Part of me regrets not posting this sooner. Fundraising during a global crisis feels a bit, well… uncomfortable. But here’s the thing, sponsorships matter, even during COVID-19.
So today, I make one simple plea: please, hear me out to the end.
I am going to give you important, time-sensitive information. What you do with that information at the end is up to you.
My responsibility begins and ends with sharing the facts and inviting people to be a part of the solution. How people choose to respond is, quite frankly, none of my business.
The Age of COVID-19
We are living through history.
We are living the story that we will tell our grandchildren someday.
As unprecedented changes unfold, many of us shift into survival mode. We look to care for our family, and we cast a watchful eye over those at-risk in our community. And in all this scariness, we breathe sighs of relief that the good people are still among us.
But there are other brave souls whom we might not think of right now, and those are the non-profit organizations.
The sustainability of these essential groups is also at high risk right now, because as we operate in self-preservation mode, we aren’t necessarily thinking of new charities to support. In fact, this is a season where people start withdrawing recurring donations.
All of that is 100% reasonable and understandable.
And yet, here’s the truth. As bad as things are right now, and as much as it could potentially get worse, we still enjoy benefits and privileges that millions of women do not.
As people naturally slow down in purchases and new spending, these non-profit organizations are impeded from providing the services they have promised; and people will suffer even more than they have already.
So as this is an inconvenient time to bring up sponsorships, someone has to.
For these women and children are forgotten at the best of times, how much more at the worst of times?
A Man Showed Up in My Driveway
But before I tell you about the teen moms in Kenya who are graduating from the maternity home and need support during their transition; or the artisans who need customers so they can put food on their table; or about the passion and burden MHG founder Kristen Welch carries right now, let me share a very personal story with you.
Three years ago, our family was in a financial crisis of our own.
I sold personal belongings to pay off debt and purchase groceries. We were sponsoring two children at the time; one from the Rehema House Graduate Program and the other from different organization.
And one day in May, at an incredibly inconvenient time, a young man named Marco showed up in my driveway asking me to sponsor another child.
I breathed a sigh of relief because I figured I could send him on his way quickly. After all, two active sponsorships is a badge of immunity, right?
Marco, born in a Central American, told me how he himself had been sponsored as a child. He told me how he was living proof that sponsorships truly do change lives.
This seemed like the perfect segue to tell him that we were already sponsoring a couple of kids and that this wasn’t a time when we were ready to take on more.
He smiled, “That’s really great to hear. Let me show you pictures of some of these kids.”
I wasn’t going to get out of this as easily as I thought.
Why Sponsorships Matter
Marco fanned out 3-4 pamphlets, each with a photo of a different child.
“These children are our highest priority right now,” he explained. “Because, you see, these girls are at the age where they will begin menstruation. This means that they are at a high-risk for being forced into prostitution.”
I held my breath.
“That’s why I’m out in the heat knocking on doors until I find sponsors for all these children.”
A few months prior, we began supporting Operation Underground Railroad; an organization that rescues children from sex trafficking.
In that moment, as I looked into these girls’ eyes, I knew there was no way that I was going to say, “no.”
Sponsorships are a key way of lifting children out of generational poverty. Because it makes necessities like nutrition, education & medical care possible, the risk of lack and exploitation are diminished.
Here’s the thing. I know that I could have declined. I had all of the justifiable reasons on my side. And, in my opinion, I believe that Marco would have found the needed sponsors.
As I look back, this isn’t a story about me being inconvenienced having to listen to someone’s spiel looking for money.
In the thick of my mess, my fear, and the crisis that was hitting us, God was blessing me with the opportunity to help stop a girl from being trafficked.
Instead of my mind spinning to conjure up excuses, it was working overtime to determine what I could sell. I knew there was something that I could give up.
Ultimately, if God was asking this of me, I had faith that He would provide the way.
And even now, sponsorships still matter, even during COVID-19.
Choose Obedience and Sacrifice
We give when times are good, and it makes us feel good!
But when we give when we think we have nothing left to offer, though it stretches us like labour pains, our lives bear the witness of His life-transforming grace!
I sobbed after Marco left our house. There was no doubt in mind that I had done the right thing, but it cost me something. This wasn’t nothing for us.
I am a new Instagram follower of Carlos Whitaker. He said something powerful yesterday that I am putting to memory.
Sometimes obedience isn’t easy…
Sometimes obedience is scary…
But all the time obedience is necessary…Carlos Whitaker
When we give something that really costs us, God transforms us and launches growth in us that we may not have known we needed.
When we sign up to give, we can tell ourselves that we are the benefactor, but we aren’t. We are unquestionably the beneficiary.
Donations & Sponsorships Matter, Even During COVID-19
But Mercy House has a large number of open sponsorships that need to be filled, because there are teen moms who have survived the unthinkable, yet are on the path to healing fuelled with the hope of Jesus. They need financial support as they transition home.
And Mercy House committed to connect artisan women from around the world, women who have been denied the privileges we have, with buyers. They need new customers on their Online Marketplace; and new subscribers for their monthly fair trade boxes.
And Mercy House’s foundational mandate is to rescue pregnant girls out of one of the largest slums in the world. They have made an unprecedented decision to halt their rescue operations because they need new partners to give what they reasonably can.
At the beginning of this post, I told you that all I was asking was for you to hear me out to the end. I plan on keeping that promise.
I have told you my story, explained the circumstance and outlined the need.
What you do from here is none of my business.
But if I may add one more thing…
Should anyone read this and make the decision that there is something that they could give, I would dearly love for them to reach out and tell me, because I genuinely want to thank them directly.
We are living through history right now, my friends. My prayers go out for each and everyone of you.
How Can I Help?
- Sponsor a teen mom (for less than $30 CDN/month) as she transitions home with her little one.
- Make a one-time or recurring donation to Join the Solution (a partner campaign for Mercy House Global) to help fund the maternity homes and future teen rescues.
- Become a customer at Mercy House Global Online Market Place and shop from quality fair trade items. (Artisans have been paid in advance and all proceeds support the maternity homes in Kenya.)
- Become a Fair Trade Friday subscriber. Choose from many monthly options. (i.e. Earring of the Month Club, Bracelet of the Month Club, Fair Trade Friday Box & the Grace Case)