Sponsors Elizabeth and Robin Grey from Dorset sponsor 8 children in Ghana: Bright, Cecillia, Penelle, Hannah, Enoch, Naomi, Augustina and Frederick. Compassion's Ella Dickinson recently caught up with Elizabeth to find out why:
1. It started with a friend …
… from Hawaii who told us she sponsored children in South America. She showed me her files and the children’s letters. She loaned me Wess Stafford’s book, “Too Small to Ignore” and I was impressed with his vision, the honesty of the organisation and loved the fact it was Christian too.
2. The ones left behind
I basically chose to sponsor children who weren't as cute to look at as maybe other children, I didn't want them left behind. How wrong could I have been! When we met them all, they were smiling from ear to ear. We started by sponsoring 7, then decided to round it up to 8!
3. Love motivates us, prayers sustains us and them
We love telling our sponsored children that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them. I believe they know of our love for them. We visit them each year to show them that we care and that we are deeply interested in their lives. Our constant prayer for our sponsored children is that they have the desire to work hard, to succeed and be healthy.
4. We see them flourish from encouragement
I read in their letters that they are 'growing in confidence'. This is true for Hannah, she is still a little quiet, but certainly much more confident.
5. We know they are being equipped with skills for life
They are learning new skills. Enoch says that before he could only cook rice, but now he is able to make many more dishes. Bright has leadership skills and has been a prefect at school. A couple of the boys are in sports teams at school. Some of the girls are singing in the choir. They all learn about personal hygiene. The list goes on! With their extra activities with Compassion we sincerely hope they will have the edge to be able to succeed.
6. They don’t miss out on celebrating Christmas
The children usually speak of their activities at the Compassion project over the Christmas period. They say they have special food and of course Christmas gifts which they are always so grateful for. We always receive photographs of them in their new clothes which have been purchased from child gift money we've sent and we often see them wearing some of the clothes when we visit.
7. In tragedy and loss, they know that someone cares for them
Death and loss are something sponsored children living in the vulnerability of poverty face often. Penelle lost his brother David to AIDS. He was about eleven years old. Enoch lost his grandmother. She was looking after him, so he has moved in with his brother and family in another town.
Augustina lost her father two years ago. I am delighted that we were able to meet him on two occasions. We met him on our first trip with Compassion. He came along, with Augustina, to the beach where we were all gathering to meet 'this couple from far away who were sending money to help his daughter and family' - he couldn't believe someone would do such a thing. It was a special day.
8. We experience love and generosity for ourselves
When we spent the afternoon with Bright and his lovely family, they had made their humble surroundings as neat and tidy as they could, sweeping the ground around their little compound. Bright’s mother had a white table cloth ready on the table for us to place the food which we provided. Bright’s father scrambled up a palm tree and got us all a coconut which he chopped with his large knife.
It is a blessing for us to have these people in our lives.