In a world filled with uncertainties, suffering, poverty and all kinds of injustice, it starts to become difficult to find things to be thankful for. When our hearts are hurting from the brokenness we experience around us, our blessings are easily unseen—our lenses blurred. But if we clean the glass and take a second look, what might find?
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.”
-Psalm 107: 1-3
The season of Thanksgiving is an invitation to look closer so that we might see the gifts we may have passed over in the busyness of life.
Could it be that what we have in our hands today are prayers answered?
The things we once raised as prayer requests or whispered through tears as our heads hit our pillows at night?
Could it be that, even now, we are living, breathing answered prayers?
This simple truth is what Compassion children around the world continue to learn in the face of unimaginable circumstances. That every knock on their door, every basket of food delivered, every letter slipped in their palm and every invitation to be known, loved and protected is a prayer answered.
This year, as families faced a myriad of crises all while continuing to recover from the pandemic, they were able to cling to hope thanks to the steady presence of Compassion’s local church partners.
Our local church partners are intimately familiar with suffering. It’s all around them in the communities where Compassion serves—often some of the most dangerous, unreachable and impoverished communities in the world. But they also have living hope because of Jesus Christ. As a result, they’re able to respond with hope, love and compassion.
So, when we asked five Compassion children why they are thankful, their faces lit up as they began to count their blessings. Rest assured, this will make you smile today and ignite your thanksgiving, too.
“I am thankful for clean water.”
Brittany is an 8-year-old girl who lives in the Cangahua community in Ecuador. For a long time, she felt very sick with stomach aches. The water that Brittany and the other children drink comes from the mountains where animals contaminate it, and other people wash their dirty clothes.
Thankfully, the church and Compassion centre implemented a clean water distribution system where they brought in bottled water for the children to use at the centre and at home. At the church, the children now have access to purified water that is not harmful to their health.
Brittany is grateful to the church and the centre. She is now able to drink purified water that doesn’t cause her more illness. She no longer skips her school classes, and today, she is the best student in her class. The church is bringing clean water to all homes in the community.
“I am thankful for God.”
9-year-old Iarley lives with his father, mother, brother and sister on the coast of Brazil. He is thankful for God. His dream is to become a pastor when he grows up. He loves spending time thinking about God, the world and the future. He is thankful that God created the entire universe and all things that exist.
“Without God, I wouldn’t be so happy,” says Iarley. “I’m grateful to Him because He’s my friend, but He also gave me my family. When I was in the hospital due to appendicitis surgery, I prayed to God and He answered my prayers. I still have many prayers that God hasn’t responded to, but I’m still waiting.”
“I am thankful for good food.”
When the pandemic first struck and they could not work, Sheyla and her family began growing their own food. They grew vegetables in a small garden at home to have more to eat. They also bred guinea pigs to sell for a little bit of extra income. To supplement the food they were growing at home, Sheyla and her family also received food baskets from her Compassion centre.
“My mom [made] food with what the centre [brought]. My favourite food is peanut soup or squash soup. I like the milk. It’s delicious,” says Sheyla. “I like strawberry yogurt and cookies. I like rice, and my mom prepares it with an egg and a hot dog. I also like it when I make fritters with my mom. I say thank you for this help.”
“I am thankful for letters.”
As 8-year-old Anllelo and his family wait out a rainstorm in their family home in the Peruvian jungle, they reflect on the ways life has been changed by the pandemic. Though they had been through months of sadness and distress, they say they have many reasons to be thankful. One is the joy and encouragement they find in reading Anllelo’s sponsor letters.
“Reading my son’s sponsor letters encourages our family to draw closer to God and to trust Him, ” says Orieta, Anlello’s mother. “It’s a joy for us, and we feel excited.”
“I really like receiving letters from my sponsor,” says Anlello. “I’m thankful and happy when she writes me. She wished me a happy birthday in January, and I also like drawing for her. If she comes to see us, we’ll make her a yummy meal.”
“I am thankful for my farm.”
Maira is 8 years old. She lives with her parents in a rural area on the Colombian Caribbean coast. Several families in her region, including Maira’s, faced hard times because of the lack of jobs throughout the pandemic. Hoping to earn extra income, Maira’s family dreamed of growing their own food. They had a backyard at home but no resources for growing food.
Thankfully, the staff at Maira’s Compassion centre were there to help. With their support, Maira’s family was able to run their own small farm, providing a job for Maira’s father. The centre provided the family with seeds, elements for sowing and training to start their farm at home.
Today, they have fresh vegetables at home to eat and sell to earn money and provide for their needs. In addition, her father is working at home, close to his family. Now Maira’s favourite place is the home farm—and her family is grateful.
“I feel grateful to God and the centre because they have improved our quality of life,” says Maira’s mother, Enaida. “Now we grow our own vegetables. We can eat and sell cucumber, tomato, chilli, cabbage, banana, beans, green beans and eggplants. I no longer buy vegetables at the store because I go to my house’s backyard and pick them up. There are days when I don’t have money to buy meat, so I sell some vegetables, and then with the earnings, I purchase protein for my family.”
“Thanks to the centre for all its support,” says Enaida with a big smile. “Without this, it would not be possible to have our farm at home. Thank God for what the centre has given to our family and many families in our community!”