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Stalin: My Other Child

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I was 12 years old sitting in a big colliseum for a Student Life Tour when the video played. There were so many children on the video, and all of them living well below the poverty line. “For $32 a month, you could provide the daily meals a child needs, provide them clothes, meet medical needs, and all of this will be done while sharing the love of Jesus Christ with them through a Compassion center.” My heart was moved, but as a 12 year old girl, I knew there wasn’t anything I could do financially for a child, and I also knew my parent’s would be upset if I just came home demanding $32 a month from them. I left that weekend event with a new passion though: one day I would sponsor a child.

Years passed and I never forget my desire to sponsor a child. I never went to another event where I heard about Compassion, but I knew they still existed. 18 years old and fresh out of high school, I was asked by my aunt’s church if I would go to camp with them as a female counselor because they were one short. “Of course,” I exclaimed! Camp was awesome! Jesus was all over that college campus that week during camp-lives were being changed, forever. It was the last night, and I had no idea that my life, and a precious little boy in South America’s life, we’re both about to change forever! The Compassion team came out, a video similar to the one I had seen 6 years before that played, and my heart was immediately on fire. It was that “sick in my stomach, heart racing, gotta do something” moment. I knew it was my time to go find a child to sponsor, however, I was still worried about what my parent’s would say when I came home with a new financial obligation, but this time I had a job and knew I could do it. Before they even gave the invitation to find a child, I found myself standing in the foyer. I walked right up to this lady holding two child packets in her hand and announced, ” I want to sponsor a child.” She said, “Ok! Well I have two here in my hand, and there’s many more on the table. Do you think you want to sponsor a boy or a girl?” I thought for a second and told her I wanted a little boy. She told me she had a boy’s packet in her hand, but there were many more on the tables behind me that I could browse for to pick out a child. I told her, “I want the one in your hand! I feel like God showed me to walk up to you and I think it’s for that little boy you’re holding.”

photo 1That was the first time I “met” my sweet Stalin. He was 6 years old and lived in the tropics of Ecuador. He had a mother and father and two younger brothers. I was SO excited! Everyone from our group wanted to see his picture when I returned to them and they shared in the excitement with me. My aunt also found a little girl to sponsor that same night.

photo 27It’s been 6 years since I started sponsoring Stalin. A lot has gone on in our families since that night. His village flooded a few years ago and he lost everything. I could relate since our family lost everything in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina came through New Orleans and our house flooded. It was cool to see how God had prepared me years before to know how to console him. I will admit that I was panicked when I received news of the flood though, for his safety and his family’s safety, but thankfully no lives were lost. He’s also got another little brother now which makes 3 smaller siblings. He loves to play soccer, help his parents out around the home. He loves going to church and school and he loves to learn. He always has a Bible verse to share with me.

photo 38Stalin is just like one of my sons! I love him so deeply even though I’ve never met him. He’s growing in to quite the young man and I know he’s such a blessing to his family! He’s blessed our family so much over the years and it’s great to know that someone’s life is being changed by the blessings God has given to us. photo 5 photo 4   6

 

 

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