Thursday

Day 1: Moved With Compassion

She wore a yellow dress, cinched at the waist, with shoes too big for her feet and a smile too big for my heart.

Her three year old hand found mine and it didn't take long for her to climb into my lap.

She was a perfect fit.

Her name is Paris and she is a child at Compassion’s Child Survival Program (more info on CSP) in one of Kenya's 42 projects, that focuses on aiding and educating pregnant women and their unborn. We spent the day learning of this amazing project that invites expecting women into the program for the first three years of their child's life. This program is crucial since so many children die in the first five years of life.

We were welcomed by song and native dance that left me a weeping mess. Joy and beauty mixed. (here's a 17 second clip)

Women shared their testimonies of how Compassion teaches them prenatal care and the importance of a balanced diet, vaccinations and breastfeeding. They also learn useful skills (jewelry, soap-making) so they can make money for their families.

We then traveled (on the wrong side of the road!!) to the homes of several of these mothers, dirt roads...through a winding slum...the smells of fish, smoke and sewage filled the air. Emaciated dogs and goats peppered the roads, along with piles of trash and people.

People everywhere, some milling, some begging (and even trying to reach into the windows of our van), many as street vendors trying to sell fruit, meat covered with flies, or their handmade items.

Parking on the side of a dirt road in a congested area, we walked down a winding path to the home of one of the mother’s in the Compassion Child Survival program. Her name is Jackline.

She was so proud to welcome us into her home. It was the size of my master bathroom, with one family bed. She spoke with hope in her voice and with thankfulness to God for the work of Compassion.

She proudly showed us her skill of turning dirt and charcoal into briquettes she used to roast corn, making a profit of around .7 cents each. She usually sells 7-8 ears of corn, making less than around $.50 cents a day, but enough to make a difference for her precious family.

Today, I saw hope in a slum. I listened to her dreams of a future in the middle of unspeakable squalor. I saw Jesus.

Paris, the adorable three year old in the yellow dress was waiting when I returned to the project, with her arms outstretched. I was told that her time in CSP is nearly up, and she will be available for individual child sponsorship very soon.

She needs a sponsor. She needs you. I think of my own three year old thousands of miles away living with every luxury of an American child. The only difference in Paris and my little girl is they were born in different places. As her mother, I want the best for her. I pray for God to bless her.

Paris’ mother prays the same thing. She has the same hope for her child. She prays that someone will be moved with compassion. She prays for you.

You can make a difference today, right now. For only $38 a month, you can change a life! Please, I’m asking for the mothers I met today, will you to be the answer to their prayers?

There are twelve children who need sponsors at the CSP project we were at today. Twelve kids waiting on a mother's prayer to be answered.

"Christ has not body on earth but yours,

no hands, but yours, no feet but yours.

Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;

yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;

and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." Saint Teresa


Click here to see the children waiting for a child sponsor.


55 comments:

Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

I too am moved to tears reading your post. As I type this, my tears are streaming.

For the littles ones with so many needs...and for those of us who have no idea what it is like to really need!

Melanie said...

Beautiful, moving post! I can't even see what I'm typing because my eyes are filled with tears. THANK YOU for your work and for inspiring us all to do all we can to show Christ's love.

Marcy of The Glamorous Life said...

No one could be telling these woman's stories BETTER THAN YOU. God really knew what he was doing with this one...

I am moved and touched...and just so PROUD to even KNOW you.

Tina said...

wow. amazing.

Heather said...

There's something completely humbling about having African women and children sing and dance for you. I'll NEVER forget that experience. I sat and watched with tears flowing down my cheeks. I kept saying, "Who am I??" over and over. Amazing.

Seth said...

I still have a backpack that carries the smells of Africa, the smell of the gospel. Our family is praying for you and yours as you see and tell.

Layton Mom said...

praying for your journey - thanks for reporting "home"!!

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Thank you, Kristen, for sharing your journey. I don't know who's smile was bigger, Paris or yours. They are both beautiful.
May God continue to bless you during your journey.

Bri said...

What a beautiful child and a moving story. I will continue to follow the trip through your blog. God bless.

Nicole @Team Pipkin said...

THANK YOU for sharing your experience with us. you touched my heart with your story. She is a very beautiful little girl.

Lynn said...

I too have a 3 y/o at home. Compassion has and is working on my heart right now as I sit in a warm room, a bottle of water on my desk and a warm bed to sleep in tonight. My heart is heavy and I sit hear and question myself. Can I afford to do this per month? I have 3 kids of my own. Is it in the budget? And my heart is saying..but you can't afford not too!!! Oh God how I wish you could bring the kids back home with you. They deserve what we have, they deserve to live a childs life.
I continue to pray for the Compassion team and for the people of Kinya.

