On Mother’s Day 2010, I decided to sponsor my first Compassion child. I’ve always wanted to sponsor a child in need, and after researching several charities, I decided on Compassion International. I agreed with their church-centered and Christ-centered program, and I was impressed with the way funds were handled with the utmost integrity, with the majority of the funds going directly to the sponsored children. I also loved that you were able to nurture a one-on-one relationship with your sponsored child through letters and gifts. Receiving letters from my sponsored children is always a highlight.
At the same time, I also started volunteering as a child advocate with Compassion, and attended several local events helping with the Compassion booth. Part of the process is to lay out a table full of children’s profiles. Doing that literally broke my heart every time, as I stared at the pictures of children waiting for a sponsor. And so, my second and third children were sponsored in 2011.
I chose Christine because she was an older child, and her birthday was just days away from my wedding anniversary date. I chose Travis next because he was dressed in a girl’s shirt in his picture, he lived with his grandparents who were elderly (and therefore could not physically work as much), and he was the same age as my son. I chose Mueni last because she just looked precious and shares the same birth date as my son. I chose all three in Kenya, because I have always had a heart for Africa, and I figured that maybe I could visit them someday.
That dream came true in January 2013, when I took a trip of a lifetime to meet my three Kenyan children. It was a day none of us with forget. On that trip we also visited Compassion centers in various parts of Kenya, and saw the impact of our donations on literally hundreds of children. For these children, being sponsored sometimes meant the difference between eating and not. Before my trip, I did not truly understand abject poverty.
While I was in Kenya, I witnessed children walking 5 miles every day to collect water. I saw families of 5 living in a one room shack the size of a shed. I saw lack of infrastructure, and lack of basic sanitary needs. But I also saw pure joy. On each visit we were instantly surrounded by hundreds of children. For many, we were the only Mzungu (white people) they would ever see. They were fascinated by our hair and skin, and when we took pictures they were completely taken with the fact that you could see their picture on the screen. We played softball with an orange with a young boy with no toys, and it was unforgettable.
I was able to spend one glorious day with my three Kenyan children at a local park, and when I had to leave, I most certainly left a piece of my heart in Kenya. I also left with a deep understanding that I would never be the same.
I look around at what I have, and what I regularly take for granted (like electricity and running water), and can’t help but do more. A sponsorship for these children not only affects them, but it also affects the entire family, and has a lasting impact on future generations. I am also passionate about creating a legacy with my own children that will impact generations to come, and giving back is one of the ways I can make a lasting impact.
Every month, in addition to my three sponsored children, I also donate a portion of my weekly commissions that are earned when someone joins my team. In this way, it is a team effort too, and everyone knows that as they share the gift of Plexus with someone, they are also impacting children in poverty at the same time.