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The Power of Sponsorship

I’m embarrassed it took so long to say yes. I knew about ICCM child sponsorship for years. I trusted their leadership. I was excited about their vision. I even recommended their work to many. But, I had never said yes to sponsoring a child myself.

Part of the dilemma was choosing a child. How could I possibly select one of the beautiful faces over any of the others? Should I pick a certain gender? Would an older or younger child most benefit? How would I ever narrow down my choices to a continent, nonetheless an individual country? Unanswered questions postponed my decision. My good intentions and God’s nudges were waylaid by indecision and busyness.

Soon, I promised myself. But “soon” never came. Until it finally did. With an upcoming trip to a Creative Access Country, it was time. I knew which country, and would simply select any available, waiting child. I hoped I would actually meet my child while in the country.

Even before traveling to my sponsored child’s country, holding his bio and intake picture made God’s world smaller and more personal. Here was an individual child and family I could pray for by name. I could locate where they lived on a map. I could hang his picture on my refrigerator. A 6-year-old boy in a foreign land was now part of our family.

Once in country I did have the chance to meet him. Photographs tell the story of how his smile and laughter quickly spanned the cultural and language divide. I wondered why it had taken so long to say yes to sponsorship. I wondered how enthusiastically I could encourage others to also say yes. The retired empty nesters in my church. Our passionate youth who long to make a difference. Our children’s ministry that ministers to neighborhood children whose own difficult circumstances would find resonance with their brothers and sisters across the ocean.

One simple yes. One child across the ocean. Many lives changed. That’s the power of child sponsorship.

 

written by Pastor Kristen Bennett Marble

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