I’m sure that most of you are aware of the horrible situation that has been ongoing in Kenya all weekend. I stay away from the news in general but Jason has been keeping me apprised of the situation. We are particularly concerned about the situation because we have recently gotten to know a young woman named Stella who is from Nairobi and was a child in Compassion’s program. She is currently living in the US for another month before she is scheduled to return to Kenya and she keeps James while Charlotte has art once a week. I wanted to share some of her story so that you can pray for her, her family and friends, her country, and the Compassion program.
Stella grew up in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya in a home about the size of an average sized bedroom in the US. She lived there with her four siblings and her parents until her father passed away when she was in elementary school. She said that her older brother would often find other places to sleep because they were so cramped and that they would roll up their bedding and put it out of the way during the day when they were awake. She said that even with their bedding moved there was so little room that they very rarely spent time inside their home.
She was accepted into the Compassion program when she was five years old and talks about what a blessing it was immediately to her and her family. I plan to describe the education process that she experienced later in the week, but to summarize, she knew that her school fee’s were all paid for through Compassion as were her uniforms and school supplies. She knew that she would receive a healthy meal every Saturday when they met at the Compassion program and that she would be taken care of medically, physically, and relationally at the program.
Compassion typically only accepts one child from each family into their program and Stella was the only one of her siblings to be in the program, but she is so thankful that she was because she says because of Compassion her whole family knows Christ. She received her first Bible from Compassion and was able to share it with her family so that now they can pray together and for each other and discuss the word of God.
Stella has also seen other ways that her entire family as benefited from her sponsorship with Compassion such as being able to share some of her food with them and receiving gifts from her sponsor at her birthday and other holiday’s. She said that Compassion would make sure that the sponsored child purchased something for themselves first with the gift and then the child usually spent the remainder of the gift on food or clothes for their family. Her younger brother has also had more opportunities in school due to her excellent academic progress that was aided by Compassion.
It is hard for me to wrap my mind around what it is like to grow up in a country like Kenya. To look at the intelligent, well rounded, caring, nice, articulate woman that Stella is and imagine her as a five year old living in a slum. But that’s where she started. With the help of one lady from Seattle, Washington, her entire family’s lives changed over the years that Stella was a sponsored child with Compassion. One sponsor, sponsoring one child, helped an entire family rise above their current conditions to thrive.
Stella has been able to meet her sponsor twice. She said that her sponsor used to write her letters and encourage her so much. Through the encouragement and Bible verses that her sponsor sent, Stella says that she felt so loved and cared for. God used Compassion and her sponsor to break her free from the jaws of hopelessness so that Stella now has hope in Jesus Christ and knows that she and her future family will no longer live in poverty!
I look at this situation in Kenya (and other countries around the world) and sometimes wonder how a stay-at-home Mom in Alabama can help. I have so little to give. And then I’m reminded of stories like Stella’s where the $38 a month that one woman saved for, struggled for, scarified for, made a huge difference in not just the sponsored child, but in the entire family.
Please join me in praying for those who are hurting in Kenya right now. We don’t know the whole story and we probably never will, but know that they need our prayers and our help. There are children all over the world who have the potential to do great things in this world, they just need a little extra help to propel them out of the poverty that surrounds them so that they can change the world.
If you’re unsure of what you can do to help, what you can do to change the world that seems so dark and hurting and terrible, start first by praying. Praying for the people who are hurting. Praying for the children who struggle to find food to eat and a place to sleep. Pray for God to show you how you could help just one of them, and by helping one of them, help so many others.
Child sponsorship is not easy. It is hard and it is a sacrifice for families across the world. But it is so worth it when you see the children you are sponsoring break free from the chains of poverty. They just need our help to get past it so that they can change the world.
Let’s start small in our goal to change the world and make it a better place. Pray and sponsor a child if you feel led. You can make a difference in this world through the life of a child.