Saturday, March 17, 2012

Volunteering With Compassion

This afternoon, I had the amazing opportunity volunteer at the Compassion Table at the Hearts for Home conference in my hometown. This conference is for mothers of all ages. It gives them a place to go to get advice, tips, ideas, and lesson plans for homeschool families. There were about 5,000 woman there from all over the country.

From 12:30-6:30, I worked with two other woman and one amazing Compassion employee named Eli. He was great at explaning the process of helping sponsors choose a child and sign up to be a sponsor. More than that though, he was a great guy. He kept coming up to me and asking, "What do you need? What can I do for you? I know it's hot in here, would you like more water?" Also, hearing him speak to potential sponsors was inspiring. He has definitely found the right place to work.

The Compassion booth was right next to the table where Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar were signing autographs and taking pictures. It took everything I had in me to not run over there and hug them both. I just love their family. However, while I was working with a person to start sponsoring a child, Joy-Anna Duggar smiled at me. Made me feel great.

Anwyay, back to the table. Here is where I spent my six hours...

The very large room that we were in was hot and sticky, extremely loud, and very crowded. At times, the introvert in me just wanted to quit and go home. Talking to people makes me very tired and sometimes it makes me get a little grouchy and teary. I'm always amazed that God gives me the strength to do things like this, even though he knows what kind of personality He blessed me with.

As a volunteer, my job was to approach each person that came to the table, asking them if they had any questions, and then answering those questions. I could feel God talking directly through me. He gave me the right words to say to each person to convince their hearts and minds of what they were about to do.

One woman knew she wanted to sponsor. She just had to find the right child. She walked to the end of the table and broke into tears. She had found the right child. She was the same age as her daughter and she stated that "It looks like she could be in my daughter's class." I told her that I knew exactly how she felt. Both of the times I have chosen a sponsored child, I too have broken into tears. When God puts a certain child on your heart, the emotions are hard to control. This woman and I shared a moment, we hugged, and then she took her child packet and was gone.

Another woman fell in love with a little African boy. She realized that she did not have her debit card or checkbook with her. She decided to write the child's number and country down so she could call Compassion on Monday to sponsor him. She was so happy. The very minute that she walked away, another woman came along, picked up that same little boy's packet, and sponsored him without a thought. I am still struggling with whether I'm happy that little boy now has a sponsor or I'm absolutely heartbroken for the woman who will call Compassion on Monday and find that the boy she fell in love with is gone.

I'm also heartbroken that as the day went on, the girls left to sponsor were dwindling and the boys were still laying on the table, their eyes telling their life stories. We literally set up a table for just boys from Asia (India and Thailand) hoping that they would be sponsored. None, absolutely not one, was sponsored. I desperately wanted to fill out one of those forms. I do know that God is not calling me to sponsor another child right now, and most of the day the thought of sponsoring again didn't even cross my mind (Thanks for that God). But, when I saw those little Asian boys with nobody even glancing at them, my heart broke into about a million pieces.

However, my heart was mended, yet again, back into one when God made it possible that at the end of the day 187 children were sponsored. 187. That is an amazing number! I just keep telling me that I am amazed at the way that God is working through me and around me. He has been pretty much everywhere lately and I really hope it stays that way.

Also today, every woman that sponsored a child also received a paper bead, handmade necklace, made by the women in Uganda. I'd been eyeing these necklaces the whole time. When we were done for the day, Eli told us each to grab as many necklaces as we wanted as thanks for volunteering that day. I grabbed one for me and two for my best friend Rosie and her daughter. I can't wait to wear my necklace to church tomorrow.

I feel so blessed


  1. What an amazing experience. I'm waiting for the right opportunity to volunteer at a Compassion table. I live in a small town, and so most opportunities arise an hour plus drive away, and are during the week. And when I have to be to work at 6am, it makes it difficult to make that kind of commitment. Thanks for sharing your experience, and that's an amazing number of kids sponsored.

    I bet that was pretty neat being near the Duggars too!!

    1. I didn't even think about volunteering like this. I actually got an email from Compassion that said something along the lines of, "hey, you live in this town. We're having a table there. Want to help out?"

      I couldn't think of single reason to say no. God pretty much threw it in my lap saying, here you go, let's do this.

  2. That sounds like such an amazing time! I signed up to work at my first even on April 13th- a Newsboys concert. I'm really excited, but also a little nervous because I am quite the introvert when meeting new people. But your post really reassured me. I think it will help that I will have just come back from meeting Rosa so I can tell people about that experience! I am so happy that 187 children were sponsored! What a successful day!

    Oh and I love the Duggars too :)

    1. The day was great. I think you'll do wonderfully! If you're an introvert like me, I suggest not planning anything for after the event. I came home at 7 p.m and I've literally been doing nothing for the last few hours. I have zero energy to think about anything else. I'm wiped out.

  3. I love to work events and have driven 2 to 2 1/2 hours to work events! How fun that you were right next to the Duggars! I really like their family too.

    1. There was a line to get to talk to the Duggars, but people were waiting in it for over an hour. There was no way I could sacrifice an hour away from the table.

      When I got home, I signed up on the First To Call list. When there is an event in my area, Compassion will email me asking me if I would like to volunteer. I can't wait to do it more often.

  4. How awesome! So glad that you had a good experience and that so many kids were sponsored - awesome! I've only had the change to volunteer once, but we didn't have that many kids sponsored. I'd love to do it again sometime though.

    1. Definitely do it again sometime! Now that I've done it once I want to do it again and again and again.