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The Difference a Gift Can Make ~ Compassion Blogging Trip {Day 3}

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Before this trip with Compassion International, I thought I knew quite a bit about the services that they offer.

Never could I have been more wrong.

Over the last few days, I have seen and experienced first-hand the different ways that Compassion International is able to minister to the entire family of a child through the sponsorship of one child in a family. It has truly altered the way that I view our giving and interaction with our sponsored children ~ and I hope that it will for you all as well.


I’d like to introduce you to Gidioni, a 9 year old boy in Tanzania who is sponsored by a family in Germany. He loves soccer and helps with various chores around his family’s home.


There are seven people living in Gidioni’s house, so his oldest brother {now 20} sleeps at his aunt’s house because their two room 8’ x 16’ house cannot sleep all of them.


We sat with them in their living area on some wooden benches, while we spoke to his mother, Monica. She stayed home from working that morning to talk to us about Gidioni’s sponsors and his involvement with the Compassion child development center.


They pulled out letters, shared the fun gifts and puzzles that his sponsoring family had sent him….pop-up cards, Advent calendars, family pictures and fun coloring pages.


Gidioni then showed us the various chores that he is responsible for helping with at his home: sweeping outside, getting water from the stream for dishes and washing, hoeing the garden, and also catching fish for the family to eat.


While we were outside, we noticed a half-completed building adjacent to the house and asked Monica if it was an older house or abandoned. She told us that it was a house that they had started building a year prior, but have not had the funds to finish it yet.


They have made all of the bricks needed for the house, but buy bags of cement when they can afford it. To complete the entire house would require about ten {10} bags of cement at $12 US dollars a bag. $120 to build their house. Yet the house has been sitting, waiting, because the family only buys one bag of cement as they can afford it.

I literally broke down in tears hearing those numbers.

The Family Gift Donation


This week I was made aware of the Family Gift Donation that sponsors can make throughout the year to the family of the child they sponsor {this is a gift given by the sponsor above and beyond the $38/monthly sponsorship}. In a calendar year, sponsors can donate up to $1,000 that will go directly to the family and help with any needs the family has {each center keep track of ways that they can immediately help the child’s family}. 100% of the family gift donation goes to the family. When the center receives the money, they meet with the family to discuss current needs of the child and the family {read more about Giving a Gift to Your Sponsored Child}.

Today, I was not able to meet the child we sponsor in Tanzania, so I asked about immediate needs that we may be able to assist with. In our child’s family, they sleep five people in a one room house and do not have a mattress to sleep on ~ a new mattress would cost $75.  If WHEN our family makes a $75 family gift donation, the child development center will purchase a mattress for them and we can in turn bless our child’s family in a small, tangible way.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

If you currently sponsor a child through Compassion International, please consider making a family gift donation to your child’s family today. Not a sponsor of a child through Compassion International? I cannot even begin to describe the impact that your $38/month will have for one child and their family ~ please sponsor a child today!


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  1. wow, I did not know you could make gifts to families.  Having the total donation go to the family is really incredible!  I”m so impressed with the homemade bricks!

  2. Kristie says

    We give a small donation to our family each year. Every time we do, they come back thanking us because they were able to buy food – very humbling! I wish I could know of specific needs as it would help us know how more we could help – thanks for sharing!

  3. is there anyway to help the family finish their house?  Can I give a gift to the family?

  4. Tears.. we were having some financial issues today.. just a mistake we made in some calculations.. we were frustrated by a fee we had to pay from the mistake.. and I thought about all of the amazing things I want to do when we aren’t so tight again financially.. I had a whole plan drawn up in my head to make our house amazing… and this sweet family can’t all sleep together because they don’t have $120 to finish building a very basic house :(

  5.  That is so awesome! Thanks for sharing. I can’t recall if we have made a family contribution, but we will be making one today.

  6. Wow, this post has given me chills and tears.  $120, I can only imagine the emotions inside of you as you absorbed that fact into your heart and mind.  I am off to make family gifts to our sponsored children, I knew you could do it, but never took into account the power that such a small amount held.  I guess I knew the facts, but you made the facts real, thank you friend!!!

  7. Teena Price says

    Yes, I love family gifts! We keep a jar (decorated) on our end table and put all loose change or a $ here and there…. and at the end of a year we pick one of our sponsored children and send them a family gift!  I loved hearing all about them. Maybe we could all give a bag… I would be willing to donate $12 for a bag. Is there any way we can collect $120 so that they can finish their home?  I so appreciate you sharing. We love following the bloggers. 

    Praying for all of you…


  8. Chills and tears as I sit in Panera and read your posts. Praying for you as you process all that you are seeing.

  9. Thank you for your blog.  I love keeping up with the bloggers in your group.  I sponsor a child in Arusha, Tanzania.  I didn’t know about the Family Gift – thank you for sharing that information.

    • We just visited a center in Arusha today. I’ll be sharing about it a bit later, but it was such a different culture than the ones this past week. Compassion is doing such amazing work here.

  10. This series has been a blessing to me and our family.  Your blog is so nice to receive in my email each day.  Thank you for all you do for them and us.

  11. Crystal says

    Wow.  So humbling.

  12. I love the Family Gift Donation. THANK YOU for telling others!!!!

  13. Kendra Fletcher says

    I’m loving these posts, Jolanthe. And your cute shoes!

  14. Thanks for the perspective today…..it was something I needed to read and see. A learning moment in my life! You look so natural there. :)

  15. Jill Foley says

    Thank you for the gentle push and reminder to make some family gift donations. I have in the past, but need to make some more. 

    I was always deeply impacted by the reports of how my very first sponsored child, Judith in Kenya, spent the gift money I sent her. Eventually she began reporting that she was using the money to buy materials to build her family a home – talk about humbling. In her final letter to me, she thanked me for everything and proudly told me her family now lives in a better shelter because of her sponsorship. 

    It’s amazing that what might seem like a paltry amount to us can actually provide these children – these families – with better living conditions. 

    • Our family is going to start keeping a jar each month so we can send a little something extra just via our spare change. It is amazing how far the money can be stretched!

  16. Somewhere down the line I learned of the extra giving and began giving extra whenever I can. I love receiving photos of my child when we send her an extra gift. She purchases new clothes or food for her family. Last month, I sent a family gift (does that mean I get a pic of the whole family?! How delightful would that be!!!!)

    Thank you for sharing this, though, because everyone needs to know just how valuable that option is for the family. Our money here, stretches so far there! We shouldn’t take that for granted!

  17. We did a family gift and they were able to purchase dishes and sell them to make money to support themselves and boost the economy. 

    • Isn’t it great to hear back how they were able to use the gift? We saw SO many pictures today at the center we visited where families received goats {providing nutrition for the family}, food, clothing and so many other things!

  18. Awesome. It is my favorite to give gifts to the family b/c then we get a picture back with all the stuff they got—a bike, bags of food, clothes, etc. And what a blessing to see our sponsored kids’ entire family!

    Beautiful post, Jolanthe! Thank you!

    • While I was gone we actually got a picture from one of our sponsored children showing the gifts she received ~ so fun!

  19. I didn’t know I could send a family gift.  I just did one for each of our sponsored children.  Thank you for sharing!!  What an amazing blessing to be on this trip!

    • that just makes me smile and cry all at the same time. I never realized it either until this trip. Learned SO much!

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