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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

The Face of Poverty: Sponsor a child today through Compassion

jenmichel@me.com

Jana lives in Sri Lanka and speaks Tamil. A little boy only six months younger than our twin boys, he lives in a house with a clay floor and tin roof. His father may earn as little as $109 this month. Kabilan also lives in Sri Lanka. His daily chores are carrying water, gathering firewood and washing clothes. Today he’ll eat three meals of rice and rotti (a thick pancake made out of flour.)

Alice will be 13 this September; she lives in Uganda. Her English is strong; academically, she shows great promise. The $8 extra dollars we send each month helps children like Alice living in countries ravaged by the HIV/AIDS epidemic; $8 reminds us just how tenuous life can be.

Paola is 12 and lives in the Dominican Republic with her mother. Her parents were never married. She writes us recently to ask prayer for her mother who will be having a surgery so that she will “stop having children.”

Billy-Chee lives in Haiti; he is 13. When the earthquake hit his country on January 12, 2010, it was another six months before we had word that he and his family were safe. His parents are farmers, and as often as they can secure work, they earn $22/month.

These are some of the faces of global poverty who are helped each month by the smallest of financial gifts.

$38/a month pays for a child sponsored through Compassion International to attend programs at a local child development center. There, they receive Bible teaching, medical checkups, nutritious meals, and academic support.

For the price of eight Starbucks lattés, we can buy hope for one of the world’s poorest children.

This month, I’m blogging once a week on behalf of Compassion International, and today, I encourage you to visit Compassion’s Sponsor a Child page and consider sponsoring a child in need. This month's blogger push aims to have 3, 108 children sponsored by the end of September.

I imagine your heart, like mine, breaks for every child who does not have the resources our own children do.

For the 1.9 billion children from the developing world, there are:

640 million without adequate shelter (1 in 3)

400 million with no access to safe water (1 in 5)

270 million with no access to health services (1 in 7)

With statistics as staggering as those, we might imagine a virtual global stampede of benevolence - yet inaction persists. Why? I have my own reasons. I am guilty of them all.

  1. For many middle-class Americans, poverty is faceless. We may read statistics like the ones I’ve cited, but we can’t connect emotionally with the numbers.
  2. We haven’t fully understood the mission of Jesus. We’ve misunderstood that praying, Your kingdom come, means we’re asking God not to save us for heaven, but to bring heaven to earth.
  3. We are intimidated by the size of the problem. What can one person do?
  4. We aren’t sure how to involve ourselves, especially because we have families of our own. We can’t simply fly across the globe when the next crisis strikes.
  5. We aren’t sure which organizations to trust. We may want to give money to help the poor but fear that our donations will be mishandled.
  6. Confusing needs and wants, we sink deeper into our habits of overconsumption. There may not simply be extra money to give.

Visit Compassion’s Sponsor a Child page today:

Put a face on poverty. Through Compassion, you can not only contribute financial gifts but build a relationship with a child to whom you can write letters and even plan to visit. Compassion, International, is monitored and audited regularly by outside agencies, which insure their financial integrity.

Bring heaven to earth for one child: it will cost you less than a pair of shoes to buy vaccinations and pay for school uniforms for a child who would otherwise go without. This is your small gesture, your cup of cold water.

“Do this, and do it with love. For this is your work that will ripple out into eternity.”

–Ann Voskamp, blogger for Compassion

If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness. Isaiah 58:10, NIV