Saturday, January 15, 2011


This is Digina Raphael:

Isn't she so beautiful? She's 17 and lives in Tanzania. She likes sewing and art. She lives in poverty.
I can't imagine the hardships she endures every day.

We are sponsoring her through Compassion International and my heart could not be lighter.
I am hoping our sponsorship lessens her hardships.

When I was searching for a child to sponsor, I had no idea what I was looking for. I was just hoping God would lead me. So many of the children's faces called out to me. So many of their circumstances or interests tugged at my heart. But Digina's face would not leave me. Every time I looked at her, I just knew I wanted to know her better. I knew I wanted to help her.

I left the computer for a bit. I needed to put the twins down for a nap. Then I exercised for 30 minutes. Then I went back and refreshed the Compassion International webpage. I was going to bring up Digina's profile and show Jeff. With so many children in need on my heart, I needed to make sure Jeff and I were on the same page, and make the final decision to sponsor her.

But the webpage reloaded and Digina was gone! It said she had been sponsored by someone else. (When a person views a child, that child is reserved to them for 50 minutes, after which time, the session times out and others are again allowed to view that particular profile. My session had timed out, Digina's profile had been available to other people searching, and she had been chosen). I actually cried out an audible, shocked "ah!" I had such an unexplainable, intense feeling of loss. How strange, I know, to feel that just from a picture of a stranger, but there it was. And then I started to cry. I knew it was good that she had been sponsored and all that mattered was that she would get the love and support she needed. But I realized in that moment how much I had already sponsored her in my heart. I realized I had already composed my first letter to her in my head.

All in all, I was "highly emotional" as Jeff put it. And boy was he was right. Looking at those children's faces for the last two days, and reading about their circumstances, while my own children ran around playing in this enormous house, so carefree, never once wondering when or where the next meal would come, never once questioning whether they are safe from disease or prostitution or drugs, had brought me to tears more than once.  I was pretty much crying all afternoon.

After a few moments, I was renewed in strength and sat down to look through the children again. Jeff and I saw the sweetest, most loveable children, all so valuable and good in the eyes of Christ. It's horrible to sift through them, trying to find a connection, a common birthdate, a look in their eyes, as if they weren't all 100% deserving of our help. But how does one choose? Horrible. But we had narrowed our search and were contemplating when I, on a whim, searched with Digina's age range criteria once more.
And up popped Digina's sweet, sweet smiling face! Someone must have either have started the sponsorship process with her and then backed out, or had been viewing her profile which had made it appear that she was no longer available for sponsorship. I, of course, began to cry immediately. Highly emotional, I tell you.

The twins are now potty trained, so what normally would have gone towards diapers will now go towards sponsoring Digina. That won't cover all of it, so I've decided to stop getting my hair professionally colored and that will fund the sponsorship completely. Oh, how utterly blessed (spoiled?) we are! To know that I'm trading hair color so a perfectly adorable girl like Digina can have breakfast, a bible, medical care... It almost makes me sick to my stomach. (Trying not to cry again). Mother Theresa said it best: "It's the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."

I am so blessed to be able to do this. If you are blessed too, pray about whether or not you should go to and sponsor a child.

James 2:15-17 Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Proverbs 31:8-9 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Matthew 25:40 The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
1 John 3:17-18 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.


Amy said...

Our sponsor children are Jaikumar (age 4) from India and Patryca (age 9) from Indonesia. It is so exciting when we get letters from them!! I have their pictures framed and sitting in our living room!

McVal said...

That's so sad you lost the one you had your heart set on. God led you to another tho. sweet!

Lisa said...

sooo wonderful what you are doing!!!

Christina said...

We sponsor through World Vision...every year I say to myself,"This year we'll be better about writing more than the letters they send us to send back," but we never get there. Your words are quite inspiring. Going back to Scripture is like that, huh? I love hearing your story, and look forward to future installations! :)