Welcome to the 31 Days of Global Missions with Kids series! Click here to check out all the posts in the series.
Would you like to form a friendship with a young person halfway around the world?
Would you like for your own children to have a first-hand connection with a child in another country?
Would you like to make a difference for a family living in poverty in another country?
A few months ago, my family visited the Compassion Experience, a touring exhibit that was visiting our community.
Though we’ve sponsored children for many years, viewing the exhibits and listening to children’s stories was eye-opening as I considered the existence of so many children around the world.
My own children experience a life filled with rich educational opportunities, safety and security, fun, and the love of adults like their parents, grandparents, and other family and friends. They’ve never worried about where their next meal was coming from or whether their basic needs would be taken care of.
It’s heart-breaking to realize this isn’t the case for many children around the world… but exciting to remember there are organizations like Compassion International that are working through local churches to “release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
At the Compassion Experience, we learned about Compassion’s community centers where children can come after school for help with homework, hygiene and health care, food, and a safe place to play. They receive training, discipleship, and mentorship.
Disclosure: I am signed up as a Compassion blogger, because I love their ministry so much. If you sign up to sponsor a child through the links on this page, then my own sponsored child will receive a small gift on my behalf. Compassion provided a copy of their Step Into My Shoes curriculum at my request so I could check it out, since it fit so perfectly with the focus of my blog and this Global Missions with Kids series. I’ll be sharing more about Step into My Shoes soon!
Reasons to Sponsor a Child
I’m going to share about Compassion International, because our family has the most experience with them. See below for some other organizations that also offer a child sponsorship program.
According to Compassion’s web site, sponsorship means a child can receive…
- the opportunity to receive an education. Though free public education is available in most countries, many times, there are additional school fees, uniforms, or the need for school supplies. Consider how many expenses your children have at the beginning of each school year! Then imagine trying to provide these while living in extreme poverty. By sponsoring a child, you can help with these fees. Sometimes children also receive tutoring, help with homework, encouragement, and possibly participation in an outside-the-classroom literacy program.
- the opportunity to be healthy. Children’s health is monitored and care is provided as needed. Children receive education and hygiene and caring for themselves. At the Compassion Experience, we saw that most community centers provide toothbrushes for each child to use at the center. Many Compassion children receive supplementary food, as needed.
- the opportunity to develop self-confidence and social skills. Children take part in a church-based program where they receive the mentorship of Christian adults who offer love, guidance, personal attention, guided recreation, and safety.
- the opportunity to hear the gospel and learn about Jesus. Children receive regular Bible training and encouragement through a local church.
Compassion’s goal is “to take a child from the brink of survival to abundant life as a disciple of Jesus Christ,” serving in the following countries:
- Africa: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo and Uganda.
- Central America and the Caribbean: the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico and Nicaragua.
- South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
- Asia: Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Compassion stewards their money well.
From the survey I conducted last month, it sounds like sponsoring a child overseas is one of the primary ways Faith Passed Down readers are involved in global missions… and that’s great! If you already sponsor a child, check out this post about writing letters to your sponsored child.
How to Sponsor a Child
Pray about it. Sponsoring a child is a commitment! I encourage you to pray and thoughtfully consider how the Lord is leading your family.
Consider your budget. Child sponsorships are usually around $40 a month. Take a look at your budget and evaluate what you can afford.
Depending on your financial situation, this may take some sacrifice – is there a way you can cut out some meals out, snacks, reduce your cable or data plan, or cut a Netflix subscription? I want to encourage you as you consider modifying your budget to make this work – way to go! (I need that encouragement myself! We are wanting to sponsor a child on behalf of our daughter, but writing this is reminding me that we’re going to need to look at our budget too!)
On the other hand, you might be in a position where you’d be able to sponsor several children, or could offer some extra assistance through your sponsorship (for example, Compassion International offers an extra $7 a month sponsorship for children affected by AIDS, and all children are able to receive an extra monetary gift twice a year).
Choose an organization.
I highly recommend Compassion International. We sponsor children through a few different organizations, and Compassion always impresses me with their good communication with us and quality ministry internationally.
They do tremendous ministry in the local communities where they work – this isn’t just some “great American saviors” swooping in, but rather local churches ministering to the children around them, with the benefit of Compassion’s resources.
Some other possibilities are:
- Corazon de Vida. I LOVE Corazon de Vida, an organization doing ministry in Tijuana, Mexico, in Baja California, just south of San Diego. I’ll be highlighting them in a few days. They don’t offer a typical letter-writing relationship, but if you are local to Southern California and your children are older (8 years and up), you can go visit one of the orphanages where Corazon de Vida works on a day trip. They are not a Christian organization, but nearly all the orphanages they serve are Christian.
- World Vision
- World Help
- Food for the Hungry
Choose a child and set up the sponsorship.
I like to pray that God would connect me to just the right child. In the past, we’ve chosen a child born on each of our birthdays. You can also look by age, country, gender, or circumstance… even by name!
Typically, you’ll want to set up a recurring credit card or bank transaction.
How to Involve Your Children in Sponsoring a Child
- Pray for your sponsored child regularly, like during your family’s mealtime or bedtime prayers. If you have several people to remember in prayer, here are some ideas for “popsicle stick prayers” or a prayer book that might help – you could choose a different person to pray for each night.
- Post your sponsored child’s photo somewhere prominent… perhaps on a map prayer garland? 🙂
- Talk about your sponsored child the way you would discuss a friend or loved one.
- Write to your sponsored child as a family. Tomorrow we’ll be talking much more about Writing to Your Sponsored Child.
- Use the new Step Into My Shoes curriculum from Compassion International. I’ll be sharing at length about Step Into My Shoes next week in our discussion on teaching poverty to kids… it is wonderful.
- Visit the Compassion Experience when it visits your area.
- Consider a trip to meet your sponsored child. Compassion does offer trips overseas to meet your sponsored children. Obviously, this would require some time and financial investment, but what a neat opportunity!
- Read through Compassion Magazine together (or other literature from your sponsorship organization).
- Together with your child, host Compassion Sunday at your church. Your child could help you set up and man a booth at your church (or another special event).