20 June 2008

Compassion: To Suffer With

I read Shaun Groves' blog every day. He is a thinker, a musician, a dad, a husband, a theologian, and an employee of Compassion International. I love what he says; I love the way he makes me laugh. But more so I love the way he challenges me to live deeper, more intentionally.

Most recently, Shaun has been encouraging his readers to help spread the word about the work of Compassion International through an idea called CompassionBloggers. I had considered it, but I wasn't sponsoring a child and it felt a little hypocritical of me to try to encourage you to be involved in the work of Compassion when I wasn't.

And then Shaun went to the Dominican Republic.

My sister, Annie, spent 2 years there and my whole family has fallen in love with that country. But to see it through the eyes of a Compassion blogger like Shaun, made me realize that my passion wasn't anything more than a little interest because I wasn't DOING anything.

So ....

Meet Estefi.

She is almost 4 years old and lives in the Dominican Republic, not far from one of my favorite parts of that country.
She is now my sponsored child.
Which I guess makes me a sponsoring "mom."

In the Dominican Republic, a day laborer like Estefi's mom can make around $118 per MONTH. With rising food costs all over the world, Estefi and her three siblings don't face $4 loaves of bread like we do; they face starvation.

Experts are saying that the prices of oil, gasoline, and food show no signs of coming down in the near future. Prices are expected to continue to rise around the world. For billions of people, this becomes a crisis, not an inconvenience. The global food crisis is forcing poor families to spend more of their household budgets on food, leaving little for anything else. We must do something!

But what can we do?
Most of us don't have a ton of extra money to throw at a problem like world hunger. It would take countless millions of dollars to even make a dent.

But we can pray.
On June 25 (next Wednesday), Compassion is sponsoring a Day of Prayer and Fasting. Typically fasting is quite a challenge for me. But this matters. And by fasting I am also standing in solidarity with those who will go hungry that day. As my stomach rumbles, I will pray for those like Estefi who feel these pangs every day. I hope you will join me.

And we can give.
True, we may not have thousands or millions to give. Maybe we don't even have hundreds (I know I don't!). But a nickel a day will keep a child alive in Africa. Literally every penny helps to save a life. Compassion has started a Global Food Crisis Fund to get food into the hands and mouths of those most immediately affected by the food crisis. I cannot think of a better way to spend a nickel.

And we can sponsor.
I have only just begun to sponsor Estefi and already it has changed me. I have a link to hunger. A little girl about to have a birthday may have gone hungry today. But because of my $32, she won't go hungry next month. Compassion will make sure of it. If you have any way at all, I encourage you to sponsor a child.

Hunger has a face now.
I will never be the same again since I laid eyes on this little girl.

Suddenly my passion for a country has become compassion, "suffering with" a little girl named Estefi. I may not change the world's hunger problem, but I will change Estefi's world.


Katie Mohr said...

uh oh. This is how it starts...

Pete said...

You were thinking about this the whole time, and not one word...