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When the mail brought the world into our home

by Traci Schumacher on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 9:28pm

The daily mail recently brought us photos of six children living in poverty in nations like Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Mexico. Three girls and three boys posing for their pictures in hopes of finding sponsors to help them in their lives.

The letter accompanying the photos was from Compassion International, a Christian group that focuses on helping the poorest children of the world. They asked for a special donation to help the kids on the waiting list.

As I considered the request, I showed my own children the photos. I explained how these kids had so very little, and how they hoped for people to help them. We read their stories... Henok loves to play soccer, and Angel likes playing with dolls. Adults in Alina's community earn about $39 per month... less than our family of five spends to eat dinner in a restaurant.

My children were amazed. And their hearts were moved to help. My 7-year-old son declared, “We should send them $30,000!” If only we could.

My son was especially drawn to 6-year-old Francisco from Brazil, the only one who smiled for his picture. My daughter really liked Angel, commenting on her pretty, ruffled skirt. I told her that could be the only nice clothes Angel has. And I shared with her about the kids I met in Cameroon, West Africa, approximately a lifetime ago, whose only clothes were stained and ripped, but that's what they had.

Sitting in our climate-controlled kitchen, each wearing one of many outfits we own, we agreed to send a donation. And I reminded my kids, as their compassion had been stirred by these kids not so different from themselves, that we can pray, and hold these unmet friends in our hearts.

I was thankful for the mail that day. A quiet reminder of the great big world out there where life is not all picture perfect. A reminder of our many blessings. A reminder of our responsibility to help our fellow sojourners. A reminder of our small part in the big scheme of things.

I hope my kids will carry these Thanksgiving reminders into the coming Christmas season, and may they, in the midst of wanting so much, remember those who have so little. May their greatest joy be found not in receiving a new toy, but in giving to others in love.

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