My family threw a birthday party for me on Sunday.
I had hoped to go somewhere warm for my 50th birthday, but my chemo schedule wouldn’t allow it. So they brought the beach to me…complete with drinks that had little umbrellas in them!
Then yesterday, the wonderful people I get to do ministry with at Hearts at Home had a retro party for me. When I arrived at the Hearts at Home office, there was a sign on the door that said, “Welcome to 1964!” When I walked in I saw peace signs, headbands, and even a record player that played 45’s! So much fun!
I want to thank those of you who participated in My 50th Birthday Wish. While we didn’t get to 50 kids like I had hoped, I got to hear so many wonderful stories about the kids so many of you already sponsor, and there are 14 kids who were sponsored in the past two weeks; they’re lives have been changed forever and I am so grateful!
If you wanted to participate but just couldn’t now, you can always come back to these posts on www.JillSavage.org and click on the 50th birthday picture to find a child that desperately needs you!
One more thing….today is chemo day for me. Would you pray that they’d find the right nausea meds for me in the coming week? The week after chemo has been pretty hard and they’re trying to get my meds right to reduce the nausea. Thanks so much!
We’re up to 11 kids sponsored! That’s 11 kids whose lives have been changed in the past 12 days!
One of the things our family loves is Compassion Magazine. If you have an iPad, you can download the free Compassion Magazine that’s interactive. It’s a wonderful resource for both you and your family.
The magazine’s articles are also on the web and these stories were some of my favorite ones in this past month’s magazine.
I believe there are 39 families who were waiting to see if someone else was going to step up and say yes. Today’s the day to find the child that your family will love, pray for, and encourage!
Joining Compassion was a process that involved our entire family. We have five children ranging in age from 4 to 15. We have taken our older three to the WinterJam concert for the last few years as a night with them & their friends.
As you may know, there is a Compassion presentation during the concert. The stories tugged at my heart, but raising five children of our own and the burdens of medical bills for one with heart issues, and the uncertain future for one of our younger ones who was in the midst of diagnostics, which turned out as we expected with an autism diagnosis, and the therapy that would follow for him, I wrote it off as an impractical desire amongst the reality of our financial mess.
Last year, our youngest daughter was ill, so I stayed home with the two littles while my husband took our three bigs to the concert. We bought the kids’ tickets into the concert, but they were on their own for t-shirts or any souvenirs. They all had money which they had earned through various jobs. I was excited to hear all about the concert & see their new shirts as they returned exhausted at nearly midnight.
Our oldest son hung back, letting the twins, four years younger than him, share all their stories. Once they headed to bed, I asked him where his shirt was.
“Well, ya know how they talk about the kids in other countries?”
“The Compassion kids?”
“Yea. Mom, I know I don’t have enough money to sponsor one, but I figured the $15 I’d spend on a t-shirt could help them a whole lot more than I need another shirt, so I put it in the bucket.”
I was speechless, convicted, and still tear up remembering the conversation.
A few days later, his younger sister asked me why he hadn’t worn his WinterJam shirt yet like she & her twin had, so I told her what had transpired. Much to my surprise, she said, “You know, Mom, I’ve been thinking about those kids, too. And I figure there’s seven of us, if we all give up a dollar a week that would almost let us sponsor one. I know it wouldn’t get us there, but we’d be close, wouldn’t we?”
My heart skipped a beat. “Yes, it would, Baby. Yes, it would.”
Six weeks later I was sitting at the 2013 Hearts at Home National conference, listening to the presentation of a man who had been a Compassion child. I could not get his words out of my mind and heart while I browsed through the exhibitor area looking for just the right take-home from the conference. I bet I visited the Compassion table a dozen times thinking about my own kids, remembering our conversations, and pouring over the kids on the table, promising myself I wouldn’t make any commitments because I knew what it financially took just for me to be able to get to the conference that day, but also realizing God was working on my heart in a way I couldn’t deny.
So, as any good Christian mom would do, I bargained with God. Crazy, right? I told God that if He could show me a child that was so much like one of my own, that I’d think about checking with my husband to see if there was any way possible we could make this work.
Remember one of the reasons I used as why not to do this was the uncertainty of financial burden that lie ahead due to our youngest son needing therapy for autism? Would you believe that in the hundreds of children represented on that table there was one whose birthday was a mere 10 days off from that son? And his favorite things listed were art, running, and playing with cars – the same as that son? And would you believe that if you covered the hair of that compassion child and lightened his skin a bit, you’d be looking at a child who could pass for a sibling to that same son of mine?
Of course you’d believe it. After all, I had bargained with God, remember?
And so it was, I found myself timidly texting my husband, “Have you ever thought about maybe, ya know, when we could, if we ever could, maybe sponsoring a Compassion Child? Ya know, if we could ever somehow make it work?”
I expected a delayed response something along the lines of wouldn’t that be nice? Much to my surprise, I had an instantaneous reply, “YES!”
Before I could even confirm that I understood correctly, he sent another message, “Yes, do the paperwork. I already know how we can do it!”
