Hello everyone. I am so excited to write about today's topic. My heart feels so full right now & I hope that many of you will experience & enjoy this feeling that Adam & I have.
Several nights ago I was looking around online at other blogs for ideas. I found myself primarily looking at the blogs of Pastor's wives. I believe that a person should align themselves with others who will encourage them to reach the goals that they have set for themselves. People that are at a level now, that we are trying to reach. In my journey to become as Christ-like as possible, I figured that Pastor's wives could be a tremendous inspiration for me. I am not saying that Adam needs to become a Pastor, even though I would support him fully if that is what he chose for himself & our family. I am simply saying that I would like to surround myself with women that will support me & keep me on the right track. Women who will not bring temptations towards me & who will protect my family. I will be honored to do the same for them.
As I was browsing around on these blogs, I noticed one thing that seemed to show up on almost every single one. Compassion. They had compassion in their posts, but it is much more than that. Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. It shocked me that I saw this same button on so many of their blogs. My curiosity got the better of me & decided to dig a little further & see what it was all about.
Before I go into what I discovered, I want to tell you a short story. This is getting really honest & I am embarrassed to admit that I was feeling this way. Just about a week ago, I was telling Adam that I couldn't understand why people in America always are sending money to help people in other locations, outside of their home. Aren't there enough people starving in our own city? Aren't there enough homeless people in our own city? I just didn't get it. Why not help here first & then help others?
After I started looking around on the Compassion website, I felt like all of those negative thoughts went straight out the window. Fortunately, we do have opportunities in our country. Not everyone makes the most of those opportunities, but they are often available. Even if a person doesn't have a job or a home, they still have freedom. That is more than I could say for many of these other countries. We have a minimum hourly wage that is what some of these families in other countries make in an entire month. Yes, you heard me right. Some of these families make $6/month. Some of them have 4-6 children that they have to feed & take care of with that $6/month. How do they do it? I will tell you how, they don't. They just don't have the means. They live in homes with dirt or cardboard floors, barely any education, & too little guidance of Christ's Word.
I have to go back to the whole $6/month thing. I can't believe it! What can you really do with $6/month? That is $1/per child, not including the adults. Now, these families aren't necessarily adding to their families & just making it worse for themselves. Many of these children are living with their grandparents because their parents gave up or died from diseases, mainly AIDS. Some of these kids are 5 years old & working. When I think about what $6 means to me, my first thought is a Venti Non-fat Mocha with whip. I am having bit of a
addiction love for this drink right now. If I am being honest, I have visited a Starbucks, Port City Java, or Cafe Del Mar every single day this week. I have spent 7 months of income for some of these families. I feel terrible & blessed all at the same time.
I started searching around on the website for a child that we could sponsor. They only needed a commitment of $38/month & I figured that we could swing that. Our money situation is not in the most desirable state right now, but we certainly make more than $6/month. How could I justify spending another $38/month? Well, the most obvious, drink less coffee. LOL I am not sure that I could give it up entirely, but 1-2 less times a week...sure. I think that if I even went from a Venti to a Grande, I would save the $38. Adam & I are trying to teach the kids about giving so I thought that maybe we could cut out ONE meal out each month. Instead of going out, we will physically put our $38 in a jar. That way the kids could feel that connection & be as excited as we are. I mean, don't we all spend money somewhere that can be cut out? Somewhere that is truly a waste, that we can't really "justify"? So now I have saved my $38. What's next?
I went back to choosing a child. How would I even "pick" someone? Is one child more deserving than another? Was I playing God by choosing on my own? I wasn't sure that I would ever make a decision. Adam was in bed so he couldn't help. I decided to wait for him to help me. The next day I told him all about what I had discovered & he could hardly contain himself. He wanted us to pick a child right away. We both decided that we would come up with a list & then if the same child showed up on both lists, that was our decision. Sound easy? No. LOL I still had those same questions. Fortunately, there is an option on the website for them to pick a child for you. This started to look like the way to go. I am not sure if it is because of Kayleigh, but we both felt strongly about sponsoring a girl. Other than that, we were stuck. You can also search for children that have been on the list the longest, by country, age, disability, birthday, & how long they have been waiting for a sponsor. I looked up Kayleigh's birthday, our anniversary, our birthday's etc. I just wasn't feeling sure. Then, I found Neema. I wrote her information down & continued to search. I was supposed to be coming up with a list & I didn't want to push her on Adam. I wanted to let him make his list.
Adam was having the same questions race through his mind that I did & he finally asked me who I had. I was hesitant to tell him but the more I thought about it, Neema was the only one that kept coming back to me. I shared this with him & he said, "Let's sponsor her!" I immediately felt a sense of joy that I hadn't felt before. I couldn't wait. I tried to go back to her page, but she was gone. How could this be? It was 12:34am, who else was online that late taking my little girl. I looked for what seemed like forever & it appeared that Neema was gone. I couldn't bring myself to choose anyone else & I went to bed. I had a dream about losing Neema last night & when I woke up, the first thing that I did was search the website one last time. Neema was back! That joy came back into my heart & I text Adam instantly. As soon as he got home I showed him her picture & shared her information. He was very excited & told me to get the ball rolling. I wanted to make sure that he was okay with me "choosing" & him not really having a part in that process. He told me that he saw how disappointed I was last night when we thought we lost her so he knew that she was the one.
Here is a picture of our newest family member - Neema Majogolo Malima. She is 5 years old & was born on 6/12/04. (about two weeks before I met Adam)
June 12, 2004
EAGT Chilenge Student Center
Personal and Family Information:
Neema lives with her grandmother. She is responsible for washing clothes and running errands. Her grandmother is sometimes employed as a farmer. There are 6 children in the family.
As part of Compassion's ministry, Neema participates in church activities and Bible class. She is also in kindergarten where her performance is average. Playing house, playing with dolls and hide-and-seek are her favorite activities.
Please remember Neema in your prayers. Your love and support will help her to receive the assistance she needs to grow and develop.
Now, I know that Neema is one child, but every single life makes a difference in this world. Saving one child really can help save the world. God created her for a purpose. Our family wants to help give her the best chance at life if possible. Isn't it more important to increase the quality of life for a child than to increase the waste in the landfill with my coffee cups? Or to increase my weight & decrease my personal health by eating out? Isn't it more important to bring Christ into Neema's life, give her an education, & give her the medicine that she needs? Honestly, after thinking about all of this, I wouldn't be able to walk into Starbucks later today without feeling completely guilty. Knowing that I could have helped & I didn't.
I hope that over this Thanksgiving holiday you will remember how blessed & thankful you are that you don't make only $6/month. That you are eating way too much food, wearing nice clothes, enjoying the friendship & love of your family & friends, driving a car (nice or not), standing on a carpeted or wooded floor, playing with your pets, & loving your kids. For many of you, you know how absolutely AMAZING it feels to have Christ in your life. Give that gift to someone else. Give them that daily joy, faith, hope, & love that is priceless.
Adam & I are jumping out of our skin today. We can't wait to be around our family & friends & to share Neema's photo with them. I am so thankful that God has blessed us to be able to help someone else in need. We are thankful for all of you & for the work that you are doing in your marriages. We are thankful for our children, our families, our friends, & our church. We owe all that we have to God. Praise God!
I want to close with a quote that I received last night that fits perfectly here today. Especially with Thanksgiving being tomorrow.
"When you feel like complaining about your life, remember that your garbage disposal probably eats better than 30% of the people in the world."
Man! Is that true or what?
Adam & I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Drive safe if you are traveling. See you back here on Monday!