We could do a daily run of giveaways during Home for the Holidays, but instead we wanted to pepper our week by telling you about some organizations doing remarkable things.
I met Maann on another hot, sweaty day near the equator in the Philippines (her house is shown above). Our group of bloggers had been visiting families and communities impacted by Compassion all week, and the stories were, as you might imagine, heart-poundingly emotional.
Here’s how we’d spend our days: We’d leave the hotel soon after breakfast, and ride on bumpy roads via a chandelier bedecked bus, sometimes for an hour or two. Our mornings were spent at one of many development centers, where Compassion was working in a community. We’d have lunch with those volunteers, spend the afternoons visiting families with sponsored children, return to the hotel for a shower and dinner, and get to clacking on our keyboards long into the night. Rinse and repeat.
We were exhausted.
So by day four, we met Maann and some of her friends, and for me, that’s when it all turned around for me in the Philippines.
They grow up, and their lives are forever changed
Maann was 19. Sponsored through Compassion since she was 6, she was now an articulate, peace-filled university student who was in leadership training. Together with her friends, she was leading weekly meetings at a Child Development Center. Her heart was happy. So happy. Filled with hope.
With her three other girlfriends, they pooled their money and sponsored a child. They. Former Compassion sponsored children, now sponsoring children.
It was awesome.
See, the reason that day changed me was because it gave me hope. The previous days were mightily impacting, but seeing six-year-old after six-year-old sleeping on cardboard was getting hard on my heart.
Maann was tangible, living proof that sponsoring a kid works. Now I’m not saying it’s a guarantee that being sponsored throughout childhood results in a well-adjusted adulthood, but I kept hearing stories that it happened. And here was this 19-year-old, showing me in the flesh what Denise, the child I sponsor, might one day become.
Here’s a video taken from my friend and Philippines roomie Kat. On this day, she visited Emily, another child sponsored by Compassion. Emily lives on the water and eats a regular diet of leaf soup.
How you can help this Christmas
1. Give a gift from Compassion’s Christmas catalog
You can give a simple gift of a blanket, chickens, seeds, a cow, or more for Compassion-assisted children and their families. After you make your selection, you can have a card sent to the person you’re honoring through this gift. This is the Christmas present we give to my in-laws each year. $10 will buy a mosquito net. $100 will provide a skilled attendant at a homebirth.
2. Give a Christmas gift to a Compassion child
For $15, you can give one of the 1.2 million Compassion-assisted children a Christmas gift this year. 100 percent of your donation goes towards the gift.
3. Start sponsoring a child
We’ve had a ball sponsoring Denise—Tate and I each write her monthly letters, and it’s a highlight to get a letter back from her. For 38 bucks a month, Tate gets to grow up with another six-year-old girl on the other side of the world. In a few years, we hope to sponsor boys the same age as our boys, too.
It’s hard to know who’s really receiving the gift when you sponsor a child.
There’s a reason behind living simply—it’s so we can help others simply live. Very few people on my Christmas list actually need anything, yet so many around the world need so much. If we all gave just a little, the burden would lighten.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” -Mother Teresa