Day 4: My Rescue

They said her village was too far away.

Too remote to travel to Nairobi to meet me at the city amusement park.

But by some miracle and communication error, she came.

Makena, one of our family's sponsored children, traveled with a Compassion social worker by motor bike for two hours, bus for an hour, and finally by car to join our newly sponsored boy, Ephantus. They came to meet their sponsor. Me.

It was a double blessing.

Makena, 7, experienced one hundred firsts today, including leaving her primitive village and riding in a car for the very first time. Ephantus is six and is from an urban Nairobi slum.


I cannot describe the unbelievable connection I had with these children. To them the word sponsor is equivalent to our word hero. They both said my name whispered in their mother tongue with reverence.

It was both humbling and empowering: Sponsorship rescues them from poverty, but it has rescued me from wealth.

Today, I became a mother again. The translator told these two children from different tribes and parts of Kenya, they were now brother and sister. Because of me. Tears mingled with laughter as we all experienced new things....

.....riding on a third world ferris wheel petting a baby crocodile

....riding a camel


.......and holding a crocodile egg
I fought back tears when I learned that Makena's father was seriously injured in a land dispute recently in his village and was left for dead. He survived, but is crippled and unable to care for his family. I was told "the mother is strong," but I ache for her as she is both mother and provider to Makena and her three siblings.

But these kids aren't some distant strangers who will get an occasional letter and $38 a month from an American. This is my family. These are my people. Sponsorship is so much more than a financial commitment, it is a relationship. Relationship breeds love. I love these children. I weep for them. I want Ephantus to have new shoes. I want Makena to have a new dress, since her best one is ripped. I want the best for them.

When it was time to give my sponsored children gifts, I was empty-handed because I had only prepared for one. I was thankful I had stuffed Ephantus' new backpack very full and brought him two soccer balls.


I quickly emptied my polka dotted bag and split the items. I've never been more proud to carry my things in a paper sack.


A brother and sister born out of compassion:


Compassion International has joined our hearts and lives forever, here and in eternity. I thought I was sponsoring children to help them.

Turns out I was the one needing to be rescued.
Perhaps, you do too. Click here to sponsor a child.

I strongly urge you to watch what happens when a sponsored child grows up and becomes an adult and meets their sponsor for the first time after 19 years of relationship. (Make sure you watch it to the end).

*Did you know Compassion allows you to give family gifts to your sponsored child up to $1000 a year? Compassion International meets with the family to decide how the money should be spent...a new roof, beds, etc.

the really good photos are by Ryan Detzel and Brad Ruggles and the thought behind this post was inspired by the Shaun Groves.


Southern Gal said...


momlovesbeingathome said...

I did not watch the video, I know I would sit here bawling and it's not the most appropriate time to do so. :) I know this man's story though - my husband was there at Catalyst and heard this man's story. Out of the whole trip, it was one of the first things he told us about when he got home. He was blown away by the story.

This is so cool what you and all of the others are doing. I just found your blog a few days ago as well as some others that are there with you. It's been amazing to hear the stories you've shared and see the pictures you've posted. Thanks for all that you're doing to help these children!

Jeanette said...

Your two newest additions are beautiful! You are one blessed momma and I love the picture of your daughter looking up at you on the ferris wheel :}

If I could use one word it would be....

BRAVE (all 3 of you!)

Darla said...

Every single post of yours makes me bawl, not just cry, not just tear, but bawl. Keep it coming.

Rebecca N. said...

I'm bawling too! The line you wrote "Sponsorship rescues them from poverty, but it has rescued me from wealth" is so powerful. I have felt this way for months now but haven't been able to put it into words. There are so many days that I am just overcome with emotion because God has shown me the truth in this simple statement. I have so much and I want to give. I want to give until it's painful. These children are so beautiful. What a beautiful gift we have been given in being allowed to be a part of their lives.

Tina said...

You are an absolutely gem, my friend. I'm so happy to know you and those babies are SO blessed to know you.

God bless you.

Johanna said...

Beautiful, beautiful words.

Anonymous said...

I am son enjoying reading your daily posts and I have shared them with all of my family, friends and co-workers.

You are an amazing woman Kristen and so blessed to be doing what you are doing. Thanks for sharing it all with us.

Layton Mom said...

wow - I sponsor a boy in India - and to think it's more than just prayers for him (whom I'll most likely never see until Heaven) ... well, it means so much to know how important this really is --


Tammy said...

What a complete God "thing". I am so touched by your stories and your pictures speak a thousand words. Continued prayers for you on this WONDERFUL journey!

Anonymous said...

There are no words! I am so proud to know you through bloggy world, and may your connection with your new found family bring you much joy--today,and what is to come.

Eos Mom said...

How wonderful you got to meet them both in person! I love your facial expressions in the pictures.

