"Statistics never bleed. It is people who bleed." // Jayakumar Christian #isumsummit2014
— Craig Greenfield (@craigasauros) 28 Juin 2014
Hello from the Philippines! It has been a whirlwind and I've just been trying to take it all in through the jet lag. :)
I'm reminded of how absolutely beautiful and absolutely despairing this country is all at once - and oh how it has a story to be told and people to be loved.
I'm at least two posts behind on the blogging (let's be honest - since this post is going up several days since I wrote it, I'm way farther behind than that), but here's an attempt to catch up and somehow articulate just a miniscule part of this country's story.
Friday - one week ago today - we had the incredible opportunity to visit our newest sponsor child, John, and his family. John is from the same Compassion Child Development Centre as Jamson, who I wrote about before leaving for the Philippines, and we were able to meet him too and bring along a gift from his new sponsors! And can I just say those two are absolutely. adorable.
Let me tell you this - it really does happen like Compassion Int'l says it does. Every last bit of it. When you're tempted to err on the side of cynical, when you're tempted to believe those nasty things on the internet that people write about Compassion, when you're tempted to use skepticism as an excuse to say "NO" to a soul peering out of the window in the blue envelope, take my word for it:
It's real. It happens. It changes lives.
If you remember one thing from this post, take this: Compassion Int'l's Child Sponsorship program works and it works well.
It allows people, individuals, souls, to stop being stats and start simply being, dreaming, loving.
Probably the most valuable thing I take from visiting Compassion's field is the way it reminds me that as much as I can regurgitate stats while advocating back home - poverty isn't about stats.
Poverty is about people. Real people. Image bearers of the Most High. People created with a divine purpose.
People like you and me. They love. They dream. They wipe their feet at the door, kiss their family hello. They're proud of their kids. They cry, they get angry, they laugh, they feel deeply. They ride the heights of hope and joy and the pits of hopelessness and despair.
My favourite photo from our visit with John is this one, of him and his teacher from the Compassion CDC sitting on the floor of his home as his parents look on:
Those are the real, beautiful faces behind those enormous stats. Two parents smiling wide at their animated son.
And I refuse to think of that beautiful family as a stat.
They're part of our family and the heights of their hopes and the depths of their sorrows and the reverence of their prayers are just like ours. They are ours.
And the sorrow I currently share with that family? It's the fact that the parents of the little boy pictured with John here are nowhere to be found:
His name is Lester. John's cousin, the son of John's mother's brother. John's best friend.
And the prayer I share with them? That this great kid would find a sponsor.
I was going to ask you to sponsor this absolutely awesome kid. He's shy, thoughtful and cute, and just looking for some hope.
Turns out, he was sponsored just a couple weeks before we left - not yet enough time for word to reach him.
And I can just imagine the joy that will be felt when he hears. :)
However, I am still going to ask you to sponsor a child. Because there are so many kids, with dreams and sorrows and hopes and joys and pain. And they need someone to believe in them. To love them. To tell them that they are loved infinitely by their Creator.
Sponsoring a child with Compassion gives children access to education, healthcare, nutrition and puts them in an environment where they are nurtured with the love of Christ and championed as more than just a stat.
Because as we spent the day with John, Jamson and Lester, as we played tag, gave gifts, took pictures, ate ice cream and took them on their first escalator ride, one thing was absolutely sure, amongst the turmoil of their unstable worlds -
The adorable faces I looked into, the tiny hands I held, the energetic boys I laughed with - they are not stats.
Waiting to be changed by someone like you.
Sponsor a child from the Philippines