This isn’t where we visited today. We weren’t allowed to get our cameras out while on the street, so this is a photo I took from the bus of a neighborhood nearby. These homes here are much nicer than the ones we saw today.
Her home was neat, all their clothes folded together on one small shelf. To get into Rose Ann’s house, you have to climb a ladder. The door is a swinging piece of plywood with no lock. Her entire home is smaller than the inside of my mini van. Four people live there.
You might be tempted to think, Why can’t we do anything about this? Where is God in this poverty? The answer? Somebody is doing something. And God is right in their midst.
Shaun, Kat and I stood in Rose Ann’s tiny home, her son AJ asleep on the hard floor, and we watched Beth, a worker at the church where Compassion hosts a program called the Child Survival Program, of which Rose Ann is a part. Beth sat beside her on the floor, asked her to open her Bible, and together they read from the New Testament. They read living words, and the Living Word stood protective over that room.
And there was a craft and a book and vitamins for AJ. Small things. Kid things. Important things. And Beth sat casual with her shoes off and leaned in close to Rose Ann, asking her questions about AJ’s health, about her home and her well-being. And they do these kinds of visits regularly.
To question poverty is normal and important. But don’t say you are helpless to do anything. Because we were there, in that tiny one room home. And there was a home just like Rose Ann’s one ladder climb below us who didn’t have anybody standing in their room. They might one day soon, but Rose Ann does today. She has people pray for protection for her family today. She has people casting vision for her son’s future today. And it’s because of people like you who sponsor children and support programs like Compassion.
But her poverty is not going away. She still lives in a room the size of a small walk-in closet with her husband and her two sons. As I rested my backpack on her small kitchen in that hot one-room home, I fought with my stupid eyes as they leaked ridiculous all over my shirt. Who am I to cry for her? She’s not crying, she’s laughing! And I was struck broken by the question that came next.
Am I crying for her, or am I crying for me? I wondered if I was thinking of her and her needs, or if I was thinking of me and what my life would be like in her shoes. It does her no good for me to project my life into hers. I was forced, in that moment, to reconsider my concept of provision. And to look at her with eyes that weren’t so self-centered.
The truth is, because of Compassion, she has support now. And Rose Ann needs support.
Her son won’t die of pneumonia now. Her family is being prayed for now. And when AJ turns 3, he will be eligible to enter the Child Development Sponsorship Program and be sponsored by someone like you. I knew I wasn’t prepared to see poverty like this. Today was proof that I was right.
I thought I was prepared to see what Compassion International is doing about it. Today was proof that I was wrong. This organization is doing more than I ever thought possible. And they are doing it better than I ever imagined.
The Philippines is filled with mothers like Rose Ann who love their babies and simply want the best for them. Not so different from what we want for our babies. Will you join me in supporting young mothers in the Philippines like Rose Ann by choosing one of their children to sponsor today?