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Hope, Like a Little Child: Compassion Blogging Trip Day 2

 

“He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” – Mark 10:14-16

In the last forty-eight hours I have learned enough about the people of Tanzania and the work of Compassion International to inspire months of posts, and yet tonight as I sit here in Mwanza, I am struggling to choose the right words to convey this experience, to choose the right moments to share. I want all of you to see what I have seen – how desperately people need the relief that Compassion brings, and how completely the lives of sponsored children and those around them are changed by the work Compassion is doing.  But I fear that my words won’t be enough, and there are so many children still needing a sponsor

As I relive and reflect on my day, it is those children I keep coming back to in my mind.  Their eyes wide with curiosity.  Their smiles at first tentative, and then open, filled with laughter.  We began our time with them this morning in the Africa Inland Church Tanzania, Buhongwa, as the children led us in worship, sharing songs in their native Kiswahili and sharing testimony in the English they are studying.  One little boy, James, stood before us – these strangers from the other side of the world – and without a moment of hesitation or fear read from the Gospel of Mark, reminding us to receive the kingdom of God like a little child.  I sat among the children and looking into their faces, I asked myself what it means to experience the love of Jesus like a child.

 

To me it means turning to the Lord for the strength that He provides…

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthen me.” Philippians 4:13

It means rejoicing in the Lord with singing and dancing…

“Shout to the LORD, all the earth; break out in praise and sing for joy!”  Psalm 98:4

It means embracing the hope for relief here on earth and the promise of a life everlasting…

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:4

The idea of seeing the world through the eyes of children, many of them learning about Jesus for the first time, all of them living a life of extreme poverty, took hold as we learned more about the Compassion International Child Development Center in Buhongwa.  This center is itself young, opened less than two years ago.  When the Project Director, Samson, spoke to our group in his office, he spent just as much time sharing the team’s vision for the future of the center as he did sharing their current day to day operations.  There were logistical hopes – to create classroom space, an office where the Center’s staff could all work at once, an enclosed kitchen with adequate food preparation – as well as hopes for the children and their families.  These plans include developing more Saturday programs for the currently sponsored children, creatively holding their attention and inspiring them to learn.  They also include continuing to reach out to the parents of the Compassion children, offering everything from parenting information to a sympathetic ear to a prayer during a particularly challenging time of need.

In every word he spoke,  every idea he explained, every smile he shared, there was Hope.  

After spending time at the Center, we ventured out into the community to meet the family of one sponsored child.  Following an illness that left her with scarring, the child’s mother was abandoned by her husband.  She returned to the home rented by her mother, moving herself and her five children into the small home already occupied by seven others.  Their income is provided by work they find on a day to day basis, often in the local farmer’s fields.  For her, Compassion means being able to send a child to school, the costs of the uniform and fees covered.  It means her child receiving care when she is ill.  It means development of and caring for the whole child, not just day to day survival.

When this child’s mother spoke to us, it was with her head lowered, her eyes down.

Yet her words were lifted up, filled with Hope.

Sponsoring a child through Compassion International brings Hope to the 1.2 million children sponsored as well as their siblings and their families.  Choosing right now to sponsor a child through Compassion International will bring Hope to one of the roughly 100,000 children currently waiting to receive a sponsor.  

Thank you for joining me on this journey of Hope.

Want to sponsor a child from the Child Development Center we visited today?  Visit the sixteen available for sponsorship right now.  As each child finds a sponsor, this page will be refreshed with other Compassion children waiting for a sponsor.  Please also read the reflections from my fellow Compassion Bloggers at CompassionBloggers.com.

Compassion Tanzania

 

 


Comments

  1. 1
    Molly Gold
    Follow on Twitter: MyGOMOM
    says:

    Lives changed before your very eyes and the transformation of your own belief system I am sure…your to-do list and priorities will surely never be the same =)
    Molly Gold recently posted..Secure Passwords and Kids

  2. 3
    Neon Tiki Tribe
    Follow on Twitter: NeonTikiTribe
    says:

    Samson’s vision for the future of the center sounds and the passion he has sounds terrific…he cares so much about it and people involved…this is really moving

    • 4
      Amy
      Follow on Twitter: ResourcefulMom
      says:

      Thank you for reading! Listening to him speak was truly inspirational. His hope is contagious!

