From Transactional to Transformational

October 24, 2014

2014 FewstersLast month a group of nine New Lifer’s packed their bags to visit a church we helped start in South America and to meet children we sponsor through Compassion International. The trip was more than we could have ever imagined.

You may notice that we are no longer listing the name of the village or country where we have partnered. Unfortunately, it has come to our attention that there are many unscrupulous people on the internet (who knew?) who would use this information to scam child sponsors or intimidate children and/or their family into turning over any assistance that is provided to them. So for the safety of our sponsored children, we have agreed to simply say South America. We also recommend any of you who are sponsoring children to not post on social media the name or location of any children you are sponsoring, and to not respond to any requests you may receive that do not come directly from Compassion International. Take that baddies 😉

Okay, now that the disclaimer is over let me share just one thing: WRITE YOUR KIDS! That about covers what we learned over and over while there. Everyone from the kids themselves to the project staff; from our tour guides to the Country Director asked us to write our kids. That’s right, we got 2014 Staffto meet with the man who leads all of Compassion’s actives for the entire country. I asked him what one message would he want me to share with all of you. His answer without hesitation was that he wants you to move “from a transactional relationship with your children to a transformational relationship.”

Transactional to transformational? What he meant is that all child sponsors start out simply sending their monthly check to Compassion to provide for the needs of the child. It’s simply a financial transaction for most sponsors. What he would like to see instead is for you to develop your relationship with the child to transform them. His belief is that if you write letters to your child using the bullet points below, their life and eternity, will be forever transformed. Is that an overstatement? After speaking with several of the children and hearing stories of other children throughout the country, it isn’t. You have that power. You have the ability to change their story, to change their future, both here on earth and in heaven. That’s pretty cool.

2014 Home VisitSo what do you say? It’s simple. Tell them they are valued and God loves them. That’s it. For example:

  • “I want to encourage you to stay in school. I know it is hard sometimes but if you stick with it you can become whatever you want.”
  • “God has put a dream in you. Pursue it. Work hard and you can achieve it.”
  • “God loves you. That’s why I sponsor you so you can be part of the Compassion program.”
  • “Did you know Jesus loves you? He does. In fact, He died so you can have a relationship with him.”
  • “I pray for you and your family because I know God has a plan for you.” (And then do it!)
  • “I am so glad I get to sponsor you and help you get the education and other support you need to be able to get a good job in the future.”

2014 Meeting KidsNow I know that some of you are going to respond to these messages the same way I did the first time. We all know that no matter how hard some of our children work they are not going to play for the NFL. No matter how hard they work they probably won’t become the President of the United States. The challenge for these kids is they have no hope. They can’t see a future beyond doing what their mom’s and/or dad’s do, which in this village is very little. They assume the best they can hope for is to clear fields for $4/day the few days a week they can get work.

The truth is that they can do more. They can finish their education. They can get a job as a policeman, or in a store, or driving a taxi, or any number of other things they can only dream about. They have opportunities that the believe are way beyond their grasp but that aren’t. They can do so much more. They simply need the encouragement, to work hard, and to look to God for their strength.

The boy I sponsor wants to be a police officer. Left on his own he is unlikely to achieve that goal. But story after story that we heard and after a number of conversations with the kids we learned a few words on a piece of paper each month can make all the difference. They can tap into their hope. They can keep going when the going gets tough. They can change their lives for the better.

So write your child(ren). Send them a letter. Everyone on the trip committed to writing their children every month. It takes 5-10 minutes online (www.compassion.com) but is far more valuable than the check you send. Ask Beth! The child she sponsors brought every letter Beth had sent over the past two years. She kept them. They were that important to her.

2014 Fun DayOne last story. There’s a young girl who’s situation is even worse than most of the kids. The Compassion staff were heartbroken for her. They asked her how she got by, how could she possibly deal with what life was throwing her way. She took the hand of the worker, took her to her closet, sat down in the dark, pulled a flashlight out of the box and began reading letters she had received from her sponsor. It didn’t take long for the worker to realize that she wasn’t actually reading the letters. She was reciting them. This girl spent her nights memorizing her letters and the encouragement they gave her. These letters gave her hope where there was none. These letters spoke life into her. God, through her sponsor, through her letters, had given this little girl exactly what she needed. The knowledge that she is loved and not alone in this world.

Send letters. They are delivered to the project every month. Most kids receive very few letters. Many never receive one. Let’s send letters every month in order to transform the lives of these kids, the community, and ultimately the world.

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