Guest Post: I Cancelled My Sponsorship by:Brianne McKoy
Hello, my name is Brianne and I cancelled my Compassion sponsorship.
File that tidbit right under, the thing I didn’t want any of my co-workers to know. And definitely something I didn’t want you to know.
But I am currently suspended in the air, wrapped up in a metal vessel, headed back to a country that haunts me. Peru.
Peru, the first country I visited outside of the United States. Peru, my first overseas mission trip. Peru, the first place I saw the beach.
The country I sponsored my first Compassion child.
I don’t live in the age when jazz is on its rise, a hot scene. Or when the industry is booming.
I live in the “social injustice” age.
When I was in college poverty, social injustice, and the depravity of the world was hot. It was burn-your-heart hot.
Most of my friends were involved in missions work and worked to bring awareness to our campus.
When I was in college the question wasn’t,
“What company do you want to work for when you graduate?”
“What mission field are you going to move to?”
I think technology had a huge role in this. All of a sudden Africa, Asia and South America weren’t a faraway land. It had people, and we saw their pictures. It had statistics, and we could look them up.
It wasn’t a world away, it was one Hotwire or Cheap Tickets purchase away.
When I was in college, I wanted to get out. I wanted to go help. I wanted to be the solution. Not the ignorance. Not the problem.
Amidst this I went on a mission trip to Peru. A rip-my-heart-out trip, an “I don’t think I ever cried on that trip, never, not even after I came back home because I was afraid I’d never stop crying” kind of trip.
And then I went to a conference and heard about Compassion.
I marched myself directly to a table after I heard a Compassion Leadership Development Student speak. I looked and looked and looked at the pictures and there she was. A girl from Peru. That day I became her sponsor.
I was told that I could write her letters and she would write me too. I was told she would know she now has a sponsor. Shortly after the conference I received materials from Compassion about their program and their financial integrity.
Quickly, too quickly, I forgot about what that Compassion student said. I was sure that it was not truly her writing me letters. A girl in poverty? Writing me?
And Compassion somehow keeps track of that? And gets the letter to me? And then takes the time to process and translate my letter and get it to her? Um, right. But thanks for the warm fuzzies.
A few years later I decided to cancel my sponsorship.
The problem with the burn I experienced from all the social injustice hype in college was that I only let it burn me, not brand me.
After awhile I was all of a sudden graduating college. I was going to be dropped from health insurance. Oh my gosh. I needed to pay for health insurance. And then there was the real growing up.
Several of my friends did go to the mission field. But I didn’t feel that pull anymore. I needed to get a job. I needed to pay bills. I needed health insurance.
And then one day I realized I didn’t believe in what Compassion was doing. I never researched the ministry. I never read the materials they sent me. I barely even read the letters from my sponsored child.
So, I cancelled. Surely, she wouldn’t know. I mean, she didn’t even know I existed. Right?
Years later, God did call me to minister to the poor in Thailand. And then He called me to work at Compassion.
I remember when I started working here thinking, “And now I will see the underbelly of a ministry that so many people I know support.”
I’ve almost been here for five years. I now have two sponsored children. I believe in what Compassion does. I know my sponsored children know my name. And I know they read my letters.
Now, I’m branded. I’m not branded by hype or an emerging movement. I am not even branded by Compassion. I am branded by the heart of God.
He showed me the beat of His heart. He showed me that He is close to the poor. I want to be close to Him. I want to be close to whatever it is that He is close to – even if it means being in the throes of too many, “will I ever stop crying? It’s all so much to take in” sessions.
The problem is, not everyone reads the mail they receive. Or looks up information on the ministry they support.
In fact, once in a marketing meeting I was asked,
“What can we do to really bring the reality of Compassion’s ministry to the hearts of people?”
I thought and thought about it and I could only respond with two answers. It wasn’t sending more mail. It wasn’t pushing people to get online and research us. It was either to hire everyone to work at Compassion (which is how my Compassion conversion happened) or to take every sponsor to the field. That was it.
Thankfully, in a room I wasn’t in, a few brilliant people decided that we do need to take people on trips. Trips that people who can’t go on trips could follow. And thus the birth of Compassion blog trips. You might not actually get to board the plane and walk through the villages but it is so very close.
