We’d been Christians less than a year when Jocsan entered our lives.
I went to church one Sunday in March 2006, and was introduced to Compassion International’s ministry. I went back to the table at the end of the service, and started looking at the information of children in need. Dozens of kids from all over the world who didn’t look anything like the images I saw in infomercials growing up.1 Jocsan’s information was among them, the only boy on the table.
I read through his information and learned a little about his family, what it was like growing up in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and how a local church was investing in him and other children in his community. I filled out the paperwork, and brought my photo of Jocsan home to show Emily.
I started writing letters, and eventually received some in return. They were awkward, as any letter from an adult in Canada to a child in Honduras would be. But his were sweet, at any rate. They were filled with questions about life in Canada (and later in the United States), prayer requests, and answers to prayer. A few months after sponsoring Jocsan, I was able to meet him, which was also kind of awkward but a lot of fun.
We continued to write, although we had a season where I didn’t keep up on it well. This season came to an end when I saw Jocsan, and met his mother and sister (who I also sponsored at that point) on my second trip to Honduras. His mother gently scolded me about this (and rightly so).
More than 11 years of writing, of birthday and Christmas gifts, of cards and art and prayers… And then, I got a letter this week. Jocsan completed Compassion’s program this month, and graduated from high school, and will no longer be attending activities at the Compassion Center at the church.
We now have the opportunity to write one final letter, which might be the hardest thing I’ve had to write, ever, because it means we’re saying goodbye to someone who has been part of our lives for a very long time. But it also means we’re going to meet someone new.
When I told my kids about Jocsan finishing up in the program, I asked if we should sponsor another child. Immediately they all said yes. I asked them why. They said:
- Because kids need to know people care.
- Because they need help.
- Because they need to know God loves them.
(Can’t really argue with those answers.)
So I asked them if they would be willing to help choose the next child we sponsor, and if they would be a part of writing. All three said yes to both, even Hudson, which is impressive since he’s still working on this whole reading thing. And that excites me, especially if they stick with it. I’d love for them to be a part of investing in the life of someone close to their own age in another part of the world—and to see how that relationship shapes them, as much as being Jocsan’s sponsor shaped me and the direction of my life from the moment I picked up his information at the back of our church.
- These were for a different organization. ↵