If you’ve been around my site for a while, you know I have a passion for India and a deep love for Compassion International.
We sponsor an 11 year old young lady in Nagpur, India. It is because of sponsoring her that Shawn and I both have broken hearts for India’s people. I’ve spent many sleepless nights agonizing over mind boggling data on the poverty that exists in India. She is a hurting country longing for someone to love her.
Despite the fact that the caste system is illegal, it is still very much in effect. My husband had a conversation with a friend recently and this talked about this. However deprave the caste system is, it is a way of life and tradition; and heads turn as higher level caste members exercise their “right” over those who are lower.
This of course does not bode well for women. In a country that turns a blind eye to a deprave system and the majority of her residents fight to make about a dollar a day, many turn to whatever means they can to feed their children.
Their bodies are sold for 10 cents. They are abused. Yelled at. Threatened by bodyguards employed by the pimps.
All so they can have a “better life”.
I cannot tell you how angering this is to me. That the worth of a “good time” is literally nickle and dimed.
Missions in Action in conjunction with Compassion recently did a video highlighting this epidemic. Nagpur, the city near where our sponsor daughter lives is the epicenter of sex slave trade. When they filmed the video there were 200 children of sex workers in the neighborhood of the red light district, only 40 were sponsored. Yesterday, because of the video I’ll be linking below, 10 more children were sponsored. That is now 50 children who have the chance to learn to read & write. To have an education and be able to get jobs that their mothers never would be able to.
I’m not asking you to sponsor. If you do, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am asking you though, to watch the video and learn. This isn’t only going on in India. It’s happening in Africa, Thailand, all over Eastern Europe, and is rampant in the US. Pray for these children, for the women.
It was a week and a half ago and I was still fighting blinding anger. I wasn’t at the indifferent stage yet in this cycle I’d been running, and consideration was the furthest thing from my mind.
I’d made accusations against God based on feelings that have been ravaging me. Accusations of abandonment, of the lack of caring.
We were scheduled to volunteer at an event for Compassion and honestly I didn’t want to go. I wanted to be home, warm, cozied on my couch with my book. I didn’t want to have to put on a “happy, Jesus is awesome & compassionate” face. [just being honest here]
I was finishing up my day at work when I got a text from Shawn. We had a message from our sponsored child.
If you don’t sponsor, or even if you do – these letters have the ability to make a bad day good, and even bring joy when all you feel is anger.
When I got home we opened the letter. Inside was an anniversary card from our sponsor daughter Nikita for our tenth anniversary. My eyes brimmed with salty tears and quickly overflowed.
The card was accompanied by a letter. With my eyelashes still damp from tears I read that she loves math, and I think how smart this beautiful young lady is. She sends kisses and hugs and I think how loved we are.
And she closes her letter with a verse. This is the first time in two and a half years. I read the illuminated text written by a 11 year old girl half a world away, and an overflow of sloppy tears inundate my cheeks again.
I wonder at how a young girl who wrote this letter about two months prior (a month or so before this all started happening in our lives) would choose this verse for a letter that would arrive at this season in our lives.
My mind floats to God, and I believe that it was at this point that my shell first started to crack.
It still amazes me that God reached from the other side of the globe, that months prior to this season even starting He moved upon the heart of a little Indian girl to minister to us.
I sat there as she delicately drew lines and swirls on my hand and arm with henna. I was amazed at the intricacy that flowed from her brown hands.
Beauty…sitting across from me and on my left arm.
How quickly these feelings faded as insomnia ripped through my body that night, and quickly drudged up all the anger that had possibly, slowly begun to fade.
I laid on our couch. The glow of the street light out behind, and the nightlights in the kitchen illuminating the anger seething from my heart.
Where had it gone? That happiness I’d felt just a dozen hours earlier.
Where as I had begun the process of re-trusting, and of re-experiencing the grace between Creator and creation, I now screamed.
I fear that if you could see this anger, this distrust that swells my chest and juts out my chin – you would shake your head at me in contempt.
………….or, maybe you wouldn’t.
I wonder at how hard we fall sometimes.
Why we distrust One who is so magnificently in control.
In these handful of days that have past since that sleepless night I still wrestle with the accusations I placed. And I fear them.
They hold power if I allow them to.
