It just so happened….

I don’t believe too strongly in coincidences.  I think things happen for a reason and can be used for God’s purposes.  This is especially true when it comes to my experiences with child sponsorship and Compassion.

I’m always fascinated by the process of selecting a child to sponsor.  Some people search for a child from a particular country.  Some are looking for a specific gender, age, or birth date.  A lot of times I hear this phrase, “Something about him/her just spoke to me”.  So many sponsorship stories could be told with the phrase, “I just happened to…, there just happened to be…, etc.  I know better.  The God who knows every detail about me and you is the same God who knows everything about each of these children waiting for sponsors.  I believe He knows their every need and He knows who their sponsor is.

This past week I had the privilege of working at the sponsorship table for two events,  Stand Strong with Nick Vujicic and Living Proof Live with Beth Moore.  If you haven’t heard of Nick you need to head over to YouTube and watch some of his message.  Nick was born without arms and legs.  He has dedicated himself to sharing God’s message of love, forgiveness, and hope around the world.  He never cuts corners when declaring his faith and how God has changed his life.  God is using Nick in a great way!nick

I always try to find a child who’s birthday is on the day of the event I am working and put it out front and center on the table.  At Nick’s event I couldn’t find one for that day, but I found a little boy who’s birthday was the next day.  Since this was our first event with Nick our goal was more about presence and awareness than high numbers of sponsorships.  There were two children sponsored that evening.  One of them “just so happened” to be the little boy from Africa with the birthday coming up.  As his new sponsor was filling out the forms I came to this realization:  in Africa, where this little boy lived it was already the next day.  God did indeed provide him with a sponsor, and it happened on his birthday!

At Living Proof Live, we rejoiced that 119 children were sponsored!  Again, there were sponsorship stories that made it undeniable that our God is working out everything according to His plan.

One woman asked if we had any children from Brazil to sponsor since she didn’t see any on the table.  I told her that Brazil was one of the countries that we worked in and I sat a box full of packets on the table and began searching through them.  After a few moments and no Brazil I asked, “And there were none on the table, right?”  She said no and then immediately said, “Wait a minute!  It’s right there in front of my nose.”  Sitting on the table in front of both of us was a little girl from Brazil.  I discovered that this woman was from Brazil and after looking at the information we found that the little girl lived not too far from where this woman had grown up.  Smiles all around!

cindy

However this has to be one of my favorite stories.  This is Cindy. I asked permission to share her photo and story with you and she happily agreed. I was at the table taking sponsorship forms and answering questions and saw her speaking with the Compassion rep. She was holding a packet and ready to fill out the info. She told us that she had attended conferences and concerts in the past, but never felt particularly led to sponsor. This year she said that she prayed that if God wanted her to sponsor a child that he would lead her to the right child and make it obvious. Cindy had adopted a boy from the Philippines. He is now 17 years old. In her hand she held a packet for a little 9 year old boy from the Philippines. This little boy had the same first name as her son! As icing on the cake….he had the SAME BIRTHDAY as her son!  We all agreed that God could not have spoken more clearly.

No matter how a person chooses a child to sponsor,  I’ve got to believe God has His hand on it.  Maybe He’s already chosen you to be a sponsor of a precious little boy or girl.  He knows their name, knows their joys & fears, and knows that what they need is you.  All you have to do is say YES!

 Sponsor a child today!

It’s my Birthday, and I’m shamelessly asking for….

IMG_7146

Wednesday, Aug. 13th is my 39th birthday.  It’s not my “39th birthday, because I’ve actually passed 40 and can’t bring myself to say it” birthday.  It really is my 39th birthday.  One more year in my 30’s!   I’ve got a great family, great friends, and most of all a GREAT God.  I’ve been to Africa this year, and had my world opened up and changed forever!  Life is good!

So what do I want for my birthday?  If I’m honest, it turns out that I really don’t need a thing.  If I could wish for something, I would wish that Ebola and all these other horrible diseases were wiped off the face of the earth, but I can’t.  Here’s one thing that I can do….in fact, we can do together.  I’ve been promoting Compassion’s Bite Back against Malaria campaign this summer.  Many of you have donated and together we have raised $315 toward the prevention of malaria.  To everyone who has given I send you my most sincere thanks.  There’s still more time however, and that’s what I would like for my birthday. 

