Thursday, March 28, 2013

Ten Fun things to Send your Sponsored Child

Spring brings so much pleasure to me. I love the longer days, the warming sun, and the color of new leaves and bright blooms after a cold, gray, dark winter. There is something about spring that wakes us up and makes us want to do more, to work harder, to shake off the doldrums and get to living again.

Spring also makes us a lot busier. I know for me, personally, this spring is shaping up to be one of the busiest I've had in years. I have several work-related trips planned, I'm dancing quite a bit, there are birthday parties to attend, Mother's Day jewelry orders to fill, garden beds to be planted and tended, and yardwork galore. I'm also planning a yard sale with a fellow sponsor to benefit Compassion, so I need to start pulling all my stuff together that I plan to sell--and I have no idea where to begin!

In the busy new outdoor life of spring, it may be harder to remember to sit down and write our Compassion kids. The official Compassion International blog recently posted a series of pictures of sponsored children holding their most prized possessions...the letters from their sponsors.

It seems that the overarching agreement among sponsored children who have graduated the program is that sponsor letters were extraordinarily influential in their lives. In fact, children who recieve letters from their sponsors are more likely to remain in and graduate from the program than children who do not.

That's the amazing difference that Compassion sponsors make.

There are so many amazing posts out there with topic suggestions if you run out of things to discuss with your sponsored child. Blogging from the Boonies has some awesome suggestions. had some great suggestions, as well. Here, I thought I would chip in my 2 cents with some ideas for "extras" (besides stickers) that you can send along to your sponsored children to add to their excitement when they get your next letter.

1. Paper Dolls ~ Paper dolls are so fun, and so easy to find. Dollar General carries books of paper dolls for about $2 each, and Dover Publishing has amazing paper dolls (and they offer frequent discounts). If you have a pinterest account, search "Paper dolls" and you'll find many free paper dolls--print on cardstock and cut out for a great treat!  Another fun paper doll idea--make paper dolls of YOUR FAMILY for your sponsored child! Simply have your family members stand against a plain background and photograph, then print out on cardstock and cut out. You can use decorative scrapbook paper to make clothing for your paper doll selves. For extra fun, print your sponsored child's picture as well, and make him or her into a paper doll! Here's an adorable printable paper doll to get you started:
2. Paper airplanes ~ For young children you can pre-make the paper airplanes and tuck them into a small envelope so that they are ready to fly when the child receives them. For older children, print out instructions from the internet (or photocopy instructions from a book) and send along with sheets of decorative paper. Here's a blog with many printable instructions:
3. Recordable Cards ~ There are a great many musical cards out there--some that include flashing lights and pop up! Most of them are birthday or holiday-specific, but Hobby Lobby carries a lot of Christian themed musical cards that are generic in nature. Some feature contemporary Christian songs and some feature classic secular music. People from the Compassion mailroom indicate that not only do the children love to recieve these cards, the staff in the mailrooms love them as well! If you are ambitious you can find cards that also include a record button, and you can record a personal message from your family--what a gift to your sponsored child to be able to hear your voice!

4. Friendship Bracelets ~ We are unable to send real jewelry or string through the mail, but there are some really adorable paper bracelet (or necklace!) tutorials out there that feature strips of paper folded across each other. Here's one fantastic tutorial:
You could coat the paper with a layer of mod podge or spray acrylic for durability. For older kids, send a completed bracelet along with instructions and materials for your child to make his or her own! And don't think these are just for girls--in other cultures some men wear jewelry as well, so your little boy may well enjoy wearing a cuff-style bracelet in "manly" colors or a superhero theme. To close the bracelet, many sponsors have reported that small (tiny) velcro circles that stick-on have made it through. You might also try including some glue dots or punch a hole in each end and perhaps the child can find a small piece of string or grass with which to tie it closed.