Prince Charming said...

your blog is really cool. and this post, I enjoyed very much. Fun watching the day unfold with you.

Jennifer said...

I'm going to have to remember to grab my box of tissues before I sit down to read your posts. I've needed them every time so far!

Wow. I had no idea that you were going to get to meet your sponsored children in person during this trip. I can't even imagine. We've sponsored our little girl for 14 years, and I can't even imagine seeing her face-to-face. I know that we will in eternity, but what a blessing it is to see you meet your kids!

I've been praying for you daily while you're traveling. It's amazing to watch God at work through the pictures and posts. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us.

Melissa said...

I have read some of the other bloggers on this trip, but your account of this week has truly touched my family's heart. I just followed your link and we sponsored a 6 year old girl that was at high priority. My 5 kids are so excited!! lol I think they might be under the impression that she is coming to actually LIVE with us though, gonna have to explain that in a little more detail. Thanks for touching our hearts and helping us find a way to help this little girl and her family.

Anonymous said...

"Sponsorship rescues them from poverty, but it has rescued me from wealth."

This has me weeping.

Jessica said...

Beautiful...seeing your posts this week is encouraging me to be a better sponsor.

Sonya said...

All I can say is Wow!

bridget {bake at 350} said... incredibly wonderful that you were able to meet your sponsored children. I can only imagine how hard it must have been to not spend the entire day sobbing!

The video was so moving. Thank you for linking to that.

Every post is really, really beautiful! ♥

Melanie said...

I don't even know what to say... the video, your post, the photos... wow. My heart is so touched by what I am seeing and hearing, but I know that to really love, I need to put that feeling into action. Please pray that God will open doors for me and I will continue to pray for all of you on this life changing trip.

Reverb said...

I saw her with your backpack and assumed she was just carrying it around for fun! I had no idea that you had given it to her. (this part makes me cry) That was a nice backpack. It's better now.

Kristy said...

"I've never been more proud to carry my things in a paper sack." - that's when the tears started :)

The Lord is speaking through you in incredible ways this week!

Elizabeth said...

I just signed up for a compassion child from Kenya. :) I've wanted to do something like this but your posts have made it real. Will I be able to write to my child and have her write back to me?

Kristen said...

Yes, you can write your child as often as you want (even email). It has to be translated by Compassion's corporate office on both ends, so it is time consuming. But well worth it. If the child can't write yet (which is often the case) the social worker helps them.

To everyone who has sponsored this week or is considering it or has in the past...thank you! Words can't express how much this effects a child in a world of poverty. Love you all.

Becca said...

I was at Catalyst when that happened and can I just say that it seriously rocked my world. I ugly cried for sure.

Mom and Dad said...

What a wonderful day! We miss you so much. Mom

Marie said...

So many times people get caught up in helping people outside America b/c they forget that there are a lot of children right here in our own backyards who need us desperately.

Jill Foley said...

What a great story...especiall the part about emptying your own backpack and proudly carrying your things in a paper sack.

oh amanda said...

Tears in my eyes. We sponsored our 2 kids via Compassion from the same place in Burkina Faso b/c one day we will meet them. I haven't thought about the fact that the 2 of them are now joined---by us.

Thank you for your posts. Beautiful.

Maria said...

What a blessing for all three of you. I am greatly moved by your trip. May God continue to bless you.

Allie said...

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. Praise God for these amazing gifts! Thank you for blessing us today with a touching update.

Amy Bennett said...

Wow, after years of sponsorship I had no idea we could make large donations to the families. We were always told to make small donations for gifts at holidays. So great!

Catherine B said...

You are a gift for sharing this story. It is so touching and amazing. thank you.

in a world surrounded by men said...

I almost cried as hard as the people in the video did. How very raw.

I have been addicted to all the bloggers posts about Kenya. Today I blogged about how we came to sponsor our Compassion Child Gilbert and made a plea to my small readership to sponsor a child as well.

I'm wondering if you'll make it down to Mzambarauni EAPC Child Development Center. I don't know if it is near or far, but if you see my sweet Gilbert Ngao, you give him a long hug from me and tell him that our next letter is in the mail.

Thanks for letting us come along with you.

Kim said...

Your face on that camel - priceless!

YouRockMom said...

You're an inspiration! Renewed our sponsorship for a little girl this time. We cancelled a sponsorship after our home was hit by Hurricane Ike and now have been inspired by YOU and moved by God to renew.

P.S. Have you noticed that your and the camel's face have the same expression?

The Halbert Home said...

My husband was at Catalyst when that man met his sponsor and he said it was an AMAZING moment. When he came home and we watched the video we just cried. I love the work Compassion is doing and I am so glad you're telling their story!

Amy said...

I have recently found your blog, and.....
I think I love you!

