She will haunt me, this I know.

"I am happy," she says, and she means it.  Even if she did not speak those words, her countenance belies this simple truth:  She is happy.

Kolkata slums, Compassion International sponsored child

Kiran invited us to her home today, a 4' x 6' shoebox in the heart of Kolkata's slums, blocks away from the glow and lure of proverbial red lights and painted women.  Girls, actually, some even younger than Kiran.  Simple math tells me 175 of her houses could fit into mine.

She is the only Compassion International sponsored child we visited this week who didn't have a parent home with her.  Karin's father is a labourer and her mother earns $15 a month cleaning multiple homes daily.  Fifteen dollars a month… multiple homes….daily.

Kiran's home is empty when I peek through the door, or at least it is on first glance.  Half of us crouch through the door frame and take a seat on the floor with our backs against the wall.  There are no chairs to sit on; there are not even the beds we've become accustomed to using as chairs while making home visits at other Compassion projects.  A few items adorn the walls, a grated window allows sunlight, but there is no kitchen or bathroom or dressers for clothing. 

It's an empty shoebox.

Until she speaks.

Then, this room–this house–with no electricity is filled with her radiant countenance and all the things that matter.  Joy.  Hope.  Love.  Peace.  Dreams.  Hers is a life transformed by the work of a Holy God who has His hand on her life and intends to use her for great things.  I believe this…I'm betting more than one of my other Compassion blogger team mates will write about Kiran, too; she made that strong of an impression.  She sang beautifully with Keely; Shaun wondered if kids in America could say the same thing she did ("I am happy…") when they have everything compared to her nothing.  

This is a young woman who fought her way into the Compassion program after initially being rejected since her sister was already registered (depending on locale and specific circumstance, CI typically allows one child per family).  Her tenacity paid off and she is one of their brightest participants.

Her dream is to be a teacher, to help others. That is one gem among many that has stood out this week–so many of the children are other-minded and want to give back what they have received from their Compassion sponsor.

Joy.  Love.  Hope.  Dreams.  

It's $32 a month to be a sponsor, to enter into relationship with a child who's life will be significantly impacted by your gift.  She will eat, when there may be no food in the home.  She will be clothed, when there is no income to buy anything new.  She will be affirmed through the relationship you nurture with her through letters written throughout the year. 

Four years into the program, Kiran is a young lady whose life was dramatically changed because someone was willing to make a small investment in her life that will result in enormous return. 

Kiran will be a teacher one day.  That work has already begun; today she taught me the truth of joy despite circumstance.  

She will haunt me, this I know.

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