5. Photo album ~ I plan to do this for my children this spring. The most beloved and requested items from sponsored children are photographs of their sponsor family. You can make a simple photo album using commercial software (or even MS Word) or online tools and print your album at home or your local copy store. Staple with a cute decorative cover and you have a treasured gift for your child. This is super easy to do for multiple children because it's as easy to print 4 copies as it is to print 1 copy. Include a photo of your sponsored child in the album so they know they are part of your family, too!

6. Thin books or book chapters ~ I recently discovered that it is okay to send thin books as long as the cover is removed and the book meets the 1/4 inch thickness rule. In fact, for older teens you can send big books (think C.S. Lewis) chapter-by-chapter. Yes, it hurts to tear a book apart, but visit a used bookstore, yard sale, or Goodwill for a copy of a beloved used book and start ripping! Be cognizant of language differences, however--if your child speaks a different language the translators will not translate an entire book. You may be able to find used foreign-language books through Amazon or Ebay (or even at your local used bookstore--particularly in Spanish).

7. 3D bookmarks ~ I love the 3D and "moving" bookmarks that craft stores and bookstores sell. Even young children love these.

8. Magazines ~ You can remove the cover and send thin magazines. For little kids, National Geographic has great animal-themed magazines. Zootles is a good one for little kdis, as well. Highlights is wonderful for English speaking children. Target ocassionally carries some Highlights activity pads and posters in the $1 section that are wonderful.

9. Lapbooks ~ Lapbooks are among my favorite things to send. Originally a homeschooling idea, a lapbook is simply a folder-sized study unit organized around a central theme, containing multiple activities. For example, you might choose a Noah's Ark theme and include coloring pages, stickers, a matching game, a mini book, paper dolls, etc all depicting the story of Noah's Ark, and you might tuck it all into an animal-themed school folder. Some great resources for lapbooks include ( for Noah's Ark),,,

10. Paper bag puppets ~ How much fun are paper bag puppets? They are easy to assemble yourself, and you can find plenty of templates on Google and Pinterest, or you can be lazy like I was and purchase a Paper Bag Puppet kit from Alex toys, which comes with 5 ADORABLE puppets in individual plastic sleeves, with all the pieces necessary to make the puppet AND instructions AND stickers for decorating the puppet. How easy is that?? I punched out the pieces to keep the package within the size limits, and then stuck them all back in the plastic sleeve with a photocopy of the instructions, and my mailing was ready to go!

I hope this post gets you excited about spring mailings for your sponsored kids. I would love to hear your ideas and comments! What do you plan to send this spring?

Blessings and Happy Easter!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter Week

I missed my second post last week because I was blessed to spend a whole weekend celebrating Easter with my mom, my brothers and sisters-in-law, their kids, and my aunt and cousin and her daughters...It was a house full at my mom's! The only person missing was my sweet daddy, who went to be with Jesus in 2006.

Spending time surrounded by people I love most in the world reminds me of how blessed I am in this life. I don't know why Jesus graced me with so many blessings, but I do know that with those blessings comes an awesome responsibility to share the love and the grace and the mercy he has given to me with those who do not have those comforts. The weekend was also a reminder that it isn't the things we have that make us feel content and joyful, it is the relationships we develop and the love we share with family and friends.

I can't imagine the sorrow a child must feel if they don't have those connections with family or friends to buoy them up out of the fear and discomfort of poverty. A wealthy child can feel extraordinarily alone if their emotional needs are unmet, while a poor child can feel rich if their emotional needs ARE met.

I remember sitting on my couch one day a few years ago before I had my son, watching TV. I remember thinking, Is this it? Is this really all there is? I mean, I love my husband, and my life at the time was amazing--I was able to do just about anything I wanted to with my time, I was dancing with a group of ladies that I adore, I enjoyed my job, and I love the Lord... but I was so bored! I kept thinking, I should be making a difference in the world, not watching "Wipeout" every Thursday night on TV like clockwork.