I have been to Kenya twice. I love it there. I love the people. I have 2 sons I sponsor there, and you are so right. They are not just my sponsored children, they are our family. They sign their letters to us "your Kenyan son". I love them.

And now I'm off to go write them!

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stonefox said...


T.W. said...

He Said


Again, afresh, anew, I love you.

A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

I would like to say to your readers. Yes, there are children and families in need right here in America. By all means let's meet their needs, speak out against injustice, crime, and poverty. ALL children are precious to Jesus Christ. Let's reach out to our Jerusalem and Judea, but let's not stop there.

One critical difference in my mind, is that most people in America have access to food and medical care. Even orphans. If you make $25K a year then you make more than 99% of the world. Over 50% of the children in Kenya live with families who make less than $1.50 U.S. per day. The majority of these families are illiterate. Comapassion International is making a difference for these families.

I can support my local church, food bank and many other worthy organizations and still have enough to sponsor a child. A family of four in the U.S. will spend more on one movie than it costs to sponsor a single child for a month.

May we all be "rescued from our wealth" and be joined to His heart.


Anonymous said...

thongs on hot girls

Kate said...

Oh Kristen. I've never read your blog before. But I'll be back.

I'll be back.

Blessings to you as you continue to do this important and life changing work.


MarytheKay said...

I finally gave up and took my glasses off...then, your "paper bag" comment just tore me up! :-)

Your beautiful writing is bringing your experiences halfway across the world to my breakfast table this morning. The love and awe is coming across the lines loud and clear. Precious, precious children.

Thank you.

jodi @ back40life said...

beautiful - love your heart!

Kimberly said...

All I can say is that your words enlighten me! God is very clearly working through you. The photography in these posts are breathtaking, only above them are your words that make the pictures so real!
Thank you Thank you Thank you!

chan28co19 said...

I went to a women's conference this weekend and sponsored to children. I came home and told my own son and daughter that they now have another sister and brother. They are so excited. They prayed for them last night and again this morning on the way to school. I WAS glad I had made the decision to sponsor these children. Now, after reading your post I am THANKFUL that I made the decision. What a blessing to my family to be able to help in some small way.

Creatively Melissa said...

I had been wanting to sponsor a child for awhile but never could pin hubby down to do it. We were at Catalyst last year and saw the Compassion Moment firsthand. I think everyone there was sobbing including my hubby who couldn't get a Compassion child envelope in his hand fast enough. We now sponsor 9-year old Anandh in India.

Now I am trying to work on making some jewelry to sell so we can get a child from the 6 months or more waiting list.

Prudy said...

What you said about rescuing them from poverty and you from wealth is exactly what sponsoring does if you allow it to. Because we started sponsoring our little Nikita we've tried to make changes in how we live. Are we perfect at it, of course not, but God is working in our hearts and lives.

The video from Catalyst still drives me to tears.

Jenny said...

We sponsor a boy in Uganda. He is an older child. He will be 17 this Dec. We have sponsored him for about 2 years (I can't remember when they went to Ugnada with bloggers). But his letters thrill my heart. The money we send him as gifts or family are always the most fun for us, because he always writes and tell us what they bought with it. I have three daughters and they love to read that he bought a chicken, goat and a kilo of sugar! Thrills us.

I enjoyed seeing all the pictures and being reminded of how bad we need to care about people who are in need everywhere.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure the tears I have shed (and tried to hold back) sitting here at work this week are nothing compared to yours!!
My husband and I sponsored a little girl, Veronica, after I read the blogs from the trip to Compassion Dominican Republic (I didn't even know where it was!) and now I know we are going to have a Kenyan child as well.
I'm excited! We're going to have another child together!

Michelle said...

The video had me crying like a baby. What an amazing story!

Nancy M. said...

Wow! It's so different when I see it through your eyes!

Julie (Dan) said...

I started my sponsorship yesterday. Thank you for your story! I hope to visit my sponsored child someday as well!

Alison @ Hospitality Haven said...

I just bawled through that whole video! Powerful!

Jim and April said...

wow...your posts are making me become a cry baby! :0) Thank you again for letting us into this little glimpse of these precious children and how God has used your family to bring them so much! The pictures are priceless!

Jess said...

I am moved beyond wordss. I am so glad I found your blog just yesturday. I subscribed right away. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I have been reading your posts all morning, and have been quietly balling,as not to worry my 4yr old son. I did watch the video and, it is one of the most touching things I have ever seen. How can you not want to help. I plan on discussing this with my husband today. We live on one income, and dont have as much as some, but I realize we have more than enough! We are blessed. We live in luxury compared to so many. I want to give back, and want to make a real difference, I want to make a change, I need too! Thank you, really truely, thank you for opening my eyes a little further. God bless you and your family.