I didn’t plan to sponsor a boy.
I’m an eighteen year old girl. My house is mostly girls, with a ratio of 6:2. I curl my hair and love my dresses and books and stillness and I want to be a wife and mommy and holding babies is about the best thing ever. I don’t really know how to “do” boys. I knew going into sponsorship that letter writing would be mandatory for me; I’ve read too much about the delight children take in their letters (and the disappointment in an empty mailbox) to only give the money, and not my time and words. How could I write letters to a boy? be encouraging to a boy? love and support a boy?
Not for me. Leave the boys to people who know boys. I’ll sign up for a girl, thank you very much.
Every year, I follow the Compassion bloggers as they fly across the world and see the work Compassion is doing up close. They visit the centers and attend church and meet their sponsored kids and see homes the size of our pantry. They see the poverty and the struggle. They see the light and the hope infused into the Compassion kids from a thriving relationship with Jesus. They see the difference sponsorship makes in the life of a child firsthand.
And then they go back to their hotel and write about it. I read each post and it burns me up.
Kids are my holy fire. Everyone has a passion, something that riles them up and the older I get, the more riled up I get about kids. Mistreated kids. Kids in poverty. Kids in need of safety, physical safety, emotional safety, and most of all, spiritual safety. I want every child to grow up with their basic needs taken care of. I want them fed and clothed and warm and safe and loved.
I want every child to know love.
The love of a family.
The love of a church.
The love of God.
This is my fire.
I kept the list of waiting children up in a computer tab while the recent Compassion group was in Ecuador, refreshing it every so often, loving to see the number go down and thinking about how so many children’s lives would be changed. Someone wrote about seeing a child’s face when he got to the learning center and seeing his name on the sponsored list. Joy. I want to be a bearer of such joy.
When you open the list of waiting children, it defaults to being sorted youngest to oldest. There are adorable one year olds on that first page. Trust me, my heart melted like most people’s do. But I sorted by longest waiting, and that tore up my heart too. Some of those children have been waiting for 367 days, over a year, for someone to pick their name from a list and say “I believe in you. I support you. I love you.” That fact alone got me going.
But they were all boys.
Over the next few days, I would refresh and scroll through a few pages and every time, my heart would pound with injustice. Boys. Boys. All between the ages of 6-10. Waiting, waiting, waiting.
They might not be “cute” like the little kids. They might not be sweet and easier to write like the girls. (Please note: the gift of being sponsored from such a early age is an incredible blessing! And I love the work Compassion is doing with girls, teaching them and protecting them and enabling them to work good jobs and care for their families. I don’t want to bypass that work at all, and if you sponsor young children and girls [my family does too!], you are doing the Lord’s work and loving them well and I’m so grateful for you!) But boys need sponsors too! It’s such an important age (isn’t every age?) for a boy, an age where he can understand that he is valued and loved, where dreams take root and the faith of a child is established and the direction of life is formed.
At the time of this writing, there are 558 girls waiting to be sponsored. There are 1156 boys.
I’m not the “prime candidate” for sponsorship. I’m a college student, whose main source of income disappeared with the start of the new year. I’m in the stage of life where things change really fast, and my life will probably look vastly different a year and a half from now. I hesitated, knowing that unpredictable times and unpredictable income doesn’t really make $38 a month look “smart.” But that’s what the world says. Jesus says, “trust Me with your everything.”
I scrolled. There was one sweet little face I kept coming back too, and when I clicked his name and asked God, He told me yes. A few minutes later, Karlos was mine, the first of the sponsored children I plan to have over the course of my life.
It’s not about me. It’s about Him.
So here I am, sitting at my kitchen counter, my laptop, my tea, printing pictures and writing my first letter to my sweet little boy in Columbia. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I know this. Boys need sponsors too. They need people pouring into their lives and being the hands and feet of Christ to the world. So 6 year old little Karlos for me. I might not know boys well, but I know Jesus. He loves him. And so will I.
Boys need sponsors too.