Slices Abroad_COMPASSION

So I started this series of mine quite awhile ago.

This Slices Abroad thing.

This getting over myself

which is the crux of the Christian faith.

I have so many emotions

such an array of deep  theological ideas

packaged in such simple life

in such a simple person

I don’t know where to start,

so I find myself letting it lay.

Except it does not stay still and neat and polite, does it?

But really, ever single writer is just a teller of stories when it is all said and done.

So here is just a simple true story that illustrates something that is deeper than  any of us can really comprehend.



It was just another cold weekend in February.

February in upstate New York.

There was nothing to do.

There was no money to entertain ourselves with retail distractions and eating out.

It was in the negatives again, so sending the children out to play was out of the question.

And I was feeling guilty.

Guilty because this past Christmas, the first Christmas I found myself working, retail, I was so stressed, so Bah Humbug, about “American Christmas.” I never got around to making the time and budgeting the money to send a Christmas letter and give an extra twenty bucks for a Christmas gift for our sponsor sons we support, something we usually do every November.

Luis in Columbia.

Kokou in Togo.

Prince in Rwanda.

Those are our sponsor sons.

And I, rich Christian American,  didn’t acknowledge them on the world wide celebration of our Savior’s birthday.

But the hope of Christmas is fully redeemed in the resurrection of Easter, right?

So, on this particular bitter, bored, broke, Saturday in February I was hoping to redeem myself with the hope of Easter wrapped up in a photo shoot with bunnies in a bucket.

bunny in a bucket

Sponsor kids love, love getting letters.

Photographs with letter are the icing on the cake.

Photos with cute bunnies and even cuter girls?

creme da la creme

basket head

I announced in true authoritative Mama fashion for the big girls to get the bunnies from their outside pens and bring them inside, and ” everyone brush your hair and take those slobby pajamas off” because I had suddenly decided to orchestrate an Easter photo shoot.

{It’s moments like these I love being a Mother. Only a Mother could so suddenly demand such varied, random, immediate actions and get results}.

Baskets were hulled down from icy attics.

Colorful quilts were laid down on cleared floors.

Marching orders set and I took pictures.

The four girls plus our ever present neighbor girl were allowed to haul out paints and brushes and the good water color paper to make Easter cards.

I wrote three letters. Pretty much identical, destined to land in Columbia, Togo, and Rwanda in about six weeks.

I always include a  scripture, not planned, but whatever seems right at the moment.

Writing a letter to children of a different nationality, of a different culture, that needs to be translated is a little bit…what is the word for it?…stifling?…if you think about it too long.

Rather complicated

time consuming

and does it really matter?

The first introduction letter is easy.

But what do you say after you the preliminaries are covered?

It’s like that awkward pause in small talk;  but continents apart.

But I have learned, as in polite unsure conversation, to dig down and continue anyway.

Because everything is not about me, and my comfort level, and my perception, in my contained perfect little slice of life.

I trust in the bigness of this world, the seven billion people who populate it, overseen by an even bigger God, expressed in the grandness of Christ on the cross then Christ leaving the tomb, and the power that came to perfect completion in the tongues of Holy Spirit fire that fell on Pentecost.

Over two years in, we still write. In starts and stutters with months and months between communicating.

I am always surprised at what words come out when the family gathers with pens, paper, crayons, envelops, Bible and postage stamps.

{No small feat for a family of six with four of its members under the age 14. Nor is it a quick crammed in to-do list requirement.}

More surprising still:

That Saturday with the bunnies, prompted with guilt, it brought genuine joy, despite the fact that, to quote my husband I “turn into Stalin” when I take family photos.

Seriously, I am not friendly…”get out of the picture now!”…”why are you making that face you look constipated”!…Tim, no one gives a crap about your hair just get in here and DON’T slouch” !

It was what our family needed.

More than white American guilt and regimented Christian good works, that Saturday afternoon, purposely altered to not go about doing what we normally do, to send three some 100- word- letters to children half way around the world, wishing Happy Easter, and trying to explain why we have a rabbit in a pastel bucket, and my militant photo shoot,  all of it, in all our human folly and lack, reminded me of the great truth:

Getting your eyes off yourself is the best way to feel better.

And when it is done in:

The Name of Christ,

Spurred by the Love of God,

Finely tuned by The Prompting of The Holy Spirit

we became part of something more lasting than the feel good high of “paying it forward”.

It is truly partaking in the active work of Christ’s work and goodness in a world that to me often feels stagnant and hopelessly broken.

But because there is something of Jesus Himself-

when we take time

do something ridiculous

press toward something not easily grasped

for something that gives no tangible fruit,

ALL for the LEAST.

These three sponsor sons of ours.

We hope to have four within the next few years.

Four sponsor sons to a make a gender equivalent for our four biological daughters.

collage Easter sponsor

It has changed our, and our children’s lives.

April is Compassion’s month of Sponsor advocacy.

We sponsored Prince last year through World Help, because of the prompting of blogger and writer Emily Wiergna, who on a Compassion sponsored trip to visit her own sponsor child, followed the Spirit’s leading to form an all but unprecedented mother sponsorship non-profit. Their line is “Preventing tomorrow’s orphan’s by equipping today’s mothers”.

I really don’t talk about our sponsor boys that much.

Misplaced “let your good works be done is secret”?

But it has been such an enormous part of my maturing faith, of understanding my own unhappiness with the bland experience of American church culture, that it is silly to NOT talk to about it. And if I come off as “judge-y “or “preachy” to you, well that is really not my problem because it certainly is not my intent.

Considering praying and then clicking on the



World Help


Lulu Tree links,

and be prepared to be surprised.




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