Monthly Archives: March 2014

When a child shows up in your mailbox….

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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.

ImageI 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.

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#loveyourselfie (and the selfies around you)

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A few weeks ago, the TODAY show did a week-long series called #loveyourselfie. The promos…left me skeptical–do we really need more selfies floating around social media? When I watched, the series focused on being comfortable in ones own skin, an important, but often discussed, topic. (See some articles and clips here.)

The one installment I was able to watch one morning before work left me thinking, though. In the spot I saw, the anchors shared something they struggled with when they were growing up. Weight. Height. Hair. Skin. Teeth. Common, easy-to-relate-to topics.

I watched them, and I heard my friends in their comments. And I thought of my friends who have made comments about themselves that leave me shaking my head, thinking, “Why can’t you see that people don’t notice that?” Those who matter don’t notice if your hair doesn’t look like you thought it would. They don’t notice the wrinkle in your shirt. The crooked tooth. Extra weight.

They see you. You are beautiful.

I can honestly say that I don’t have a single friend that I can’t see beauty within. They’ll tell you you aren’t beautiful. They’ll fuss and protest. But I look at them and see a beautiful smile. Sparkling eyes. Luxurious hair. They’re gorgeous! All of them! (Guys, you’re beautiful too.) I am convinced that they’re all lovely.

But I look in the mirror in the morning, and I see faults.

A couple months ago, a customer smiled at me and said, “You should be a hand model!” And I blushed and laughed and thanked her. I’d never thought my hands were pretty. I always thought my fingers were stumpy, and that day, my nail polish was chipped. But I was touched by the compliment.

It also made me think. It’s easy to compliment someone’s top, nail polish, necklace. Any compliment is going to bring a smile to someone’s face, but can my words make a difference if I focused in on people, not just their clothes?

Is it stronger when I say, “You have a beautiful smile,” rather than, “I love your bracelet!”

Will a compliment mean more when I tell a friend, “I appreciate how thoughtful you have been,” rather than, “Cute dress!”

There’s nothing wrong with appreciating a fun sweater or bright nails, but the comments I remember are the ones that are about me, not my clothes.

So I’m making a conscious effort to focus on the beautiful in those around me and tell them so.

Because y’all are beautiful. Seriously.

xo, Breanne

In the comments, share a compliment you never forgot! And join with me in an effort to tell someone they’re beautiful (and be specific!).