I started reading books about trafficking and modern-day slavery, and I really wanted to make a difference, somehow, but I felt stuck. I wasn't sure how to begin. There didn't seem to be a logical first step. The people who were working in the fields of humanitarianism seemed like giants, and I felt like an ant. I was afraid to begin.

Now I can see, in retrospect, that I was focusing on the wrong thing. I was focusing on the "me" in the equation. I was focusing on how hard it would be for "me" to do this or that, or how little difference "I" could make. I was busy comparing "me" with "them" instead of working towards discovering baby steps towards helping others. Instead of starting by collecting canned goods for a local charity, or sponsoring a single child, I was sitting on the couch fretting about what I "couldn't" do.

Had I done a simple amount of searching, I would have found that I didn't have to look too far to find so many ways to impact my world. It could be as easy as sponsoring one child and meeting their emotional need of feeling connected to the world, or making a donation to help provide health care to women and children in need. I could have opened up a Kiva loan for a small business somewhere in a developing country. Locally I could have baked some bread for my neighbor, or carried some magazines to the nursing home.

There are so many ways to help other people. As we approach Easter, we are bombarded by bunnies and chicks and eggs and baskets and candy by the bucket-load. There's nothing wrong with Easter baskets and colored eggs and fuzzy bunnies and chicks. But Easter is a time for Christians to celebrate the greatest sacrifice--Jesus' death on the cross as an expression of the great love and mercy of God.

Jesus gave his life because he loved you and me and every single one of the kids on the sponsor-me page at Compassion. Jesus loved the thief enough to forgive him on the spot, even through his own suffering. He extended compassion even as he was on the brink of death.

Make a difference. Sponsor a child this Easter. Make a donation this Easter. Love, in remembrance of Him.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Welcoming a New Compassion Child!

This morning we added another member to our Compassion family! Her name is Briceyda, and she is a 12 year old young lady in Guatemala. She lives in Peten, which is near the famous Tikal ruins.

My husband Chris and I had the opportunity to visit Tikal when we were first married, and we stayed on the island of Flores, which is very near where Briceyda lives. It is an amazingly beautiful country, with equally beautiful people. Tikal is, of course, legendary.

Accepting a new sponsored child was not a light decision for us. I was not looking for a new child to sponsor, and to be honest, central American was not a region I had been thinking and praying about--most of my prayer time and heavy-heartedness has centered around Asia and Africa, particularly Cambodia and many of the west African countries. So, when I saw the photo of Briceyda at Our Compassion, and read that her sponsor was going to have to give her up, I was surprised that I felt so strongly led to offer to transfer her to our family.

I struggled with even discussing it with Chris, as I know he puts up with a lot from me and I wanted to make sure I wasn't just acting on some whim. But after praying over it for a few days, I just kept thinking about Briceyda, and that she would be losing a sponsor she has had since kindergarten, and that she is right on the cusp of her teen years, and how devastating that could be to her at such a precious and tender time of life for a young woman. I absolutely can't fault her current sponsor. At this stage in her own life because of changes in her situation, her sponsorships were totaling over half of her current income--clearly unsustainable and a testimony to how generous a person she is.

Part of my struggle was wondering if a central American child needed as much help as an Asian or African child. I know that may sound silly, but I think I have some stereotypes about poverty...although I know all children in poverty are equally deserving of help, I still seem to have this mental block telling me that some children need more help than others. Perhaps it's the recent abundant use of the phrase (which I really don't care much for, as it imposes a type of ranking or caste system on poverty) "the poorest of the poor."

The fact is, poverty is not simple. Many, many fantastic books, including several promoted by Compassion and including the phenomenal book "Half the Sky" point out how terribly complex poverty actually is. Indeed, poverty can't be isolated simply to a lack of resources. Poverty is a vast, interconnected web of environmental, economic, and social factors that intermingle in different ways depending on where you are looking.