When you follow a blog trip you see through the eyes of several different bloggers and you read what they have to say about Compassion’s ministry.
They are in the field asking the hard questions, going through filing cabinets, asking about how finances are handled. They are faithfully conveying, the best they can, about what this thing called Compassion is and where God is in all of it.
Have you cancelled your sponsorship? Do you want to? Or have you thought about it? Do you have questions about letter writing, financial integrity, and what people without a filter have to say as they put Compassion under a microscope? Then follow them.
In fact, you can follow them this week. I know they’ll be tackling some of these questions in Peru.
If you are a sponsor, do you remember why you’re a sponsor? Are you branded by God and His heart for the poor?
Your heart for the poor can only carry you so far. My heart for the poor led me to cancel a sponsorship.
I am so happy that I got the information about Carlos today. He is the child we are sponsoring through Compassion International. I will be posting more about him soon but I wanted to let you know about a contest my friends over at Compassion are running on Pinterest. Check it out here.
Please meet Carlos Alberto Chuquipoma Huacha, born May 18, 2007.
How have you been? I am doing great these days. I’m sorry I don’t write or call as often as should. My schedule has been crazy lately which of course means I should be talking to you more rather than less.
I wanted to drop you a note though about Compassion International. I have been aware of and involved with them for a little over a year now and I am truly amazed at the things you have been able to accomplish through them. I don’t mean to imply that your actions surprise me but in this ever busy world to see your light shine through in others and their selfless actions is always inspiring. Thank you for that.
I am always saddened though each time I browse the Compassion International website and see the thousands in need. I can only imagine there are countless others that we are still unaware of that have not been reached.
It also breaks my heart to see that little red heart on the picture of those that have been on the list for more than 90 days. I pray that you will send them a sponsor soon.
God, part of my reason for writing today is to ask your forgiveness for my own hesitation in sponsoring a child. I could give a thousand excuses but there really is no excuse for what is ultimately laziness and selfishness on my part. You have given me so much. You have given me the means to provide for my family above and beyond our needs and I have neglected your call to share just a small portion of that with a child in desperate need. I am sorry.
So, as I’m sure you know, I have finally chosen a child to sponsor. Thank you for bringing Carlos into my life. I can’t wait to get the information packet so I can get to know him better. I also hope to meet Carlos some day when I return to Peru. I am so honored and thankful for the opportunity to help by sponsoring him. Thank you, Lord for the blessing of being able to serve another this way.
As always, thank you for everything.
How about a little prayer and petition…
I’ve had people ask me about Compassion International so I thought I’d take a moment to help you better understand what it is and what you can do to help.
- DON’T STOP READING YET!!
I’m not asking for money, only a little of your time. Below are some of the common questions and answers from the Compassion International FAQ web page. Before you read on though I’m asking one simple request of you. During the month of September (and longer if you choose) take a moment each day to go to the Compassion International website select one or more children and just pray for them. It may seem like a simple request but it is so important. I understand not everyone can afford to sponsor a child. But, everyone can afford to add a minute or two each day to their prayer time. Of course, please pray that someone would be called to sponsor the children you select but more importantly, pray for the salvation and safety of them and their families. Pray for their education especially in God’s Word. Also, pray for those that are blessed with the ability to give financially and support a child, because not all of us are gifted in that way. Pray that they would be faithful and obedient and cheerful. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). That’s all I ask, simply pray… “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
Here’s the FAQ’s:
What is Compassion International?
Compassion International is a Christian child development organization dedicated to releasing children from poverty. Our ministry is twofold: We work through local churches to provide child development programs to deliver children from economic, physical, social and spiritual poverty, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. And we speak out for children in poverty – informing, motivating and equipping others to become advocates for children.
How does Compassion work?
The hallmark of Compassion’s work is one-to-one child sponsorship. A sponsor is someone who has made the decision to personally invest in the life of a child in need. Through sponsorship, children are able to participate in a church-based program that offers life-changing benefits that range from educational opportunities to health care.
How much does it cost to sponsor a child through Compassion?
Sponsoring a child costs $38 a month. It’s a significant commitment, but the incredible difference it makes in the life of a child is invaluable.
Thank you for your time and God bless.