  3. 5
    Sonya Roach says:

    My heart sings at the sight of these wonderful children. Our family sponsors 3 children from Africa and I am a Compassion Advocate. One of our children is from the EGTA Ilula Student Center and is named Yakobo Shedrack Kahise (Tanzania) If any of you see him please send our love from the Roach Family. A picture would be priceless. I can not wait to meet him. Thank you for your acts of service. Sonya

    • 6
      Amy
      Follow on Twitter: ResourcefulMom
      says:

      Sonya, thank you for your sponsorship and for your support of Compassion International. We have felt the prayers from everyone back in the states all week and they have been incredibly motivational and comforting. I will find out if we are going to the child development center where you sponsor Yakobo!

    • 7
      Sonya Roach says:

      Thank you for your reply Amy. My 17 yr old daughter went on her first mission trip to Guatemala a few months ago and loved it. She also has a heart for missions and now has added mission to her life calling (along with Children’s Ministry) – I will visit her one day in another country I feel it in my heart. We are so blessed. If you find out you are going please let me know. Our family would be doubly blessed. Sonya

  4. 8

    I can only imagine how it must be to have a beautiful child reading the gospel to a group of strangers. I probably would have lost it completely.

    Compassion provides hope to these children and families. Real, genuine hope. But, on the flip side, it also brings hope to sponsors. Hope for a heart change and for a closer walk and dependence on the Lord.

    Thank you for sharing with us. I look forward to the next posts.
    Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies recently posted..Anticipation and Ache

  5. 10
    Amy Reiner says:

    I completely know where you are coming from. I’ve been to guatemala 4times on medical missions and every time I come home, I try to explain to people the conditions that these people live in. There is no way to have someone truly grasp it until they see it in person. The one thing that always amazes me is how happy the children are. Can you remember the days when playing with rocks and sticks were enough. Today everyone wants the latest gadgets and they miss out on the simple things. And I know now when I think I am having a bad day, I think of all the children, who don’t have enough to eat, with the smiling faces, playing with their sticks and rocks, I realize I don’t know what a bad day is.

    • 11
      Amy
      Follow on Twitter: ResourcefulMom
      says:

      Amy, what you said is exactly true. We have bad moments in our days, tough challenges to overcome while surrounded by comforts and luxuries. We have forgotten the difference between a need and a want. This trip has been life changing and I hope to convey that to those around me.

  6. 12
    Steve Jones says:

    “Yet her words were lifted up, filled with Hope.” Wow, how many times I have heard words like that on a Compassion trip. I love how you were able to communicate that feeling, those words that are almost whispered.

  7. 14
    MarcieMom
    Follow on Twitter: MarcieMom
    says:

    Hi! My husband sponsor Compassion and I’ve designed and printed for free and sent 10,000 Swahili bookmarks to Africa through various missionaries. I’ve also helped a missionary friend set up a christian library in Tanzania. Let me know if the children would like the bookmarks, I’ll print more if need to.
    MarcieMom recently posted..40 of the 101 things that Moms with Eczema Child do Differently – I’m not Blind!

  8. 16

    Thank you for sharing about the hope! What a blessing to know that Compassion is making a difference for so many of these children!
    Yvonne recently posted..Travel to Tanzania!

    • 17
      Amy
      Follow on Twitter: ResourcefulMom
      says:

      Thank you, Yvonne, for reading and for supporting our journey through your comment.

  9. 18

    wonderful. god bless u for this work!

  10. 20

    Saw your tweet on Twitter and loved your post because we’ve sponsored Compassion kids for over a decade! Very cool you are in Tanzania to see & support them.
    Just found out I’m headed to Haiti for a week this summer to assist a mission group–am eager and humble to serve on my first mission trip. Safe travels to you. @javamoi

  11. 21

    Want you to know that your blog inspired me to sponsor a child from this project. Proud new sponsor of Grace age 6 :) Excited to write and get to know her! :) thank you for sharing your wonderful blog!

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