I've been sponsoring a Brazilian girl named Rayssa through Compassion since mid 2006, so it came as quite a shock a couple of months back when I received a letter from Compassion saying that I would no longer be able to sponsor her anymore. The letter implied that Compassion Brazil had severed ties with the church which ran the project Rayssa attended, but was rather sketchy with the reasons. All it said was that Compassion had concerns with the church for a while, and when the church failed to address these concerns, Compassion made the difficult choice to no longer partner with this fellowship. They said they were worried that my sponsorship money had not been getting to Rayssa, and I wondered whether there was theft and perhaps false teaching happening.
I totally agree with Compassion's decision, but ultimately it is not the dodgy church that suffers, it's the children. Compassion try and transfer the children to a nearby project, but unfortunately, in this case, there isn't one and so my sponsorship of Rayssa was brought to an end. I still keep thinking of her, wondering what is going to happen to her now she longer has a sponsor. Is she going to be ok? Will she still be able to escape the cycle of poverty? Will she continue to hear about the love and forgiveness found in Jesus? Ultimately I know God is a big God, more than capable of looking after His children. He graciously chose me to help Rayssa, but He doesn't need me. I'm just saddened by the end of four years of letter-writing and I hope she knows she was as much a blessing to my life as the project monitor said I was to hers.
I remember receiving a letter from Rayssa (well, from the monitor written on her behalf) containing words which have remained with me ever since. She wrote, Her family praise God for your life. Wow! I was floored. God had used my life and the money He had blessed me with to bring good to someone else. Money I easily lived without and hadn't even missed. Yet, it had made all the difference to Rayssa and her family.
I know Jesus has a heart for the poor, but sometimes I don't know where to start. There is so much poverty and so much suffering, even in our own communities. I can't save the world, but I chose to try and help one child. If we all help one child, imagine the difference we could make of bringing compassion in Jesus' name. If you're lost as to where to start, consider sponsoring a child. Don't feel pressure, but see it as a chance to show love and share with those in need.
God has shown me what a privilege it is to be able to give to brothers and sisters around the world who could only dream of living the life we lead in Australia. I'm now sponsoring Wayua from Kenya and am about to write my first letter to her. But although my sponsorship of Rayssa has ended, it doesn't mean my prayers for her have to.
To join in Friday Focus and share what God has been teaching you lately, click here.