Before we agreed to take on Briceyda I asked some of the sponsors at Our Compassion where they thought girls in poverty most needed help. Through their responses, and my own searching on the United Nations website, I determined that my stereotypes are largely incorrect. It turns out, girls in poverty need help regardless of where they live. It turns out, exploitation may vary by degrees in each region, but desperate need leads to desperate actions regardless of your ethnic background or the country of which you are a citizen. It turns out, the need to sponsor boys is just as desperate as the need to sponsor girls--after all, boys raised in desperate situations grow up to put girls and boys in desperate situations, or are recruited as members of child armies, or are exploited for cheap labor.

There is a fantastic UN document on trafficking that talks about some of the differences among and between regions. If you're interested in checking it out, the link is here.

In the meantime, please be in prayer for the newest member of our Compassion family, as we welcome her with open arms and help her through the transition period to a new sponsor. And please, consider sponsoring a Compassion child. Most of us in this country have more than enough to share.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Free Way to Help Others

This week I learned through two different sources about a very interesting social lending program (for lack of a better word) that I thought I would share. Kiva Microfunds is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that connects lending from people via the internet with entrepreneurs in developing countries via partner institutions (referred to as "field partners" on Kiva's website). Kiva operates based on grants, loans, and donations and does not collect any interest on the loans it facilitates, though their field partners do collect interest. The organization is headquartered in California.

Basically, the way it works is that you--the lender--visit the website and browse the qualified entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur has a profile and photograph, along with descriptions of the work they are trying to perform (which can range from personal needs like fixing their home to professional needs like restocking their inventory) and the loan amount they are requesting. Lenders can choose to lend as little as $25 to an entrepreneur. Over time, multiple lenders finance 100% of the loan. As loan capital comes in, the funds are transferred to the field partners who disburse the money to the appropriate entrepreneurs. As loans are repaid, the lenders may choose to withdraw their money or re-lend to another entrepreneur. You (the lender) to not make any interest money, but you can reinvest the original amount of your loan. All of this is done via the internet using PayPal.

The first time you loan via Kiva, you can do so with someone else's money. Wait, what???  That's right, every person who wishes to see how Kiva works can sign in and donate $25 of someone else's money (typically an anonymous donor) to an entrepreneur as a free trial to see how the process works. If you are referred by someone (say, like me!) the referring party ALSO gets a free $25 to lend... So, for example, let's say 5 people read this blog and go lend their free $25...  that means that the total lended amount is $100 and if they use my referral link, I also get $100 so we will have lent $200----ALL FOR FREE TO US. If one or more of us chooses a "double impact loan" (another anonymous donor has pledged to match the funds) then we can make that amount go even further.  It's really an amazing concept in microfinance.

Kiva, like Compassion, has a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Ninety-eight percent of loans are repaid, making it fairly low risk. It's a great way to make your money go a long way towards helping others, and it's not a hand out--it's a way to help people work hard towards bettering their lives!

I learned about Kiva on and through reading the phenomenal book "Half the Sky" (which I think every single man and woman in the developed world should be reading). So Check Kiva Out! Be sure to use my referral link so that we can make our dollars go further!!

Oh, and don't forget to visit my ETSY store, Conspiracy of Love!  I add new things every day and 100 percent of your purchase price benefits Compassion International Child Survival Programs!!!  

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Value of a Daughter

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1
I am convinced that nothing causes more grief to the heart of Jesus than when a young child is brutally stripped of their purity, left broken and trembling, reduced to nothing more than object. It happens every day, in every country (including ours). I think it is the ultimate expression of evil, and the ultimate satisfaction for Satan when innocence is corrupted at the hands of greed and sick, twisted desire.

