One sponsor, Greta Fehr, shares about growing closer to Christ after visiting the developing world.
I grew up in a Mennonite Christian home that was very legalistic. I tirelessly tried to please God and fill the void in my life by keeping all the rules. I never knew for certain if my good works would outweigh my bad. I grew up believing that Jesus was up in heaven and had nothing to do with me down here.
Then in 2009 someone recommended my sister Tina and I listen to Charles Stanley on the radio. We listened to him every evening, and for the first time in our lives, the scriptures came alive to us! We learned that we are saved by grace and not by works. We heard about the unconditional love of God and the assurance of salvation that Jesus freely offers. We discovered we could have a personal relationship with Jesus and that it is not based on what we do for Jesus but what He has already done for us.
Now Jesus has filled the void in our lives that we so tirelessly tried to fill with good works. He has given us peace, contentment, hope for the future and the assurance of salvation. We serve Jesus and others now out of love for Christ whereas before we did so out of obligation.
The first time I heard about Compassion was on the radio in 2011. I went to the website and decided to sponsor a boy from Nicaragua. Then in January, 2013, my sister and I had the opportunity to go to Nicaragua and visit the children we sponsor. We never expected to experience what we did!
The poverty we saw was something we thought didn’t exist anymore. We thought it was only something that was advertised on TV to get people to sponsor poor children. But to see it with our own eyes changed our lives forever. I vividly remember going down a narrow dirt path running with dirty water and lined by a broken-down, rusted sheet metal fence. I wasn’t quite sure where the fence ended and houses began. When I came around the corner of the house I was visiting, my heart just cracked. Seeing the condition of the house where a grandmother with her six grandchildren and two daughters lived was unimaginable, yet her faith was so strong in the Lord’s daily provision. I had never seen faith like that before. I stood in the midst of that poverty and wanted what she had. I was so aware of how selfishly I had lived all my life and was ashamed of it.
I walked away feeling that my heart had changed forever. I promised God that I would do as much as depends on me. The best way I know how to describe the way I felt is Ezekiel 36:26, which says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
That is exactly what God did for me. God changed my heart from being selfish to being selfless. From that day on, I knew God had blessed me not to hoard it for myself but to be a blessing for others. I went home and sponsored four more boys. Ever since I was a child, I always thought I would have seven boys of my own. Since it hasn’t happened in 38 years, I feel that God wants me to sponsor seven Compassion boys. My plan is to sponsor seven boys in the future and maybe some girls after that.
Now my sister and I are volunteers for Compassion, helping out at events, writing letters to children and praying daily. Visiting the developing world has grown my faith in Jesus and has helped me find a relationship with Him. The stories that I have personally seen and heard through others have helped me trust in the Lord more.
I don’t think my life would be what it is today if it weren’t for Compassion’s ministry. If you want your life to be changed, then change the life of another. Do for one what you wish to do for everyone. I truly believe it is more blessed to give than to receive. To give somebody the opportunity to hear the gospel is the best gift you can give and that is what Compassion does. Compassion truly releases children from poverty in the name of Jesus.