Little arms wrapped around my waist as I heard the words, “This is Valerie.”
I looked down to see the cutest 5 year old girl with the fluffiest ponytail I’ve ever seen. Although she seemed nervous she had the biggest smile all over her face!
This was a special moment I will will never forget. I was meeting my brand new sponsor child in the Dominican Republic through Compassion International named Valerie. We spent the next few hours learning about each other through a translator and playing games until we were both laughing together.
Valerie is typically taken care of by her grandmother,Lucille, because her father was injured working and is trying to recover while Valerie’s mother works 7 days a week at a drug store to try to make ends meet. With three children in the family, Lucille revealed the honest truth that they do not always have enough food. When I asked what happens on those days she said that they have very kind neighbors who will try to share when their food runs out. She said this community tries to take care of each other but we all struggle.
I was surprised when I asked what Valerie’s favorite Bible story was that she learned at her Compassion project. She quickly exclaimed, “When Jesus fed the 5,000 people!”
I don’t know about you, but that story is never the first one I think of when it comes to Bible stories. It doesn’t even make the top 10, especially when we have stories like Daniel and the Lion’s Den, David and Goliath, and Noah and the ark!
“Why is THAT your favorite?” I asked.
She quickly answered “Because so many people were fed!”
It wasn’t until later that this clicked for me. ( I know, I’m slow sometimes!)
As a child who has probably gone hungry before and watched her parents beg for food from neighbors, how incredible to serve a God who can multiply food out of thin air.
As I started asking Lucille,the grandmother, about God I quickly learned that the family are not Christians but they have started attending church where the Compassion project is located. Now little Valerie is coming home and telling them all about what she learns about God at the Compassion project and quoting the scriptures she learns.
Now they are more open to hearing about God than ever because Compassion International is meeting their needs in Jesus name! How crazy that I get to be a part of it?! It’s an honor to get to sponsor Valerie; to love her and tell her how God made her beautiful inside and out. I so look forward to writing her letters and investing in her life. Children like Valerie need to know that they were created for a purpose and their poverty does not define them.
I hope that the cycle of poverty in Valerie’s family ends with her. I hope that one day she will never have to look at her children and say, “there is no food.” I want a better life for her and so I invest a little over a dollar a day to change not only her life, but also the lives of her family.
It’s worth every penny to be a sponsor because Valerie is worth it.
There is no guess work on how we should treat “the least of these.” The Bible is clear that whatever you do for them you do for the Lord. I am living out my faith and loving God well by being a sponsor with Compassion and taking care of Valerie’s needs like food and education. I also know that I get to fulfill the great commission of spreading the gospel by sharing my own faith with Valerie and her family through letters.