I mentioned recently that I’m starting some new blogging endeavors, and said that I would tell you more about that soon. It’s all still kind of gelling together in my mind, and I’m still not exactly certain where I’m going or what I’m doing.
But here’s the thing: When I went to Belize for the first time five years ago, my eyes were opened to a world very different from mine, inhabited by people not so different from my family. There were wives trying to love and care for their families….husbands working hard to both provide for and be present in their homes…children wanting to play and growing up too fast and struggling with school. The world is big and its problems are vast, but people are people wherever you go.
That’s a hard thing to grasp if you’ve never been out of this country. The commercials and news reports on TV just can’t drive the point home quite the way that a firsthand experience can. I don’t fault anyone who hasn’t gone on a mission trip; not everyone is called to go, but I do believe everyone is called to help. Because the news stories that tell of horrific situations around the world and the commercials that beg you to feed a child for a dollar a day? They almost seem fictional because of discrepancy between what we see and what we know, but the people and the faces and the names and the families are very, very real.
I know that because I’ve gone. I’ve seen them. In only one country, yes, and in situations not nearly as tragic as some around the world, but I have seen them. I have looked into their eyes. I have hugged them and prayed with them and heard their stories walked through their houses as they proudly give me the tour, and I have wept bitter salty tears over my inability to personally change what I have seen.
And I have seen a lot firsthand. There are many things, though, that I’m just starting to learn about.
There are some situations in other countries that we – because of our great fortune in being born where we were – cannot imagine.
There are millions of moms and dads who face unthinkable choices in simply trying to survive. There are millions of children facing struggles many adults cannot imagine, living lives no one likes to talk about, and doing things no one should ever have to do.
There are little girls who are seen as disposable commodities in the industry of human trafficking and women who cannot imagine a life outside their families’ generational tradition of prostitution. There are children who are forced to work backbreaking jobs hoping to earn the “right” to education, and there are children growing up without their moms because of maternal mortality and preventable diseases.
And it’s overwhelming, to say the least. There is so much brokenness and so much pain and so much need, and it’s hard for me to imagine that I can do anything from my comfortable house here in the United States. But I have to believe that I can do something.
I read a quote recently from Jane Goodall that hit the nail on the head.
“I like to envision the whole world as a jigsaw puzzle … If you look at the whole picture, it is overwhelming and terrifying, but if you work on your little part of the jigsaw and know that people all over the world are working on their little bits, that’s what will give you hope.”
And what I’m realizing is that people all over the world are working on their little bits. There are real people just like me who are facing down these human tragedies and doing what they can with what is in front of them. There are amazing groups doing different things for different communities around the world. And I’ve come to realize that organizations like Compassion International are addressing all of those unimaginable, unspeakable things happening out there by addressing the root: poverty. And they’re releasing children from the chains of poverty in Jesus’ name.
To do that, they’re using real people like you and me, who sponsor real children in order to ensure that they have what their bodies and spirits need. Child sponsorships can literally help to change the world from the ground up, which is ultimately how any change happens. It starts small, just like a child, and grows over time.
So I’m committing to partner with Compassion to advocate for the precious millions of children around the world who have no voice. I will speak for them, bring their struggles into the light, and do my part in making a change.
Because I’m just a small piece of the puzzle, and I have to work on my little part. I hope you’ll walk with me as I figure out what that looks like.