But I want to get that place I was at with the beautiful Indian woman creating filigree on my hand. To the place of joy I experienced as we were swamped by the culture of a land our hearts cries for.
I need to remember and believe that He is not looking at me with contempt but with eyes full of tears and a broken heart.
Today a beautiful girl turns 11.
She means more to us than we could ever explain.
She is like a daughter.
I want to scoff at those who think child sponsorship doesn’t work. Those who think that their money can be spent better elsewhere than on those who Jesus commanded us to take care of.
Yesterday we received an updated picture of Nikita. The young girl we sponsor through Compassion. We’ve sponsored her for nearly a year and a half now. I love that God has allowed her to be a part of our lives. This young lady who loves dogs, calls us Uncle and Aunt, always sends hugs and kisses for us and our doggies. This young lady who in part we think of almost like a daughter.
The photo we received yesterday showed her with a study desk that she was able to buy with money we’d sent for her birthday. The initial picture in her sponsorship packet show a sad, maybe even scared little girl has been replaced with a smiling, happy young lady. As soon as I saw her picture my eyes brimmed with tears. I couldn’t believe the change.
Sponsorship works. It works for them and it works for those who sponsor. Every monthly amount, every birthday gift, every family gift, every care package with stickers, coloring pages, paper dolls, puppets, construction paper, little books…..
Saturday night, I was lying in bed waiting for the pleasant presence of sleep to overwhelm me. I was thinking about blog posts I needed to get up. I realized it was Sunday, May 09th, in Nagpur, India.
In the quiet of my dark bedroom, with Chihuahuas nestled in their crates I mentally began to sing:
It was officially her birthday, though it was still May 08th in my bedroom.
I wish I’d gotten a cupcake to split with Shawn for her. Maybe next year.
Painting I did for Nikita for her birthday.
(watercolors on watercolor paper. her favorite color is blue.)
Sometime in the future the US Government – including the majority both sides of the political aisle / including the president, no matter republican/conservative or democrat/liberal all agreeing – decides that the US has an over population problem. They institute a law that says you can only have one child. If you already have children by law you cannot have any more. What would you do?
Now say you or your wife gets pregnant. You already have children which have been grandfathered into being protected against the consequences of breaking the law. What do you do? Do you have the child and hide it like Moses mother hid him? Taking the risk of being found out and facing huge fines, you & your spouse jail time leaving your children to the care of family or worse government protection and sustainment? What would you do if your have one child and it’s a girl unable to carry on your family name, unable to provide for you and your spouse later in life? Do you place them in an orphanage and hope for the best? Do you go against every moral, righteous cell in your being and have an abortion or place them in a dark corner unfed to slowly die. Or abandon them in the back alley, drown them in a river/lake?
This scenario and these images are graphic. We can’t imagine the US moving in this direction. We can’t imagine that a parent would do this to their child (often the mother being the one to commit the act). However, this very act – abandoning, killing an infant – goes on this very day in our world.
Infanticide is currently practiced in China, India, and Africa. In urban populaces gender-selective abortion is practiced. Choosing male children, aborting females.
Infanticide and gender-selective abortion are not talked about. Are not brought to light in the eye of the public. We may be aware it happens but do we really know? Do we know that infant girls are drowned in rivers because having a boy is preferred for status within community, because having a daughter means expensive dowries in the future. Because a son (in rural areas) can work to support you when you are too old to do so yourself.
In a discussion with Shawn on Sunday we talked about this. I said that the practice of infanticide makes me angry, pisses me off. He commented that I don’t get this angry about abortion. And I don’t. Abortion takes a life that hasn’t been born, while infanticide murders (blatantly) a child that has taken breath – which according to critics for abortion say is when life starts. Don’t get me wrong I think abortion is wrong, I don’t support it at all. But I think in this day and age abortion is a tired topic. People on both sides of the argument have grown tired of the fight while not budging in their stance. But like I said in the previous paragraph it just isn’t talked about.
Infanticide is often illegal, but still practiced. There needs to be a voice for these girls, these children.
For your reference here are some links with more information:
The Economist – The War on Baby Girls: Gendercide
Update: I was turned onto these posts. Thanks to Elora.
