…in case you were wondering.

Day 29 (A Half Inch)
July 20, 2007, 8:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

ruler-45.jpgWe have all heard the statistics surrounding Compassion International. By now, we have all been made aware that over 830,000 children are currently being rescued from poverty, through the efforts of local churches in the third world. We know that over 1.2 million kids have been cared for through the work of Compassion International as a whole. We’ve been told that 30,000 kids will die today, and tomorrow, and the next if we don’t get more involved and don’t get more people involved. I have read the Money Magazine’s endorsement of Compassion International, ranking them in the top five charitable organizations in the world, and I know that no less than 82% of my actual $32 a month goes directly to supporting my sponsor child. We know the history of how Compassion was started by an evangelist wrecked by the sight of children in poverty. By now we know that Compassion International is currently reaching children in 24 different countries. These are all things we know.

What we don’t know is how far my $32 really goes in the life of a child? Can anyone answer that? How far does my letter writing go by the time it is translated and finally reaches a small village in Uganda? How far does the amount I spend on a third of my cell phone bill really go when it finally reaches the Philippines? I have a guess. I’d say about half an inch…

swing.jpgI have three boys. Three boys, who love to run and jump and wrestle, and laugh. Three boys who can wreck me with tears, and trick me into reading one more story before bed with a simple hug. One of my favorite things to do in life is to watch them play. I love to watch their interaction with other kids in the yard, pretending they are captains of a pirate ship, or fearless Jedi bent on saving the universe. I love to watch them swing as high as they can on the swing set, until the base starts to jump with each forward thrust. I love the half-laugh, half-scream that comes with each time I push them higher.

There are few better moments in a parent’s life than when they see their son smile, or hear their daughter laugh. It’s infectious. Try it. The next time you are around a baby, and it gives you that squinted-eye, no-tooth grin try not to smile back. The next time you hear a little girl on the playground laughing and screaming as she goes down the slide, try not to smile with her. That moment is the moment when everything around us shrinks. When the world slows for only a second. When war, hunger, death, sadness, and pain, are all reduced to something we barely notice.

Reduced to something that’s about half an inch…

drawing.jpgMy wife and I sponsor two children through Compassion International. The first little boy we sponsored lived in Mexico. Ricky Luna. He was a round little guy with black hair and dirty jeans. He helped his mother by sweeping and doing chores around the house. We were able to sponsor him for just over a year when Ricky was taken out of the program.

One day we received another packet in the mail, with a new picture, of a new child. The face in this new picture looked worn and tired. A lifeless stare into a piece of electronic equipment he had never seen before, being told to say “cheese” and startled by the “click”. Nervous and looking for answers. James Kasaatu. James is older than Ricky, and from Uganda. “He goes to school, and helps out carrying water and cleaning around the house. James lives with his mother and father and there are nine children in his family”, is what the packet tells us. James sends us letters about every two months with sketched pictures of giraffes and trucks and trees. Our oldest son writes him about his guitar and his bike, and draws him pictures as well, calling him Kasaatu instead of James because it’s more fun to say.

Our second child that we sponsor is Roshie Mae. She lives in the Philippines and “loves to sing and play house”. The first letter we received from the Philippines was from Roshie’s mother thanking us for supporting her daughter. The words of a mother unable to properly care for her own daughter are like no other words. Desperately grateful, and unashamed. I could sense relief in her words. She could sleep easier that night knowing that there was someone a world away willing to care.

A few days later, we received another envelope in the mail from Compassion International. This time it was an updated picture and another letter from Uganda. Staring at the picture, I noticed something different about the way James was looking at me. Something small, something calming, a difference of about half an inch…

This morning I found a piece of string. With a black marker I marked one side. I called in my four-year old and asked him what the funniest thing he had ever heard was. He told me a knock-knock joke somehow ending with the word “booty”. He’s four, and a boy. “Booties” are funny. I asked him to tell it again. As soon as “booty” crossed his lips, I stretched the string across his mouth, the black mark on one side of his lips, my thumb on the other. I marked where my thumb had been and asked him to tell me a sad story. He looked at me confused and asked if he could go outside to play. I told him “no”. At that moment I stretch the string across his mouth again. A third mark, and he was on his way outside. With a yardstick I measured the distance between the two closest marks. About half an inch…

How far does my $32 dollars go in the life of a child cared for by Compassion International? I’d say about half an inch. About half an inch was the difference I saw on James’ face when the new photo came in the mail. A photo that has been taken after receiving letters, support and love from a family he has never met. That photo is solid proof that something has changed in this little boy’s world. About half an inch reduced the pain and fear in Roshie’s life enough that her mom sat down to write. Thirty-two Dollars a month will change their lives forever, reaching further than any ocean, or social class. I’ve found that about half an inch is the difference between disappointment and a smile, between sadness and hope, fear and security. Thirty-two dollars a month to make about a half inch difference in a life through Compassion International.



19 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Kasaatu James is a sweetie. I remember receiving that picture, and thinking, “wow, look at his smile.”

Good post,

Comment by Kddub

That was beautiful! Thank you for your post today – I will be praying for you and for Compassion – we sponsor a little girl named Celine!

Comment by kat's mom

Wow. That was brilliant Brody.

I’ll be praying for you and James today.

Comment by Kat

That was great Brody. Thank you.

Comment by toddpbc

Wow, that’s a great post.

Comment by Ryan G.

I thought your blog today was to long. Seriously.

Comment by Kevin Max

Shut Up! Kevin. Everybody knows you are crazy. My homeboy Brody is the Shinizill!

Comment by Toby Mac

Crap. Do we have a DC Talk reunion here? Where is Tate?

Comment by Hickman

What up! Good job Brody. Hickman, you are the man! Keep it real.

Comment by Tate

Great post Brody.

Praying for you today.


Comment by thomas

YOU ROCK! Loved the post!

Comment by Tracy

What a beautiful post.

Comment by erin

[…] post is Mr. Brody Harper… and he talks about the difference a half an inch makes on some one’s […]

Pingback by transitionpete - » 40DF | DAY 29… Brody

Great post, Brody. I’ll keep praying for you today.

Comment by euphrony

Beautiful post. Thanks for posting it, and increasing awareness of Compassion International.

Comment by Amanda

Awesome, Brody. Praying for you today.

Comment by Chaotic Hammer

Amazing, Brody. Could be a few songs in there.
you never cease to amaze Dad and I.
Good job. We love you, son.

Comment by Barb

Beautiful post. I’ll be thinking about that “half an inch” all day and watching for it in my children. I pray that we make a half-inch difference on the face of Mwanahamisi, the child that we sponsor.

Comment by Susanne

[…] post is Mr. Brody Harper… and he talks about the difference a half an inch makes on some one’s face.   […]

Pingback by 40DF | DAY 29… Brody « transitionpete | lifestream

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