It was late, and I really was heading to bed…in a few minutes. I scrolled a little way down my Facebook feed, one last time.
A nervous half-smile and a pink shirt stopped me.
I read the name attached to the photo, and the description in the caption. “This is Prily…Her favorite subject is art, and her performance in school is above average.”
The friend who posted the photo continued, “This month I am participating in Compassion’s Speak Up for One campaign. Prily needs a sponsor so she can continue to attend the Compassion project, where she has access to medical checkups and treatment, nutritious food, health and hygiene training, educational support, and mentoring. Will you consider sponsoring Prily?”
I felt a little tug on my heartstrings. It’s not just an expression–I actually felt a leap or a pull in my chest. Perhaps this was the moment when my heart left me and sailed around the world, into another hemisphere, and settled on this young stranger from Indonesia.
My instinct was to take a step back from the emotion. Whoa, I thought. It’s late. You’re tired. Sleep on it and talk to Shaun, and then make a decision.
So I closed out Facebook and went upstairs to do just that. But something in my imagination had burst free and was running wild. I was thinking about writing letters, sending photos, wondering how much a sponsorship cost. What was Prily like? What was her family like? What was her community, her country like?
The next morning, as Shaun was getting ready for work, I brought up the subject. “So, have you ever considered sponsoring a child, like through Compassion? I wanted to start after college, but somehow I forgot over the last three years….”
To my delight, he was enthusiastic. After he left for work, I went online and did a little research. I decided to start sponsoring that day, before I forgot again. I wondered if Prily was still available–on social media, so many things could happen over the course of 12 hours. Someone might have already contacted my friend and said, “I’ll sponsor her!” That would be a good thing for Prily, I told myself. There are plenty of other kids who need sponsors. As I searched Compassion’s website without any sign of Prily, however, disappointment replaced my excitement. Eventually I concluded that someone had, in fact, already decided to sponsor her. I started looking for another child, and picked out a few possibilities. But I couldn’t quite get Prily out of my head.
For some reason, while I was struggling to choose between three different girls, I decided to Facebook message the friend who was advocating for Prily:
“I’m glad you posted about Prily and Compassion International. My parents sponsor a girl in Africa, and it was something I wanted to start doing after college, but I totally forgot about it over the last few years. I couldn’t find Prily on the website (maybe she already got a sponsor? that would be great), but there’s a couple other girls I’m thinking about. Thanks for reminding me. ”
I fully expected to get a reply message along the lines of, “Yes, she already has a sponsor, but it’s so great you are thinking about sponsoring anyways, etc. etc.” What I actually got back, two hours later, made my heart dance:
“She doesn’t yet have a sponsor. I’m her advocate, so I am trying to find her one! Which is why she’s not on the website. …So, you sponsoring any kid would make me happy, but speaking as the advocate, go for Prily!”
I kind of couldn’t believe it. She was still there, waiting for me. After this sunk in, I messaged my friend back.
“Oh! If Prily doesn’t have a sponsor yet, then I am definitely still interested in her! …So, what do I have to do to make it official?”
Aided by Facebook chat, we filled out the sponsor sheet, made the first payment and talked about Compassion and Prily. Shaun came home from work in the middle of all this, and I told him what I was up to. He was immediately excited and curious, asking me all sorts of questions about Prily and her country–most of which I couldn’t answer, but I was glad to know that he was enthusiastic.
Even over Facebook chat I could tell that my friend was as excited as I was (or perhaps even more so). Later in the conversation, she typed this to me:
“I hesitated over signing up for this advocacy thing for DAYS. I was so sure I didn’t know enough people or talk enough, or know enough. and that I would get a kid who then wouldn’t get sponsored and I would have failed and the sun would go black, etc.”
I had to laugh and typed back, “well, i am so glad you decided to do it!” I, too, had had some doubts niggling in the back of my mind that day–would we be able to afford it, was this really the best way to help out? On top of that, I felt a bit guilty that I had forgotten for so long to do this good thing.
My friend continued, “God is amazing. I was feeling kind of awkward about posting it, in a way. It feels funny asking people to give when I know most of my friends are far from rich. But I really, really care about this organization, and she needed somebody.”
“Turns out she needed you.”
Find someone who needs you at Compassion International