One Saturday during the summer of 1986, I bought a recording of a concert performed by Petra. Most of the songs were up-beat, but one song in particular wasn't. It was a song titled Hollow Eyes, and its lyrics were as follows:
"Another day in Nigeria the children beg for bread. The crops failed, the well went dry when they lost the watershed. A baby dies. Its mother cries. The children gather around. They are wondering what the day will bring. Will they be the next one found? Do you dare to gaze into their hollow eyes?
Beneath the crowded sheds the children lay their heads to escape the Haitian heat. Their hunger pain drives them to the street to see if today they'll eat. Some find food in the refuge heap. Others find disease. Some find it harder just to live when they could die with ease. Do you dare to gaze into their hollow eyes?"
I was crying like a baby by the time the song ended. I cried because I knew that the song was describing something real – children being killed by poverty, and I believed that I could do nothing to stop what was happening. Afterwards, I cried whenever I heard that song, whether it was on the recording or on the radio.
One day during the summer of 1987 while listening to the radio, I heard another song about poverty. It was titled Do Something Now, and it was performed by a collection of the most popular U.S. Christian recording artists of that time. The song began like this:
"Do we see Jesus in their hungry eyes? Are we so numb that we can't sympathize? Maybe we're too willing just to eulogize instead of rolling up our sleeves and trying to resurrect a world that's dying. We got a world that's dying."
The chorus went like this:
"Do something now. See their broken lives. Pick up the pieces. Do something now. Open up your heart. Share the love of Jesus."
As it turned out, I was listening to a special program that promoted an organization that I had never before heard of – Compassion International. The program contained testimonies by the recording artists featured in the song. Through their testimonies I learned that there was something that I could do to rescue a child from poverty. All that I had to do was sponsor a child through Compassion International. I did not hesitate to call the toll-free number given during the radio program. I stopped crying and became a Compassion sponsor.
Since that day in 1987 my involvement with Compassion International has given me many reasons to smile. However, there was one occasion during which my involvement resulted in me crying. It happened one day when I received a letter from the young girl whom I was sponsoring. She began her letter with the following statement:
"Dear Sponsor, I am very happy because in a far place called Oklahoma lives a person who loves me."
Upon reading that statement, I cried tears of joy because I knew for certain that the young girl had taken the first step out of poverty. She had discovered that she was loved, and as a result of her discovery, she began to have hope for a better future.
Child sponsorship works.