Why Sponsor a Child?

A question that I get asked in my daily life is why I sponsor a child.

So, here's the back story.

The motivation came two Springs ago when a former member of a youth group I attend on campus came to speak with us about Vision Trust International. Ashley was a several-year sponsor and had had the opportunity to meet her child several times; she had a beautiful story, actually, and she works for Vision Trust now. I thought that was amazing, but probably not possible until I was older. After all; #broke university student life. But then another girl named Taylor, who was only two years ahead of me and in the process of paying back her student loans, came up to speak. She was also a sponsor for a child and I thought - you know what? If she can do it, why can't I?

Of course, I created a relationship with Ashley and bombarded her with questions. How was it? What did the process look like? What was Vision Trust's charity track record? How much money truly went to my child? What countries were available? How often did I get to speak with my child? Was the money deficit noticeable? She was wonderful and answered all of my questions thoroughly. Most importantly, she told me to pray about it.

I spoke to my boyfriend that night and we discussed what sponsoring might look like. I felt so convicted but so uncertain if I could sponsor alone. I wasn't working at the time, and my dad was recently unemployed from his store closing. Oscar suggested that I spend some time in prayer about it. I decided to spend a few weeks praying and talking to God about the decision to sponsor. I asked Him to guide me to a country, to guide me to a child, to guide me to making a Christ-driven decision and not a reckless one. I asked Him to provide me the means to make a difference in a child's life. By June, I was still convicted. I felt that this was something that God placed on my heart and that I was being burdened (in the best way possible) to do. I informed Oscar and we made an agreement to sponsor together. He's pretty great at that - just jumping on board with my crazy decisions!

God immediately pointed me to Diogo. He was a little boy in Brazil and I fell in love. We prayed over it for a week, and we confirmed sponsorship. This past January we discovered that his mother had to relocate based on a pregnancy and job change; we weren't able to sponsor him anymore. It was devastating; when you sponsor a child, you truly feel as though they are your own. Oscar and I talked about whether or not we would sponsor a new child. It was heart-breaking to know that little Diogo would never write us a letter. Lauren, one of VT's directors, immediately contacted me about sponsoring a new child. (These organizations never do that, by the way. They always let you make a decision and don;t "push" children on you.) It seemed as though God made the decision for us.

And so, we've been sponsoring Carlos. He just turned 5 on May 14th. We've received countless letters and updates about and from him, and it truly is amazing. This is all great Elise, but why actually sponsor? I sponsor because I felt it is something that God led me to. (NOW - many of these organizations are Christian-ran. This does not mean that sponsoring is only for Christians, so please don't let that stop you from sponsoring!) Aside from feeling God called me, I just knew it was time to give back. My family was involved with DYFS for years; people went out of their way to provide for me when I had old clothing or wasn't eating much. I wanted to pay that kindness forward. Sponsoring provides the child with tools and uniforms and access to education they otherwise cannot afford; it provides clean food and water for them to gain nourishment; it provides them teachings to the Gospel, which are voluntary (the child still receives resources regardless of participation in church); and it makes an amazing difference in their lives. Knowing that somebody millions of miles away loves you, is praying for you, and will be sending you letters and small gifts makes such a difference in a child's life. So many children live in poverty and abuse and don't understand that there is more out there for them. That's why you should sponsor. You can change a life, one month at a time.

There are many organizations to sponsor through. I chose Vision Trust because of how connected I felt to them, over other organizations like Compassion. If you have any questions at all, please contact me. I love my little Carlos and I still pray for Diogo.

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