Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking God's Love to the Ends of the Earth- Child Sponsorship

Today Jill from Compassion Family shares how her family takes God's love to the ends of the earth. Jill is a violinist, homeschooling mom, and is passionate about living missionally and intentionally. On her blog you will find some wonderful ways to include the whole family in serving others. I hope you will take time to stop by and say hello!

I have a fascination with other countries and cultures. I love learning about other people and how they live, but I've found that the people I’m drawn to most are the people who live in desperate circumstances. God has broken my heart for those who live in poverty - especially the children.

In 1994 I heard about Compassion International, a Christian, child-development ministry that works in 26 of the poorest countries in our world. I was a college student, attending a school with a global world view and heavy emphasis on cross cultural learning.  I was aware of other cultures having already spent time in Mexico, France and Spain, but this was my first glimpse into the third world. God used the sponsorship of a young girl in Kenya to open my eyes to the opportunity of loving my neighbor in a global context.

Over the years, our family has chosen to fully embrace the ministry of child sponsorship through Compassion and has taken deliberate steps to pursue this opportunity as a family. I am passionate about involving my own children in ministry and service. It is not good enough for my children to see me writing to our sponsored children, or to hear me praying for them….I want them to actively participate.

I see child sponsorship as a very real and tangible way to carry out both the great commission and the great command. The commission I speak of is the one Jesus mentions in Matthew 28:19 - “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” The command I speak of is the one Jesus gave in Mark 12:31  - “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

As our family sponsors children around the world, the global view of our own children widens and expands. We are able to develop a relationship with the children we sponsor through letters, and have the opportunity to disciple them with each word we write.

It takes very intentional steps to make our Compassion children more than a cute face on the refrigerator or more than a name we sometimes throw into our prayers. Three of our four family members have “birthday buddies” - sponsored children with whom we share a birthday. Both of my daughters received their personal birthday buddy (with an exact birthday match) when they turned 6 years old. In an effort to help my daughters own these relationships, Compassion has assigned them as the correspondents so all letters come addressed to them personally.

We also try to bring the world into our home. We have a very large world map in our family room and refer to it regularly when we talk about our Compassion children. It serves as a great focal point for our home and visual reminder to pray for our neighbors all over the world. As a home-educating family we go to great lengths to take a global approach to our learning, regularly reading books about other countries and cultures, but especially those in which our sponsored children live.

In the past two years my husband and I have both had the opportunity to travel to other countries and experience firsthand what life is like in other parts of the world. Although our children have not (yet) gone with us, we have been able to share with them the stories, photos and mementos we collect on our journeys. My hope is that my girls will be able to see beyond themselves and our fairly cushioned lives and recognize the opportunities to love their neighbors both in our community and in the world around them.

I hope you will take a moment to visit Compassion International and consider sponsoring a child by clicking here. 

Read the rest of this series here. 


Jennifer said...

Wow, so great! I love that not only are you reaching out and keeping a global perspective, but you are also teaching that to your children(and allowing them to act with you). Cool! cool! cool!

Teena said...

Hi, Jill! I love how Compassion is not just a part of your life but is your life... your family's life too. You have taught me so much. I am forever grateful. Our life has changed so much due to child sponsorship. It is amazing!

thanks for sharing.

Pam said...

I like the "birthday buddies" idea and the map is great too! So great your kids are getting involved when they are young. When they grow up it will be a natural way of life for them to help others!

Thanks so much for bringing Yelena and Shaun to Emmitt's party! I have them on my sidebar now and will include them in one of my blog posts in the next week or two!


Denise said...


Pam said...

Here's my post for Yelena and Shaun! Thanks for inviting them to Emmitt's party!