What is it that causes a 19 year old girl to pack up everything and move to South Africa? Or a young woman to move to Uganda to be a Kindergarten teacher, only to have God move her to start an orphan child sponsorship program? Or a man who when visiting South Korea was heart broken for the orphans and would start an organization that would change the lives of over a million children in third world nations?
For a few weeks now God has been laying on my heart that He wants me to be uncomfortable. It is like that nagging little tickle in the back of your throat, seemingly always there. The thing is, is that I WANT to be uncomfortable. I’ve lived nearly 35 years worth of life being comfortable in church and not doing anything. I want to change. I want to make an impact on the world that God has placed me in.
I’ve never been to Africa or South Korea but I’m pretty sure it isn’t comfortable to live or serve in a Christian ministry there. It sure isn’t comfortable riding 3100 miles on a hard, skinny bike seat to raise money for Blood Water Mission – in the middle of summer – through PHOENIX. Or smelling the constant reminder of death in Haiti as you dig through hundreds of pounds of concrete.
I realized yesterday that being uncomfortable is a hard thing to do (insert obligatory, “yeah duh” here). But for me it isn’t the being uncomfortable, it’s the getting there. Like I mentioned above I’ve had nearly 35 years worth of being comfortable. My parents weren’t the type to live life spiritually uncomfortable. We went to church, taught Sunday school, taught VBS day in day out. That was my life growing up. Now as of about a year or so ago God’s breaking the mold that has been my existence. He’s given me a heart for the poor. He’s made me to fall in love with India and long to see justice for the 50 million plus living in her slums.
I am praying now, with more fervor that God would continue to make me uncomfortable. It is one of those prayers like praying for patience or humility. It doesn’t come easily or without cost. The end result though will be beautiful and for the glory of God alone.
I laid awake thinking of you the other night, my dear little girl. You are literally half a world away. As I was trying to sleep I imagined that you were playing with your sisters and brother. Or perhaps you were selling in the market so your family could eat.
As I laid there I went over in my head what I’d do if I were with you. I’d hug you and kiss you and tell you just how much I love you. I’d tell you that Jesus loves you so much more than I ever could. I’d play dolls with you. I’d tell you that I love your sisters and your brother and your mom and dad – मां and पिता. That I love your people.
I’d tell you to dream big dreams and not give up hope. I’d tell you to love. I’d tell you I think of you and pray for you every day. I would tell you just how beautiful and how precious you are.
I love you so much my precious little girl, and though you are a half a world away my love spans that distance many times over.
I have felt so helpless lately. It started a while ago seeing images of precious people living on nothing just trying to get by.
It came roaring at me two weeks ago with the earthquake in Haiti. The images of poverty stricken, broken people floated before my eyes. I didn’t close the websites or stop reading the Tweets because I wanted to look.
Last Sunday at church God literally wrecked me. Our pastor decided to forgo communion after the teaching and allow people to pray for Haiti while worship was led. We watched this video done by Pastors Mark Driscoll & James McDonald who went to Haiti to help churches just days after the earthquake. Within seconds of the video starting I was crying. I hadn’t cried for Haiti yet. All I could do the rest of the service was cry and plead to God to save: spiritually and physically.
It isn’t just Haiti though. It’s all children and families that are in devastating poverty. That is what breaks my heart. I want to argue with God and ask Him why are you allowing this to happen to your creation. Why are you allowing the flesh and blood you wove together to be eaten away by diseases and malnutrition?
Today Shawn showed me pictures that Tony Morgan Tweeted from his trip to Burkina Faso through Compassion. All I wanted to do besides cry for these children, was bring them into my home and take care of them. Love them.
I know it isn’t an accident that God has placed these feelings in my heart. I’ve pleaded with Him over and over to break my heart for the things that break His. This is an answer to prayer. Yet, I still feel so helpless. We sponsor our precious, beautiful little Nikita in India and fully plan on sponsoring more in the future. Yet, I still feel so helpless. I pray. We donate to Haiti, and yet… I feel like there is so much more I could do and don’t know how or what.
I just want to be open to what He has for Shawn and I. I guess my feeling helpless means I just lean on Him all that much more and He’ll be the work in me that moves my hands the way they need to be moved.
