This is Tekalign. He lives in Ethiopia. I am Tekalign’s sponsor through Compassion International, a Christian child advocacy ministry. Our family “adopted” Tekalign five years ago during a Mercy Me/Amy Grant/Bebo Norman concert. We were able to choose the child we wanted to sponsor from the packets of available children they had at the Compassion table. I wanted a child from Africa because while I was in college I took a mission trip to South Africa that changed my life and my worldview forever. Africa will always be special to me. When I saw this precious face (Well, a five-year-old version of this precious face) and saw that he and I share a birthday, I knew we’d found a match. We may share a birthday, but our lifestyles are drastically different. I’m embarrassed to say that for what my husband spent on the celebratory meal with friends at a very nice restaurant tonight,we could have paid Tekalign’s father’s salary for a year. The average worker where Tekalign lives makes $13 a month.
Sometimes I look around my house and I’m disgusted by the amount of stuff I’ve accumulated that means nothing to me, especially when people all over this world are doing without the very basic essentials of life. They are desperate for things that I take for granted: clean water, a soft bed, food to eat whenever I want to eat it…but ministries like Compassion and Samaritan’s Purse are about so much more than providing people with the things they need. Besides water to drink and medical care, these ministries offer people living water and the cure for their broken hearts. They bring Jesus.
More than ever before, I’m not impressed with accumulating stuff for my birthday or for Christmas. More than ever before, I know that life isn’t about stuff. If I sold everything I owned or even if I had all the money in the world, I couldn’t bring my daddy back to be with us for Christmas, but because of my faith, I know that I’ll see my dad again. More than ever before, I know that knowing where you’re going to spend forever is more important than how much you spend on gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
I want to do more with the resources God has given me. I want to help meet people’s physical needs so that they are able to think past those to see their spiritual needs. I want to be used to bring Jesus to a world that desperately needs to know Him. So today’s gift is a little different. I would like to make a $10 donation to Compassion International in the name of whomever wins today’s birthday gift. I’ll let you choose the specific project you’d like to support. If you look at Compassion’s website you can find a list of specific ways that your money could be donated. While you’re at Compassion’s website, why don’t you take a minute to look at all of the children who are waiting for a sponsor and prayerfully consider if you can help? Or if you are unable to make a monthly commitment, maybe you’d consider making a one-time gift or you might volunteer to write letters to a Compassion child. Compassion has plenty of opportunities for you to get involved.
And so that you won’t leave this giveaway day empty-handed, I’ll send today’s winner a copy of one of my favorite books, Same Kind of Different As Me. This book greatly impacted my life and has forever changed the way I view homelessness in this country.
So what are you waiting for? Start commenting! Need a conversation starter? I’ll give you a couple of choices. Why don’t you either tell me about the most favorite gift you’ve ever given OR tell me about a book you’ve read that changed your life….P.S. Let’s just assume that most of you consider the Bible a life-changing book and pick your second favorite life-changing book, okay? 😉