Shelley Moore has long been a hero of ours. Here's her story of why she became a Compassion volunteer, what difference it makes and how to stay encouraged.
Why did you decide to sponsor a child?
I don’t actually know. You know those mailings where you don’t remember signing up? Compassion was one of those things. Generally they go straight in the recycling bin and yet something stuck and I decided to sponsor a child when I was on a gap year with the Message Trust. Andy Hawthorne (founder of The Message Trust) is a big supporter of Compassion and I believed that he meant what he said. He wasn’t just asking us to sponsor a child because he had to, it meant something to him.
When I got my first letter from my sponsored child I just cried. Nothing else had that kind of effect on me.
It was a realisation that this child was real. God used that photo and that letter and made it into something I hadn’t expected. It wasn’t just a nice thing to do - God used it to strengthen my faith and give me real perspective on how these children live.
Why do you volunteer your time for Compassion?
Sponsoring a child has always been quite challenging financially. I was on a gap year when I sponsored my first child even though I didn’t have an income, and I was in my first term at Bible college when I sponsored my second child. So, although I had two sponsored children I felt that I was able to do more, just not financially. What I did have was time, and with that time I wanted to volunteer with Compassion.
What difference can a Compassion volunteer make?
Volunteering for Compassion makes it personal. I love that when people chat to me at a stand, they say ‘oh yeah but you’re paid to say this’. When I tell them I am a volunteer, they listen to me in a different way. They see that because I am an outsider’s voice there must be something in it.
If I'm honest, there are times when I feel like it does make a difference and times when it doesn't feel that way. It can be discouraging if no children get sponsored. But I have learnt that even if people don’t sponsor a child, I can help them with their questions. I love to help current sponsors engage with their sponsored children. It doesn’t make sense why they wouldn’t write, so I encourage them to do so.
Shelley praying with one of her sponsored teenagers on a volunteers trip.
What impact do you want your volunteering role with Compassion to have?
I love any kind of volunteering that helps people engage with their sponsored children. That’s what I am passionate about.
When someone you know speaks, you are much more likely to listen. If the children are anything like me, stubborn or rebellious, they may not receive the truth of the gospel from a random person. But it could click for them, if they hear the gospel from their sponsor . That’s where my heart is.
There's the possibility that through volunteering you could help a sponsor bring a child to Jesus.
One of my children wrote to me in a letter about going to the dentist. Why wouldn’t they want to hear me talking about going to church? It might feel everyday and mundane but it’s not for them.
What advice would you give to another Volunteer?
It’s good to remember that there are always other things going on, there are still children getting sponsored even if I am not there to see it.