Dec 28 2007

It’s real

By Dan Pearson, CFCA International Project Director

Most people don’t realize that the people who work at CFCA don’t just work here. Most of us are sponsors, too. We’re kind of like that hair replacement guy on TV. We see the work of CFCA from the inside, but we also have many of the same emotional experiences that any other sponsor has. We experience excitement, wonder, guilt, peace, anger, joy and sadness as we get to know a child from another part of the world. Like any other sponsor, our sponsored friends teach us how different our living conditions are from theirs, and they teach us how similar we truly are.

My family sponsors a girl from India. Her name is Bindu. She’s 7, and her brother is 5. My kids talk about Bindu all the time. They consider her a friend. We all do. Last night we received a Christmas card from Bindu. In the card she told us that her father passed away recently. He died from a fever. Our family has traveled to a lot of countries over the years. We know people die needlessly from preventable illnesses. We have seen people suffering from illnesses that are easily treated in our community. We have tried to help. But none of that really changed the way we felt after reading Bindu’s card. This was not an abstract person who died. It was Bindu’s dad. The news of his death didn’t pass over us as easily as the news of hundreds of deaths tends to pass over us each day when we read the newspaper. Our lives were linked to his, however tentatively. We know who he was, and we know he will be missed.

So today I’m feeling much more like a CFCA sponsor than a CFCA staff member. I’m working in the office on projects for all of the sponsored children, but mostly I’m thinking about Bindu. I’m thinking about her mother and brother and wondering how they are doing. Wondering how they will get by now. I am feeling again in a personal way some of the things we talk about each day at CFCA. Child sponsorship isn’t about making yourself feel better or rescuing a child. It is about learning to see what is real again. It is about linking your life to the life of someone who is struggling to make their way in this world. It is about recognizing the dignity of that one person and choosing to stand with her. Because she matters. And so does her dad.

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