So this has been an exciting weekend for me as I and my family have had the opportunity to learn about the great work that is taking place out there to see peoples lives restored and freedom given through an interactive experience with the charity Compassion and then hearing from an IJM representative who was speaking to us about Freedom Sunday yesterday at church.
On Saturday I had signed us up to go and take a look around an interactive experience with Compassion that I had heard about through members of our church. Compassion is a Christian charity that sponsors children all over the world, from varying different backgrounds with varying different struggles, but all who live in poverty. By sponsoring a child through Compassion you don’t just see a child being helped and provided for, but you also get to become part of that child’s life. You can write to them and upload photos online as well as drawings and pictures and Compassion print these out and pass them on. Your sponsored child also writes to you to let you know how life is going and you begin to build a relationship together. The money you give each month ensures that these children are brought into a school system that lovingly provides for each child and meets them where their needs are. They have regular meals and medical treatment and it is the start of a whole new life for a child that gets sponsored. I first sponsored a child when I left university and he has just turned 16 years old this year. I went onto sponsor a little girl who was is now 14 and as a family we started to sponsor an older boy just a few years ago who is now 15. It has been a privilege to walk with these three children and be part of their lives and to watch their journeys. We have their photos up on the wall at home and talk to the children about who they are and explain why they need both our help and our prayers and why they are a blessing to us in return.
The interactive experience was a massive lorry which had two different entrances and each entrance had the name of a child sign posted outside, Shamim and Sameson. We were provided with an iPod and head sets and once we were all plugged in and ready to go we started our journey with the first child, Shamim and then went on to hear Sameson’s story. There were five rooms and each room told a part of the story. The voice telling the story that we were listening to was the voice of the actual child, now grown up, telling us their story from beginning to end. Both stories, whilst very different from each other, told of the same amazing transformation in their lives: Compassion. For different reasons Compassion stepped into these two children’s lives and not only did they transform the life they were living, but by the time they were fully grown they decided to work with Compassion to help other children through the same difficulties. What was also heart warmingly brought into the retelling of these stories, was the powerful impact the child’s sponsor had on their lives, from the prayers they said to the letters they wrote. Shamim, even though fully grown and out of the Compassion project is still in touch with her sponsor now.
Both these children were from Ethiopia and at the end of your experience you have the opportunity to sponsor a child from Ethiopia if you would like. The Compassion representatives, whilst obviously wanting to see as many children as possible sponsored, were not pushy about getting you to do this, it was very much an opportunity for you to choose to take or not. We had only been through Shamim’s story, with Sameson’s still to come, when we began discussing if we were going to sponsor one more or two more! Suddenly every letter my sponsored children have ever written came bursting to life in colour and I am so thankful for the opportunity we had to learn more about the lives of these children and the work Compassion do. We decided that we wanted the children to be involved in another sponsorship and decided it would be easiest for them to sponsor one more child and that it would be their sponsored child for them to write to and send pictures to. Our kids are only young still and we felt the responsibility of writing to two might overwhelm them and result in me doing it all and we really want them to be part of this. They had a great time at the experience and seemed to take it all in. When we had our prayer time in the car on our way to school my daughter prayed for “all the children like Shamim and Sameson who need love and help”, so I feel excited that its taken root in her little heart.
Then on Sunday Andy Bevan who is the Scottish representative for International Justice Mission (who I have written a lot about) came to speak to us yesterday which was Freedom Sunday, a day when the fight to end modern slavery is brought to the publics attention to learn about and to be given the opportunity to stand up and fight this fight. International Justice Mission are the biggest charity in the world fighting slavery and to hear about the work they do (even though I know so much of it already!) again just re lit this fire in my belly to stand up and say “NO” to slavery, “NO” to bondage, “NO” to trafficking, and “YES” to fighting the good fight, “YES” to giving a voice to those without a voice, “YES” to ending slavery. Please go to the IJM website and find out more about the work they do and please take a walk around my blog to learn more about what we can do and what others are already doing.
Here is a link to the Compassion experience and you can see if the lorry is near you and what dates you can go yourself-it is well worth it!
Here is the link to IJM’s website