It was Tuesday morning, when we left the blissful beach and drove through stomach-sickening mountain roads toward Santiago. We were a mix of fear and excitement, and hoped our expectations for this day weren’t too high.
On the drive, I thought about the inspiring women at Proverbs 31 Ministries, who long ago inspired me to pick up a sponsorship packet for a little boy who needed some help and Jesus.
Years later, here was our whole family, at the end of an amazing week in the Dominican Republic. God worked it out that we could now meet some of our Compassion kids.
After hugs and gifts and tears, the boys ran off to play ball with their Dominican brothers in a dark, cement gym. Two little girls went from I don’t know what she’s saying, to playing dolls, tossing balls, and chasing each other.
Compassion staff showed us around and helped us understand their program. The center was both humble and terribly impressive. Among classrooms for tutoring, there was a computer lab, a barber shop, and a brand-new bakery where older students learn to support themselves. Outside, they work together to tend a large garden and grow food.
By our standards, much of the place was run-down. But they make it work in such an exceptional way.
Compassion’s tagline is “Releasing Children From Poverty In Jesus’ Name”. But it is not just a tagline. It’s the theme of all they do.
“If the children leave here without loving Jesus, I feel like I’ve failed them,” the center’s Director shared with us through a translator. This was the heartbeat shared by all the Compassion staff members we met.
After getting to know the operation, fifteen of us squished into their minivan and drove 30 minutes across claustrophobic town to a very American plaza for pizza and orange soda and an afternoon of play.
People told us we could not understand how much we meant to these kids. They were right. They depend on us. It was humbling, the way they hugged and loved and clung to us.
The day exceeded our expectations. It was an absolute thrill. By the end, we felt exhausted but completely satisfied.
Then our kids, in the cab ride home said things like, “I can’t believe we got to meet them,” and “This was one of the best days of my life.” These kids, who we have accidentally spoiled, who go to Disney World and Lego Fest and too many parties, and hold these things dear, they felt the weight of this visit.
We can’t shake our meeting with our Compassion kids. It was emotional—thrilling—humbling—unforgettable—and more of a blessing than we can put into words. But let me encourage you with these:
If you are able to sponsor a child who lives in poverty—anywhere—DO IT.
And if you ever get a chance to go and meet that child—GO!!!