Monday, June 27, 2011

Guest Post – JD Richardson

Today’s guest post is brought to us by JD Richardson. JD is a Compassion Advocate and abolitionist from the east coast of Canada. She and her husband have 3 kids and are in the adoption journey, together sponsoring 12 (going on 13) Compassion kids worldwide. She has blogged and traveled for Compassion and is headed to Ghana in Nov 2011 to serve Him. JD blogs at Compassion Can.

We have been Compassion sponsors since 2005, when my mother and I began to sponsor Bessy together when Bessy was first registered into the Honduras Compassion program at the age of 3. Over time, our Compassion family grew to include a dozen children in various countries, with a 13th on the way.

Me and Bessy SMALL Cropped[1]

While sponsorship was initially something only my mother and I were involved with, over time, my husband and children’s involvement grew as we began to sponsor children on our own.

In the beginning, their involvement mostly consisted of helping in the decision process when it came to choosing another child to sponsor, but eventually our children began taking an interest in the letters we received from our Compassion children. They knew to pounce on the mailbox after work and call me immediately at work if a letter came in the unmistakable “Message From Your Sponsored Child” envelope. I’d take a break from my workload to listen as one of the kids read the letter to me over the phone. It’s funny how the clock at work seemed to slow down to a crawl when the letters included photos... it was all I could do not to rush home to see the letters, photos and drawings right away. Well, there may or may not have been times when I’ve rushed home on my lunch break because a letter was waiting for me. I plead the 5th :o)

A little over a year ago, we began reading the letters out loud as a family during our evening meal. I especially loved the springboard for discussion it created and the opportunity it gave us all to reflect on the challenges facing these children, and what we could learn from their lives and their words.

When I worked at a Compassion event last year, our 3 children came with me to lend a helping hand. One woman was looking to sponsor a child born on a specific date, so the kids looked through boxes upon boxes of child profiles until they found just the child that this woman had been praying for. I really appreciated their help, as I would not have been able to do that while taking care of other potential sponsors at the table.

Although I’m in charge of writing to each of our kids once a month, as well as responding to their individual letters, we have found ways to all take part in the correspondence aspect of our sponsorships. Our entire family makes an effort to sign each letter, we pick out themes to write about, sometimes even going on special outings just so that we can take photos to coincide with the letter themes that month. From time to time, we’ll all pitch in to help earn the funds for a family gift, or we’ll discuss the needs of a specific child and decide on how to best help the situation.

Since I use our own paper to write the monthly and response letters, my children use the Compassion letterhead paper to write their own letters to the kids. The size of the paper seems less intimidating to my kids when they don’t know what to write – they know that a simple few sentences are all that’s needed to fill the page, and there’s always enough space to pour love into. Our youngest daughter loves to draw for the children, often pouring through our correspondence binders to find out each of their favourite things. We all help cut out stickers and label everything, and the kids have been taught to do post office runs to mail our monthly packages.

A few months ago, my husband wrote his very first letter to one of our Compassion children, Ato Sam from Ghana. Ato Sam had expressed his dream of working in the architectural design and engineering field, which is what my husband specializes in, so he took the time to write to Ato Sam and encourage him and bond over the things they have in common. He told Ato Sam that he’d love to work with him some day. The response and reaction from Ato Sam was priceless. It meant the world to him.

Out of our 3 children, our youngest, at the age of 9, is the most heavily involved in our Compassion sponsorships.

DSC_8200 SMALL SMALL Cropped[1]

She has expressed a desire to become a Compassion Advocate, and has been studying all aspects of Compassion – the countries we serve, the sponsor countries, the cost, what it provides, stories from our own sponsorships as well as stories available online, and the history and concept of Compassion. She absorbed details of my 2010 Compassion trip to Honduras like a sponge, and poured over all the photos. She remembers all of our children by name and has her own sponsorship of a little girl her age from Haiti. She convinced her teachers at school to let her do an independent research project on Compassion, incorporating math, economics, geography, social issues and so much more into her presentation, which she did in front of her entire class. She’s not showing signs of slowing down -- it is her hope to accompany me to Africa next year to meet some of our Compassion children and witness firsthand the difference it makes, the children that benefit, and the challenges they face.

Our 13 year old son will be traveling with me to Ghana in November, where he will get to meet 3 of our Compassion children.

Sponsorship has been a priceless experience, not only for the children we sponsor, their families, churches and communities, but also for our own family. My daughter and I are the only two believers in our family. Involving my sons and my husband in our sponsorship experience had helped present the gospel to them in a non-threatening way, and in time, it has made a tremendous difference in developing their hearts and widening their perspectives to the needs of others.

Sponsorship involves the whole family of your sponsored child – so why not have it involve your whole family as well!

What are the ways that you involve your families in the sponsorship experience?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...