To think I spent so much time stewing over what seemed like the big things, all the while God had already made them little things. Of course, I knew all things are possible through Him, but to be reminded in such a powerful way… He is so patient with me.
We added Josue to our family that very day. Our children pour over his letters and get just as excited as I do when we see a Compassion envelope in the mail. Our youngest daughter, now 4, has asked a couple of times when she’ll get to meet her Compassion brother Joey. Oh how my heart longs for that day.
Ordinarily, I would have been quick to respond that we’d never be able to afford that, but reflecting back on how he came to be a part of our family, I know that if God wills it, it will be done.
Not only have we been able to support him on a monthly basis, but God has also provided for us to send extra for his birthday and to help his family at Christmas time, all in a time that we still work month to month to cover our own expenses.
We’re up to 9 kids who have been sponsored in the last 12 days. Maybe you have some of the same concerns Jody had. I hope her story was encouraging and if you aren’t already sponsoring a child, you’ll sincerely pray about it.
Below you’ll find a way that you can find a child who shares your birthday or your child’s birthday. This is one way many people choose a child to sponsor!
“I’m convinced that one of the most powerful forces on earth is the prayer of a child.”
― Wes Stafford, former CEO of Compassion, Intl
When we were in Africa, our Compassion child, Theresia, shared more of her story with us. Because Theresia’s mother was a teenager herself, Theresia’s grandmother served as her primary caregiver during her early years.
The more she talked about her grandmother, the more I came to understand just how much she meant to her.
Sadly, Theresia’s grandmother died when Theresia was entering her teen years. Theresia shed tears talking about her grandmother and her death caused by ovarian cancer. She knows that poverty robbed her grandmother of the possibility of treatment and healing. “It was an unnecessary death,” Theresia shared.
I’ve pondered the reality of that as I have walked through my own cancer journey. Chemotherapy is a terrible thing to experience, but it is saving my life, and giving me more years with my family. Theresia’s grandmother did not even have the opportunity for chemotherapy. Poverty robbed her of that.
I’m grateful I live in a place where I can receive the healthcare I need. I’m also grateful that God has given us the opportunity to share some of what we have.
That’s why Mark and I sponsor a child. That’s why my married kids have their own child they sponsor. That’s why our Hearts at Home leadership team sponsored Theresia together and now support a Child Survival Program in South America. That’s why 6 families have said yes to sponsorship in the past 6 days!
“…when adults speak up for the vulnerable and the weak, working and demanding that safety and respect prevail, God’s little lambs are protected and nourished. They know they are not abandoned; they are loved. And the world becomes a little more like heaven as a result.”
~Wes Stafford, former President of Compassion International
I had never heard the phrase “first-world problems” until just a few months ago. Maybe you’re ahead of me and you’re familiar with the phrase and maybe today is the first time you’ve heard it.
Regardless, the concept of first-world problems is one you and I need to understand.
And so do our children.
First world problems are issues experienced from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation. They are issues that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at. These frustrations and complaints are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries.
And yes, no matter what your income level is, you and I and our kids are both privileged and wealthy when compared to how families live in other parts of the world.
Many of the issues we deal with and our kids deal with are first world problems.
First world problems include:
1) Not getting a close parking spot.
2) Sharing a car with an older sibling.
3) Having to get up to get the TV remote.
4) Waiting for online purchases to be delivered.
5) Listening to actual CD’s when I drive because my I don’t have an AUX cord.
6) Having the internet go down.
7) Waiting too long for the pizza to be delivered.
8) Finding out your favorite shirt isn’t clean.
9) Waiting several minutes for the hot water to make it to the shower.
Take that same list and put it in third world perspective and it looks something like this:
1) Having only your own feet for a transportation option–sometimes with no shoes. (Some of the children we met in the Masaii Tribe in Tanzania had to walk up to 3 miles a day to school.)
2) Most third world families will never own a vehicle…let alone have one for their teenage children to share.
3) Many third world country homes don’t even have electricity, so television isn’t even an option.
4) Purchasing requires money. In third-world countries, purchasing opportunities are limited and bartering is very common.
5) CD’s, and Aux Cord, and listening to music in a car? Can’t do that without a car, can you?
6) The internet isn’t accessible if you don’t have electricity.
7) Sometimes there is simply not enough food available for three meals a day (this is why providing a meal at Compassion Programs is so important). Theresia shared with us that sometimes her mother and grandmother could only provide two meals a day when she was growing up.
8) Clothing is worn day after day and when washed, it’s often by hand, in dirty river or stream water.
9) Bathing water is usually hand carried, and clean drinking water is often not even available (in one of the Africa villages we visited, the church overseeing the Compassion program was able to use some of their sponsor money to dig a well and provide clean drinking water for their village!)
Is it time to reframe your challenges and your kids’ challenges into a first-world/third world perspective? Would that adjust the lens for us to not only increase our contentment but also our compassion for those who have less?
Would you be willing to take your first-world provision and share it with a third-world family?
Two children were sponsored yesterday! Only 48 left to go!