A: Nearly 4.5 years.
Q: Why did you choose to sponsor with JMI?
A: Five years ago, someone had given me a daily devotional book. While I was reading it one day, the author started talking about his involvement in JMI. I was pretty intrigued at the prospect of helping kids not just financially but also by taking an interest in them and encouraging them through exchanging letters, so I checked out the organization and decided to join the party. I really appreciated the personal aspect of it. As a teacher and coach, I love the personal interactions with my students and players – it’s one of the best aspects of my job. One of the areas where JMI does a great job is helping you see the face of someone you’re helping. They take a hypothetical good – helping someone, somewhere – and embody it into helping this kid in that place. And it’s not a one-way deposit; it’s a two-lane bridge that they help you to build with that child. It’s a powerful experience.
Q: Is there something God has taught you through your sponsorship?
A: I started giving to JMI as a way to bless a kid far away who could use the help. It struck me that $40 a month to me meant way less than $40 to that kid and his family. Additionally, I could also take an interest in and encourage the students I sponsored by writing letters. The pairing of those two strategies seemed like a powerful opportunity to bless these vulnerable children. And then a funny thing happened – what I saw as a means to bless others became a source of blessing for me. When I started receiving those Conversation Update emails from JMI, I grew eager to read the notes from the children I was sponsoring and to see their latest photos.
There’s this one child I’ve been sponsoring for a couple of years named Vitalie. He seems like the sweetest kid. In one letter he wrote, “I will pray for you to God every day. Hope that we will meet each other one day and I will hug you tight.” I’m over here in the States – blessed with financial means and health and people who love me – trying to help someone who’s born into a far tougher set of circumstances. And this kid flips the script on me! He’s praying for ME. And then he goes and writes about wanting to meet one day and giving a big ol’ hug? Moments like that are pretty sweet. And wouldn’t it be just like God to call us in obedience to love and serve others, and when we do that earnestly, this blessing of deep goodness is there, hidden, waiting for us?
Q: What do you think is the greatest benefit that your sponsored child receives through this program?
A: Over the years I’ve seen a few of the students I support exit the program. They either aged out or came to a place in life where they felt comfortable moving forward without extra assistance. That seems to me to be the impact – in a small way building a hedge of protection around them during their most vulnerable years so that one day they can stand strong on their own two feet. We all need the right blend of nurture and challenge – too much of either and we suffer greatly. The ultimate goal is to grow into people who are able to endure the difficulties of the world without becoming jaded because we’re anchored in the goodness of God as a fundamental reality. Habakkuk 3:19 (NIV) says, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” God’s hand of compassion and protection strengthens us, giving us the confidence to tread the heights. If a few of my dollars and letters can afford that same blessing to another, then I’m all in.
Whether it’s a package providing for basic needs, a special birthday box with ping pong paddles and a soccer ball, or a letter from someone 2,000 miles away telling a kid that she’s loved and noticed and cared for, this is the Good News at work.
Q: If there is someone considering a commitment to sponsoring a child for the first time, is there any encouragement you’d like to give them?
A: Do it. We’re never impoverished by giving. Our job is to obediently step into the current of God’s love and then see what happens next. If true religion is taking care of widows and orphans, if it’s looking out for the vulnerable and needy, then JMI is crushing it. I’m grateful to them for how easy they make it to join in the great work they’re doing in spreading the Gospel to kids and families overseas. Whether it’s a package providing for basic needs, a special birthday box with ping pong paddles and a soccer ball, or a letter from someone 2,000 miles away telling a kid that she’s loved and noticed and cared for, this is the Good News at work. It’s all pointing to the endless abundance and generosity of our heavenly Father who wants nothing more than to lavish His peace, joy, hope, and love on us, His beloved children.
Learn more about what it means to be a sponsor in our Complete Guide to Child Sponsorship.
Are you ready to change a child’s life, as well as your own? Find a child to sponsor here: