We spend all morning with the kids, singing songs, playing games and attending church. After the service, the staff at the Compassion center begin unfolding long tables and setting out chairs around them. Someone tells me that we are staying to have lunch with the kids. Large trays of food are set out along the buffet table. The air smells of sweet plantains and seasoned rice and beans. The staff and volunteers at the Compassion center serve us with a sincere generosity unlike anything I have seen. Scooping heaping portions on our paper plates, they give without concern for whether or not there will be enough.  

The middle of my plate sags with the weight of the food. We will not leave hungry. There is more than enough.

We struggle a bit through conversation with the children, relaying things to our translators and waiting for the relayed response. Conversation is slow and laborious but hospitality flows smoothly in this space. 

Part of the Child Sponsorship program at Compassion includes regular meals for the children. It’s a basic physical need that helps open the children up to  hearing the Gospel. 

After lunch, we wind down the hill and into the maze of sideways houses stacked awkwardly against each other, none of them have glass in the windows or locks on the door. All are welcome, they tell us; “What we have, we share”. Clearly this is true, as I’m carrying around a stomach full of the proof that these are a people who have generous hands.

pot on stove top
The kitchen at the first house we see consists of little more than a small gas stove and a small refrigerator that looks at least 40 years old. There is no table, no chairs to sit in. The kitchen, is in fact, in the main room. She apologizes shyly for the “mess” of her home, but there is no mess, because there are no things. 

Later we climb our way up to another home, and immediately I notice the kitchen. This one is slightly more equipped than the one before but I wonder still, how one manages to feed a family of seven at a small table with only 3 chairs. I see a stove, and an old, tiny microwave, but this kitchen lacks counter space.

There is in fact, no counter.

I wonder how she prepares her meals. Where does she chop vegetables? Do they even have access to vegetables? I don’t know, and I can’t bring myself to ask.
hanging pots
All of the times I’ve whined about the shape of my own kitchen at home, haunt me in these moments. She manages to feed her family with what she has, and the knowledge that her children are fed also by Compassion encourages her, and eases ever so slightly the concerns about their health and well being.
hanging utensils I notice all of the things crammed inside of the oven. Only the stove top works. The inside of the stove serves as a substitute for cupboard.
Pots and pans are piled up on the floor, a bucket holding waste buzzes with flies. When I notice the dirty dishes on the stove top, it occurs to me that this kitchen also lacks a sink.
The effect of Compassion’s generosity and provision in this community is evident. The commitment Compassion makes to feeding the people in their program, builds a bridge from filling hungry bodies to being able to pour into starving souls. When immediate physical needs are met, the Gospel can be more effectively shared because the experience of being fed not only demonstrates the heart of the gospel, but also affirms the love that Compassion expresses for the people they come into contact with.

plate of food

 Child sponsorship through Compassion is a unique, holistic approach to practicing biblical hospitality. As a sponsor you can become part of this mission to end the cycle of poverty, and feed children who are not only starving physically, but also spiritually. This is the greatest offering we can manage–to love our neighbors well, by feeding them in every way.

Pull out a chair for someone new at your table. Choose a child to share your love and the love of Christ with, and nourish them, body and soul.

Sponsor a child today. 


Kris / Posts / Blog
Kris is a writer and artist living in the middle of Ohio. She loves Jesus, people, and words. She is most often found in her tiny kitchen, where she plays with her food. Having recently mastered the art of preparing perfectly crisp dino-nuggets--she is her children's hero.
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    Deciding to sponsor a child through Compassion was one of the best decisions I made in 2014.

    January 14th, 2015 14:07
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    Annie Barnett

    What a gift to be invited into these families’ kitchens and learn about their lives. I’m praying for you as you go, Kris, and for Compassion there, and those still waiting to be sponsored. Love you, friend.

    January 15th, 2015 3:25
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    Leah Adams

    Kris, what a privilege to be on a Compassion tour. I sponsor three girls…two in Tanzania and one in Columbia. I hope to go visit them one day. Thanks for taking us along on your trip.

    January 15th, 2015 15:43
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    Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    I too, have talked about “updating” my kitchen. The very same kitchen that has a sink, an oven & stove, refrigerator and counter space. Thank you for bringing a reminder that I truly am wealthy. Praying for you as you visit these families and for those who need a sponsor. X0X0

    January 15th, 2015 16:55
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    Michele-Lyn Ault

    You are speaking my language. <3

    January 16th, 2015 15:39

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