Love in Christ!!

Robert said...

Fantastic! But I do think your smile may be even bigger than hers. This is awesome!

Muthering Heights said...

Beautiful, Kristen. Just beautiful.

manumit said...

I love you. God is breaking me through you. Can you bring home a houseful of little "Paris'" for me to love on?

And Jesus said, "let the little children come to me and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of God."

T.

Stephen Jones said...

Great post! I am excited to read your posts this week. You are such a great story-teller and God has SO MANY stories lined up for you this week. That first picture is the smile of Jesus. Love it!

Ashley@ Mrs.007.com said...

I think it so amazing what Compassion is doing to not only raise awareness but to help regular people change the world in the name of Christ.

Kristen, thank you for being brave enough to go there so we can read your words and see your experiences. I am truly inspired. You really are "keeping it real" :)

Myra said...

Like the other commenters on this post, I have tears streaming down my face. God has burdened my heart for Africa since I was a child.

I'm so glad that you are there...your experience is life changing - for you and for us.

Praying for you! xo

Robin said...

Are you going to make me cry every day? This brings back memories of my trip to Dominican Republic and the time I got to spend with our sponsored child Ana. Children are the same everywhere. They just want to be loved. Thank you for sharing your journey so beautifully.

Cathy said...

Absolutely beautiful! This brought tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.

I will be praying about another sponsorship. We currently sponsor a little boy in India, but there are SO many in need!

Tamsyn said...

I'm new here so catching up on what you are doing. I enjoy reading your posts, you write well. :o) Do you know if you can sponsor from anywhere other than the USA? I live in the UK. Thanks, Tamsyn

http://walkwithusshorts.blogspot.com/

Kim said...

Wow, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes reading your post and looking at the incredible pictures.
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

Kara said...

OH MY!!!! How amazing to see my own sister filled with overflowing joy! It is evident that you are EXACTLY where you should be! The light shining from your eyes is INCREDIBLE! Paris saw a glimpse of Jesus today, through you! As you continue your journey, take it all...the smells, the sights, the hugs, the overwhelming needs. We are praying for you on the home front. Love you--K

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Kristen, I prayed for you this morning on my way to work.

Ugh. The luxury of my 2yo child, compared with the poverty of the children you're meeting, breaks my heart. When I think of how sad I am when my daughter can't have her OWN PLAYROOM like her cousins? Ohhhh... God's working on my heart again...

bridget {bake at 350} said...

Beautiful post, beautiful pictures, beautiful quote from Saint Teresa. I don't think there will be any dry eyes reading your post today. ♥

Monica said...

Thank you for the beautiful reflection of your time in Africa. These children are on my heart. I pray that many are touched by your words throughout this week.

thegypsymama said...

I have to remember to only read these posts when I am wearing my waterproof mascara.

I have to remember that Jesus doesn't care about my mascara.

I have to remember that joy lives in the unlikeliest of places.

I have to remember that all I have comes with great responsibility to all who do not.

Thank you for the reminder.

~Lisa-Jo

BlueCastle said...

Beautiful. I'm so thankful for organizations like Compassion who will provide opportunities for people to support themselves. What an amazing journey you are on.

Tiffany said...

This was beautifully written, but more than that you moved me to compassion. I sit here with tears streaming down my cheeks. My husband is coming home for lunch shortly, and I am going to talk to him about giving up cable so we can sponsor a child. I have him all picked out, too - Dhika from Indonesia. I am praying that my husband will be moved to compassion too. Thank you. We had put off sponsoring a child until next year when we had "more money" - foolish. Thank you!!

Valerie Harris said...

I'm so excited to continue reading about your trip. We sponsor a girl in Kenya who is almost 8 now - She was 5 when we started. I can't wait to show my kids your photos of Kenya to make things a little more "real" to them! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the post. Very eye opening. What a beautiful smile on the little girl admist all of that.

www.mommyoffaith19.blogspot.com

Rebekah said...

I have also been following your Kenya trip through the eyes of our real-life friend, Brad Ruggles. I am hungry for your words as God has been stirring my heart violently. Thank you for sharing all that you are experiencing and giving voice to this people...I will be sponsoring a child.

Mom & Dad said...

Kristen: Oh What a beautiful sight! My beautiful girl making a difference. Let jesus speak through you today and fulfill your calling. I am so blessed today. I love yo so much. Ia praying for you too. Your little ones here are in such loving hands and are so proud of you. Love, Mom

Kristen said...

Tamsyn,
Yes, you can sponsor a child from your country. From my link, you can look around and choose a child/country to sponsor. Thank you for reading.

