Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sponsorship Changes... Hair Color?




After having received a raise a few years ago, I found myself looking through the Compassion website for another child to sponsor.

Photo after photo, dark haired children with gorgeous brown eyes stared back, hopeful. Then, the unexpected. I stumbled upon the profile of little girl with a mop of reddish curls, and I was captivated. I was married to a redhead with a mop of curls, and our daughter has a hint of red in her hair. She'd fit right in with out family!

Shaking my head, I thought to myself that it seemed so silly to pick a child based on hair color. I kept looking, but image after image, all I could see in my heart was this little girl named Emily, from the country of Honduras, with tired eyes, a sweet grin and that coppery hair...




I showed her photo to my husband, saying "Look, she's just like you!" He grinned, shook his head, and gave me that "... are you seriously considering another sponsorship, we can't have them all, you know?!?" look. Even unspoken, it was a rhetorical question.

I showed her to the kids, and they agreed on how unusual it seemed, but how sweet and precious she was... and that we should sponsor her. It's in the genes, what can I say?!


After much prayer and consideration, we made the commitment to sponsor Emily. The relationship through the letters seemed extra special and so personal. Our families really connected, especially Emily's mom and I. It was great to see them thriving and getting to know them over time.



Then, the unexpected happened. The next photo update we received from Compassion was of Emily, with alert brown eyes, the same sweet face.... and dark brown hair!



We were baffled, but we could see that it was her, we would have recognized her face anywhere.

Sweet little Emily was no longer our little red headed curly top... she had grown into a beautiful brown haired beauty.

The letters continued, the love grew, and once more with the next photo, her hair darkened.

In January of this year, we were notified that Emily had left the Compassion program when her family became financially stable enough to move to another area not served by Compassion. We were so sad to say goodbye to the family we had grown to love so much, and yet encouraged by the hope the future held for this precious family.

I did my best to remind the children that the sponsorship helped her, no matter how long we had with her, and that we needed to pray that the impact we'd had would stretch through the years into her adulthood... just as the impact she'd had on us would last.

Still, it seemed hard to find closure.


Thankfully, God provides... He even provides closure.


He taught us a short while later that sponsorship HAD made an incredible impact on sweet little Emily beyond what we had realized.

We had proof already, but hadn't realized it.

Sponsorship changed her hair color.



Excuse me??


Emily's hair color was red due as a result of severe malnutrition. She was so nutritionally depleted that her hair color had turned to a coppery shade of red.


I thought of the kids and how miserable they are when they get a cold, or my own struggle with my health, but never has our hair color changed from our health issues. Imagine how unwell one must feel if their body is impacted to the point that their hair color changes? Jesus come quickly...



My heart broke, and yet, it couldn't help but rejoice... Although I had no idea when we chose her because of her hair color that this would end up being significant, God knew. God knew we'd never forget the impact we made and that we'd be encouraged to begin another sponsorship in Emily's place.


Emily has been, and always will be a beautiful reminder of the following:



That we can make a difference...

That something like hair color may seem silly, but to never underestimate the things God uses to catch our attention...

To not take our health for granted, and be grateful even when we don't feel well...

The harsh realities of poverty...

The importance of Compassion's program...


And the difference sponsorship makes.... even to one little girl's hair color.








Canadian? For sponsorship please click here, or email me at JD (at) beyondmeasure (dot) me.
For sponsorship from the U.S.A., here is the link to kids waiting for sponsors.












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4 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I was touched by this story. Jolaine will certainly remember that growing up, my hair was very curly and redish-brown. I never used to like it and I've spent alot of money over the years on hair colours. But, to think that I change my hair color "just because" when this little girl had red hair because she was ill...makes me feel vain. Think of how many children I could've sponsored over the years with the money I've spent on my hair alone!

As soon as I finished reading this message, I logged on to the Compassion site and chose a child to sponsor! I had always wanted to do help a child in need but never knew which organization to choose. Like so many people I would wonder: How do I my money is going to the right place? But I would tell myself, we waste money in so many different ways on a weekly basis, why not take the chance anyhow?

But with Compassion, I don't have that worry. I know Jolaine, her mother has told me about it as well, I've read the blogs, shared stories, learned more about Compassion...I now know for sure. My 51 dollars will make a difference!!!

Just this month, I too had a little pay increase and that extra is now going to Christian Raniel Teodoro from the Philippines!!! I'm so excited that I'm heading out right now to go buy him things that he would appreciate and needs.

Thank you to this sponsor for sharing her personal story which finally gave me the push to becoming a Compassion Sponsor. :)

Solange.

JD said...

Solange...

It's been so many years, it's so good to hear from you!!! I most certainly remember your gorgeous hair, it's unforgettable -- I have always loved it, but did not realize that you didn't love it as much.

Your perspective and your story really touched my heart. I love that the experience I shared about our Emily spoke to you personally and helped you make the commitment to sponsor. I still had so many stories, posts and photos to share from Honduras, but I felt prompted to write about Emily... now I understand... God knew. His perfect timing, again.

It's when it becomes personal for us that it has the most impact on us, isn't it? I never would have imagined that someone would connect this post to their own story about the color of their hair, much less make the connection with the funds they had spent on hair color. I will never, ever forget this. Thank you for this gift...


If there is something that sponsorship has taught me, it's that it is life changing for BOTH the sponsors and the sponsored child, so it is with great joy that I celebrate the beginnings of this life changing decision with you. I'm so excited both for you and for Christian, I can't wait to hear more as you begin to communicate with him. If you have any questions or need any support, please know that I will be here in any way that I can.

Compassion is an amazing organization, and their financial stewardship is extremely well respected. They've just won their ninth consecutive four star rating, they're the best of the best. I have zero concerns about how they run their organization, I stand behind them 100%. You've made the right decision, all the way.



WELCOME to the Compassion Family, and again, congratulations on making the choice to expand your heart and your family to include Christian and his family.

Jill Foley said...

What a great story! hair color....God works in the most unusual ways, doesn't he?

Jen Silverman said...

I love this story and it is awesome how people shared how it touched their hearts as well. I had prayed that God would give me His heart for His people and He has in a big way! I have now made a commitment to sponsor several children and stick with them, even if it gets hard. In the past, I had sponsored children, but then was not able to keep up with it. Now, I see that this is a serious commitment and I want to bring God the glory and stick with them throughout the program. They deserve God's best and they deserve a solid commitment, as they are the children of the Most High King. It is a privilege to be involved this way. I just wrote a blog post about how God answered my prayers related to this and how I want to sponsor so many children, so I am now sharing the children I have seen that need a sponsor on my blog- please check it out and pray for them!

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