Children, Faith, Growth, Prayer

Compassion~ A Story of Heartbreak

Compassion~  A Story of Heartbreak

{As I sit here now, I am torn about even writing this. I feel like I have to have a disclaimer here, that I write this ONLY to tell a story, not to boast, not to be proud, but to just tell a story and really, to encourage you to have your heart broken as well.}

Last year I followed a few of the Compassion Bloggers on their trips to Kenya, and to Guatemala. I read their updates,  I cried hard as I looked at their photos, and wept deeply at their shared words, the stories of the poorest of the poor, their hearts breaking for Christ, for these children, for the least of these… and I knew somewhere deep inside, something within me started to crumble, my heart began to break as well.

My husbands family had sponsored a child, a little girl, and when we first began to date, I remembered seeing her photo on their refrigerator. She was, what seemed like a million miles from me and I have to admit, (ashamedly so) I didn’t really think much about it at all.  At that time I was seventeen and very much caught up in my own life, my own plans for my future, I gave very little  thought to those who had less than. And I admit this with shame and grief that I ever inhabited such a frame of mind. But that was years and years ago. Eons in time and so much has changed since then. But that little brown face, that girl with the shoulder length dark hair on their fridge, forever burned into my mind. I can see her even as I sit here now-

Last year, something cracked wide open as I read the stories, as I stared hard and long into those precious faces, so foreign from what I see on a daily basis.  I knew it as I followed Ryan through the slums of Mathare, Africa. I had never even heard of this place. And it was his video and images and words, that ripped me wide open. Simultaneously, I followed Shaun and Ann to Guatemala, where what remained of my heart exploded into a million tiny pieces. As I stood at the kitchen counter, cooking dinner and weeping for those children whose faces were staring back at me from my laptop, I felt ashamed of the abundance that causes our home to burst at the seems, and blessed and completely shattered all at once. I wanted what they had. I wanted to BE a part of what they were doing. I knew I couldn’t just read along with them . That was not enough. And so I believe it was through their journeys into heartbreak that God planted the seed in me and my heart break journey began. It started as a pin-prick, just a little poke, but by the time their trips had ended, and the daily updates had died down, my story of heartbreak had only just begun.

Two Sundays ago, at church, in the narthex was a Compassion table, and all these little faces stared up from their clear envelopes. My own children gathered around me looking at all of the children’s pictures, asking questions, and pointing to them, saying, “I want this one” and “lets get that one.” My heart felt like a stone in my chest as I scanned the envelopes, praying inside for God to lead, to help us choose the *right* one for us. My seven year old selected this little boy who is his own age. Manirakiza. From Rwanda. A lanky, deep brown skinned little boy with yellow shorts and a cobalt blue t-shirt on, his hands straight at his sides with his hands clenched tight to his sides.  He is not smiling.  And I want to grab him from the page and hug him. We signed the papers and it was done. As my husband coraled our four I talked a minute with the woman who was working the table, and she told me that there is a good chance, the next picture I see of Little Manirakiza, he will be smiling.  And the floodgates opened. I knew at that moment we had done the right thing and that my heartbreak story was really still just beginning.  She hugged me as I cried and told me how wonderful Compassion is, and it is.



Compassion is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.” (

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? James 2:15

We are called as children of God to LIVE out our faith by extending a hand of grace and compassion to those less fortunate than ourselves. Compassion International is an organization hat makes this possible and truly makes a difference. You can change a life by sponsoring a child. You can encourage and give hope to someone thousands of miles from you, and God will be glorified as a result of your obedience to the call. I struggled for a good many months between following the Compassion Bloggers and now, at last sponsoring our own child, (hopefully the first of many). I wasn’t sure if we could afford it. The economy is down, things are tight, we live month to month. But Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-9

I am confident that we will be fine. God has consistently provided for us when we didn’t know how we would make ends meet.  He shows up time and again and blesses us in all sorts of amazing and unexpected ways, and I am certain that He will continue to provide.

If you have ever considered it, or even if you haven’t , go to the Compassion website. Read the stories, let God break your heart for these children, for those who have less than most.

I have already begun to dream about perhaps taking a trip to meet little Manirakiza.  Compassion organizes tours all of the time so sponsors can meet their child and I can only imagine how amazing an experience like that must be… perhaps someday…

Want to be a blessing to someone?

Sponsor a child online through Compassion's Christian child sponsorship ministry. Search for a child by age, gender, country, birthday, special needs and more.

~ Counting on to my 1000 Gifts ~

322. Gentle conviction from you, the Fathers guidance for wayward hearts. My wayward heart.

323. My parents, my husbands parents, the encouragement and support they give without fail, without question. Always encouraging us…

324. Strength that comes only from you, the source of everything.

325. Completing my first 5k. The strength in training to go further, to finish well…

326. Color, everywhere color this spring! 1000 different shades of green, just in my back yard.

327. Manirakiza, the way he has already become a constant in our prayers, the way you, God break my heart to make me better, to shape this lump of clay…

328. They prayers my boys offer up for this little African boy. Praying for his health and safety, their hearts starting to break a little for him as well. It’s glorious grace!


    1. Anonymous

      Blessings to YOU, Ryan. Your trip played a huge role in getting us to this point. Thank you for responding to the call and leading others in following the example of Christ. You are a great encouragement. Blessings always, brother.

  1. The Compassion Bloggers trips that I have followed (Kenya and Guatemala) have changed me and inspired a burning passion for CI and the work they do. u00a0We started sponsoring in 2009 and since then our Compassion family grows and I am so happy to be an Advocate and Blogger and try to spread the word about the way this blessed the children *and* the sponsors. u00a0I look forward to this upcoming blogger trip and have prepared by buying a few extra boxes of tissues.n

    1. Anonymous

      I am also looking forward to their updates from the Philippines. It’s sure to be a blessing to many. So glad you stopped by! Many blessings to you.


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