Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Guest Post ~ Crystal Kupper

Crystal Kupper is a United States Air Force wife, freelance writer and SAHM of three littles ages six to 11 months living in Norfolk, England. Growing up with Compassion "siblings," she became a sponsor herself in 2008 and an advocate soon after. Today, she and her ridiculously good-looking husband Nickolas sponsor Barbie from the Philippines, Charly from Nicaragua and Wilmer from Bolivia while corresponding with Viona from Indonesia, Sitota from Ethiopia and Rodgers from Kenya. The things that make her happiest: long runs, social justice, adoption success stories, quality chocolate, books and kisses from her man. Catch her blogging on her unexpected life in the motherland at www.crystalkupper.net/blog

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth

But somwhere in my wicked, miserable past

There must have been a moment of truth

For here you are, standing there, loving me

Whether or not you should

So somewhere in my youth or childhood

I must have done something good

Nothing comes from nothing

Nothing ever could

So somewhere in my youth or childhood

I must have done something good

~"Something Good" from The Sound of Music

From the time we are toddlers, our parents teach us that good begets good. Finish your dinner? You get an extra bedtime story. Nice to your sister? That's five more minutes of playtime for you. The moral of the story: good things happen when you're good. And the opposite holds true in Parentville, as well. Negative behaviors earn negative consequences.

So we grow up with this idea that goodness comes from goodness. And often, it's true on the surface. So we slowly start to "earn" more good things by being good, even as adults. 

As First-World citizens, this mindset is especially prevalent when thinking about social justice. After all, we're the ones with the money, education, free time, healthcare and resources. We give to the poor; they don't give to us. We are big; they are little. We are the somethings; they are the nothings. If they were something, the thinking goes, then wouldn't they have something, too? If they have nothing, they must be nothing. 

Mother & Child in Child Survival Program project - photo by Teri Gerdes

If Maria von Trapp taught her viewers anything (well, besides how to become a drapery fashionista), it was that nothing comes from nothing, right? 

As much as I love Julie Andrews, I think she and the lovestruck Captain had it backwards. Let me tell you why. 

Recently, the UK (the country where I am currently living) has experienced devastating floods. While England is known for its wetness, it couldn't handle this much. The floods killed two and destroyed many homes, possessions and livelihoods. In a matter of days, thousands of British citizens went from having everything to nothing. 

And from "nothing" came an amazing act of hope and encouragement

Some kids from a Compassion project in Guatemala heard about what was happening in their sponsors' country. (Compassion International isn't limited to America; you can sponsor from any of nine countries). And they wanted to let these men, women and teenagers who had so positively impacted their lives see that they knew, cared and were taking spiritual action. 

So they made a video

"Dear sponsors in UK," the slides read. "Due to the recent events that hit your country, we wanted you ALL to know we pray for you! We love you! May God keep you! Our heart is with you!" Each smiling child, surrounded by the evidence of extreme poverty, is a beautiful breath of fresh air.

When all was reduced to nothing for Compassion's UK sponsors, something good came out of it. And it wasn't because these sponsors were intrinsically good. It wasn't because they were better than the kids living in extreme conditions on the other side of the globe. It wasn't because the sponsors sent the most letters, or the most money, or even remembered to pray for their kids. 

It was because they were. 

It was because in the Kingdom of God, life is flipped upside down -- the least minister to the most, the smallest give the greatest. It was because like always, the kids in Guatemala learned it is far greater to give than to receive. 

Being a Compassion sponsor isn't about good coming from good. In this fallen world, we cannot produce good in and of ourselves. Instead, being a Compassion sponsor is about the wonderfully-backwards philosophy of goodness rising out of seeming catastrophe. Nothing coming from nothing -- both for the  sponsors and the sponsored.

Somewhere in their youth and childhoods, the Compassion kids from Guatemala definitely did something good. But it wasn't from them; it was from the ultimate source of good Himself.

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