Teens in Action: Lizzie for Compassion

AngelMany thanks to Lizzie for writing this delightful guest post.

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I have heard “orphan” defined as a child who has lost one or both parents by death or abandonment.  Angel (name changed for privacy) is a young boy living in Indonesia.  He is an orphan, whose father abandoned him, his mom, and his little sister.  Angel’s heart hurts.  The pain of his father leaving has left his heart scarred.  He has had to grow up and be the “man” of the family and age seven.  His mom works hard, yet she cannot make enough money to survive.  Sometimes, she does not have enough money to pay rent.  Hopelessness weighs down on her, but her spirit is not crushed.  She trusts in Jesus.

She reminds Angel that “Daddy Jesus” will always love him and be with him.  She is an active member of her local church and encourages her children to read the Bible.  Her life is not easy, far from it!  She has to search for work and make tough decisions.  A few months ago, she decided to move to a different town in hopes that she would find a better job there.  Sometimes, I imagine, she cries out to God and wonders why her husband left, why she can’t pay rent, why she works so hard for so little return.  Yet, she tries to be strong for her children and trust God’s plan and timing.

Angel respects his mom and even admires her.  He loves her and wants her to be happy.  Angel is also a Compassion sponsored child.  His local church partners with Compassion to help meet his physical needs (through medical check-ups and education), socioemotional needs, and spiritual needs.  In fact, through Compassion and his local church, he not only participates in Bible studies, but also receives character education.  Angel is learning to be a man of God even though he is young.  He is being encouraged to not run away from difficult situations and to look to Jesus for strength in those times.

Angel writes me letter because I am his correspondent sponsor through Compassion (someone sponsors him financially and asked Compassion to find someone else to write him, which ended up being me.).  He tells me about his struggles, joys, hopes, and dreams.  I write him letters, too, and encourage him that his Heavenly Father will never leave him.  Although I am just a teen, I am able to encourage an orphan.

Venu
As others have said, we are too young to adopt or foster a child.  But each of us can do something.  Maybe you can encourage an orphan through letter writing or even sponsor a child through Compassion…..like Venu.  Venu will be five years old in five days on May 16.  Because his parents died, he lives with his grandparents.  They work as day laborers when work is available.  But, their income is not steady, and they often do not have enough money to meet their needs.  Compassion partners with a local church in Venu’s community in Bangalore, India, to provide him with a safe place to play, learn, and grow.  I do not know Venu’s story.  You can learn his story, will you?

Sponsoring Venu is a $38 a month commitment, which is just over $1 a day.  If you would be interested in sponsor Venu or getting to know more about him, please e-mail me at lizzie4compassion@gmail.com  Or, to see other orphans in need of a sponsor through Compassion, please visit compassion.com/sponsor_a_child/child-search-results.htm?cboOrphan=Yes

Being a correspondent sponsor is a commitment to write to the child at least three times a year.  To request a correspondent child, go to compassion.com and contact them via phone or e-mail.  Be sure to be specific in your request if you would like to write to an orphan; otherwise, you will be assigned a random child.

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Get Involved: Be A Correspondence Sponsor

Compassion InternationalEarlier this week on the TIO Goodreads group, a reader mentioned the possibility of corresponding with a sponsored child via Compassion International. Here’s what she said.

Do any of you sponsor with Compassion at all? I’ve been a sponsor with them for about 9 years, and I know that a lot of people don’t realize that in addition to financially sponsoring kids, they also have a program for individuals to simply write to kids whose financial sponsors are not able to write for whatever reason. (For example, often companies will sponsor loads of children, but can’t commit to writing.) It’s called being a “correspondent sponsor”. In addition to writing letters, you do have the option of sending money for birthday/Christmas/family gifts, as well. I thought some of you may be interested in it, and thought I’d throw it out there just in case you haven’t heard of it before. It’s not something they advertise. –Rachel

Compassion Letter WritingI’ve heard of this before and always thought it would be something TIO readers would love to learn about. Rachel’s comment gave me the little push I needed to contact Compassion and learn more. If any of you are interested in writing to a sponsored child, here’s what Compassion said.

Thank you for contacting Compassion with this wonderful opportunity and for your heart for children in need. I have provided a lot of information below, hoping that some of it may be useful to you.

 We do offer the opportunity to correspond with a child in our program when his or her sponsor is unable to write. If you become a correspondent, you will receive a welcome packet with the child’s photo and biography and the child will write you about 2 letters a year. You will want to send words of love and encouragement. The requirement would be to write the child we assign you a minimum of three to four times a year, and you may write as often as you’d like.

Sound like something you might be interested in? While the focus of Compassion’s Child Sponsorship program is not orphan care, ministries like this play an important role in preventing children from becoming orphans in the first place. If you’d like to participate in Compassion’s ministry, here’s how you get started!

If you’d like to be a correspondent to encourage a child, just reply by email to ciinfo@us.ci.org or call us with your name, address, telephone and email address. There may be children available now, or you may need to wait for 2-3 months before you receive your child’s packet. You may also contact us at 800-336-7676.  We are available to serve you MondayFriday, 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, Mountain Time. Thank you for wanting to be an encouragement to a child in need!

I’m excited to see if any of you decide to give this a try! This opportunity is perfect for teens who want to sponsor a child but can’t afford it. If you go ahead and start the process, here are the guidelines Compassion sent about corresponding with sponsored children.

Share with your child information about your family, children, siblings, grandchildren, parents and especially pets. Tell them some fun stories about your life, like getting surprised by a big wave when you were swimming in the ocean. Hobbies are also fun to write about and you can send pictures of what you are working on. Let your child know about your likes and dislikes in almost any area – weather, your city/state, favorite food, your favorite bible verse or something special about God.

 The important thing is to write often. Short, frequent notes, cards and web letters are best. Sometimes when sponsors first begin writing they feel they need to write long and newsy letters. However, we’ve learned that it is the “personal touch” of a letter that counts and not its length. It is the frequency of the correspondence that tells your child that you care – far better than any words you can write.

 You cannot sent toys or clothing, but here is a list of items you may send:

  * Postcards

 * Bookmarks

* Small writing tablets

* Cartoon band aids. The children will wear them even if they do not have a cut.

* Stickers (they will stick them on anything and anybody)

* Sports trading cards

* Construction paper

* Wrapping paper (folded to 8.5 x 11)

* Gift Bags (please cut off the handles)

* Calendars (no spiral binding)

* Magazine pages

* Small posters (folded to 8.5″x 11″)

* Cancelled stamps

* Pages from coloring books

* Music/singing or recordable greeting cards

 Especially valued by the children are photographs of their sponsors and their sponsor’s family, including pets! Children can never get enough pictures and will continually ask for more. It’s best to avoid pictures that may reflect a higher lifestyle, so focus on fun outside pictures of your family outings. If you are writing your letter online, it’s very easy to upload your photos and add them to your web letter. The letter writing wizard tool will walk you through the steps. 

I’d love to hear what you all think of this? Do you find it to be an exciting opportunity? Do you have any questions about it?