On my Compassion Bloggers trip to the Dominican Republic this week, it sometimes feels like we are traveling “like a rock star” (well of course we ARE traveling with a rock star). We have a posse including a photographer, several translators and Compassion staffers and guides, and we travel in an air-conditioned bus. We’re drinking bottled water, and we eat breakfast and dinner in our very tourist-friendly hotel. We’ve had lunch on site at the Compassion projects, and the Compassion staff is careful to warn us if something (such as fresh unpeeled fruit) might not be safe to eat.
We are protected, but we’re not safe. It’s never safe when you stretch your comfort zone.
Last night before I went to bed, I read the devotional given to us in our trip journal:
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 4:19-20
The challenged was posed, “Can we leave our nets and truly follow Him throughout this journey?”
When I was asked in the “beginnings” entry of the journal the day before what I thought God wanted me to do and see, one of my answers was “Show me the similarities and the differences.” Well, that’s done. These kids are just kids.
Yesterday I watched a little two-year-old boy playing roughly with a truck in the Child Survival Program toddler play area. He grabbed balls out of the hands of the other children playing in there with him. I’m not going to name any names (Kyle), but I’ve seen little boys play like that in my own church nursery.
The children there love to have their pictures taken, and just like my kiddos, they love to see the image on the screen.
The other thing that I asked was that God would show me that a one-time interaction with these children can make a difference. I saw that yesterday too.
When we met Sara (whose story Mary told beautifully at Owlhaven, complete with a picture), Steven, a Compassion staffer traveling with us, told her “God is going to use you in a great way. He doesn’t give you a story like that for no reason.” I told Steven how much that meant to me, and that he had answered one of my prayers for the trip, he said, “I heard her story, and I just had to take that moment to let her know that Jesus loves her, but when I told her that and saw that smile, I thought ‘She knows. She already knows.'”
I’m still praying that I will continue to lower my own safety net on this trip. I don’t want to be afraid to get to close — to get involved — to invest, even if it’s just a word or a smile or a squeeze. I don’t want to wrap myself up in the safety net so that I don’t let myself care.
Maybe that’s one reason that you haven’t sponsored a child. Maybe you want to continue to live in a safe place in regards to poverty around the world. Maybe you don’t think that an investment in one child makes enough of a difference. From what I’ve seen so far, let me say that it not only makes a difference in the life of a child, but in a community and a country.
If you have reservations about sponsoring a child through Compassion, feel free to ask me any questions. I’ll either answer them in the comments section or in a future post. If you feel uncertain about finances, will you pray about what God might have you do? It might not be the right time for you to sponsor a child, but I’m pretty sure that there’s some way that God is asking you to move beyond your safety net and to make a real difference in someone’s life who is in need.