The Story & My Heart Behind Sponsor Children
I'm so excited to share this post with you! Sponsoring children has been something that's been near and dear to my heart for many, many years. I'm excited to write these words, and share more about why I think sponsoring children is so important, and why I'm so passionate about this being an active part of my business.
If you didn't know, every single purchase from the shop goes to help fund 6 different children. I am so thankful and blessed by each and every single one of them, and I'm honored the Lord trusts me to stewards them well with the funds that I am able to provide. And all this couldn't happen without you!
In this post, I'm going to share what I know about sponsoring kids, the different organizations I sponsor through, a couple tips and tricks on how to be a great sponsor ‘parent’ and more about my six darling sponsor kids.
I hope you enjoy reading through this and if you have any questions or things you would like me to answer regarding sponsoring children, please leave a comment below. Without further adieu, let's get to it!
First things first, I want to share my personal sponsor children story.
If you haven't already gathered, I sponsor children – both personally and through my business, through four different organizations. However, I honestly didn't start sponsoring on my own until after I was married.
Growing up, my parents always had 1-2 kids they would sponsor. I remember seeing them on my fridge, and when I was old enough to ask about it, I questioned why we had a picture of children I didn't know. My mom took the time to explain to me who they were, and why our family were sponsoring them. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but I do remember that it impacted me in that moment.
However, you know how life goes - you get busy with things in your various seasons and chapters, and I honestly never really thought more about it. I knew they were there, but the impact was something that was kind of in the back of my head. The children on the fridge once again became just something my parents did. I was the typical high school and early college student that was focused on my studies, and figuring out life. I wasn't an overly selfish kid, but I was your typical American girl focused on my own things - which wasn't bad... I guess I was just kind of "out of sight, out of mind" for larger issues in the world at the time.
Moving forward, I was preparing for my first international trip to Ethiopia (fun fact: the cover photo is a photo of a boy from there). My husband and I attended our first Winter Jam (a one-night, Christian music concert), and the HolySpirit just hit me like a ton of bricks!
My husband and I were, at the time, both in college and paying our own way through school without student loans. We both only had part-time student worker jobs, were paid minimum wage and barely making enough each month to pay our rent… But I didn’t care. I knew in my heart that we needed to sponsor a child, and so while they were talking about it on stage, I just looked at my husband. He knew the look, and he said, “Oh no, Rosalynne, we can’t. We barely have money to pay our bills as it is.” But I knew in my gut that this was something we needed to do, and in that moment, he knew it, too.
So we left our seats, and went down to the World Vision table. I don't remember exactly how it happened, but Daniel saw this photo of a little girl from Bangladesh and he picked up her photo. He looked at me and said, "What do you think about her?" Overjoyed that Daniel was on board, I of course said a big, "YES!"
Her name is Upama and at the time, she was 6 years old. We nearly shared a birthday (mine is March 2 and hers is March 6) and she will forever hold a special place in my heart! We filled out the forms to officially sponsor her, which felt like such a grown up move. We took her information and started to learn everything we could about her. As soon as we got home, I immediately wrote her a letter, covered in stickers and full of color and love, and sent it off right away. A few months later, I heard back from her and found out that she was OVERJOYED with the fact of our sponsorship!!! She shared stories about her life, family, and told me that my letter was now hanging on the wall in their home. She told me that her friends loved to come over and admire the letter that I wrote, full of color and tons of stickers.
In that moment I realized that my "small" act of obedience just made a huge impact in this little girl’s life.
What seemed like a little thing that wasn't a big deal to me, completely changed her little heart. The more letters I wrote, the larger her gallery wall grew and the prouder she was to show her friends and family the colorful paper gifts she received in the mail from a stranger far away. Someone who has no connection, but is willing to financially give a little each month so not only she could attend school, but her dad could continue to thrive in his business and keep pouring into the community.
To this day this still impacts my heart in such a strong and powerful way! I could stop right here and tell you that this is probably one of the most rewarding things about having a sponsor child. I mean, there's so much more that goes into it, like how your small financial contribution each month literally changes a child’s life (and not only their life, but the life of their family and even the community). However, I still think the fact that I get to write letters and hear first-hand how my contribution and the time I take to write letters, makes all the difference in her world. Seriously, there really aren’t words to say how powerful this gesture is.
Taking a moment to side-track and say: I don't have children of my own, but I've learned through sponsorship that while money is important, children don't really understand what it is. My sponsorship, at a young age, means more to the parents and family than anything else. What impacts the children, and stays with them, is the letters that I write. These moments where I pour into her and I relate to her on a level that she understands. Y'all, it's such a humbling and empowering moment... There's just nothing like pouring into children.
Anyways, let's fast-forward to Christmas/winter time a year later, and another concert (Phil Wickham and Shane and Shane, in case you were wondering). There they shared about an organization called Africa New Life, and the Holy Spirit spoke to me again. I think before I even had the chance to look at my husband, Daniel said, “Rosalynne, don’t even think about it. We already have one sponsor child, we cannot afford to sponsor two.” But I gave him that look again, with my gut dancing and the Holy Spirit prompting, and he knew.
He knew that I wasn’t going to go home without another child, and I am thankful to say that I didn’t.
That night I financially adopted Imanizabayo, who has a true heart of gold. This child, six years old at the time, has more wisdom than most people I know. His first letter changed my heart forever; he seemed to have this understanding and gratitude for what my husband and I were giving to him and his family, and he reassured us that it wouldn’t go to waste. This six year old told me he wanted to change the world, become a teacher or a doctor so he could change the lives of others and make them better, through the power of Christ. And he was only six!
