You never know where you’re going to be when compassion sneaks up on you and wraps your heart in its warm embrace.
For me, it found me sitting in front of the TV. During the commercials, an ad for Christian Children’s Fund flashed on the screen. As always, it’s difficult seeing so many kids living in extreme poverty. Many times, I watched for a while, and then slowly turned the channel. I turned, not because I didn’t care, but because, “What possible good could an average guy like me do?”
In the spring of 2001, I called the number the next time I saw Christian Children’s Fund flash on the screen (now Child Fund International). It’s proven to be one of the best decisions of my life. Why? I got to know and sponsor Erimias.
After the sponsor package arrived, I saw he was a young boy, age eight. Seeing those bright eyes, his brave stare, I felt honored to be his sponsor.
Many letters later, so many filled with joy and accomplishments, some with filled with sadness; since my sponsorship, Erimias has lost both his parents.
He continues to be an outstanding student and is now age 19.
Six years later, my family and I were leaving a Christian concert. Near the exit, two women stood at a long table. On the table sat rows of pictures of young children with their bio’s attached. We saw Trishna’s picture right away and said to each other, “She’s the one.”
Over the years I’ve been blessed to receive encouraging letters and as you see, beautiful pictures. As of today Trishna and family are doing well.
It’s been a privilege watching these children grow and being able to contribute in improving their lives in a small way.
How was your GOOD FRIDAY? How do you like to show compassion to others? Leave your stories in the comments below. And as always – keep your head up.
However, these pictures are no laughing matter.
(Photos courtesy of Family from Afar)
One of the most effective ways to change this is to get to the root cause. And making huge shoe donations isn’t the answer.
Consider this: “After Hurricane Mitch in 1998, Honduras was flooded with shipments of donated goods. They clogged ports, overwhelmed military transport, and made it nearly impossible for relief agencies to ship in the things they really needed. Those donations did harm, not good. Expired drugs had to be carefully disposed of. Inappropriate donations had to be transported away and discarded. All of this wasted time and money. ” Nobody wants your old shoes: How not to help in Haiti.
Sometimes the donations aren’t of any real use for the area. As one one-time islander in Honduras explains about the shoes… “I lived through Hurricane Mitch on a little Island called Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras. So much devastation. The Islanders were quite confused about the container that arrived on a ship to Utila full of high heel shoes. Yes, high heel shoes, the entire container!” A Day Without Dignity.
Many times our good intentions can cause more harm than good. Donating Shoes and Other Aid Fads.
However, I know how a charitable heart works and I totally understand the urge to send shoes for these needy children. But let’s find another way to help. As one emergency relief workers states: “Donating stuff instead of money is a serious problem in emergency relief. Only the people on the ground know what’s actually necessary.”
One sure way to offer your assistance is to give to charities that get at the root cause. These impoverished families need programs that fund money to families in search of a better life through education and self-sufficiency.
For our GOOD FRIDAY, let’s help kids all over the world get new shoes. Consider donating money to a local charity or an international one like Childfund International or Compassion International. Both these charities help the child by providing their parents with means to buy goods that are local (including shoes). Come back on Friday and tell us what charity you chose to help. And as always, keep your head up.