Every few months, I receive the information on a few Compassion children that are in need of a sponsor. These children are not available anywhere else but through me, their Advocate.
Right now, I have 14 of these precious children in my care, all of them living in extreme poverty, all of them waiting for a sponsor to call their own.
Even though I care and pray for each and every one of these children, and I work hard to find them a great sponsor... this time, I am searching for a particular kind of sponsor for a specific little girl.
Meet Berling De Los Angeles, a precious 4 year old girl from Nicaragua. Berling helps her family by carrying water, gathering firewood, and running errands. She lives with her mother, and her mother isn't employed. She has two siblings. She loves to play with dolls.
The information on Berling is fairly typical, but her photo isn't. Not to me.
When I looked at Berling's photo, it hit me immediately.
Something's not right.
In the first glance, perhaps what struck me the most was the juxtaposition of her pure white bride-like wedding dress against the desolate backdrop of poverty.
I took a closer look.
Take a look with me, beyond the photo... look at this child. What do you see? (For a closer look, click on the photo.)
I am startled to see hair that I would expect to be jet black... I know from when we sponsored Emily that just as Compassion can change a child's hair color, so can poverty and malnutrition.
It would be tempting to assume that perhaps this child is simply a blonde haired little girl, and that nothing's amiss...
You see her face.
Compare it to 3 year old Belen from Peru, also in my care until July 31st...
Do you see the difference?
Not only is Belen more healthy in terms of proportionate body size for her age, but Belen's countenance is completely different.
The hopelessness is missing.
I feel very strongly about finding each and every one of these deserving children a sponsor who will care for them, help provide for them, build a relationship with them, and most of all, love them...
... but I need something more for Berling. I need a sponsor who will be very attentive and proactive, a sponsor who will write faithfully and regularly, a sponsor who will advocate for her and watch carefully for signs that may point to something deeper affecting her health and wellbeing, including the potential that she may be abused.
I know that this sounds like a lot to draw from a photo... but there is a reason I feel so strongly about this.
Beyond the photo, there is something heartbreakingly familiar about her.
That look on her face, without words, describes exactly how I felt as a victim of child abuse. I could be wrong -- but how many people didn't advocate for me on the chance that they might have been wrong on their suspicions? So many people suspected or knew, and backed away from the responsibility. Even the police. Am I willing to make that mistake with her? NO.
Whether you're already an active sponsor or have never sponsored a child before... if you can see beyond the photo to what I see, and feel a burden on your heart for Berling, please contact me before the end of July. If you are not in Canada, I will have her file transferred to you.
I have already committed to another sponsorship this month, so it may very well be that God doesn't intend for me to sponsor Berling, even though I feel so very strongly about her.
Perhaps He is simply asking me to advocate for her because of how strongly I feel.
Perhaps she will be my 14th sponsorship.
Perhaps, you have read this and already know that she is yours.
Perhaps, like Michelle's sponsorship of Kwagala (check out the story here!), the CompassionCan blog family can come together in a group sponsorship of Berling.
I don't know yet what His answer is. Our role is to advocate and pray for all children at all times. Beyond that, it becomes a question of whether we will keep praying for them, or whether we will be the answer to their prayers.