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Monday, February 18, 2008

Ugandaliers and Compassion

My friends just returned from a trip to Uganda with Compassion International. They were asked to go to Uganda to blog about their experience and raise awareness of what is happening and how you can get involved.

I have been so moved by their stories, videos, and reflections. I am very familiar with Compassion—having sponsored children in the past—but their experience has once again raised awareness for me.

Sometimes we forget. God never tells us to do things that we do naturally. We don’t have commands through scripture about breathing, eating, etc. because those things come natural. We do them for survival. Throughout scripture God does tell us plenty of times to . . . remember. Remember where we have come from. Remember what Jesus has done. Remember what He did for Israel. We are forgetful.

My friends—the Ugandaliers—have helped me remember. I can’t save the world but I can make a difference. All of us together making a difference looks a lot like saving the world. But it begins with you and I. Not everyone can help a child in their current situation but I do believe most people can help a child with a little bit of rearranging priorities.

When my two oldest—who are now 16 and 19 years old were much younger and we were living in Portland and attending Multnomah, we sponsored a child through Compassion by the name of Reynor.

Reynor was part of our family for years. We helped raise him through our support until he was a young adult and completed the Compassion program. His pictures, his letters, his communication with us were life changing.

My children still talk about and pray for Reynor until this day. Our involvement with Reynor and Compassion shaped my children in ways that are hard to express.

One significant story that sticks out for our family is the time my kids were whining about what mom prepared for dinner. We gave them a choice—they could stop whining and eat their dinner and be thankful or we could have them experience dinner in the same way Reynor was eating that day.

They loved that idea! They had no concept of what was coming next.

We told them to go wash their hands for dinner. When they went to the restroom we stopped them and told them Reynor did not have indoor plumbing. They had to go outside and wash their hands. When they came inside, they sat at the table and expected mom to put dinner on the table. We told them to get up and fix their own dinner because that was part of Reynor’s duties at home. We gave them a box of Bisquick (we improvised), some eggs, and some water and walked them through the process of making biscuits. When they went to the refrigerator for drinks, we told them Reynor had no refrigerator and told them they needed to go outside and get water with the pail we provided them.

I will never forget my kids crying and praying for Reynor as they ate their biscuit, egg, and water dinner.

Until this day, whenever someone complains about provisions someone comes back with “do you want to eat what Reynor is eating?”

The other night, my 18 year-old asked me when we were sponsoring our next child so that Kasidy—our 8 year-old could experience what it is like to love a child in that way.

We have decided we will sponsor another child. The time is now. Our worship band at Westwinds will be helping to sponsor a child as a community. My daughter will be part of that process as we are sponsoring a child her age.

For a complete list of the Ugandaliers—the bloggers who just visited Uganda—go here.

To see my favorite video from the trip go here to Shaun’s video.

To see my favorite blog from the trip go here to my friend Randy’s blog.


Carolyn F said...

What a great lesson to teach your children. I just sponsored my first compassion child -- I may have to try that with my kids!