In December, Rob, Maddie and I got to go to India. We were able to take a day trip to visit our Compassion International daughter, Sangeetha. Maddie and Sangeetha were fast friends. They spoke the universal language of all 8 and 9 year old girls. As soon as the adults let them to themselves, they were off exploring Sangeetha’s school, meeting her friends, giggling and running around. It was amazing to see the school, and the shelves of folders, each representing one child sponsored through Compassion. Children literally pulled out of the destiny of poverty their parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc. were forced to endure. The Compassion children are given a great, Christ-centered education, health care, vocational training, food to eat, and clothes to wear.
We were stunned when we were brought up to Sangeetha’s apartment. Her mother was there, along with what seemed like 50 others, crammed in a tiny apartment. Her mother’s neighbors gladly brought us the only plastic chairs in the whole government subsidized apartment building. We sat and talked with Sangeetha’s mother, neighbors and siblings. We were introduced to her 6 year old daughter, who looked to me like she was 3. Her clothes were dirty, her hair was matted, she had a runny nose, and a sick look to her eyes. Sangeetha’s mom wasn’t in the best shape either. When I hugged her, I noticed she was hot to the touch. Her eyes were red, and she looked very, very tired. Tired, but happy.
After we gave gifts to the family, we headed back down 8 flights of very scary stairs to our taxi. And then came a moment I will never, ever forget. Sangeetha’s mom took my hands, looked into my eyes, and said, "Thank you." In that split second, I realized what it must be like for her. To have 4 children, no husband, no job, no food to feed her children, or medicine to help them when they are sick. She was saying "thank you" for saving at least one of her children. For picking up Sangeetha out of a destiny of poverty.
Seriously, My life was forever changed in that one moment. If we could help one family, one girl…what about another, and another, and another? Why not live the rest of my life to figure out ways to end the destiny of poverty to all those I could? It’s what I’m all about. Figuring out what I can do, and what I can help my family do, to end the cycle of poverty for as many as we can.