Saturday, February 16, 2008

The nudge I needed

I've been meaning to write this post all week. I wanted it to be full of imagery and the emotion that I felt 13 years ago when I went on a short term missions trip to Honduras. I wanted to find pictures of the children that I met on that trip and post them. I wanted you to be able to see the two year old Garifuna boy with a belly round from malnourishment and yellow grey hair. I wanted to show you the mud hut that I brought him to and the bed made from a cardboard box that I put him on when he fell asleep on my lap.

It's been a crazy week here. I haven't had an opportunity to look for the photo album from that trip or the time to write the post that's in my head. Instead, I share this:

I came back from that trip with a different perspective on the world. It was life changing, or so I thought. For a while, I felt guilty about the fact that I had ten pairs of jeans and at least twenty sweaters in my dorm room closet. It seemed wrong that the room I shared with one other girl was larger and much more comfortable than the homes that I had seen on my trip. I vowed to be more socially conscious, to complain less, to want less, to not take my wealth for granted and to consider the global cost for all that I enjoy as an American.

At the time, I didn't think that the lessons I had learned would ever leave me. I couldn't imagine that the faces of the hungry children that I met would fade in my mind. They have though. In a lot of ways, it's like that trip never happened. I rarely think about it or the things that I learned.

Until this week.

Right now, there is a group of Christian bloggers visiting Uganda and writing about the work that Compassion does there. While reading their blogs and looking at their pictures, my memories of Honduras and the lessons learned have started to return. I've cried a lot.

As I read the stories and look at the beautiful faces of these African children, I'm struck by the fact that they are just as real as my own children and just as much a part of God's creation. I've asked God why. Why do I have so much when others have nothing? Why do children have to suffer? I quickly heard the answer in my heart. Know what it was? Loud and clear, "Why aren't you doing anything?" I cried some more.

Sponsoring a child through Compassion is something that I've been meaning to do for a while. I've put it off, telling myself that we really dont have any extra money. Yet, I spend freely and buy what I want (which is very different and very often much more than we actually need). I donate our old things to local charities and tell myself that giving away things I can't use and don't want is enough, that I'm doing my part to help those in need.

I'd also managed to convince myself that the small amount that I can give can't possibly make a real difference. I was wrong. Just $32 a month can change not just a child's life, but the lives of an entire family as well. $32, that's it. If you don't believe it, I would encourage you to spend some time reading the Uganda blogs. You will be amazed.

After reading this post by Shaun Groves I went to the Compassion site and our family began to sponsor a little boy in Uganda. His name is Aaron and he is one day older than Sam. We're already praying for him and looking forward to receiving his packet so that we can start getting to know this little one who already feels like a part of our family. Thanks for the nudge Shaun.

Shaun is asking people to share their Compassion stories. If you have a story to tell, or are interested in reading about other people's experiences, click here.


Michelle said...

That's so exciting. Thanks for sharing Sarah. I think it's neat that you have a little boy that's the same age as your son. How special.

Janel said...

Thank you for sharing this! It really has been such an amazing week reading their blogs. I so wish I could be there with them. Well, I wish that and then I don't. I can't imagine how much my heart would break, but I would love to imagine how my heart would change.

Bethany said...

Oh that is great Sarah. You will love it. We enjoy writing letters back and forth with our little girl. My boys write and draw pics to her too and whenever we travel we buy coloring books and postcards and stickers and such. It is so much fun. I think it is great you got a little boy Sam's age too.