Imanizabayo told told me that he was praying for ME and asking that God would bless my family and me. It vastly humbled me to realize that this six year old understood the world and the kindness of our Father better than I did. I couldn’t believe the gift God had given ME through these two children and I am so very grateful for the experience of watching them grow up and knowing that through my small gift every month, I am able to be a stepping stone in helping them change the world.
Despite the fact that my husband and I were making hardly any money through college, we always had enough to cover and carry us through. I am a strong believer in the power of giving and the power of tithing (that’s a whole other blog post I’ll need to write someday) and that when you honor God with your income, He will honor you and make sure you always have enough.
Now hear me when I say that "enough" doesn’t come without sacrifice, without being humble and having to say a lot of “No, thank you’s” to dinner/movie/going out invites... but He always gives you (in my opinion) more than enough to get you through. So even though we were paying around $75 a month for our sponsor children, we still always seemed to somehow have enough to pay for our classes, school supplies, food and other life things that came our way..
I think an important lesson God was teaching me in this time, was to trust in Him with my money. It was easy to say, "Lord, we're making $500 a month, our bills are easily that without all the extra stuff... How can we make an additional $75 expense work?" But God is faithful. We always had enough for bills, for food and occasional fun experiences, and even a few missions trips. I think my biggest lesson here was to learn that I need to stop putting God in a box, limiting Him to what my brain could comprehend and understand. In my head, the money wasn't adding up... But God has a way of turning five loaves into enough to feed 5,000. So who am I to doubt?
What I am trying to say is stop thinking that you can’t – even just saying it in your head will make you think and believe that’s true. I encourage you to start praying about this opportunity, and ask how the Lord can provide something for you where you can make this happen! Just have faith and believe that it can and it will be done and let God do the rest.
Anyway, the story isn’t over yet! Let’s fast-forward once again to when I started my business and felt called to pick up some kids to sponsor through my company. I wanted to know more about the second most popular sponsor program that everyone’s heard of, Compassion, and try sponsoring a child through there.
Well, it's really hard going to a website and trying to pick a child. I decided that I would narrow it down to a location, and once I did that, there were two kids that attended the same school. So I felt called to pick these two children, a boy and a girl from a little town in the Dominican Republic. I chose two that went to the same church, so when I am blessed to be able to visit them someday, it will be easier to arrange to see them both! There names are Dani and Marelainy. They are both preschool/kindergarten age and sweet as can be. Dani is blind and Marelainy has asthma, and I'm so honored to know that my financial contribution can help pay for medical expenses associated with these two conditions. They both love drawing pictures and telling me about their activities like what they do on the weekends (usually, this means playing soccer with other children in the community). They are vibrant children who love bright colors and playing outside, and it is a gift to get to know both of them.
Maybe 6-8 months later, I felt called to pick up an additional two more sponsor children. I found an additional girl, Uwase from Africa New Life. Something special about her is she is 16 years old! Previously I’ve always had younger sponsor children, and I enjoyed this because I could have the gift of getting to sponsor them and watch them grow up. But this time when I was searching for another child, I felt particularly called to find someone older, who was less likely to be chosen.
The next (and now sixth child) I sponsored was thanks to my friend Tiffany, who owns Brave Little Ones. Through her shop, I found out about the organization Under His Umbrella, which is based out of Rwanda and decided to sponsor a child through them! They had a button that said, “I just want to sponsor a child.” and a few days later, I was emailed that I was the newest sponsor of Anita! She was also 6 years old (at the time) and she is an absolute ball of sunshine. She has the most contagious smile, and I am so thankful to have her as part of my darling sponsor children family.
+ Now that you know my story, let’s talk about sponsoring children.
In case you skimmed through everything, and if you didn’t read all the above (I know it’s a lot) know that basically from the bottom of my heart, I think that everyone should sponsor at least one sponsor child in their lifetime. It's hard to put words to how rewarding it is to be a sponsor parent, but all I can say is that as much as you're truly changing the lives of a child, their family, the community and leaving an impact on the country! All of this happens, and is incredible, but there is also a big impact and change that happens within you. It's like whenever I go on a mission trip - I also go to serve others, and help those in need. However I feel like they give and gift me with more than I could ever give or gift back. It's hard to describe, but I guess the easiest and shortest way to say it is: it's so worth it.
Organization I’ve personally sponsored through:
- World Vision
- Africa New Life
- Under His Umbrella
All of these organizations are international ones, because that’s where my heart has felt called. However, if you feel it on your heart to sponsor stateside, definitely do so! Literally, Googling, “Sponsor a child in America” will give you a ton of options for you to look through and explore.
Please do your research to find a sponsor program that resonates with you! It's always good to know what they are doing with the money you are sending every month, and making sure that the money is going to the children, their families and the communities.
Additionally, I would highly recommend that you write your children! Nowadays you can write them online (it will send an email to be transcribed and printed out). This makes it super easy! Plus I get to include photos of Daniel and I, and my family and friends, so they can have a better idea of who we are and what we look like. Plus it saves a ton of time for my letters, but their responses are still sent through the mail and can sometimes take a few months.
Just throwing this out there: If you want to write one of my sponsor children, just send me an email or message through my contact form. Let me know whom you want to write and I will be sure to pass your message along! All the kids love seeing pictures of you, or things you love or have done… Great pictures include landscapes or terrain of places you’ve visited or lived, pictures of your family or friends, or pictures of something you have created. Please don't share any photos of things that show your wealth – for example, don’t spend pictures of your house, your vehicle, or any of your monetary possessions.
Finally, if you have any questions about sponsoring - happy to help! I'm far from an expert, but we've been sponsoring children for close to five years now, and I can say that it has been a huge blessing for us.
Hope you learned something new, and maybe feel challenged to start sponsoring children yourself! Thanks for reading and taking the time to hang with me.
P.S. I wanted to share a photo of all my darling children!