For several years, before my wife Donna and I had ever heard of Agape Asia, we inadvertently practiced what you could call sponsoring a child. How? We would often reach out to young adults (married or single) at church who were from away from home and family. We would have them in our home for meals and activities. There have been many of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners that we had non-family visitors at our table. They became like our own sons and daughters.
Over the last 15 years we have sponsored some forgotten young children and adults to help them navigate their way through their lives. In 2006 I was leading mission programs to Belize my wife and I sponsored five sisters (and their mom), to pay for their schooling after their father died from an infection and fever. In addition to the school fees, Donna would make or buy them clothes or fabric material that we sent them. When we returned the next year, they so proudly showed off their clothes to us. We were all so excited to see each other every year when we would go back to visit.
During my first trip to China, in 2010, to teach in a Summer Visiting Professor program, I was saddened and shocked to find out how many of my students were on their own at an early age, even before they entered university. Many of these students (primarily girls) had simply been left behind or passed off to their grandparents to raise. I cried out to God to use me in a way that could show these innocent children that there is a father in heaven that loves them. In 2013 and 2014 we helped two different Chinese girls, who had been abandoned by the fathers, to come to the states so they could attend Harding University. One of those girls eventually finished college, married a Chinese man here, and they now have a baby. Xiaoya and her sweet little family came to our house for Thanksgiving this year and I got to hold my first Chinese Grandchild!
In 2018, Agape Asia’s executive director called and asked me to visit one of their sponsored students to see if I could help her get enrolled in Harding University. It was an easy side trip to meet Chenyang who became one of our current sponsored students. In 2019, Donna, Chenyang and I traveled to Malo, a little village about 60 miles outside the big city of Xi’an in the Shaanxi province of China, to meet her grandparents and her sister. Since becoming a member of the Agape Asia board of directors we have added a female student from India and a young boy from Myanmar. We love getting emails and photos from them.
Sponsoring an abandoned or vulnerable child in Asia is a real gift. But is it a gift to you or the child? I promise you, if you’re looking for a way to help somebody in a significant way, sponsoring one of our Agape Children is something for which you will never look back on with regret. In fact, it will become one of the greatest joys of your life. Talk to your family. Talk to your friends. Talk to your Bible study group. Sponsor an abandoned or vulnerable child from Agape Asia. Do this individually or as a group. For more information on sponsoring an abandoned child from Asia go to https://agapeasia.org/child-sponsorship/. Love Goes the Distance!
Steve Shaner, is a professional storyteller that delights in traveling to meet new and old friends. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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