Ebola is ravaging East Africa and almost 1,000 people have died, but did you know that 1,000 children will die TODAY from the effects of malaria.  It’s 100% preventable!  That may be the real tragedy.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  $10 will provide a treated net to a family living under the threat of malaria.

To donate to Bite Back you can pop over to our Hack Pack Bite Back page by clicking here.

Maybe you don’t like to mess with online donations, credit cards, and the like, but you want to join us.  Find me at church tomorrow.  Got a dollar? Got five? Got a quarter?  I don’t really care about the amount.  I take every little amount and send it to Compassion.  Let’s see what we can do working together.  

So to sum up…….I’m shamelessly asking you to give for my birthday.  Actually I’m just asking you to give.  Not because it’s my birthday….that’s just a fun side note.  Give because God’s given to you.  Give because no mother should have to bury their child because of malaria.  Give because we have all been given way more than we need.  Give.

Bite Back with the Hack Pack!

My Inspiration…

I love Compassion International.  If you spend more than 2 seconds on this blog that should be evident.  I am a volunteer child advocate for Compassion and I love to share with people how they can help change the world through child sponsorship.  Currently my family and I are sponsors to two beautiful girls. Mwajuma from Tanzania & Wannaporn from Thailand.  I also correspond with 9 other children from all over the world for Compassion.  They are our international family and we love them.

But what made me take that first step to sponsor a child?  For years I had done like a lot of people I know.  I would attend a concert or conference, hear the artist or speaker talk about sponsoring a child, avoid eye contact with anyone passing out a packet, and then go about my merry little way.  Sponsorship came up in conversation with my husband occasionally, but it was always connected to these words…some day.  Some day when we are making more money, some day when this bill is paid off, some day I think it would be good to sponsor a child.

That all changed in 2008.  That year Compassion took a group of bloggers to Uganda.  One of them was Carlos Whittaker.  I was a regular reader of Carlos’ blog and enjoyed his gift for weaving words and sentences into blog posts that were challenging and full of authenticity.  I read his words and watched the video updates.  I began to read blog posts from others in the group, but the photos were what grabbed my attention.  As a photographer, I love how a good photograph can capture a moment, convey an emotion, and move an individual.  That’s what happened to me.  The photographs began to move me to action.

uganda08

Photo: Compassionbloggers.com

2470758635_d66b1f02b0_o

Photo: CompassionBloggers.com

God spoke very clearly and said it was time that “some day” became “TODAY”.  My husband agreed and with our children we chose to sponsor little 9-year old Mwajuma from Tanzania.

C_IMG_8771

That move from “some day” to “today” started me on an incredible journey.  We began writing and building a relationship with this special girl.  “Some day” again made its way into my vocabulary when I thought about sponsoring a 2nd child.  In 2012, God clearly said again “TODAY”, and we became the sponsors of Wannaporn from Thailand.

I kept following the various Compassion blogging trips through the years and was inspired over and over by the beautiful photographs.  Some conveying hardships, some conveying joy, but all conveying the hope that can be found by releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

IMG_0967

Earlier this year God blessed me with the opportunity to create my own inspiration.  I traveled on a sponsor tour to Tanzania.  After 6 years of seeing our precious Mwajuma only in photographs, I got to hug, laugh, and just be with her.

IMG_1617

I got to see first hand the difference that sponsorship makes not only in the life of a child, but also in their family and community.   I have many photographs from those incredible 12 days.  Photographs to remember wonderful memories and hopefully to inspire a whole group of new sponsors.

IMG_0568 IMG_0562 IMG_0536 IMG_0461

Want to know more about sponsoring a child through Compassion International?  Click here

The Pack is Growing!

$315!!!!  That’s where The Hack Pack Bite Back campaign sits right now.  It’s great!  That’s enough to purchase over 30 treated mosquito nets.  30 changed families….30 chances to protect against a deadly illness that claims the lives of over 2,000 children each day!

30

Thank you so much to everyone who has given so far!  However I feel that we’re just getting the ball rolling.  Social media has an amazing reach.  In the past week this blog has received hits from not only the U.S. but Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, and even Saudi Arabia!!  We’ve had donations from friends, family, my Compassion travelling buddies and fellow Compassion sponsors, high school classmates, and even some I don’t even know personally.

