This is my phone, an LG Revere. It’s nothing special, just a little flip phone with the ten-key buttons on it. No internet, no data plan, no apps. There’s a camera, but it’s nothing to write home about. In fact, sometimes when my friends text me photos, I have to first save them to my phone just so that I can then zoom in and actually see whatever they’ve found so funny/interesting/atrocious, etc.
Last week I got it into my head that it was time for me to upgrade to a smartphone. I did a little research, asked around, and even chatted with a couple Verizon reps. But in the end, I decided to stick with my little flip phone. Turns out that the minimum cost of a data-enabled plan for me would have been $80/month. At first, I explained my decision to friends by saying, “I can’t afford it.”
Soon I realized that I wasn’t using the right vocabulary: the truth is that I could afford a smartphone plan– but I don’t value it highly enough to make that monthly commitment.
I started to think about what I value enough to put my money toward. It’s quite easy to see when you examine my credit card statement: I value creative opportunities (working with the editor, attending a writing conference or author discussions), food/fellowship (I eat out a lot and love to treat my friends), and philanthropy/charity (helping fund missions and ministries, giving money to my church and also to Compassion International).
Compassion International. What this post is really about.
In 2005, I began sponsoring a young man named Antonio June. He was six years old and was too young to even send me letters himself; his mother wrote to me at first. This June, he turns fourteen, and I could not be more proud of him! He writes to me consistently, prays for me all the time, and has the sweetest heart. “Aunt Jackie” is his name for me, and I always find it just precious to see that he has written out his letter to me first in pencil, then traced over it with pen, wanting it to be perfect.
Dear Aunt Jackie Lea,
Hello! I’ve got a joy, joy down in my heart because I got two letters from you. I am proud of you, your eagerness to write me your prayers and support. Pray for me not to get sick and my family also. We pray for your wisdom and knowledge in writing your book.
How cute can you get??
In 2007, I decided to begin sponsoring Jona, and what a joy it is to know and love her! She is gorgeous and loving and plays the tambourine and dances. With some birthday money I sent to her, she bought “a skinny jean” (pictured at left). So precious!
Dear Miss Jackie Lea,
You know what, Miss Jackie, I have a new ministry in our church. I am involved in children’s ministry and I am happy because it is one of my dreams to teach the children about the Word of God. I thank God for his unending support to me. He is always in our hearts every time we teach the children. I am starting to read the book you gave to me. I love reading books. I am proud of you, Miss Jackie.
Then in 2008, I decided to take on another sponsorship. Today Claire is ten years old and one of the smartest little girls I know– and so, so generous and caring toward others. Even though she is poor enough to need a sponsor, this little girl also gives gifts to others in need. Claire’s nickname is “Bea,” which means “blessing,” and what a blessing she is to me! She’s so precocious and sweet.
Dear Aunt Jackie,
Easter is also my favorite time because Jesus is alive. Yes, I am also very happy that Jesus is alive and He is in our hearts. I have seen on TV that people hunt eggs during Easter. Why? What does it mean? My parents say hi to you and your family. I love you, Aunt Jackie.
But here’s the kicker. Ready for this?
Thank you again for the Christmas gift and also for the Narnia book you gave me. I am reading it and I like it very much. I like Queen Lucy, Queen Susan, King Edmund and King Peter. They’re very brave. But I like Aslan because He is like Jesus our Savior.
Anyway, I love these kiddos, and right now, I really want to encourage anyone who wants to release children from poverty in the name of Jesus to join me as a Compassion sponsor. What will you value enough to put your money toward?
Compassion has invited me and other sponsors to create our own mini-websites about our experiences as sponsors. You can see mine at http://my.compassionsunday.com/jackieleasommers2013. At that same site, you can see Fransisco, a 7-year-old boy from Brazil, whom I handpicked because I truly want someone to sponsor him. Will you be that person?
My goal is to have two of my friends, family members, or blog readers agree to sponsor a Compassion child. If that happens through my micro-site, they will give a $50 family gift to one of the families I support. I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
Think about it. Pray about it. Go to my micro-site and look into the sweet eyes of Francisco. It’s $38 a month, and worth much more than that in the blessings you will reap in knowing and helping a family.
This is what I value. How about you?