Sponsor a child? What’s that got to do with the 30 Hour Famine?


By Emily Capes 

How Sponsorship Works

I love it when I get inspired in ways that I don’t expect.

An older woman approached me at church last month. Her name is Sarah; she is 78 years old and has the sweetest smile. Sarah moved down to our town in the past year to live closer to her sister, Shirley because they are both widows now. The two of them drive to church every Sunday together. They are both less then 5 foot tall… and I love seeing them care for each other each week.

Sarah is the type of woman who is not afraid to try new things. She jumped into many different ministries as soon as she joined our church last fall. I love that she is currently signed up to help with VBS and is so excited about working with children.

Sarah’s Sunday School class participated in our church-wide Lenten reading of a book called “A Place at the Table” by Chris Seay, which challenges individuals to “say yes” to people who live with less.

Sarah was so moved by the stories of sponsored children in this book that she couldn’t wait to inform me one Sunday that she wanted to sponsor two sisters in Peru. This past February she donated money towards our teenagers when they participated in the 30 Hour Famine—so she knew that I could help her with World Vision Child Sponsorship. Sarah felt very strongly about sponsoring two little girls because of her own close relationship with her sister. She doesn’t have a credit card or a debit card. So we figured out a way for me to help her start the process with World Vision.

I contacted World Vision the next day and actually found out that you can’t always sponsor siblings because they want to provide help to more families at one time. But we found two sweet girls for Sarah to sponsor and she is now attempting to write them letters often and build a relationship with them.

I have been involved with World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine for the past 18 years as both a participant and a leader. I believe in what World Vision does around the world and want to help bring change to the children, families and communities by raising money and creating awareness. I encourage my youth to learn about what World Vision is involved in and find ways to continue making an impact outside of our 30 Hours.

But I had never talked to our youth or congregation much about child sponsorship. I had never asked my church to participate in a Hope Sunday. (Hope Sunday invites members of your congregation to consider sponsoring a child through World Vision.) I honestly almost didn’t think about it much, or I figured most people have been inundated by needs of others and if they wanted to sponsor a child, they could look up how to do it on Google!

After Sarah stopped me and was so excited to sponsor two children, I decided to figure out how to best offer other people in our congregation the opportunity to sponsor children through World Vision. Having my youth fast for 30 Hours is a very important part of what World Vision does, but there is so much more we can do as youth ministers to involve our entire congregation in changing the lives of children.

I am so thankful for Sarah. For her energy and her determination to keep changing God’s Kingdom through service and giving… and for helping me remember that there are people who want to help in new ways—they just need to be giving the tools to do so.

We hosted a Hope Sunday this past Sunday at my church and we have sponsored seven children so far. Next year during the 30 Hour Famine, I’m planning to ask my youth to sponsor a child with their families and build letter writing and prayer time in for our sponsored children.

I’m sure many of you have offered child sponsorship at the same time as the 30 Hour Famine or at some other point during the year. I’d love to hear how you do it at your church!

But if you haven’t—maybe this year give it a try! Check out Hope Sunday or you can direct people to the online sponsorship page.