

Last night, I spent nearly 4 hours reading, researching and writing.

Nope, I'm not back in graduate school (thank goodness!)!

It had been my bucket list item #131 to sponsor a child and on January 22, 2011, with birthday donations instead of gifts, I was able to cross that one off my list (THANK YOU to all who donated!)

Meet Vanesa from Uganda. 

I'm not sure what is was about her that reached out and grabbed me. I think it was a little bit of several things. She lives with her mom and 5 siblings.Vanesa had also been waiting over 6 months for a sponsor.

After clicking "submit" on the sponsor page, I printed out her bio and photo and immediately put it on our refrigerator.

I then wrote this on my birthday recap post... "I'm looking forward to hearing more about my Compassion Child. It said to expect information in about 15 days. Wow. It seems like so long to wait. Yet, she waited over 6 months for me..."

Each day after work, I rushed home to see if anything had arrived. I spent time reading blogs of others who sponsor children, learning what they write about, what little things can be sent with the letters, how the translation process works.

Then, the day came. If you are a twitter follower, there was a play by play account of me opening my letter and going through the information, one detail at a time. I was so excited; I felt so blessed.

Okay. Back to last night. I finally was able to sit down to write my first letter. There are so many great resources out there for new Compassion Sponsors. A few that I found particularly helpful and inspiring are:

Blogging from the Boonies (I read a good majority of her blog last night!)
The Compassion Blog  
Compassion Trips - links to bloggers whom have gone on Compassion trips
Whittaker Woman (aka: Heather)  - I've been a long time follower of Heather and Carlos who have both participated on Compassion Trips

There ere are many more... blogs, videos, stories... I'll share more links on another post.
Dakota was very interested in what I was doing all night.
When all was said and done...

I finally got 2 photos printed out; one of Alan and I, for the "My Sponsor" card, and one of me standing in our backyard in the snow.  I also google searched Bible Color Pages, and found a simple one to print out. I didn't receive any stationary in my information package, however was able to print the general Compassion template onto cute purple, flowery scrapbook paper. I added a few stickers, wrote a general "Hello, I'm your sponsor, it is great to meet you, we have 2 pet dogs, we are thinking of you and praying for you" message.

I took a deep breath and looked at my work. It didn't feel like enough. I kept researching. I realized I should also write an intro email! (YES! You can email your Compassion child! How awesome is that!?) I decided I should also send an email to Vanesa. It is directly sent to the child's country office to be translated, thus saves tons of time in mailing first! My email was a simple 6 lines of "we are happy to be your Compassion Sponsors, we are thinking of you, I will write often, and we look forward to learning more about you and your family."

This felt better. Vanesa would receive a couple different messages from me, one a little more quickly due to email and one a bit after that! I read a few places the mail sent can take several weeks, and didn't want her to have to wait that long!

After going through this process, I am happy. I am happy I found Compassion and that I am sponsoring Vanesa. I am happy to be blessed to have a home to live in, family to lean on, food to eat, clean water to drink. I am happy to have a job, that my husband has a job, and we can both drive to work, in cars we own, on paved roads. I am happy to to live in a country that I feel safe in.

However, as I think about all I am happy for, all the blessings in my life, I cannot help but feel a tear run down my face. I look at Vanesa's photo and think of her and her family. I begin to think of all the people, around the world, including those in the United States who live each and every day without so many of the things I am blessed to have in my life.

I feel like I need to do more. I do not know what exactly or how, yet I must do something more.


  1. Beautiful! We have sponsors children for years now and I honestly think they bless us more than we bless them!!

  2. Aw, you warmed my heart! I have a Google Alert set to send me posts about Compassion and I was was reading through this I saw my own blog listed! I am so uplifted to know that my ideas and words are helpful! I think your little sweetie is just adorable. Our ninth and most recent addition to our Compassion family is from Uganda as well. :) You will be so blessed my this! :D

  3. Thanks for stopping by my little Compassion space of the web, too. :)

  4. Great post. It helps people think about what we are doing to help others. Be blessed. http://cleverlychanging.com/?p=1979

  5. Loved this post, I'm so excited for this journey you've embarked upon! One of our Compassion kids is from Uganda as well.

    I agree with another commenter -- sometimes it's hard to know who is blessed the most in these child & sponsor relationships, seriously!