The photo set above is from a year ago and so this post is a year in the making. You see, my family hosted Compassion Sunday 2012 at our church last year and I will admit – I had high expectations for the time. I will go so far as to say my expectations were too high. My family loves Compassion. We lived in Colorado Springs for many years where the Compassion headquarters are located. We have friends who work for Compassion. We have friends who also support Compassion. So why wouldn’t anyone else not want to hear about or also support the work of Compassion? Yep, that was pretty much my mentality last year. So I ordered the “host a Compassion Sunday” kit and we prayed over the time and we really hoped all of the packets we walked in with that night would be gone by the end of the evening.
I’m going to make a long story short and say that I was disappointed last year. We had one person turn in a filled out sponsor sheet and it ended up being a goofy joke from an 8yo who filled it in with silly information. The whole time we were standing behind the table we had nobody make eye contact with us and perhaps only two people even stop by for a second to see what was there. For the most part we were party decs at the back of the room and we were ignored.
And as I was packing the whole display up at the end of the evening, I did so with tears. At that moment I was ashamed of my church and angry at everybody in the room. I know not everyone can sponsor a child, but seriously, NOBODY? I take it back, one family did take a packet that night and I was grateful, but I was still extremely bitter. And that’s my sad story of the day – I made Compassion Sunday about me and when you do that, things go south in a hurry.
Now then, before I go on, I want to point out that yes, I glossed over the one packet that was picked up when I wrote the paragraph above. I did so in writing because I did so last year. I was not overjoyed that even ONE child was released from poverty in Jesus’ name last year. Because I wanted to see 10.
I look back now and I’m still sad about that Sunday, but not because of what happened, but because of my heart in it. I have learned enough in the past year alone to know that the calling God gives to me and my family is not the calling He gives to EVERY family and that’s just the way it is. And I had no business being bitter last year. I had no business being anything less than absolutely thrilled that one little girl was rescued. Even one.
So fast forward to this year. Compassion Sunday was approaching and I will confess: I did not initiate hosting it this year. So when we were asked to do so, I agreed reluctantly. I said we’d do it, but that we’d keep our expectations low. That was my theme of the night: keeping expectations low. I even said as much to Compassion when I requested the packets. I said, “You might not want to send us very many because this event didn’t go over so well last year.”
I’m so full of faith.
So, to make another long story short, we had one major difference between this year and last year (aside from the fact that our entire church has had a full year to grow themselves) and that’s that the event wasn’t all about me this time. Yes, my family set up the table and yes, I introduced the video (after I mismanaged the microphone because, well, I don’t really do the public speaking thing very well…), but we’d recruited others to man the table and our pastor did a nice job talking about it too and he even passed packets around during the service so that everyone would have to physically touch one and either keep it or hand it off – I didn’t really see that one coming this year and it was good.
I remember a distinct difference in my prayer from last year to this one – last year I prayed all the packets would get picked up. This year I prayed for 3.
At the end of the evening, when it was all said and done, FOURTEEN children had been sponsored. Fourteen. And I packed up the table, once again with tears, and they were once again tears of shame, but this time they were directed squarely at myself. Because I didn’t really think my church had it in them to pick up this charge and go forth, but they did.
God will do what he wants and use the people he wants to use and he will do it in his way and in his timing. And thankfully, he’s not dependent upon me to get it done. Because if he’d been depending upon me, those fourteen children would still be faces on packets in an office in Colorado Springs, waiting for someone else to believe.