Friday, November 18, 2011

Dear Happyness...

I sit at the desk in my room, my pen and the tri-fold, “meet your sponsor”, fill-in-the blank letter for your new sponsored child sits on the table in front of me.

I think back to a few years ago, when I sat at this same desk, with the same letter outline in front of me. But that time, it wasn’t addressed to Happyness in Tanzania, it was addressed to Annu in India.

I sit there, and realize how much I’ve changed in these few years.

To Annu, I wrote excitedly, listing my favourite things, etc, not really thinking too much, just LOVING the idea of changing her world. [And that we did, for a wonderful year or so with her.]

Today it is similar. I write excitedly, thinking and praying about all the possibilities this new relationship holds. I fill in my sponsor and child numbers, my age and occupation, my family. My favourite colour and animal. But then I get to “favourite food” and I stop.

Two years ago, I wouldn’t have stopped. I didn’t stop. But today I do.

I think and my mind begins to wander.

I eat everyday. I guess my favourite food might be pizza, or shepherd's pie. Does Happyness eat everyday? If I asked her what her favourite food was, would she have one, or would ANY meal at all be a blessing in itself? Was there time for favourites in her world, or in her mere 5 years has she had to learn that she should take whatever is given to her?

My mind wanders more.

I think about myself at five. Not a care in the world. The biggest problem in my life then was trying to pronounce “hospital” correctly. At 5, I thought about Barbies and kindergarten “drama”, playgrounds and play dates, and what colour crayon to use. I did not think about my next meal, or about running errands or helping in the kitchen. Happyness’ child pack tells me she does think about these things. At 5, I lived [and still do!] with both my wonderful, loving parents. Happyness’ child pack tells me her parents are gone, and she lives with her grandmother.

I think about the leaves of salad I tossed in the trash at lunch, because there just wasn’t enough dressing on them. I’m pretty sure Happyness and her grandmother would’ve eaten it. And I’m pretty sure I should’ve eaten it.

My mind wanders beyond this one child, and I catch myself turning individuals into numbers again. Millions of children dying of preventable diseases. Millions starving and malnourished. Millions uneducated... Millions, millions, millions.

“Millions” is a lot.

I come back to the letter in front of me.

And the letter’s existence gives me hope, because it’s so much more than just a letter. It’s a symbol of a connection between me and Happyness... A connection between the first world and third world. It’s a symbol that poverty is on it’s way out... We’ve shown poverty the door, and now we’re well on our way to giving it the final boot. Poverty CAN be ended in our lifetime.

But you know, that can seem overwhelming, this “ending poverty” business.

“I can’t change the world.” You say.

And you’re partly right. You can’t.

But Jesus can, and [this is where you come in] He’ll use you.

Katie Davis says it best:

"...I have learned that I will not change the world.
Jesus will do that.
I can, however, change the world for one person”

So, so true.

So, that letter. It represents the power of one. One sponsor, one child, one letter, one relationship.

Sure, individually I may not be able to change the world in one breath, because Jesus will do that. But I can change SOMEONE’S world. And eventually, after a couple someones, then a few someones, then as many someones as possible, He WILL change the world through me. And you. I believe that with all my heart.

But today, I start by changing the world of one.

And today, that ONE is Happyness.

P.S. I'm guest blogging at Compassion Canada's Advocate Network, The Loop today! Be sure to stop by and say "HI!" :)

Will you change the world of ONE today? Please click here.


  1. Just discovered your blog. So cool that your are sponsoring a child! Love it! Have you read Fast Living: How the Church wlll End Extreme Poverty? From what I see on your blog, I think you'd really like it. the book is a part of a huge compassion project called 58: (after Isaiah 58). They have a Facebook page at
    and a website at
    I posted a link to your blog on the 58: Facebook page so that others can be inspired by your thoughts.

  2. thanks so much, keri!

    i have heard of 58: and i'm a BIG fan! i haven't read the book yet, but i've seen the documentary as we're trying to plan a screening. :)

    thanks for stopping by! :)

  3. I think about my kids like this a lot, especially my Harris in Kenya. It is always hard to put ourselves in their shoes and think about how we can relate to them when their lives are opposite from ours, but I love how you wrote that we are changing those indiviudal lives, one at a time.

    Thanks for the reminder!

  4. What a great blog! Thanks for sharing your story--it was amazing!

  5. Thanks for blogging. I know that you can make a difference. Each one of us can. It is such a blessing to be a sponsor of Compassion Children. They bless me so much. Jenny, Compassion Advocate, ONTARIO

  6. Hey again! I know you wrote this a while back but I wanted to post here.I LOVE this post and I'm sharing it on my Facebook. You are definitely changing the world for Happyness (BTW, I had a girl at my schoolwith the same name!). :)

    1. thanks, alicia! that is so cool - i just love love love her name. one of things that caught my eye & made me sponsor her. :)


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