My son turned 6 years old this week and I have no idea how that happened so quickly. It seems like once they turn 5 and are no longer considered preschoolers, the rest of the years just speed up! We have enjoyed seeing how our son grows and how God is forming him into a little man. His curiosity is unyielding most days and his memory retention is outstanding. How he recalls people and places that I have long forgotten, and even think he has long forgotten, is remarkable to me. He is becoming very quick to finish my sentences and thoughts :)
While all of our birthdays with our firstborn have been special, this year was even more memorable for we celebrated on the same day the 6th birthday of a sweet boy hundreds of miles away. A just-turned 6 year old whom we haven’t met in person but only by pictures and letters. I’ve been waiting a few years for this boy to be a part of my son’s life but never knew that this boy would be the one. Ever since I knew about Compassion International and their child sponsorship work helping children in impoverished areas of the world, I knew I wanted a child of our own to sponsor. My idea was to find a boy that my son could correspond with, a boy that had something in common with my son. I waited for the right time – the time when my son was writing so he could start writing his own notes to this boy. Just two months ago was the right time – the exact time. For it was then that I found only one young boy waiting months to be sponsored who shared the same exact birthday and year with my son. Born on the same day yet in different countries.
Once the sponsorship was complete and our new sponsored child and brother, Elias, was part of our family, our thoughts began to change. We wanted to learn more about Elias and his country of Nicaragua – what did he like, what was he learning, what was his home like, what did he eat. We’ve learned all of that and more. We’ve learned that most of all Elias desires our prayers – prayers for his protection, for the health of his family, for his education and for his knowledge of God’s truth. We’ve discovered that he shares more in common with my son than just birthdays – they have the same favorite Bible story and both like the same food. Even our sweet 2-year-old daughter is enamored with learning about Elias. As soon as we began to read about Nicaragua in a book we checked out from the library, my son asked, “When can we go and visit Elias?”
And I wonder if this is how it begins – a love for others who are far different yet the same in many ways. A love for others without having even met them. A love for someone who has far less but who gives far more. It hardly seems a sacrifice to give a small amount monthly to support and encourage our new friend in Nicaragua who writes to share the simple things he enjoys – eating spaghetti, playing baseball and reading about David and Goliath. For he is 6 and poverty isn’t what he is focused on now that he knows a family in Texas cares and prays for him. And so I pray that this is the beginning of a friendship between children who are separated by countries but linked by the love of a Savior who draws them near.