When I was sixteen years old, I picked up a packet with a smiling five-year-old Ethiopian boy on the front after a Christian concert in a chilly school gymnasium and I didn’t put it down again. I carried that little boy out the door and vowed to sponsor him from my meager means (that of a summer-only ice cream server). I did it. I sent him monthly support until he – Tesfahun Degu – graduated from the program at eighteen.
So, why the excuses now? Why can’t I commit to sponsoring a child in Kensington’s NoChild Sponsorship Program? I’ll let you hear my internal back-and-forth:
Reason #1: I have my own kid to worry about.
‘Worry’ being the key word here. I remember someone telling me once that having a child is like having your heart walking around outside your body. This is true for me: my six-year-old daughter is the apple of my eye. Of course, motherhood has brought me joy unparalleled and a new understanding of unconditional love, but it has also made me more vulnerable and fearful. It is the fear that makes me unwilling to share my resources – I don’t want any child to go hungry, but my daughter doesn’t have a college fund…
But this love for my daughter reinforces my marrow-deep conviction that every child is of infinite value to our Father and deserving of a hopeful future. And, what does my faith require of me but to share with those in need and to entrust my own needs to God.
Hebrews 13:16, Isaiah 58:7, 1 Timothy 6:18, Matthew 25:35, Proverbs 19:17
Reason #2: I am not in a good place financially.
Maybe when I get my ducks in a row and cut down on debt, I could sponsor a child…in the past few years, my family has known significant loss and financial devastation. Many contributing factors in concert brought us to the humble point of living in friends’ basement for five months. Surely, God couldn’t be calling me to give out of my lack?
But how mild has my need been, really. I have never been hungry. Never been without a roof. Never been alone. When will I recognize my abundance instead of allowing the standards of living around me to define my needs? And, anyway, there is nothing more worthy of sacrifice than to give a child health, hope, and a future.
Reason #3: How do I even know it’s going to the child?
I’m skeptical. How can I trust that the funds actually clothe and educate the child? That there isn’t mismanagement or anything unethical? There are hundreds of nonprofits to choose from…how do I pick the “best” one?
But NoChild is different – it’s Kensington’s own program. A grass-roots, no-waste, completely transparent program. In fact, (and this makes my hesitation that much worse) I’ve just returned from India and Nepal and have seen these kids with my own two (albeit near-sighted) eyes. These are real kids – I’ve seen their faces and heard their stories. I’ve met their leaders, teachers, and caregivers (all worthy of sainthood, by the way). The Kensington community is the difference-maker in the lives of these children. Actually, I shouldn’t say it’s the community and not recognize that it’s individuals making individual decisions to change the lives of individual children. It’s all very, very personal. I was moved by the earnest inquiries from dozens of kids, “Do you know my sponsor?” And then they would list the names of every member of the entire household down to the pet dog in a lilting, beautiful accent.
FINAL DECISION REACHED: This is an opportunity I just can’t miss. What a privilege it would be to be a part of God’s provision in their lives…I’m going to do it!
I have decided to sponsor Swarupa Mahima Desabathula from India. I met her in November while on that short-term trip with NoChild. She is in seventh grade (isn’t middle school hard enough without abject poverty?!), and I sat with her during chapel services at the Children’s Home. Sawrupa is from a very poor family – her father is a driver but he doesn’t make enough money to meet the physical needs of Sawrupa, her two younger brothers, and her mother.
She said she went hungry some days before coming to the Children’s Home. Because I connected with several girls in India, it was difficult to choose one, but as I was uploading my photos from India, I noticed that Sawrupa was the subject of the first and last pictures I had taken. In both, she was sweeping the hallway outside the visitors’ dormitory: images burned into my memory with the captions Hello, India and Goodbye, India – all texture, dramatic morning light, layers of peeling color, and her sweet presence attentive to the dust.
Would you consider joining me in sponsoring a child? Visit nochild.org now to find a child waiting for a sponsor.