Friday, July 6, 2012

And please bless the cow and the goat

Lately, I've found myself praying for a particular cow and goat in Africa.  I didn't even realise I was doing it at first.  Then I caught myself at it again this morning and laughed at the mental picture of the oblivious cow and goat chewing their cuds merrily unaware that a crazy lady in Australia is praying on their behalf.  On the other hand, if His eye is on the sparrow, then surely it is on the cow and the goat too.

Why this cow and goat (whose names I'm yet to learn)? They belong to one of our Compassion sponsored children.  This particular boy lost his father a few years ago when he was around 8.  His mother and younger siblings are still alive but he has had to move a long way from home into his uncle's household. I am so fond of this boy!  He wrote me the letter before last to tell me he'd be sending his end-of-year grades in the next letter.  He was just getting me warmed up for the big reveal.  And then in his latest letter he wrote to say he'd come 3rd in his year level out of 59 students.  So proud of him!  What an achievement!  His current picture boasts a big cheeky grin that makes you smile just looking at it.

Anyway, a while ago we sent a family gift to him*.  As well as telling us about his outstanding school report, he thanked us for our gift and told us he'd bought a cow and a goat and some other things with it.  He often tends cows in the school holidays so I'm sure he's proud to have one of his own in the herd.  He told us the family's friends and neighbours all rejoiced with them because of the cow and the goat.

The thing is, these animals are important now! The family might be milking one or both of them or planning to breed them. And now I can't help but think of all the things that could happen to a cow or a goat. Bad delivery of a calf or kid? Stolen? Foot rot? Goat fever? Flies in the eyes? Made into a floor rug? Who knows! And so I've found myself each morning praying for his family and then praying for the health of the cow and the goat. It's crazy! I'm praying regularly for two farm animals on the other side of the world. But I am fond of that boy - he's stolen my heart just a little. And I'm sure God doesn't mind me including the cow and the goat in my list.

*Compassion sponsors give a monthly donation of which approximately 80% goes to the delivery of Compassion services to children and 20% goes into admin and fundraising.  But Compassion sponsors are also able to send financial gifts directly to their child and their family.  This is limited in amount and frequency, and administered by local staff after extensive consultation with the child's family.  Gifts tend to be what we would call "necessities" (a bike to get to school, clothing, sheets of iron to fix the roof, job training for dad, kitchen utensils and extra food) and provide families with extra assistance or sometimes opportunities to improve their situation in life.  The gifts are purchased locally where possible which of course benefits others in the local economy.  In the case of a child or family gift, 100% of the gift goes to the family.  And this is strictly accounted forAnd if you are interested in sponsoring a child in extreme poverty who needs encouragement and a helping hand up, check out Compassion Australia if you are in Australia, Compassion International for US readers or Compassion UK for readers in the United Kingdom. For information about what child sponsorship involves click here or about Compassion's financial integrity click here.


Petrina said...

This makes me realise how little we need so many of our possessions. That cow and goat must be so precious to them!

I'd love to hear more about how you go about getting to know your Compassion kids. We sponsored a boy for a few years but never felt like we got past the acquaintance stage, then he moved out of area. We're doing Child Development Fund at the moment, planning to get SP a same-age sponsor brother when he turns 3.

Deb said...

Thanks, Petrina. I am hoping to talk more about my Compassion kids along the way. Some kids warm up much quicker than others. I've found the older ones a bit easier to build relationships with because they tend to talk about deeper stuff than the littlies. That said, our eldest boy is turning 16 in a couple of weeks and it took about 3 years to get things to a more personal level with him. One thing that made a big difference for us was writing more often. Initially, I only wrote 3 times a year because he only wrote 3 times a year. Then I discovered that many sponsors wrote more frequently and started writing once every one or two months. Once he knew us better, he began to be more personal in his letters. I hope to share some letter writing ideas and topics in the future because I know it's often hard to think of things to write.

Karen said...

I'm finding your posts on your Compassion kids really interesting Deb. We've recently stopped donating to one of our charities because I wasn't impressed with the way they'd signed us up (and tried to keep taking money even after our credit card expired). So I'm looking for a new way to donate that money and wondering if sponsoring a child might be a good experience for our kids, especially the older ones, to be involved in.

Deb said...

Being able to involve our kids more in the giving process is a real bonus with child sponsorship. Giving is to "the poor" far away is a bit abstract but when you are sharing with names and faces it's all a lot easier to understand. I hope to write a post soon about why we chose Compassion in particular.