An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Giving a little boy or girl $38 a month doesn’t immediately evoke images of ripping open prison doors or breaking chains of a lifelong slavery. But why wait to rescue slaves when you can help prevent slavery in the first place? And why sit idly by and allow that horrific number of slaves to continue growing? When you sponsor a child, you are standing guard against the wolves that prowl the wilderness looking for little lambs as easy prey.
How does sponsoring a child end slavery?
While victims of trafficking can be of any economic status, there is an unmistakable connection between poverty and children at risk for human trafficking. Under economic hardship, these children are vulnerable because they and their families are searching for resources. And who offers the resources they need? You guessed it–the traffickers.
It’s frighteningly easy for traffickers to come to a poverty-stricken family and win their trust. With a blithe promise, they assure the parents that their child will receive an education, adequate food, and a job. Other times, the parents are well aware of what awaits their child, but desperation for money drives them to abominable actions. In either case, the traffickers spirit the child or teen away, and most of them never come back.
As a sponsor, you would eliminate the motivation for parents to sell their children. You would provide the basic necessities such as education, healthcare, and the knowledge that someone believes in them. These children would spend a large chunk of time involved in wholesome activities, which translates to time not spent on the streets where traffickers can target them. Most importantly, these children get to hear the gospel message, which radiates light and life even into the most hopeless and despairing soul.
Where to start
Compassion International is one of the highest ranking non-profit organizations in the world for financial accountability. For $38 a month, your child receives the tools and support they need to fight against the vicious cycle of poverty and illiteracy. Click here for a breakdown on where exactly your money goes. You can even join a Sponsor Trip to visit your child and experience first hand the impact you’re making.
There are many great organizations through which to sponsor a child, but I’m recommending Compassion International based on personal experience. I sponsor two beautiful girls from Honduras: Yesica and Grisselle. Every few months, I receive letters and hand drawn pictures, and they tell me about their dreams and what they’re learning in school. They also frequently tell me that they’re praying for me and my family. It’s rather humbling, really. You’d think they need prayers more than I do!
The neat thing about Compassion International is that you can narrow your search to children in areas more vulnerable to traffickers. That way, if you want to have the greatest possible impact on preventing slavery, simply choose “yes” in the tab under “High Risk of Exploitation.”
Last spring, I visited the Compassion Experience. As I listened to a narrator through a headset, I walked through a set of rooms that each represented a time in the life a child who had gone through Compassion’s sponsorship program. It was amazing to hear testimonies of the impact of being able to go to school, church, and receive encouragement and love through letters.
But what most stood out to me was this: children who graduate from the program go on to sponsor children of their own. Being sponsored impacted their lives so much that they want to impact others’ lives too.
Objection #1: “I can’t afford $38 a month”
Is it really the case that you can’t afford it? Or do you value your own comforts and meaningless pleasures above meeting the basic needs for a child? Don’t you think it might be less of a money issue and more of a heart issue? That may sound harsh, I know. But let’s examine our lifestyle. We’re so free with our money, especially on things that don’t matter. We hardly think twice about pulling out our wallet if we’re craving a mocha latte or chili cheese fries after work. If we have a good job, we feel entitled to a certain level of wastefulness: “I deserve this Oreo milkshake after finishing that giant project,” or “I already have four purses, but I want this one too.”
I’m not saying it’s wrong to treat yourself to some ice cream or a new purse. My goal is to inspire you to move toward a giving mindset. Being aware of our gravitation toward wastefulness is the first step to avoiding it. Eighty percent of Americans only give two percent of their income. Consider the following statistic: if every American gave 10 percent of their income, we could end world hunger in five years. Not just decrease. END. Isn’t that crazy? Wake up, Americans!
Objection #2: “I don’t want to give up my lifestyle”
At least this is a more honest objection! However, I again challenge you to examine your lifestyle and ask yourself, is this nice car and this nice house really what makes you happy on this earth? The reality is, men and women who make enough to pay the bills and have a bit of spending money left over are just as happy as millionaires with their private jets and private beaches. Life isn’t about how high you can score on the happy meter. In the words of JD Greear, “God doesn’t bless us just so we can increase our standard of living. He wants us to leverage our lives for His kingdom and increase our standard of giving.”
Objection #3: “I don’t have time to write letters”
You know what? That’s okay. You don’t have to write letters. To me, however, it’s an added bonus: the opportunity to connect with the girls I sponsor and get a glimpse into their lives. It’s a chance to learn from someone with a different background and lifestyle than you. And honestly, it’s only every few months, and it doesn’t have to take long. Just a few sentences, a few words of encouragement–it’s enough. You can even enlist your friends and family members. Don’t let the thought of breaking out pen and paper deter you from the real goal: preventing slavery.
A final plea
It can be a daunting thing to commit to monthly giving. That’s what held me back at first. We’re so tightfisted with our money when it comes to others, but if it’s for ourselves, we throw dollar bills into the air like it’s nothing. If you can afford to go out to eat three times a month, you can afford to sponsor a child. If you can afford to buy a quality article of clothing once a month, you can afford to sponsor a child. If you can afford to pay for soccer practice, Netflix, manicures, or a week long trip to Florida to cure the winter blues, you can afford to sponsor a child.
Are you ready to make a difference in a child’s life? More importantly, are you ready for God to make a difference in your life?