I got to spend the day at my favorite event of the entire year, the Hearts at Home conference. This is a yearly conference for mothers to spend three days learning more about parenting, about the Bible, and about relationships. There are great speakers and a wonderful time for worship. Anything that reaches out to mothers, I am a fan of.
Granted, I don't get to experience any of the events I just mentioned, but I do get the privilege of working at the Compassion table every year. Some years I am able to go to multiple days of the event, but this year, I was only able to spend Saturday there, which just happened to be my birthday.
I worked from 7:30 a.m - 7:30 p.m. Crazy? Probably. Worth it? Absolutely.
At this particular event, they have found that the women love an emotional connection to Compassion's cause (go figure). Some years they have a Compassion graduate give a speech and then have them work at the Compassion table for awhile. In past years, I have met an inspiring young man from Kenya and a sweet young woman from the Philippines. This year, they had a life-size hut set up, which I later had to tear down and pack up with just one Compassion staff member. It took us over an hour and made us absolutely filthy (I'm talking black hands), but that is a story for another day.
This hut was amazing, actually made of iron sheets and roof, realistic props, one bed and mats on the floor, etc. For those that have done the Compassion Experience, you've probably seen this on a much larger scale, but I hadn't. It was a bit overwhelming, at first. The women at the conference loved walking through it and I even got to talk about the tiny house to a couple of kids who were super interested about it. That was fun!
I think maybe I am the happiest I ever am when I am working at a Compassion table. There is just something about seeing precious children find a loving sponsor. There are always so many stories and sometimes, we cry out of happiness. Or...maybe just I do. I get emotional easily.
One woman, who I have seen sponsor a child every year for the past three years came to the table. She didn't know that I remembered her, but it's very easy to remember her. She comes to the table and says this exact quote, "I want you to be honest, which child here is the most unlikely to get a sponsor?" I love the honesty behind that question, as well as the desire to change a life. The answer to that question is always, "Teen boys". She asked me to hand her the packet of one of the oldest boys. I handed her the packet of an 18 years old from Kenya. His name was Thomas. That "just happens" to be the name of her father, who died a few years ago.
God is always present at Compassion tables.
Another wonderful part of the day was a visit from a lovely friend, Olivia. Olivia is the volunteer coordinator for my region. We see each other a few times a year at various events, but she doesn't always attend all of the events because, well, that would be crazy. The first time I met her, I called her "the email lady" and she called me "the person who volunteers for everything." Friendship at first sight, haha. Well, she told me that she wouldn't be able to make it to the Hearts at Home conference due to conflicting time schedules. Then in the afternoon, she comes walking into the sales area, where the Compassion table was. Not only was I super happy to see her, she brought me flowers for my birthday (which have sadly now died due to the fact that I live in a basement apartment with no natural light). But they were beautiful!
By the end of the day, 83 children had been sponsored! And guess what? One of those kids was by me!
There was a little boy hanging on one of the displays and he had been there since the beginning of the day. I really wanted him to find a sponsor. I kept moving him around the display, so eventually he was front and center, in the hopes that he would catch someone's eye. Well, he didn't. And he came home with me.
This sweet boy's name is Mor-Mi-Say and he lives in a little village on the border of Thailand and Burma. His packet says that some of the children who attend the project lives in Thailand and others live in Burma. It surprises me a bit that the name Burma is even used in the packets, since that country became Myanmar in 1989, but perhaps locals still call it Burma.
Anyway, Mor-Mi-Say is 7 years old, lives with his single father, and is not yet enrolled in school. I hope he is able to attend soon. I wonder if maybe there is no school in his village. I will have to find out.
Then, to top off the night, when I got home, I found a new TV in my living room. My parents had
broken in, , used their set of keys to come in and leave it for me. They are so nice! My last TV was constantly on the verge of death and making terrible noise. I am so grateful to my parents.
So, all in all, I'd say it was a pretty great birthday!