Absolutely nothing in world news breaks my heart more than the knowledge that, daily, hundreds of thousands of children are kidnapped or tricked into slavery, forced to endure beatings and worse as they are locked into dirty brothels to suit the fancies of wealthy, disgusting patrons. These precious children are often drugged to induce compliance, which eventually results in dependence on the brothel owners. As a result, even when they are allowed the "freedom" to venture outside the walls of their prisons, they no longer run because they cannot escape the prison of addiction to the chemicals they have been force fed.

In the book "Half the Sky," journalists and authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn make the case that prevention is far more effective than rescue from trafficking and slavery. Wess Stafford makes the same argument in his book "Too Small to Ignore." In fact, I think we all are familiar with Benjamin Franklin's fire-fighting advice, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

That's where we come in! It seems so overwhelming when you hear the statistics, which range from estimates of 3 to 27 million children (young children and teenagers) enslaved in brothels, depending on the source of the data. But, consider this...the Pew Research Center found that, in 2010, United States citizens identifying themselves as Christians numbered greater than 246 million. That is nine times as many Christians as the high-end estimate of trafficked children. Imagine, then, if a 10th of all people identifying themselves as Christians in the United States sponsored a child... Could we make the enslavement of children for such sick, disgusting, evil purposes a distant memory?

Because, like it or not, a lot of what the problem can be reduced to is desperation... Families in poverty are desperate, and girls are often expendable. In some cases parents knowingly sell their girls to brothel owners, while in other cases they send their girls off to what they believe will be respectable jobs, where "friends" and relatives end up selling the girls. Sometimes the parents know but lack the resources to track their daughters. Sometimes the girls just disappear and the parents never know. Either way, if their daughters were MORE VALUABLE AT HOME THAN IN A BROTHEL, much of these types of transactions could be avoided. IF the daughters HAVE A VOICE and some PROTECTION, they may be saved.

How to raise the value of a daughter? Educate her. Provide her with knowledge of her own self-worth, her value in the eyes of Christ. Develop a skill that she can leverage for her benefit--that will make her a source of pride for her family, as well as a source of income. Women worldwide prove that they are capable, resourceful, and hard workers when given education and half a chance for success. When fathers and mothers can see the value and the necessity of their female children for the survival of their families, they are more likely to step up and protect them. If female children are worth enough at home as to be prohibitively expensive for brothel owners, there will be fewer bought and sold.

Hope. We have hope. These children have hope. We can give hope to at-risk children by sponsoring them so that they can build value in the eyes of their families and communities. We can teach young women that they have value beyond their bodies in the heart of Christ. We can teach young men that women of all castes deserve respect and dignity and love. Jesus did not believe in disposable humans. Neither do I.

My mom shared the following Hawaiin parable with me, which I recently read again in "Half the Sky"... I thought I'd share it with you, here...
A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water. "What are you doing, son?" the man asks. "You see how many starfish there are? You'll never make a difference." The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. "It sure made a difference to that one," he said.
Please...consider sponsoring an at-risk child today. GET ANGRY. The things happening to these precious children of God are despicable and inexcusable. You can make a difference to one, and one can make a difference to many.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Skunk Cabbage

  “I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose WOULD be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.” author L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables series author)
Eastern skunk cabbage
 Sometime between today and Thursday I will sit down and write to my sponsored children. I make a point to do this bi-weekly, which may be a little frequent for some of my younger children, but I try to keep my letters to them short and sweet anyhow, given that as the mother of a toddler I know they don't have the longest attention span.

Whether you've sponsored for a decade or a day, letter writing can be a challenge. Internet tools provided by Compassion and countless blogs before this one have made it much easier to come up with ideas, but it can still be a daunting task to write to someone worlds away from you not only in terms of physical distance, but in age and spiritual growth.

What I write about depends, much like this blog, on what grips me on that particular day. There are things about each of my children that stir my heart in different ways. But, more than anything else, I encourage them. Who knows if they care about the national parks in the United States, or what my son did in school today? But they certainly care that someone seemingly a million miles away has taken time to write to them, to maybe send some stickers or a photograph, and to let them know that they matter.

