Last night Eric and I attended the Christmas eve service of two of our students. More on that later (it was amazing!) Before the service, while we were sitting in the pew my student's mom chose for us (third from the front), two other girls, sisters, moved to the pew behind us to talk with us.
The older sister introduced herself and said she was studying Chinese in university. Then she introduced her younger sister, saying she's in high school and has a sponsor, Mrs (German name) from Germany. She went on to explain that there are four girls in her family (which is large for Vietnam) and just their mother (dad no longer in the picture, don't know why). Her mom was sitting beside them and is somewhat disabled. She can see, but only has one eye.
I about fell off the pew when in her very initial introductions of her sister she told me that her sister had a sponsor. I have been sponsoring children through compassion for the last seven years and at this point have two girls, Angeline and Tidde. While we were growing up we had five Compassion kids: Alice, Thomas, Laxmi, Sini Joy and Dadeline (and if you asked any of my siblings the names of our Compassion kids they would all know as we pr*yed for them all the time). I think Dad and Shirley are still sponsoring a couple that haven't graduated out of the program yet. I've even volunteered for Compassion. And yet, while I would say I'm very familiar with Compassion and the work they do, I never REALLY saw it from the perspective of a sponsored child until last night.
I guess I felt it was somewhat of a private thing for the child, or maybe even an embarrassing thing, to have a sponsor. But last night, when the older sister said it with joy and even pride, those thoughts disappeared. It's a really big deal to have a sponsor.
I'm going to post this and then write a letter to each of my sponsored girls.