Journey to Compassion
It was a very cold winters’ day. The wind was gale force as it usually was in winter and the rain pelted down on my windscreen. I stopped at the fuel station to get fuel and jumped out to get something from the shop. It was not often that I went inside, but we had run out of milk, and I wanted to get some before I headed home instead of having to stop at another store.
She caught my eye as I dashed inside to get out of the wind and rain. I took a few steps back and stood watching her for a few moments. Suddenly I could feel my heart beating in my chest and felt my throat closing as I watched her.
She just sat there, quietly looking at life passing her by. I bent down next to her and asked her, her name. She turned to look at me and as she did I realised she could only have been around 5 or 6 years old, yet her eyes reflected a life that many of us never could even begin to imagine. She had endured hardship and poverty and who knows what kind of abuse.
She didn't answer, but she put on a smile, regardless of how freezing cold I could see she was. She stretched out her shaking arm and opened her hand as if to gesture that she wanted money. I knew I couldn’t. I was studying social work at the time and it's the one thing I knew not to do. Instead, I took off my cardigan and coat and put it around her. As life was, I knew it was most likely only going to keep her warm until it was taken by someone else, but at least for that moment, at least it would help warm her up.
I tried talking to her, but her little teeth chattered too much to make sense of anything she was saying. I told her to wait while I went inside to buy her some warm food and a hot chocolate. She couldn’t eat and drink it fast enough and after a few minutes, I could see her starting to warm up. A moment later, she looked up and locked eyes with someone across the street. It was a boy, maybe around 17 years old and before I could say anything - and as quickly as she finished her food, she said she needed to go and was gone. I never saw her around there again, but her face and shivering cold little body will forever be etched in my memory.
I have many stories like these. Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, it’s not uncommon to see adults and children living on the streets, begging for food and money. In fact, it's a very common occurrence, one which becomes so entrenched in the normal way of life, that if you are not careful, can easily be overlooked.
I’ve lived in America and now am based in the UK. Both are worlds apart from what I’ve seen and experienced back in SA.
As a Christian, God makes it clear that we are to look after those who are less fortunate than ourselves and that includes: the poor, the widows and orphans.
Proverbs 19:17 says: 'He who has pity (gives) to the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given'. (NKJV)
God takes note of your heart-felt giving and compassion. Here is a list of scriptures when Jesus spoke about having compassion for the poor and those in need.
- Proverbs 19:17
- 1 John 3:17-18
- Isaiah 58:10
- Acts 20:35
- James 1:27
- Matthew 25:40
- Matthew 25:45
- Matthew 5:42
- Matthew 19:21
- Matthew 11:4-6
- Luke 14:16-24
I have a huge desire to give back and make a difference. I know that through the MWOV blog, I can share the Word of God, but we’re also called to help in practical ways. The MWOV Blog and business is still small but as a doer of the word, it’s my mission to be obedient to God’s call and His instructions.
It was also important to teach my daughter, Mika, these same principles. She was only 2.5 years old when we moved to the UK, so has not seen or experienced immense poverty the way we have seen growing up. It’s difficult to make a child understand the harsh reality that some children grow up in, without the physical experience of seeing it for themselves. How can you when all the kids around them are competing for the next best toy. This is why we chose to support the organisation Compassion UK.
Mika already has a big heart so when I raised the idea of supporting a child who lives in poverty, she was all for it. She gets quite passionate about inequality and injustice - in whatever form it takes. We sat down together as a family and we explained why it was important to give back and help others who are less fortunate than ourselves. Looking through the Compassion UK website, she was at first shocked at how many children needed help, but then her excitement grew as she realised we could make a difference in the life of one of them. She was determined to find someone close to her age that she wanted us to help. She was immediately drawn to a little girl named Esther, who lives in Ghana and was just a few months younger than herself. And so the process began for us to sponsor Esther.
Compassion UK is an amazing organisation, and has offices in many different countries of the world. Once you’ve chosen a child to sponsor, they share more information about the child and their family, the community and country they live in. You can send and receive letters as well as send gifts. The Compassion App is a great way to stay connected.
Giving is done monthly by debit order and is distributed to the child through the local organisation. Compassion UK’s local church partners ensure your support reaches the children who need it most. Together, they provide children with exceptional care in every area of their lives: their minds, bodies and relationships & above all their hearts.
When you support us, you’re indirectly helping us support Esther. Thank you for your generosity. If you’d like more information about sponsoring a child yourself or would like to give to Compassion directly, please visit their website: https://www.compassionuk.org/
We’d love to hear how you’re giving back and which organisations you support. Why not email us your testimony about how your life has been impacted by your compassion and generosity. (email@example.com)