Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guest Post – Hannah Beam

Hannah is a junior in high school and enjoys reaching other teens to change the world through blogging and advocating Compassion International. She lives in Georgia and hopes to pursue full-time international missions when she finishes school. You can learn more about Hannah by reading her blog, Project 195.

This month marks one year of serving through Compassion. My life has been changed in so many ways and today I want to tell you the story of my journey.

The precious child I want to focus is one that I don't even sponsor. His name is Gildeson, and he is actually a correspondent child - the first child I ever had through Compassion International.

I first asked Compassion for a correspondent child because I knew that sponsorship was beyond what I could do. I wasn't even sure what to think about the program as a whole - whether it was really "legit" or if the kids actually wrote - so I decided to do a "test drive" of sorts and ask for a child under the age of ten to see where it took me.

Exactly one week later, I opened the mailbox to find an envelope that contained information on a very special 6-year-old from Brazil.


As soon as I saw his face, I was hooked. The very next day I called and asked for a second correspondent child. A month later, I took on a full sponsorship for a darling angel in Thailand. My wild, crazy adventure with Compassion had begun.

About six weeks after Gildeson came into my life, my very first letter arrived in the mail from him.

There are no words to express my excitement in that moment.

I sat down at my kitchen table, ripped open my connection to another world, and read and re-read every word. I didn't want to miss one miniscule detail. This little boy in Brazil was real.

Over the course of the following months more and more children began making their way into my life. Right this moment, 10 children all over the world know my name. 3 sponsored, 7 correspondent.

Either I must be crazy or God is giving these kids living in abject poverty hope. How humbling to think that He would use me do so!

It sometimes becomes a challenge to remember to pray specifically for each member of my Compassion family, or to keep up with letter writing in the midst of school and other commitments. But every time one of those cream colored envelopes comes in the mail, I am reminded of the special relationships I get to have with some of the coolest kids ever.

Times have come and gone and come again where I am discouraged about my decisions to take on a challenge of writing to ten kids and providing financial sponsorship for three of them. Those feelings usually pass in a day or two and I always find that there is just no way I could let any of these kids go.

Recently, however, I came pretty close.

I was feeling particularly disheartened and discouraged about how much time and money and effort I put into this ministry. I will probably never meet these kids, so what difference would it make whether or not they have a sponsor? Most of my friends probably thought I was a freak anyway.

I was pretty upset until this face showed up on my account just a few days ago:


You see that picture? That's my little Gildeson all grown up. The one who started it all. Yeah, he's pretty big now. I felt like a proud mama (er. maybe sister...).

And do you want to know what's even better?

A couple days after I received the new picture of Gildeson, a special letter found it's way to my mailbox. From him.

At the time that it was written, Gildeson was just six years old (he turned 7 earlier this month). He wrote this letter all by himself for the very first time, in the most beautiful cursive I had ever seen for a little guy like him.

More than that, the contents of this letter tore me apart as I saw the heart of a boy I had grown to love over the course of a year.

I want to share his words with you because I think they're pretty special:

Dear Sponsor Hannah, how are you? I hope that you like my letter. I'm very happy and I do not know how to draw but I drew my house and please could you send a picture of your house? I enjoyed it very much the letter telling me that you are learning how to speak Portuguese. I am almost reading and getting better with my handwriting. I like to go to the project and here I am learning how to obey the Lord and I am taking tests. Thank you for your letters. My family is well.



You guys, I cried.

Because this is exactly why I do what I do, and there is no way I would change it for the world.


(Gildeson’s House)

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