Towards the beginning of December, we received a letter that really helped me keep our Christmas in perspective after such a tragic time. Mark and I signed up to sponsor a child through Compassion International early last year. I chose to sponsor a little boy who had been waiting the longest, named Ishimwe. I write letters to him, although with the busyness of life, I don't write as many as I would like to.
After everything that happened with Sawyer, I was not exactly in the Christmas spirit. However, I knew I needed to send Ishimwe a gift for Christmas. The gifts have to be monetary, so I talked to Mark about it, and we sent a gift for the amount that we would have spent on Christmas gifts for Sawyer. I will be honest- it wasn't what I considered a lot of money. I don't spend a LOT of money on Delaney for Christmas. I think I bought her 5 or 6 new toys and I bought them on sale, mostly with Kohl's cash.
Mark was reading over my shoulder and when we got to the end of the letter, I gasped and Mark said, "HE BOUGHT A COW!" and I was immediately crying, but different tears. The end of the letter stated: "[he] is so thankful for you for the gift you sent to him of recent...which was used for buying a male calf with for rearing. May God bless you so much."
I don't know what I expected him to buy with the money. He is from Rwanda. I knew it wouldn't be a Transformer or a Skylander, but I thought maybe a soccer ball, a book, and new pair of shoes. Or maybe Compassion International would have some "toys" that they could buy with their money or something. That is how American I am. But, no. He bought a cow. This sweet 10 year-old boy didn't buy a new video game for his XBOX or a new pair of Nikes. He bought a cow. I am sure it was a family decision. He might not have not wanted to buy a cow with his Christmas money, but after looking at the picture a second time, I could see the joy that the cow brought for him.
The child on the left is Ishimwe. I suspect it is his sister in the middle and his mother on the right, although I cannot be certain. and the cow. This 10 year-old's Christmas gift with the money that I really didn't think would go very far.
I don't write this to say look what we did for him. I just wanted to share that during a day that I was broken, God gave me encouragement through this child I have never met. Now it is time for the public service announcement. I know there a lot of times where you just don't have an extra $38 a month. I get that. I try to think of ways that I can cut that money out of my own budget to help support Ishimwe and his family. It is about the cost of two new sweaters (on sale) a month, one pair of jeans, two family meals at Chipotle, or one meal at Outback. It is the price of one date night at a movie theatre with concessions. A little bit of money can go a long way in countries like Rwanda. If you are interested, Compassion International is a great, faith based organization and it is so easy to sign up.
Christmas was still hard. But thinking of this photo of this little boy and his Christmas gift helped bring me joy when I was hurting. I think whenever I buy Delaney any gifts, I will always be reminded of a child who bought a cow for his family with his Christmas money.