That’s how I pronounce the name of the little boy whom I sponsor through Compassion International. It’s spelled Deyvin and he’s from Nicaragua and so I’m pretty sure Day-Bean is the correct pronunciation. The reality is, I will probably never know the correct way to say his name because I will probably never meet him or even talk to him on the phone. Probably. But, it could happen.
Compassion does organize trips for sponsors to visit their sponsored children. It’s expensive and I don’t really feel like I have a strong urge to go right now, anyway. But sometimes I think about how little six-year-old Deyvin might feel after 13 years of exchanging letters with me when he’s 18 and graduating if I were there to congratulate him. Or, maybe he’ll invite me to his wedding. Or, maybe he’ll come to the U.S. for grad school and he’ll decide to go to OSU to learn about agriculture to take back to his country. And we will go to a football game together and discuss whether futbol or football is better. Or, maybe not.
But, I sure do enjoy sharing letters with this little guy. Have you ever gotten a letter from a six year old? How about one from a different country? They ask hilarious questions like, “What is your yard like?” and “How many animals are living in your home?” It cracks me up and usually makes me cry, too. Because Deyvin tells me things about his humble home that make me ashamed of the nonsense I waste money on. And he always asks for prayers that he and his family will stay healthy. I imagine it must mean big trouble for someone to fall ill where Deyvin lives.
The reason I decided to write about this is that when people hear about Deyvin or see his drawings on my fridge, they usually ask why I decided to sponsor a kid in Nicaragua when there are kids right here in Oklahoma who need help. This happened again recently and so it’s been on my mind. I just wanted to share what led me to sponsor Deyvin because it’s something that has come up several times and I don’t think I have answered well in the past.
1. Numero uno is that I don’t think a kid in Oklahoma is any more deserving of help than a kid anywhere else. This is a point of confusion between me and those who say we should “take care of our own first.” I just don’t see why that should be the case. I know that there are children in Oklahoma who go to bed hungry every night, but to me, a hungry kid is a hungry kid is a hungry kid.
2. I think children in Oklahoma are more likely to have access to help and opportunities to help themselves as they grow up than kids in third-world countries. There are just more programs through the government, public schools (I know that kind of counts as government but I wanted to make a distinction) and private charity organizations here than there are there. And if these kids are actually making it to school, then they can at least get free breakfast and lunch. I know that because I did.
3. Kids in Oklahoma have a much better chance of being exposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ than kids in some of these other countries.
4. I think it has the potential to make such a difference not only for the sponsored child, but for that child’s entire community. If you can educate and feed a child and then potentially help them find work when they are old enough, you may make a leader out of them. Imagine living somewhere where many (even a majority?) are hungry, uneducated and unemployed. Yet you have managed to become fed, educated and employed. You could have a huge impact on those around you.
5. I did some research about which organization I wanted to use. I eventually chose Compassion because it is a program that focuses on developing the whole child-physically, mentally and spiritually. The kids learn about Jesus as well as regular school subjects. It’s not just a meal. It’s a health program and an education.
6. I’m pretty sure it’s legit. More than one person has suggested to me that this could all be a scam and there’s some fat guy getting rich off poor suckers like me. Maybe so. To me, that’s not a reason (or a good excuse) not to try. But, I’m not a total idiot. Like I said, I did do my research and their reported administrative costs are comparatively low. In addition, I have read accounts of lots of different, unrelated people who have worked with Compassion or gone to visit their sponsored child. So, I’m comfortable with that aspect of it.
7. I prayed before hand that I would sponsor the child God wanted me to sponsor. Then, I let Compassion pick him for me. With Compassion, you can either pick who you want to sponsor, give them some basic criteria or just give them free rein to assign you whomever they want.
Now, I’ve said all that simply to explain how I came to be Deyvin’s sponsor. I’m not telling anyone else what their contribution to the world should be. I will, however, be so bold as to say that it should be something. I’m also not saying it to sound like I think I’m Mother Teresa here. I send one kid a miniscule amount of money every month and maybe a little extra for birthdays and Christmas. Trust me, I’m not impressed with myself.
““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”-Matthew 6:1-4
So, yeah. I wasn’t sure if I should even write this or not because of that verse. But, I know that I don’t talk about it to impress others. I just want people to hear my experience because they might want to do the same thing. That’s they way I became interested-through other people’s stories. Or, maybe it will help them think of something different. Also, I thought it would be a good topic to have a conversation about since people do wonder why it’s Day-Bean from Nicaragua and not Devin from Del City.
Let me know if you have a difference of opinion. I’m interested in what you think about this. Even if it’s different from what I think. Probably.