The Choice: Have or have-not

We are just so blessed.

Who is we? Well, we three are me, my husband and our 5 year old boy.

However, we also consider that we have three African children of 16, 12, and almost 6 yrs (in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya respectively). If you looked at the hearth in our lounge, you would see the gorgeous faces of our precious Compassion-sponsored children shining out at you.

We started with one, Mercy, when we had just had our own son. We knew the cost of sponsorship would be nothing compared to the costs of having our own child, and if we could afford the latter, then we would afford the former.

Our second and third came quickly one after another. We saw the film, A Small Act, telling how a Kenyan guy had been sponsored by a Swedish lady, as a boy and how it had led to him eventually setting up an educational support programme in her name. It moved my husband and I to tears. We simply had to act; so we did, that very evening.

We chose Joyce, knowing that being that bit older (almost 15), there was a strong possibility both that she’d lost her sponsor through the recession, and that if she didn’t find a new sponsor to support her schooling, being a Maasai, there was a risk of her being subjected to FGM and married off.

When through our Tearfund-arranged church partnership with the Diocese of Kericho in Kenya, there arose the opportunity just months later to sponsor a third child, it was a chance we had to leap at. It is so important for our son to know that far away, is another little boy, just like him, but living in entirely different circumstances; and so little Samson came into our lives.

The truth we have to face is that even if things get tight for us, it’s nothing compared to the desperate poverty that these children experience. Not having electricity, a bed, access to healthcare…it’s all so hard to comprehend, but even worse? Being without hope for the future – no child should have to experience that.

As a moderately well-off family in the West we have to face the realisation that we are, in comparison to the rest of the world,  ‘rich’. It sounds so smug, so superior, so self-satisfied.

Checking on the internet (that we take for granted) we see that we’re in the top 0.1% richest people of the world – that’s just incredible! We feel we ought only to be up there if we had a Lear jet, or at least designer clothing. But sadly it’s not so much a reflection of the things we don’t have, as a picture of the dire situation of millions of people.

Then we realise that we have Jesus in our lives, so we are truly rich beyond measure! We have the One who loved us first, who was broken for us, who dwells in us. In Him we are chosen, we are significant, we are accepted, we are secure…and He will never ever leave us. Wow. That is hope indeed.

We have a choice. What do we do with this remarkable blessing?

We choose consciously to turn away from looking at the ‘even-richer’, and at all the things we haven’t got.

We look to make a difference, to share our ‘wealth’ with the hopeless and the least; with our global and our nearby neighbours.

We choose to see, to let our hearts be softened and to act.


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