What It Is Like to Sponsor a Child
By Kristil Dalrymple
Q. What drew your heart to be a child sponsor?
A. When Jeff started working with BHM, we were made aware of the sponsor program for the first time. After being made aware of the need, we wanted to get involved and help.
Q. What is your sponsor child’s name and grade?
A. We sponsor a boy whose name is Dawensley Plaisir, and he is finishing up first grade. We also sponsor Sterline Vilsaint; she recently finished first grade at the top of her class.
Q. What has been the most significant benefit to sponsoring a child?
A. There are undoubtedly many benefits, but one that stands out to me as a parent is the opportunity to teach my children empathy and compassion for others in a less fortunate situation. It is a double blessing—caring for Haitian children’s basic needs while also addressing my children’s spiritual needs and exemplifying Christ’s mercy ministry in them.
Q. What has been your mindset in the whole process?
A. Our mindset has been influenced by a desire to lead by example. We do not want to ask others to do something we are not willing to do. It has been good for us to make the commitment to sponsor children and share some of the many resources we have been given by the Lord to continue the Lord’s work with the children in Haiti. Our family was reading through John this past year, and over and over again we saw Jesus caring for the sick and outcast: people’s physical and spiritual needs. Ultimately, we want to extend the hands and feet of Jesus to these families in Haiti by way of their children!
Q. How has God used sponsoring a child in your life?
A. Like the Israelites, we are a forgetful family and often lose sight of the qualities God desires for us. It can be easy for our family to fall into the lifestyle of entitlement and materialism that surrounds us every day. God has used the sponsorship program to provide a tangible way to exhibit sacrificial service while fostering gratitude for things we often take for granted. We see our Haitian children on the fridge every day – as we open the fridge doors to plenty of options of food, we are reminded that in Haiti that is not a common reality for many families. Those daily reminders are used by God to keep us thankful to Him and in prayer for others.
Q. Have you been able to interact with your child? If so, how?
A. We like to send over notes and gifts, but we have been able to fit in a few visits too. In August 2016, our son got to take his first trip to Haiti and meet our first sponsor child, Dawensley. Dawensley was pretty shy, but it was great for our son to have a personal connection to the face on the fridge. Then in March, I was able to visit Haiti for the first time and spend the afternoon with our little girl sponsor child, Sterline. Sterline is even cuter in person, and it was a wonderful experience to have conversations with her and her mother, with the help of a translator. We got to play together, push her on the swings, introduce her to ice cream, and give her some little gifts we brought.
Q. How have you seen your child benefit through the sponsorship?
A. We are so thankful to be able to help our sponsor children receive a Christian education, including their books and uniforms. We also help train the teachers that are having that immediate impact on these children. Both of our sponsor children seem to be thriving and doing well in school. By reaching the children of Haiti, it is a powerful way to influence the next generation with the gospel while providing the skills and knowledge they need to be responsible adults. And honestly, taking care of the children is a line of influence into their homes – touching the adults too!
Q. What would you say to someone who is not sure sponsorship is important?
A. I guess that most people would not deny the importance or need of sponsorship, as much as they delay the decision or perhaps worry about the monthly financial commitment. We have all seen the emotional videos and seen the need for helping children around the world to have food, water, housing, and education. Emotions can be good motivators, but the “why” for me is answered in Matthew 25 when Jesus is teaching on the final judgment, in verses 34-40:
“Then, the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.” The righteous then basically ask when did we do all that? Verse 40 explains, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”
I desire to be busy about my Heavenly Father’s work. The righteous are called “blessed by the Father” for the work they did to the least of these. Even though Haiti is relatively close to the United States, they are still in desperate need of many of life’s basic needs. For $30 a month, I can help answer that need for one child in Haiti. Not all of us are called to live full-time overseas, but all believers have a mission to abide in Christ, the Vine, so our lives can bear fruit. Sometimes to bear fruit, I have to make myself uncomfortable for the Lord’s purposes. In these uncomfortable spots, I lean more on the Lord than on my strength. I get to flex those muscles of faith and see the Lord strengthen my faith and work in ways that I would have otherwise missed. Take an intentional look at your budget, see if there is a way to reallocate funds to make room for a sponsor child. Include your children in the decision and let them learn from your choice to sacrifice in order to help a child in need. If the Lord has abundantly blessed you with His resources to steward, then consider helping more than one!
If you would like to consider sponsoring a child please visit http://bhm.org/what-we-do/child-sponsorship/