Several weeks ago, I went through a training session to become a Child Advocate with Compassion International. According to Compassion’s website, a Child Advocate is “one that pleads the cause of another, specifically at Compassion, one that pleads the cause of children in need around the world” (source). I spent some time on the phone with a sweet woman, and we chatted about Compassion’s mission and methods, some history of the organization, the resources I have available to me, and opportunities I have to volunteer with the organization. A few days later, I received an advocate welcome package in the mail that contained brochures, pamphlets, a newsletter, and how-to information to further equip me to encourage people toward (and in) child sponsorship.
But I was most excited about the child packet. This is Juma.
I have the opportunity to advocate on Juma’s behalf. I could list facts, but facts are dry. As I’ve been praying about Juma and for his future sponsor, I thought about what drew me to sponsorship. When I encountered the little girl sponsored by my church, I realized this was a real child. While I knew that, did I really know before? Before, she was a picture. All the kids on the site were merely pictures to me. But then we had relationship.
I thought how much easier it would be to find a sponsor for Juma if he were here beside me. If we could see his bright smile that I know is somewhere behind the squinty eyes we see from his bright picture day expression.
Imagine a conversation with him as he tells you of his single mother, of his household responsibility of taking care of his sibling. Then, as little boys do, he’d get distracted and go running into the backyard to play soccer with your kids. He loves soccer. And hide-and-seek.
How would he react if he came to church with us? He’d share with us how his church is, perhaps different, but we’re all worshiping our same Father God. What about when he joined in the fun of my children’s church class, perfect, as he is in kindergarten like some of my students. I know my students would enjoy having a new friend.
Maybe we’d celebrate his birthday early, as his birthday isn’t until August 21, just a few days before mine! But any excuse for a party now.
Most adults in his community are unemployed, but Juma’s mother sometimes finds work as a laborer, which would earn her an equivalent of $18 a month.
I wish Juma could be here for you to meet, but if his story has touched you, contact me about sponsoring him and beginning a conversation through letters.
Poverty tells a child, “You have no worth.” Be the hands of Jesus and pour Truth into Juma’s heart. Tell him, “You are beloved. You are special. You have what it takes, and Jesus will never leave you.”
If you’re interested in sponsoring Juma, leave a comment or email me at truthnsprinkles(at)gmail(dot)com. I have his packet until March 28th. If you want to help but can’t manage a child sponsorship, share this post and his story. Here are some other children available from the same project as Juma.