In fact, the cornerstone of Compassion's child sponsorship program is the relationship between Sponsor and child. Even if you never hear from your child, you could be influencing them in an important way. I remember telling my son not too long ago that words are very important and very powerful. I don't recall the context, but I do recall his little face wrinkling up in laughter at how silly that sounded. But it is true. The Bible says so in at least 147 verses. Our words have the power to shape lives, to shape the future, to mold minds and careers and dreams and ambitions. Our encouraging words are sweet-smelling roses in the hands of our little ones across the globe.

What words will you speak into the lives of your Compassion kids (or any other child you are blessed to encounter) today? Sometimes it's hard to come up with something NEW to say after 40 letters, when you're trying to remember what you said last week or month or 3 months ago. Here's a list of possibilities for sending a rose of encouragement to a child you may not know too well:
  • I/we love you.
  • I/we are praying for you.
  • Jesus loves you.
  • Our church is praying for you.
  • We hung your picture on our wall with the rest of our family!
  • We talk about you during the day and what you might be doing!
  • You worked really hard on the last letter you sent me, I can tell!
  • I love getting letters from you--you are learning so much!
  • I love hearing about your life.
  • I love hearing about your family/church
  • Your drawings on your letters are really fun for us to see!
  • Thank you for writing to me/send me a drawing-it was really special to me!
  • I am so proud to be your sponsor!
  • I really appreciate our relationship
  • I am looking forward to getting to know you over time
  • Your country/family/villiage/center looks very unique/beautiful/interesting
  • You are beautiful to Jesus!
  • You are so unique! There is no one else like you!
  • Jesus knows everything about you, he has all the hairs on your head numbered!
  • You are important to me.
  • You are important to Jesus.
  • You have a very special purpose.
  • Jesus has great plans for your life!
  • Don't ever give up.
  • You seem so resourceful!
Remember--your words are so important! I know many "seasoned" sponsors have spoken these words of encouragement and many, many more into the lives of many children over the years. I would love to hear how you encourage your sponsored children (or even your biological children!) through a thoughtful word.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Responsible Sponsoring

There's something really exciting about clicking the "Sponsor This Child" button at the Compassion website. You've probably thought and prayed about it for a while (or maybe you felt led to do something and you just KNEW it was the right thing at that moment), and you've looked at the many beautiful faces on the site, and you've selected a child and *boom* now you are a sponsor.

Those of us who sponsor know there's a little "high" that comes from pushing that button. You're making a difference for that person. You're doing something great. It's a bit...well...addictive.

So...I'd like to take a minute to advocate responsible child sponsorship. As much as I want every person who is financially able to sponsor at least one child, I do want people to remember that these are indeed children. These are little people with souls and feelings...feelings that are easily hurt because they have been let down before. People who deserve not only our compassion, but our respect and our commitment.

What do I mean by responsible sponsorship? One of the beautiful things about Compassion International is the way they promote relationship building between sponsors and their children. Children become aware of you as their sponsor. They learn your name. They learn about your family. Hopefully, you are taking the time to write your children (if you are not, please take a minute to read this blog post by Michelle at "Blogging from the Boonies!  You'll start--I promise!). They are developing a real relationship with you, and through that relationship they are learning that they are important!

So what happens if they are dropped by their sponsors?  I know it happens, and sometimes it truly cannot be avoided. Life happens and there are circumstances that are beyond our control. Sometimes sponsors really do have to drop a child. But, I really encourage sponsors to PRAY HARD before dropping a child. To that child, it is rejection all over again. I guess what I'm saying is...these kids aren't playing cards to be passed know?

