A few weeks ago, my husband had the opportunity to visit Colombia and to meet the children we sponsor through Compassion International. (If you haven’t had the opportunity to read his words yet, I invite you to do so here.) I had a wonderful time preparing for his visit – the kids and I shopped and tried to pick out gifts for our sponsored boys that would be meaningful, needed, and fun. For weeks we talked about “our boys” and speculated what kind of presents they would like.
When the day arrived for Matt to meet them, I was thrilled. As I drove the kids to school, we began talking about the boys. “Do you think they’re going to be shy?” “What do you think will be their favorite present?” “Do you fink he will wike his new car?” And suddenly I realized something. My kids knew that we had bought presents for the boys that we sponsor. But … did they know what sponsorship really means?
“Hey guys,” I asked, “Do you know why we pay money to Compassion for John and Jhonatan?”
Long pause. “Um … so they can buy some new toys?”
I began explaining. “John and Jhonatan’s families are very, very poor. They might not have enough money to even buy food every day, did you know what?”
I glanced in the rear-view mirror and saw two pairs of eyes wide open.
“And it’s not just food. You know how we have a nice, comfortable house? And clothes? And a car and a truck?”
“And toys?” “And a dog?”
“Yup. We have all of those things. And we are so, so blessed. Did you know that some kids don’t have a bed? They sleep on the floor. And when they fall asleep, they’re hungry. You know, if our Daddy didn’t have a job any more, we have some food in our fridge. And if that ran out, we have lots and lots and LOTS of people who could help us. We have our family and our friends. We have our church, and there are people in our neighborhood who give away food to those who need it. We don’t have to worry about having enough food to stay alive. But lots of kids do. And that doesn’t make me happy. That actually makes me very, very sad.”
“Me too.” “Yeah, me too.”
“But you know what, guys? Instead of just being very sad about it … we decided to DO something about it! As a family, we decided to sponsor these boys. So Mommy and Daddy send money to the people who work at Compassion International, and then they work with John and Jhonatan’s families to make sure that those boys have the things they need. If they need food, or medicine, or school supplies, or clothes – whatever they need the very most, our money goes to buy that.”
My six-year-old spoke up. “Mom, how much money does it cost to do that?”
“Well, it’s $38 dollars a month.” I did some quick mental math, since around here, our currency is quarters. “So that means we pay 152 quarters every month.”
She loudly gasped. “MOM! You’re RICH!”
I started to laugh, and opened my mouth to argue. But she opened her mouth faster – and rocked my world. “Mom – you and Dad can pay 152 quarters EVERY MONTH. For BOTH boys. And you STILL have some left over?? YOU. ARE. RICH!”
My laughter died away quickly, and tears began to fill my eyes as I realized how right my daughter was.
I have a very comfortable home, and it’s full of machines that wash my dishes and cook my food and scrub my clothes for me.
I have taps that I can turn, and clean water will instantly be flowing. And within seconds, I can make that water hot or cold.
In the morning, I wake up in my cozy bed. I walk around my perfectly air-conditioned (or heated) home and get my kids ready for school. I pack their lunchboxes with healthy food, I load their backpacks with school supplies, and I drive them in my safe, reliable car.
When I don’t feel well, I drive to my doctor. The office is clean, the tools are sterile, and I have access to medication within hours.
I have food in my fridge and my pantry. And sometimes – heaven forbid – I have so much food, I get grumpy when I get home from the store because there isn’t enough room to hold it all.
I can spare 152 quarters a month.
I. Am. Rich.