On Monday we were invited to lunch at the Compassion project, where we had the chance to chat with the pastor of the church. This pastor was a precious example of a servant pastor in action. This man led the mother’s devotions. He showed people around. He was even seen helping to set the table for our lunch. He did whatever needed doing.
Every Compassion project in every country is sponsored by a local church. Sponsorship money from sponsored children goes to support the children in each project. But the church is also asked to foot a small portion of the expense of running the project in their neighborhood. Compassion feels that churches work more responsibly with Compassion when they are themselves invested in the work to a certain level.
It was obvious that this pastor was indeed fully invested in the work of Compassion. After lunch we lingered around the table as he took the time to answer all the questions we had about the work being done in his community. When the questions began to wind down, Steve asked the pastor to share some of the success stories.
The pastor, who seems like a very serious fellow, told some details about several different children whose lives had been changed by Compassion. But then, just as it seemed he was winding down, his face lit up and he said he had one more story for us. He called a little girl to his side, the one you see in the picture above with Steve. She must have been 10 or 12 years old. We’d seen her hanging around, peeking in the windows while we ate. She came obediently and stood close to the pastor while he told her story via a translator.
Sarah is one of several children in a family who several years ago made the difficult decision that they could no longer care for their children. They left Sarah with one of the pastors in their community where she lived for awhile. During that time, she developed problems with her left eye. The family brought her to the Compassion project, and Compassion arranged for her to be examined by an eye specialist. The doctor did a biopsy and discovered a mass growing behind her eye.
The mass was benign, but it was causing her eye not to function well. She had two surgeries that supposedly got rid of the mass.
But after two years it came back.
Through Compassion’s medical fund, the pastor was able to arrange for another, better specialist to look at her eye. This eye doctor plans in the course of two surgeries to remove the new mass and repair her eye.
All this story was told with a translator in a herky-lerky sort of way, as it goes with all translation, with Sarah standing soberly next to the pastor. I wondered how she felt hearing her story being told to a roomful of strangers, and felt a little sorry for her.
But when the pastor got to the part about her upcoming eye surgery, there came to be a lightness about her face. There were murmurs around the room as people listening were quietly rejoicing on her behalf, rejoicing that Compassion was giving her a chance.
And then Steve spoke.
“Sarah,” he said, smiling with infinite warmth in his voice. “What an amazing story God has given you!”
He paused as the translator spoke the words in Spanish. The translator was smiling as he passed those words along, and Sarah’s face lit up with a million candlepower smile in response.
Steve went on, deliberately, warmly. “God must have amazing things for you to do, Sarah, to have given you such an amazing story. He doesn’t give people a story like that for no reason. God must really love you! Do you know God loves you?”
Sarah’s smile grew even more brilliant and she nodded steadily. “Si.”
I pray that Sarah will remember Steve’s words for the rest of her life, and I thank God for the work of Compassion in her life.
I wonder what Sarah will do with her amazing story. And her beautiful smile.
Sarah already has a sponsor, a woman in Australia. But there are many, many other children who don’t yet have sponsors, children who would like nothing more than to know that there is a plan for their future and that someone cares. If you would like to make a difference for a child like Sarah, click on the Compassion logo in my sidebar or visit the child sponsorship page.
Compassion. Sharing God’s love one child at a time.