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A Stove in India

A few months ago, Maria babysat and babysat, her fees were low as a mothers helper and after many days, that spanned over weeks, and up until the very last day, she raised her goal.

She raised $100 dollars, and sent it all to her Compassion ‘sister’ Konada who lives in India and who used to live in extreme poverty, for her birthday.

“Hi Konada, I babysat lots of kids because I love you and I wanted to give this to you for your birthday!”  Maria wrote to her.  We sent a family photo and I ripped out some pages from a Highlights magazine and tucked them inside.

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We looked up the average monthly income for a family in India and I shared it with Maria, trying to explain what her gift would mean, although we didn’t know for sure for their unique family.  The pressure and love in a parent’s heart when they need to provide, and can’t.

Christmas came and went, New Years, new schools, spring, we didn’t think anything of that gift from months ago.

Until yesterday, we got a letter in the mail.  We have two younger Compassion kids who write us, but it’s just usually a few sentences and a prayer for us.

We saw the cream colored envelope, “Compassion,” and we ran a finger through the sealed end to free the letter.  It was from Konada.  She didn’t write a couple sentences, but every open space was filled on her sheet with careful, beautiful cursive.  We flipped the page over, the entire back was filled to the brim with her words to us.

Maria opened it in awe, and something slipped to the ground.  We were both surprised, what had she tucked in the letter?  Then we saw Konada smiling back at us.  She had sent a photo!

In the photo was beautiful Konada, with a smile as wide as the sun, proudly holding us the stove that she bought for her family and a beautiful new dress.

Maria looked at the stove, they must have taken the picture right when they had bought it new because on the box it said, “Stainless steel Gas Stove.”

“Is this their stove? Did they not have one before?” she asked me quietly, Konada’s beaming face reflecting back to her above that stove, the stove from babysitting, babysitting that she loved every second of, babysitting that now provided a family with a way to cook food in their home for all of them…Konada smiling at Maria.

“Mama…” Maria said, holding that photo with both hands.

“I don’t know….I don’t think so…” I told her, even I was feeling a deep awe, thinking about those babysitting hours, and this beaming girl smiling at me from the glossy photo, her birthday money not spent on toys or games, but a stove.

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We read her letter out loud together,  she talked about life in India, what she’s learning, she thanked us for every single drawing sheet we sent her.

We we learned from her letter that Konada is humble, kind, smart and so thankful.  We LOVE her!

 

“Thank you for your letter.  I am so happy to receive your wonderful letter.  I thank you so much for accepting me as your family member.”

“God bless you abundantly you are my God given sponsor and family.  I am so happy to be your child.  Thank you so much Maria for thinking about me and sending me a special gift for my birthday by spending many days in babysitting children for my sake.  I am so grateful to you.”

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So now, of course, our boys are thinking up ways to raise money for their boy in Ethiopia.

“We could sell all our books!!!”

“No.”

“We could mail him all my quarters!!!”

“No”

“We can work at Costco!”

“Hmmm…actually, yes.”

***

Sponsoring an older child has been such a beautiful experience.  It brings us so much joy and peace too, to know that despite the poverty and sadness within that country–

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One girl, Konada, can be educated, encouraged, get nutrition, dental care, learn about how much God loves her, get her needs met and grow up to the the kind, smart, fun girl she is in a safe environment.

I love these two 13 year old girls, and I am so impressed by them, I wish I was as cool as them when I was that age…I think I was more into… myself?  These two Compassion ‘sisters’ connected from so so far away by the amazing Compassion.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • kate March 17, 2016, 4:39 pm

    I love your daughter so much! Is that crazy? I have from the moment I saw her. She looks so much like my Russian-born daughter. And their hearts? Astounding.

  • Joolzmac March 17, 2016, 5:22 pm

    How fantastic that the money was spent on that stove! I bet the family really
    enjoy cooking on it. Maybe they only had a wood fire before. I keep saying it – the lessons you are teaching your children are just amazing and here, life-changing! Blessings to you all,

    Joolz xx

  • Crystal Kupper March 18, 2016, 1:17 am

    We can never say enough good things about Compassion! Each of our kids has their own birthday buddy, and it’s so beautiful to watch!

  • Jean March 18, 2016, 3:29 am

    After reading your experiences with Compassion International, I started sponsoring a little girl in the Dominican Republic last year. She’s only 3 or 4 – too little to write or say much – but I’ve gotten a little drawing and I hope that by sponsoring her early, she will have a better chance for an education, developmental health, and emotional well-being. (She’s also around the same age as my son – and I hope when he is older he can have the experience of writing to her as well.) You and your kids are such an inspiration! God bless your family!

  • Ashley March 22, 2016, 10:30 am

    I think someone wrote this on your blog before, but I will repeat it: when I grow up, I want to be like Maria! My husband and I sponsor a girl through Compassion who will be thirteen next month, and we love her. Maria inspired me to start saving a little extra every month for gifts (and maybe one day to go visit?). It added up more quickly than I thought, and we sent a first family gift this month, in honor of Mother’s/Father’s Day. Thank you for your example, Maria.

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