I’m sitting at my kitchen table where the sun is piercing filthy windowpanes, a thing I notice in the morning but forget by noon’s shadow. A ladybug sits on the sill, I’m assuming dead. Our home is a death spiral for pretty bugs dressed in red with black polka dots, and I wonder why that happens at the end of every winter.
It’s International Women’s Day and I wish I could say I knew that on my own, but it’s the internet that tells me so. I’m stung by awareness of my comforts, my plenty, and my relative wealth, and it brings a sort of shame. Those things have cost me nothing, but in some places in this world even lesser things cost everything you have to give.
I’m reminded of a woman I encountered almost nine years ago.
She was striking to me, uncommonly beautiful, obviously haunting. The sun on her shoulders. Her expression, somber yet intense. Her shoes matched her saree. She carried a bucket, soap, cane, and, most important, her dignity.
In my trip to Kolkata where I met dozens and dozens of people, hers is a face I always remember first. Whatever her age, she had lived a long, and undoubtedly difficult life, and yet she’s endured.
She is not victim. She is an unnamed international woman I celebrate.
She lived in a village where Compassion International had a Child Survival Center, a place where mothers and babies receive goods, education, training, and services that contribute to their survival.
Shortly after my trip with Compassion Bloggers to India, the child I sponsored left the program. Her mother remarried after the death of her father, and they moved to a location where Compassion didn’t have a local presence. Though I wasn’t able to continue helping her family financially, I’ve never stopped praying for Pinki; meeting her carved permanent residence in my heart.
I often wonder what she looks like now – nine years older – and how she’s doing…how all the beautiful children served by Compassion are doing in India.
You see, about a year ago Compassion had to shutter its sponsorship program in India; it was heartbreaking for those involved. After decades of ministry, Compassion could no longer send funds into the country due to Indian government restrictions (read more here).
We’ve also sponsored a daughter from the Dominican Republic; this year will be our tenth! She’ll turn 16 in May, and our sponsorship began right after she turned six. It never occurred to me until this moment how long we’ve been blessing one another, and make no mistake: Isaura blesses me with every letter she writes and ever prayer she offers for me and my family.
Compassion currently operates in 25 countries and has touched millions of lives since beginning its work in the ’50s. Everything I learn about Compassion only reinforces its impact and value to our broken world.
Today (regardless of when you read this), in celebration of International Women’s Day, I’m asking you to make a generous contribution to Compassion International. Get your credit card or checkbook out and start here.
You can make a one-time gift or change a child’s life – and his/her family’s lives – by committing to a monthly sponsorship. It’s up to you.
I know our churches need our money, and our communities need our support, but today to celebrate International Women’s Day, I’m asking for global consideration for a gift to our world. I trust Compassion completely, and I’ve witnessed first hand their impact in local communities.
Look at these precious faces I had the incredible honor of meeting almost ten years ago. They’re my inspiration for today’s bold ask, but I bet there are significant women in your life worthy of celebration. I hope you’ll want to make a gift just because you can.
This old world needs those who have financial means to remember those who have financial need. It’s really as simple as that.
We were heartbroken when Compassion had to leave India. We had been sponsoring a girl named Jayasmita for several years. She is a month older than my youngest daughter. We still pray for her every day.
So sad Compassion had to leave India. I pray people will keep sponsoring young people. My hubby & I sponsor a girl from Ninos De Mexico. Christian home/school for orphaned children. They do good work. About 2 or so years ago she got baptized. Like you I love the letters they send. It never ceases to amaze me what she can get excited over. Things we here in America take for granted.
Thank you so much for this (emotional) blog. These photos are priceless. I have 4 Compassion kids (and 4 previous kids that graduated from the program) and I have prayed (and cried) over them as my own children and grandchildren. They are so precious to me and I know to God as well. I am still praying the government in India will change their minds and help their own children that were in the Compassion program. God knows…