Juli Jarvis has been an advocate for Compassion since 1994. She loves speaking for Compassion and hosts several Compassion Sundays each year. In the past 17 years, her efforts have resulted in more than 550 sponsorships. Juli has had the privilege of traveling to see the work of Compassion in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Thailand and the Philippines. Juli writes at Sheep Droppings.
Our family has been greatly blessed through the students we have supported through the years. Several factors have enhanced our experience:
· Reading letters together over the dinner hour
· Writing our sponsored children
· Reading the Compassion Blog
· Visiting foreign countries
· Keeping foreign students in our home for months at a time
· Reading books about Compassion’s ministry
· Sharing our experience with others
· Choosing gifts to take to our sponsored children
We sponsored Siriporn, of Thailand, since she was in 2nd grade. She practically grew up alongside our own children. To our delight, Siriporn was accepted to Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. I told her that I would come to her graduation if possible. I was trying to find someone to go with me, since my husband was not able to go, and to my surprise, two of our kids asked to travel along. They were even willing to pay their own travel expenses; they wanted to meet her so badly. We had a great time together, and had some very memorable moments – such as when they tried on these crazy hats. This is one of my favorite photos of Sarah, Chris, Siriporn and Geta (her mentor). These young people loved hanging out together! I wish we could be together every day!
We also stopped in the Philippines to visit an LDP student I was corresponding with – Emjay. Because she speaks fluent English, we were able to relate to her directly, and we had the best time. She calls me “Mom” and the kids “Ate” and “Kuya” (older sister and brother). Now that she has graduated from the program we are able to talk with each other on Facebook often. I miss her and love her so much!
This was a life changing experience for all of us. We drew closer to one another, to our LDP students, to Compassion’s ministry (and staff members) and to God. I will never forget what Chris said when he spoke in our church:
“I had grown up knowing about Siriporn. We always read her letters and kept in touch with her. I knew she was living in poverty and did not have a lot of things we take for granted. But when we met her, there she was – beautiful, wearing nice clothes, smart. At first I wondered about that, and then I realized: “It worked. It really worked. She’s not in poverty any more. Yes, she’s still living with her mother in a small home, because she chooses to, but she has a job, she has an income, she can take care of her family. It really worked.” He is so right. Compassion’s ministry is really changing lives, both here and abroad. This is a partnership that really works, really blesses, really saves precious lives.
I’m so thankful we were able to go hug our girls and spend a few special hours and moments together!