Friday, May 16, 2008

Two Little Girls Hundreds of Miles Away -- Compassion International

I want to tell you about 2 little girls. They live hundreds of miles from me and each other. Yet, at this point our lives are intertwined.

The first little girl is Delia. She is just shy of 11. Her birthday is June 1! Happy Birthday! She lives in Ecuador with her mother and father. She likes to sing, tells stories, and play with dolls. I like knowing that she speaks Spanish. That was my language of choice in high school and college. Not that I could converse in Spanish, I still like it that I know a few words of her language.

The second little girl is Kayirngwa. (If any of you can help me on how to pronounce that, let me know. I think of her as Kay.) She lives in Rwanda, a country in Africa. She likes jumping rope, running, and playing group games. Rwanda is an HIV/AIDS affected area.

As you probably guessed, I sponsor both of them through Compassion International. Sometimes it is really tight to try and send, but I know they are counting on the money I send.

How did I end up with two so different countries? Both times I heard a broadcast about Compassion. One specifically mentioned Delia by name. It was one of those heart tug things. With Kay, I heard about a plug for Compassion again. Something tugged on my heart again. This time I asked about Rwanda. It was through a local organization and the volunteer said, "Rah - what?" They weren't sure if they had Compassion there but they would check.

I read about Rwanda probably 15 years ago or so when I read an IVP book called, The Good News About Injustice. It deals with the attempted genocide in Rwanda. The Hutu and the Tutsi are actually very close genetically. I don't remember the exact percent of ethnic similarity but I believe it was less than 1% difference. But throughout the years there has been great acrimony between them -- enough to cause mass slaughter of men, women, and children. Something about that book nestled in my heart and God nudged it that day.

I try to write to them once a month. Sometimes I manage it, sometimes I don't. I know that children like to hear about other children, so they often get tales of my adventures with the kids I know here as well as pictures of my cats.

I love getting letters back from them. Both, at one time or another, have expressed some confusion that I live alone. They want to know where my family is. How do you explain singleness to a child? Or how do you explain that family doesn't live close as they do for them? At one point or another, they have given me their advice. Kay thinks I need to join the choir at church. Delia thinks I should play some games with people. Both are great suggestions, but my church doesn't have a choir and I'm not sure what games Delia thinks I should play. Perhaps, she is thinking of sports.

Along with pictures, I've sent along blank pieces of colored paper or stickers. I love giving stickers to the children an Barnes and Noble. They have stopped quite a few tears. I cannot imagine how children who are poverty stricken might enjoy those little things.

With my friend Jill having just been on a Compassion trip, they have been on my mind more. I wonder what it would be like to visit them. Though, after reading Jill's blog, I know I cannot imagine the poverty they must live in.

Even in their pictures, I am struck that neither one is smiling. I wish I had a snapshot of smiles. But, it is perhaps, a reflection of the harshness of life they live. That, and I'm sure cameras and pictures are a novelty and maybe meant a solemn occasion.

At any rate, I pray for them and each month manage to save up the money to send. More than anything, I pray that they know the living hope that is Jesus.

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