Okay, so let's say you are thinking you'd love to help Compassion but you're pretty sure you can't sponsor for more than a month or two....should you choose not to sponsor?  Hmmmm.  I think only God can answer that for you, but I have a few thoughts. One is, think outside the box... If you have cable, consider cancelling it and signing up for Netflix or Hulu.  Or just ditch TV all together, I promise there's nothing good on anyway.  (Really. We don't really need to see Duck Dynasty, do we?? It's more depressing than entertaining...). Or, try getting a class to go in together and raise enough money to sponsor for a year...then do it again the next year and the next and the next...

Or, consider sponsoring a child who is older, and close to graduating from the program.  That sponsorship will be much shorter in commitment time than a young child who has at least a decade to go in the program.

Other ideas: hold fundraising walks, runs, garage sales, set up an ETSY shop, bake sales, collect your loose change, put all your birthday money toward your compassion kids, ask for money for sponsoring in lieu of birthday and Christmas gifts...  God will provide if you are creative in looking for ways to continue sponsoring.

However, if you don't have the time or money to commit to a child sponsorship....consider a one-time donation, instead. Children without sponsors need that money to continue the program. You are helping IMMENSELY without the commitment. You will miss out on the joy of the relationship with a unique child, but you will be helping in a great way, and possibly in the way in which you are needed at that precise moment.  Consider Compassion Child Survivor Programs, or the Aids initiative.

You can still help, even if you can't afford to sponsor full time. Please help, even if you can't afford to sponsor full time!  God will use what you give... he blesses every gift that comes from the heart, even the widow's mite (Mark 12:41-44).

Friday, March 1, 2013


Today marks the beginning of National Women's History Month. I've been thinking about the concept of equality all week, actually, as I've participated in a celebration of cultures at my office. Thinking about how far we have come in our country regarding women's rights and representation, and how far we still have to go in many social justice arenas, I am struck by just how amazing Jesus' ministry was during the time period in which he walked the earth.

Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk, Conn. Serving 3-day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, 'Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
Jesus really pushed the envelope during his earthly ministry. Jesus advocated for the very lowest of the low, and included among his friends people from the most despised social groups at the time. In his time, those people included women and children (who had no rights, no recognition, no power, no voice), diseased and disabled people, beggars and the homeless, tax collectors (who were highly scorned), and people of political persuasions in direct opposition to the political, religious, and social leaders of the times.

I wonder what that might look like today? Do you ever wonder that? Do you ever stop to think who Jesus might befriend today? Would his friends so shock us that we would be blown away? Sometimes I wonder if many Christians would follow Jesus if he were present with us in the flesh and we saw who he chose as friends. Sometimes I wonder if we would be the Pharisees and Sadducees instead of fishers of men.

I don't mean to suggest that Jesus would condone unlawful or immoral behavior. But I do know that we are commanded to love the person, whether or not we condone their actions. But what does that look like in action?

It's so easy to look away. We do it every day. I do it every day.

Poverty and children are two areas where Jesus was passionate. I know it is overwhelming to think about all of the social injustices in our society. It's so easy to look away and think that someone else will handle it…someone else has more money, more knowledge, more capability. If we consider Women's History Month as an example, not of poverty but of overwhelming odds against social justice, it becomes clear that one person CAN make a difference. In fact, forget Women's History Month--just look at Jesus' ministry!  One person changed the entire course of mankind!

In fact, one person OFTEN makes a huge difference. Poverty, particularly in other countries, is tough to think about. I think sometimes our first inclination as westerners is to try to "Walmart-ize" the poverty-stricken. We want instant suburbia for these folks…large houses, air conditioning…but that isn't what poverty is about. Poverty is about providing basics, but also about providing VOICE. Poor people, particularly children, simply have no voice. They have no options. They are masters to the events happening around them instead of masters OF the events happening around them.

We can't correct all the social injustices in the world individually, but we can make a difference for one. We can be the eyes that SEE one child, that give VALUE to that child, that show LOVE to that child. Be the ONE who makes a difference today! You never know…you might be sponsoring the ONE who discovers a cure for cancer, or wins the next Nobel Peace Prize, or simply ONE who decides to live for Jesus.