I’m suggled in my long, gray sweater with my hot cup of coffee and writing on my bright and shiny laptop. My house is warm and clean(ish) and our food is in the refrigerator. Screens and windows keep the bugs from getting in and crawling all over us and our water is clean and it’s time to make my kids a hot breakfast and then get lunches ready for school.

My kids are still in their beds. Jaana has a queen-size bed with a turquoise and purple and pink and orange comforter and it’s stacked high with pillows and pillow pets and stuffed animals. Paxton is tucked into the bottom of his bunk beds and sleeping cozily in his Star Wars pajamas with his monogrammed Pottery Barn blanket high under his chin. When he wakes up I’ll take off his Pull-Up and put on his big boy Spiderman underwear because he feels so big time when he has them on.

My daughter is eight and in the third grade and is struggling with understanding changing friendships. Girls are forming new relationships and old ones are changing and it hurts her feelings when someone would rather play with boys than play with her. She brings her American Girl dolls and clothes to school to play with at recess when she doesn’t jump rope or play on the eco-friendly playground. I pack her a big lunch in her Pack-It lunchbox on the days that Subway doesn’t deliver lunch for her so everything stays cool and refrigerated.

All around my house are framed family pictures and children pictures, some with just Jaana and some with Jaana and Paxton and they are in matching black frames so that everything looks cohesive in our house. They’ve never known picture-taking without instantly seeing themselves on the back of the camera and they always ask to look after they say cheese.

First world problems. It’s not just a Twitter hashtag. It’s a way of life.

When I went to Manila, Philippines 12 years ago, it changed me. Families and children living in squatter villages with shacks and metal roofs and no running water and entire families sleeping on the floor of the shack. Flies and bugs and mosquitos zipping in and out of the rooms and all over the kids and they spent their time just playing outside in the dirt like kids do. They didn’t know better. But I did. It’s so easy to forget — and I do often. But pulling out my pictures and reliving that trip was incredibly eye-opening and so necessary for me this week.

We made and decorated picture frames with popsicle sticks and took their pictures with a Polaroid camera and most of them had never seen a picture of themselves before. They couldn’t get enough of it. We’d hand them over each time with a smile and a “Jesus loves you so much” and a pat on the head.

We dressed up and did silly skits and told them how much Jesus loved them and then got back into the van and sanitized our hands with rubbing alcohol and Purell. We hugged them and loved on them and laughed with them and jump roped with them and kept telling them how much Jesus loved them.

Was that enough?

Those children and those families weren’t on a short-term mission trip. That was their life and their reality and that’s all those children would ever know. And the work we did there was extremely important, spiritually and relationally. But they also need long-term spiritual and physical care.

And that’s where Compassion International comes in. “Compassion International exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.” Isn’t that beautiful?

Releasing Children from Poverty in Jesus’ Name.

Sponsoring a child through Compassion International will change the future of the child, and your own life as well. Your sponsorship makes possible a church-based program that provides food, clean water, medical care, education, Bibles and life-skills training. Most important, your sponsored child will hear about Jesus Christ and be encouraged to develop a lifelong relationship with God.

Would you consider visiting the Sponsor a Child page and pray over the children? Pray for sponsorship. Pray for them to know Jesus. Pray for protection and safety and comfort and provision.

Would you visit the Sponsor a Child page and spend time asking God to reveal His heart toward these children to you?

Would you consider viewing the page with your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and share with them about the reality of other children around the work?

Would you consider sponsoring a child today?

Let’s partner to release children from poverty. In Jesus’ name.