You know those commercials they have, with the sad songs and video footage of children in 3rd world countries needing resources, asking for sponsors?
When I was younger, I couldn’t look away from the TV during those commercials as I tried my best not to cry. As I grew older, I began to flip the channel to something else when these spots came on my television. I just couldn’t keep watch what those kids were going through. It shed light on their reality of lack and my reality of being ungrateful for having plenty.
Even as a kid, I knew I wanted to be able to commit to giving towards a child like this one-day when I had my own money. So then in my final month of graduate school, I finally got to follow through on that dream in my heart and be able to sponsor a child!
I chose Project Orphans as the organization to give through because I knew the integrity of the organization. I also loved that my monthly gift was 100% going to the child!
I knew that $30 per month wasn’t much for me, and I decided to go without just a tiny bit to be able to give and be obedient to this calling God placed in my life, and He led me to Sharon, a quiet 15 year-old girl who needed someone to believe in her.
As much as I thought of how cool it might be to be able to meet her one-day, it was something I never thought would actually happen. After all, she lives in Africa and I have never gotten much time off with jobs, plane tickets were expensive, and the flight was way too long for me to even consider it!
But somehow, all those excuses no longer mattered when I knew God was calling me to do that.
I cannot tell you how crazy cool that experience was. When I would see the money going from my account each month to support her, it was never something I thought about too much. I knew it was helping someone, but to be able to see her in person and wrap my arms around her- that put things into perspective that my donation was helping support an actual person to live a better life.
Things I would have never experienced without meeting her was how she interacts in social situations, how much love she has to give, and how eager she was to sit next to me at every chance she got. I would have never had the opportunity to have her braid half my head into tons of tiny braids as I sat in her bunkroom with all her friends.
Through writing letters, I might have learned that she wants to be a singer someday, but I would have never had the opportunity to hear her sing “Jesus Take the Wheel” at the dinner table in front of our team. Her boldness and eagerness to love is something to be admired and modeled in my own life.
Meeting Sharon makes that monthly gift so much more meaningful. It’s still the same $30 every month, but after meeting her, there is so much more meaning to it now. I know exactly where that gift is going now. I have hugged who that gift is going towards and I will never forget or take for granted the opportunity I was able to experience in getting to travel to Uganda and meet Sharon.
If you feel that tug on your heart to sponsor a child, I highly encourage you to be obedient to that calling. Yes, you will be a huge blessing to that child; but you will also be blessed in return. Right now, Project Orphans is needing your help in sponsoring students who will be attending their new school, New Creation Centre, in Kiwenda, Uganda. The monthly cost to send a child to school is just $25! School doesn't start until February 2017; but you can sign-up now and they will begin sending you updates and profiles on that child.
I cannot tell you what a blessing Sharon is to my life, and I will never forget the experience of getting to meet her in person thanks to Project Orphans and the generosity of those who donated towards my trip to make it happen. I will forever be humbled and grateful for this incredible opportunity.
- Christine Flores