So to everyone who has shared this on Facebook or Twitter….Thanks!   Spreading the word is great and I am extremely grateful, but I also want to ask one more thing.  To everyone who is reading this….please consider donating to the Bite Back campaign.  That’s where the real difference is made!  We can work together to make a life-saving difference!  One person (me) can’t do it alone.  But with my family and friends and their family & friends & co-worker’s & neighbors & Twitter followers & Facebook friends……the sky is the limit!

0801RW_0562

$10 provides a treated mosquito net for a family living with the threat of malaria, but a donation of ANY amount would be greatly appreciated.

Join the Hack Pack and Bite Back!  Click Here to Donate!

The Wait is Over

If you are a Compassion sponsor, watch this video and know that you are making such a difference in the life of a child, their family, and community.  If you are not a sponsor, watch this video and see what $38 a month, your letters, prayers, & love can do.

So little for so much.  We have been given so much….will we share it with those who have so little.  Yes, the money will go a long way to providing educational, health, social, and spiritual help.  More important is the chance to build a relationship with a child who needs to know that poverty does not define them, to know that they are of great worth, and to know that there is hope.

I have 5 children that need sponsors.  I will have their packets until July 18th.  If you’ve ever wanted to know more about Compassion, I’d love to talk with you.  My e-mail is dhhackney@sbcglobal.net.

composit

Maybe you would like to be involved in helping children in another way.  Join my family and I as we support Bite Back.  Bite Back focuses on malaria prevention throughout the world through education & providing treated mosquito nets to families living with this dangerous threat.  $10 will provide a net, but any donation will go a long way to helping prevent this deadly disease that claims the lives of 2,000 children EACH DAY!

BITE BACK WITH THE HACK PACK!  CLICK HERE

Remember, one person can not change the entire world,
but you can change the world for one child! 

How can it be enough?

Last Saturday I received several pieces of mail from Compassion.  I took a break and sat down to read my “Happy Mail”.  The last letter was from 9-year old Godfrey in Uganda.  The front page of the form letter told me about his village and community.  I flipped the letter over and was stopped cold by this: IMG_2990Godfrey was writing to tell me that his mother had died in April.  Tears immediately began to fall and I sat in silence clutching the letter praying and mourning for him.  This little boy who is only 1 1/2 weeks younger than my daugher had already lost his father before I had began to write to him.  Now he was an orphan. I wondered what illness had taken his mother’s life.  Was is AIDS?  Was it malaria?  I will probably never know.  I soon sat down and wrote him a letter.  What do you say to someone so young who has lost so much?  I told him that I loved him.  I told him how sad I was.  I reassured him that God knew how he was feel and the He loved him.  I wrote scripture from Psalms.  I made a “hug” to send him using my hand prints and sent a photo of me holding his “hug”. IMG_317copy7 I placed it all in an envelope and held it tightly, prayed over it, and dropped it in the mail slot.  As I left the post office I though of how it seemed insufficient.  I wondered how it could ever be enough.  God gently reminded me that it was.  Even though all I had to offer was feebly written words, they were penned in love and written besides the unchangeable truth from God’s Word…and that made it enough. God reminded me of just how much power words have….both healing words and hurtful words.  Proverbs 12:8 states that, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing”  Word of encouragement to a child have great power.  It’s why I have committed to writing to children all over the world. If I hadn’t been reminded of the importance of what I do as a Compassion advocate and correspondent by that point, God had one more reminder for me that day.  As I pulled into the parking lot of my next destination, Audio Adrenaline’s “Kings & Queens” began playing.  These lyrics came from my speakers.

Little hands, shoeless feet, lonely eyes looking back at me Will we leave behind the innocent too brief On their own, on the run when their lives have only begun These could be our daughters and our sons And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating I know my God won’t let them be defeated Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Break our hearts once again Help us to remember when We were only children hoping for a friend Won’t you look around these are the lives that the world has forgotten Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open

Boys become kings, girls will be queens Wrapped in Your majesty  When we love, when we love the least of these Then they will be brave and free Shout your name in victory When we love when we love the least of these

So to those people who saw someone at the farmer’s market wandering around with a tear-stained face, sorry, but I had just had a holy moment with my God. UG4280278 And to Godfrey…You may wonder how it’s possible that someone on the other side of the world who has only spoken to you in a handful of letters can love you so much.  It’s because God placed you into my life and into my heart.  We may never get to meet face to face, but I commit to continue to pray for you, and to write words of encouragement to you.  I will keep your precious letter close.  It will serve to be a reminder to me of the ministry that God has for me to do.  I won’t let you down.