My husband and I have two kids, ages five and two. We often have discussed whether or not we were done expanding our family. My husband felt like he was done, but sometimes I miss having a baby in my arms. It started as a joke, but my husband has said, “If you have a surplus of love, why not give it to a sponsored child who needs it?” So we have seen sponsoring children as one way to grow our family.
I didn’t always see sponsoring children as a ministry.
Over the last five years, we have been examining the Scriptures to really find out what Jesus calls us to. For so long, we thought we could live the North American dream while being Christian. But when examining Scripture, we realized we can’t serve two masters. If we’re devoted to serving Christ, everything has to reflect that.
My husband and I felt called to go on a trip with Compassion to the Dominican Republic in January, 2016, to see how we could be missional as a family. At first, I wasn’t sure about going on the trip. I wondered if I was being neglectful, leaving my own two young children. I had a lot of mommy guilt. But we prayed about it and felt convicted that we should go.
The trip was monumental for us in triggering changes to how we serve. During the trip, I was an emotional wreck. We would go into these homes where they literally had nothing and their homes were falling apart. I had wrestled with living simply, but on this trip, God really changed my heart. I was able to get a glimpse of how God feels for these kids and families. The sacrifices we’re called to make, whether time or money, pale in comparison with the love God has for these kids.
It started as a joke when my husband said, “If you have a surplus of love, sponsor children,” but by the end of the trip I realized, “Why haven’t I been investing in these kids earlier?” They are just like my own. They want to have fun, to play and to be loved.
One of our sponsored children in the Dominican Republic comes from a broken family. His mom left him and his dad comes in and out of his life. At the end of our day together, we were taking pictures and he had me in a chokehold. He was just kissing and kissing and kissing me and wouldn’t let go. I think he’s just so void of that maternal love he craves. To this day, that memory breaks my heart.
When we came home, we asked ourselves what does life look like now that we have this knowledge? My husband serves quite a bit at church, but the reality of having young kids is that if he is serving, I’m at home with the kids. It has been really challenging to figure out how I fit in. One of the beautiful things I realized from this trip is that Compassion is a ministry.
I used to think that giving finances was just fine, but on our trip we recognized the importance and lasting impact of writing, praying and investing in the relationships with our sponsored children. Now we write letters together and establish that our sponsored children are part of our family.
After evaluating what our family goals are, we realized that this is such a worthwhile ministry and I felt convicted to begin volunteering. This was an answer to prayer because I haven’t been serving for years. At first, I was scared to step out and meet new people volunteering at events. But it’s been really awesome, and my husband has stepped up in manning the house while I volunteer. It’s been great for our marriage and our family is looking at how we can serve together in the future.
As sponsors, we need to recognize that we have an ability to do so much. It’s one of the beautiful things about how the body of Christ works. Though we’re not there as the hands and feet of the ministry, we can play such an important role. As moms, we can fall in a rut of doing the day-in and day-out duties, but God wants us to impact our communities and families. There are opportunities all around us if we pray and ask God to show us. We have so many opportunities to follow God if we just ask.
By Candice Chan, Compassion sponsor and volunteer