“It’s a world of laughter, a world or tears
it’s a world of hopes, it’s a world of fear
there’s so much that we share
that its time we’re aware
it’s a small world after all
There is just one moon and one golden sun
And a smile means friendship to everyone.
Though the mountains divide
And the oceans are wide
It’s a small small world”
I am the proud sponsor through Compassion International of seven wonderful children from all over the world. One night recently as I was praying for each of them, it occurred to me how much they are like my grandchildren . . . and how different.
Wazoeli will turn 18 in a few days. His main goal is to make it to university level studies so that he can relieve the poverty of his people. His mother is working very hard to help him accomplish this goal. My grandchildren have fathers who teach on the university level; I believe that they will have a much easier time of fulfilling their educational dreams. Wazoeli lives in Tanazania in East Africa and is very proud of the beauty of the Kilimanjaro mountains and the nine national parks in his area. He asks me to pray that he will be allowed to transfer to a school that is closer to home and will give him the science he needs.
Pablo, who is nearly 12, loves playing soccer and watching TV and doing homework! But he lives in a neighborhood in Ecuador where unemployment is very high and juvenile delinquency is common. Many children in the neighborhood suffer from malnutrition and parasites. But Pablo is thriving because of a local church and the Compassion Center. Pablo is so thankful his birthday and Christmas gifts that he details everything he was able to buy (a towel, pajamas, jeans, a pair of shoes, etc.) and sends along a picture of all the treasure! Pablo always sends me “strong hugs” and prays that God will “spill” blessings on me. He reminds me of my granddaughter who always runs to greet me with “strong” hugs. It’s a small world, after all.
Kassu lives 3 Km from his Compassion Center in Ethiopia, but he goes there three days a week. His favorite activity there is studying in the Bible. His favorite food is spaghetti! (It’s a small world after all!) He wants to be a pilot when he grows up. I began sponsoring Kassu when he was six years old; he will be 8 in a few days. He lives in a hillside community of 60,000; his home is made of a dirt floor, mud walls and a tin roof. Kassu lives in an AIDS-affected area and was in urgent need of a sponsor. He asks for prayers to become a “clever” student and a “true Christian.”
Aibie loves playing jacks, singing, and playing house in the Philippines. She attends church and Vacation Bible School as do my granddaughters. However, rather than cleaning the bathroom and vacuuming the floor, her chores are carrying water and gathering firewood for her family of six children and her unemployed father and mother. When her father does work, he makes the equivalent of $95 a month. Aibie, a 10-year-old with an impish smile, asks me to pray that her “body will be strong.”
Manisha (who is 9) lives on the plains of Sevdi in the state of Madhya Pradesh, one of the poorest sections of India. Half the adults in this area are unemployed. Manisha’s father is employed at this time; he earns about $22 a month to support his wife and five children. Manisha loves basketball and playing with dolls. This “small world” fact is why I chose to sponsor Manisha for my grandchildren’s Christmas gift. They will be writing letters to her soon, mostly likely about playing basketball and with dolls.
Yair, a 12-year from Colombia, is the product of a broken home. His mother has remarried, and for some reason Yair was left behind to live with his grandmother. Whenever he has a chance to visit his mother, his letters are ecstatic. When he is back with grandma, he always asks me to pray that he can once again live with his mother. He writes that “despite everything he is very happy.” He says he would “love to meet me in person face-to-face so that he can show me how much he loves me.” Yair’s goals are to be a professional soldier, and help his family have “good conditions of life” and buy a beautiful home for his mother. He asks for prayers so that he can be “successful” at his studies.
Marina lives in Burkina Faso, a country I had never heard of in western Africa which is one of the poorest countries in the world. She is in constant danger because she lives in a high AIDS and high human trafficking area. The adult literacy rate in her country is 22% and 46% of the population is under the age of 15. Marina is ten. Her big brown eyes are sad, but she still writes about liking arithmetic and about her good friends (my grandson’s favorite topics.) She is grateful that she has been chosen to be sponsored. She asks for prayers to keep her family healthy and prayers to bless her father’s job (he is a butcher). How would Marina stand a chance at all apart from the grace of God who placed a Christian church and the Compassion program in her path? What if her lovely, sad eyes had not come up on the Compassion home page with a plea for sponsorship because she had been waiting in danger for nearly a year for a sponsor? What if I had said that day, “I have enough children to support. I can’t save them all.”
It is a small world! These children laugh and cry and hope and fear just as ours do. The sun and moon shine down on them as they do on us. But the sad truth is that the mountains and oceans do divide them from us. But our God is their God and we are responsible to care for them in every way we can.