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

(And I slip in here after your Mom and Dad ~this makes me all happy misty~)

You hold Jesus close in these faces, walk His streets, sit at His table...

You are on Holy Ground -- strolling His beat -- and His love is everywhere....

And I see Him in your smile!:)
Know how I am with you in heart, Kristen..... I pray!

All, all my love,
Ann

Shannon said...

I am absolutely struck by the look on your face. That's the face of a woman who is right where she's supposed to be.

Praying for you. (WFMW went fine yesterday, BTW...)

Angie @ Many Little Blessings said...

Wow -- such a moving post! I had to fight back tears.

My family is already sponsoring a child. I wish I had enough money to sponsor hundreds of them though.

The Halbert Home said...

I am crying at my computer. I have never been a mother but we have 2 compassion children and I've never looked at it that way. That a mother might have prayed for us to be a blessing to her child. I appreciate the new perspective!

MelaKamin said...

beautiful and moving ... thank you for sharing your heart and using your gifts to impact the lives of these precious children

samiam said...

Cannot express in words what is in my heart - so I'll take it to God in prayer. Give an extra hug to those children from me, Kristen!

Welcome to M and M World! said...

Thank you for sharing this journey with all of us! Just day one....I am speechless. Thank you again! Peace and Love to you and all those there in Kenya.

Grateful for Grace said...

I left part of my heart in Kenya almost fifteen years ago. Are you all going to Mombasa?

Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

Wow! What a journey..I have chills thinking of how right you are..that the only difference between our children and the children in Africa is where they were born. Praying for you!!!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

That first paragraph -- with shoes too big for her feet and a smile too big for her face -- made my heart wrench and my eyes see with yours.

I was driving to MOPS this morning, listening to a little Dave Barnes, when I was overcome with the compulsion to PRAY for you and the rest of the Kenya team. Only Love can save us. All.

Laryssa Herbert said...

The video flooded me with the same emotions that I felt when I was there...in Nairobi. These precious people are still in my heart.

Cascia said...

This is amazing. I just can not imagine what you are witnessing down there. This has to be quite the journey for you. My prayers are with these mothers and their little ones. God Bless you, Kristen for doing this.

grannyann said...

What an interesting post. looking forward to more.

Tracey said...

I can't wait to see/hear more. Thanks for sharing Paris with us!

Kim said...

I stumbled back to your blog from bake@350 but I'm so reminded how great God is! I retweeted someone on your trip who just met their compassion child. My husband and I look forward to meeting ours one day. We also are excited about compassion sunday in April @ church. Off to read your adoption blog post! We've got two of our own but long to add through adoption!

Kim said...

I stumbled back to your blog from bake@350 but I'm so reminded how great God is! I retweeted someone on your trip who just met their compassion child. My husband and I look forward to meeting ours one day. We also are excited about compassion sunday in April @ church. Off to read your adoption blog post! We've got two of our own but long to add through adoption!

dawn said...

Kristen- this post is beautiful. Jesus is looking out at you from Paris's eyes...as you do to her (and others), you do to Him.

Thanks for telling the story.

Sara said...

I saw a picture of you with the same girl on MckMama's blog. She's so sweet.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

Your hair's clipped back,
and we can see your eyes,
your smile,
Christ-radiance on that face.

That's all Jesus.
You shine of Him.

Anonymous said...

I'm a new commenter on your blog and just wanted to say that this post is so beautiful ... both the writing and the intent. Thank you!!
Tracy R.

Diane said...

THANK YOU so much for making this trip and telling us about it! I have a girl I sponsor in one of the projects you are going to and I am aching to hear current news of her. Last I heard, she was expecting a baby but I still don't know the outcome. Her name is Deborah Awuor Omollo and she is in KE355 (Mathare) project. She is an exceptional 16 year-old girl, full of life and hope and faith in Christ. I would love it if you would hug her and her family for me if you meet them. She has a baby sister who is about 2 and is named after Condoleezza Rice. :) I know you are hugely busy and overwhelmed with processing all that you are experiencing so I won't hold anything against you if you can't do this, but if you can... you'd make me incredibly happy. :) God bless you on your journey. Love the Kenyans for us in Jesus name! :) ` Diane Comstock, Morgan Hill, CA (PS, I'm going to try to post this on the other blogs, too, just to cover my bases. :) ) my email: dianec@iname.com

cchemm2002 said...

Hi Kristen,

Just wanted you to know that this post inspired me to sponsor a CSP in Kenya. Thank you for your beautiful words and pictures, sharing Kenya with those of us who aren't there to witness it firsthand.

Enjoy your Sunday! Claire