Part 3 of 3 on Candace Cameron Bure’s mission trip with Compassion:
Last year, Val Bure won the Battle of the Blades and donated $50,000 to keep a Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic up and running for two years. Recently, he and his family, including his wife Candace Cameron-Bure, had a chance to visit the Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic. Here are Candace’s reflections on that experience.
We’ve been sponsoring for seven years, and we’ve been huge fans of Compassion. But going on a trip and seeing exactly how the program runs, exactly what the projects do and meeting the children just made the difference for me. We already knew what a great organization Compassion is, and now I am so on board with it. This is the real deal.
My big revelation was on our first day. On the first home visit, we went into this little shack at the base of a garbage dump. It was a woman’s home that she didn’t even own because her home was washed away in a rainstorm. She shared this tiny little shack with three kids and father who was very, very sick. She was scared because he had a bad skin infection and worried that her children would get it. The conditions are just gross, and no one should have to live like that.
As we were standing in her home, listening to her story, asking her questions and praying with her, I couldn’t stop crying. My emotions were flooded from every direction. As we stood there praying for this woman and her children, I thought, this is really what the gospel is all about. This is the gospel right here.
That we’re praying for one another. That we’re helping one another. That we’re united in Jesus Christ. Through him, we’re helping one another meet our needs.
I speak at huge conferences with thousands of women, and I share the gospel message. And it’s not to take away from what I do when I share the gospel with people who come to the conferences, but I tell you, it’s a whole other thing when you’re actually going and living out the gospel.
At the conferences, we’re in cushy hotels having a great time. And we all have hardships, real hardships that we’re experiencing in our lives. But the reality is that many of those problems don’t even compare to the situations that people are living in who don’t have running water, a home, a toilet, who can barely get food and who have no medical attention. That was a big moment for me, and I realized this is what the gospel is all about.
One other thing I really took away was how important our letters are. Having talked to all the kids, they said without those letters and the relationship from the sponsors, they don’t know that they would be where they are or would have gotten through life. The letters brought hope and encouragement, just having people say, “I believe in you, and God says that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” The children would go back and read those letters of hope and be able to carry on and pursue life and their dreams. When you’re surrounded by such poverty and hopelessness on a daily basis, I can only imagine what that one letter truly means to them. It might be the only piece of hope that they have to hang on to.
I really encourage all sponsors to have a relationship with the children they sponsor. My writing of letters has been more on a minimal basis of responding to the letters they write me. But now, I won’t go back to having a passive position in the relationship with my sponsored children.
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