When I logged onto my computer at work this morning I read this headline for this story on the BBC feed I use Haiti Quake Toll May Be 200,000. My heart just breaks. It cries out for God’s mercy.
Last night I was praying for our little girl Nikita in India, and the people in Haiti. Both India and Haiti are amongst the poorest in the world. Haiti being the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, and India having the largest concentration of poor in the world. This utterly breaks my heart. I began asking God to save and come quickly. I am becoming more and more aware of the effects of sin on our world and our own selves. In Genesis 3 man fell from the grace of God. Sin entered the world and all that was in it and on it became cursed. I long for the day with great anticipation when Jesus returns. When sin and it’s effects are no more.
In the mean time all we can do is serve God, which includes others; and pray and give. As I said in my last post I do not wish that you would give lightheartedly. To treat it as the easy way out. The truth of the matter is these people need Jesus more than they need money. It seems like a harsh thing to say, but I’d rather die homeless in a gutter and have been saved by Jesus, then to die in a mansion and never know Him.
If God leads you to give then do it. Don’t hesitate. And pray, unceasingly. My husband and I gave through Compassion Intl. You can donate by clicking the Help Haiti image below.
For whatever you do thank you.
My first experience with Compassion Intl. was when I was in highschool. Our family sponsored a young girl in Haiti. Now my relationship with them is more personal. It is my husband and I who are sponsoring our own child, Nikita. I can’t express how blessed I am to have her in our lives half a world away.
This week I’m following the Compassion Blog Trip to El Salvador. I’m reading the stories of five women and one man who are visiting, meeting, and getting down & dirty with the families and workers that are involved in the Compassion project down there. The only thing I can think to say is I’m so moved. I have to read these stories, watch the videos, look at the pictures taken when I’m at home and I can cry and not make a fool of myself. If you get a chance I recommend reading some of the blog posts. And if you don’t or even if you do pray about whether God would have you sponsor a child through Compassion. It is because of one of these Blog Trips that Shawn and I decided to sponsor Nikita.
Thank you to all the bloggers on the El Salvador trip. You are touching my life all the way here in Arizona.
The end of April Shawn and I sponsored a little girl in India. It is something we’d talked about doing, but never actually took the steps until we read the blog postings by the Compassion Bloggers that were in India at that time. I prayed that God would give us the girl that he wanted for us to sponsor. We chose Nikita. A beautiful nine year old girl.
Since that time we have become interested in the goings on of this very large nation. India covers 1,269,210 square miles. The estimated population for 2009 is 1,198,003,000. When most of us think of India we think of Bollywood or those hour long conversations with a call center for our computer’s hardware or software OEM. We don’t generally think about the residents that make up the rest of the country. According to The World Bank, India has the highest concentration of poor people in he world. According to The World Bank 42% of India’s population lives on $1.25 or less a day (http://xrl.in/34sy). That means that at a population of 1,198,003,000 approximately 50,316,126 people live on what we pay for a soda at a fast food joint. India also has a higher malnutrition rate of than any other country in the world!!
So, I’ve tried to think of India in this way. Forgetting the call centers and the movie musicals and focusing on that 42%. God has really been laying on my heart to pray for India when I pray for Nikita. This is her home for the next dozen years at least. I want it to be a place that cares for it’s people. That seeks the welfare of all it’s population not just those who are in a caste that they feel deserves their respect and time. Through prayer I know that God can change a nation.
Statistics taken from here, please visit the site for more detailed citations.
For a while Shawn and I had talked about doing something. Sending money to help build fresh water wells in Africa, sponsoring a child, etc. It wasn’t until we read blog postings by Anne Jackson and Shaun Groves on a Compassion trip they took to India that we decided to sponsor a Child.
This is Nikita. She lives in Nagpur, India and is our sponsor child.
For Shawn and I our faith isn’t just Sunday morning (or in our case Sunday night). It’s lived out every day in every way. We’re learning slowly. Nikita is a small part of that. Even though she’s over 7,000 miles away we can touch her life and love on her.
Prudence is a 30-something writer who lives in Arizona with her husband Shawn and their chihuahuas Lengua and Zeus. She writes her life, her experiences and her crawl back to hope. Eventually, she hopes to visit India – a place that’s captured her heart without ever stepping foot on the soil.