Thursday, April 25, 2013

Winter’s Walk–A Guest Post!

This week’s series has been about ways you can help your child get involved in the Compassion experience. Today’s post shows that, sometimes, children can have a heart to do something without any nudging from their parents.

Today I am thrilled to share a guest post about an inspirational little girl with a big idea. My friend Kit, whom I have met through the blog-world and OurCompassion, wrote this post and I hope that it touches you like it has touched me!
- - - - -

BBforV1
Parenting is always an adventure. If it’s not navigating mountains of laundry or cleaning what is that off the wall, it’s getting to know our kids’ unique personalities and helping them through issues-of-the-heart.

A couple years ago, we rented the movie “Soul Surfer” to watch as a family. It proved to be a perfect example of highlighting the differences between our children. We knew our son would love it because he likes fish and sharks and all things “ocean” (despite having always lived in land-locked areas). But what would his two younger sisters think?

We soon had our answer when at the end of the movie, our sensitive daughter Sarah Winter observed that when Bethany went to help people in Thailand after the tsunami, she learned that even though she lost an arm, she still had so much. She could be thankful, and help others.

Our other more adrenaline-driven daughter simply said, “Take me surfing.”
Thus began a grand adventure in our family, as one daughter decided she’d like to help a child also, and the other daughter began amassing a collection of swimming-pool kick boards because they do not sell real surfboards in Wyoming.

Around that same time I was surprised to win a drawing because I never win anything, and we received a children’s book about child sponsorship called, “African Heartbeat” by Barb Christing, put out by World Vision. We had already been sponsoring a few children through Compassion International for a couple years. After watching her parents sponsor children, seeing Bethany Hamilton’s story through the movie, and reading this children’s book, Sarah Winter came up with a crazy birthday wish and our lives haven’t been the same since:

She asked us if she could sponsor a child for her sixth birthday.

Seeing as we already sponsored a few children, I offered one of them to be “hers” to write to and pray for. But she said no, she insisted we should help “one more child.” I told her I couldn’t afford to sponsor more kids, but she would not let up. We began to discuss the idea of her raising the money herself.

But how would a barely-six-year-old come up with that kind of money? Were we crazy to agree to such a thing? Maybe we were. But maybe that’s just where God wants us to be!

Just prior to turning six, I helped my daughter get onto the Compassion website and look for a child her age. She initially wanted to help a child in Thailand, like Bethany had. But at that time there were no children on the website from that area. I suppose that was meant to be, because Sarah Winter chose a little girl in Indonesia instead, and it’s been love ever since. I can’t imagine anything else now.

 

november 001

For her sixth birthday, our daughter told her friends not to bring presents to her party. Instead, she shared the photo of her new sponsored child and asked if they would bring a small donation for her instead. Between that birthday party and friends/family being so encouraging of our little girl’s kind heart, almost a year’s worth of sponsorship funds were raised!

These two girls of the same age but living a world apart, began to write back and forth to one another. Lovely drawings have been exchanged. And faithful prayers have been said every night. It was definitely a risk, a leap of faith, to allow our young child to sponsor another child on her own. But it is plain to see that Sarah Winter is serious, committed, determined, and faithful in this endeavor.
necklaces 012
So far, this is a risk worth taking. I’d even say it would’ve been a greater risk to her heart to have denied her this.

 

We’ve all grown and been blessed by saying yes.

 

Our daughter has been a sponsor for eighteen months now. When the birthday party money was used up, a cousin helped us make and sell necklaces to earn some more money. Now it is time once again to raise some more.

My daughter and I weren’t sure what to do as we were in need of a fresh new fundraising idea. I thought about a 10k race that I have begun walking every year with my own mother, but I thought, “Nah, 6.2 miles is too long for a seven year old to go.”

But then I thought, isn’t that exactly the point? That this sweet seven year old is going above and beyond, further than I expected or asked her to go? To train for a distance of 10k at only 7 years old would indeed show dedication and sacrifice, which is what we made clear to her that this sponsorship would take (and she has made more than clear to us that she understands)!

I presented the idea and she excitedly said yes. She will walk a 10k in her sponsored child’s honor on Memorial Day weekend, and she requests caring individuals to support her by pledging per kilometer for her efforts.


 

BB 025
We have just about a month until the race day and have been enjoying great times together as we train and prepare. This whole experience of letting a child sponsor a child has been blessing upon blessing for me—I learn from my daughter’s faithfulness in praying for this child, am humbled by her willingness to sacrifice for her, am awed in watching her faith and love for Jesus grow, and overjoyed to see even her surfing obsessed sister be affected by this sponsorship…. And now I get to spend extra time with this special soul as we go on training walks for the upcoming 10k!

If you would like to support Sarah Winter in her fundraising for her sponsored child, we are asking people to pledge $1 per kilometer ($10 total) or whatever you feel you’d like to contribute. We are able to accept donations through the link you’ll follow if you click the image below.
BBforV1
Or, if you would like to donate with a check or other means, you can get in touch with us by leaving a comment below. Michelle will contact you with our personal email address.

And above all, please pray for our daughter and her sponsored child. We thank God for this blossoming relationship and the growing faith of these two young girls. Pray that God will always find a way to encourage the “faith of a child.” Thank you!

- - - - -
What a sweet girl Sarah Winter is! Friends, I am hoping that we can work together a support these sweet girls. Whether it be in prayer or financial donations, we can all do something to honor this wonderful connection and the step of faith that Winter (and her parents) took when they said, “Yes!”
 
If you have any words of support for Sarah Winter, you can leave them in the comments below!  Also, if you make a donation of any amount to this fundraiser, please let me know! I will choose one of you and send out a package of colorful stationary for your Compassion correspondence!