I had a storybook child sponsorship experience.  It is one for the movies.  I went on a service trip to Uganda a few years back, and as we built the brick walls for a school building, I connected with this little child that was full of energy and doing crazy gymnastic moves down the nearby hill.  He made me laugh.  I found myself joking around with him as he passed through the worksite.  I was drawn by his energy. 

As we connected, my heart filled with compassion for this young boy.  He was dirtier than the other children and he wore ripped clothes day after day.  I asked around and found out that both of this young boy’s parents died of AIDS, and his grandmother could not fully support him.  He was in need of help.  Doug Hayes told me Covenant Mercies was intending to expand the child sponsorship program to this region, and he would be a perfect candidate.

Sign me up. How exciting. I had big dreams of how this storybook sponsorship would continue. We would write letters back and forth. I would return to visit.  And maybe one day he would come stay with me for a bit.

But since the initial sponsorship it has been much less a storybook.  I haven’t seen him.  I have only gotten a few small notes and pictures since I started sponsoring him seven years ago.  I have never written him a letter, and there are no plans for him coming to visit.

I am not upset or embittered by this.  I have learned that child sponsorship is more than romanticized ideals and feel good moments.  I am sponsoring this child because he needs help, I trust Covenant Mercies, and God has called us to help the orphans.  My entryway to child sponsorship was a unique one, but since then it has been the norm. 

We often complicate things – I complicate things.  I can be too concerned about creating the perfect ways to serve, instead of just doing what I am called to do.  God calls us to help the orphans (James 1:27).  Let’s do it.  Either home or abroad or both.  And Covenant Mercies is a vehicle to help us accomplish what God has called us to do.

It would be nice if I wrote more letters and got more in return, but this is a sponsorship not a pen pal program.  I am going to continue to sponsor this child until he doesn’t need sponsoring, and then I will sponsor another child.  If I get more money in my budget, then I will sponsor more children.  And I am learning that it is an honor to do so.