The gift we can't wait to explain

I'm often seeking beautiful stories of child sponsorship, because I know so many exist out there. When I find one, I eagerly await the author's permission to republish their words on our blog so it can be shared with so many more. Brynn's post -- which came highly recommended from a World Vision sponsor, who I'm blessed to call a friend -- eloquently captures the beauty of child sponsorship and why it's really a gift to every person it touches. Merry Christmas! —Lindsey Talerico-Hedren, managing editor, World Vision Blog

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This is my most favorite gift that we are giving this year.

Even more than the tablets we are giving the kids, but that might just be because I'm frustrated with trying to set them up and figure out why they won't connect to our wifi. Seriously, Apple has spoiled me because all of their stuff just works and works easily, but with a 10- and 12-year-old, there was no way that we were going to buy them iPads because they are 10 and 12, which means their gifts have to be indestructible or at least not cause their father to cry if they break them.

...And on that point, can I just say I miss the days when you got the kids presents that you spent four hours putting together instead of electronic gifts that require massive hours and Google to set up?

Anyhow. Back to the point.

My 10-year-old stepdaughter Shelby has such a sweet tooth, and the biggest heart. Truly, Shelby just loves on everybody, and there isn't an animal, baby, or person who escapes her hugs and kisses. She delights in trying to find ways to show you that she cares about you.

Brynn's husband Michael with his daughters Shelby and Abigail.

This gift is technically for her, but is also for our entire family.

We sponsored a child through World Vision -- a little girl born on the exact same day as Shelby, so they are the exact same age. Her name is Veronica, and she lives in Bolivia. We have absolutely no doubt that Shelby will delight in writing her letters, making her cards, and sending packages every month. Those are Shelby's favorite activities as it is. She loves mailing us pictures she's colored and cards she's made. They lovingly cover our home.

For us, though, the gift is deeper, and we hope this brings an awareness of so much more for the girls.

The greatest values I personally wish to impart upon the girls are kindness, graciousness, and humbleness. In fact, what we say to the girls the most -- other than "no more marshmallows or cookies for now" -- is remember to be kind, gracious, and humble. They get this reminder every time we are going anywhere or they are going to be spending time with others.

We hope that this opens up their world even more and fosters an interest in things that are bigger than themselves or the Disney Channel, and, dare we hope, Justin Bieber.

Brynn and Michael's wedding day with a beautiful flower girl, Shelby.

We hope this inspires them to want to do good in the world. We hope this inspires them more in their faith. We hope that they start developing the desire to have a meaningful life when they become adults and that they feel like they have a purpose in the world already, beyond being the apple of our eye and the delight of our hearts.

We hope that this gift reminds not only the girls, but our entire family, of the true meaning of the season. We hope that this gift makes us not only thankful for the blessing God has given our family, but thankful that we are blessed beyond our means and can bless the lives of others. We hope that this reminds us that it is indeed far greater to give than receive.

We hope that this gift enriches more than our girls' lives, but Veronica's life as well. We hope that she will feel loved and connected and realize that there is so much good in the world. We hope that this imparts kindness, graciousness, and humbleness in her life, and that she will use those values to do good in the world when she grows up as well.

We hope that she always feels comforted, knowing that she's important in our lives and that we are hoping and praying big things for her and her family.

We hope that this gift is one that enriches all of our lives. We are hopeful that this will exceed our expectations and that we might even go to visit Veronica in Bolivia one day.

I love this gift, and I'm so excited that our family is doing this. This is the gift we can't wait to explain when it's opened.

Because, Lord help us, it's not looking like we will be able to explain much about the tablets.

Brynn is a Calamity Jane who is just enjoying the adventures of being recently engaged, turning 30, and living everyday life! She loves seersucker, Jesus, cupcakes, and red wine. She just moved back to the South and is madly in love with a Yankee from New England.

This post originally appeared Brynn's blog and was reposted with permission.


    I am a sponsor myself, and humbly admit, that I have not been in touch with my sponsored child for a while. Today, I contacted World Vision, albeit on their website, and, I think I may just have sent an e mail to someone quite important! Ha Ha! Mistake, of course! However, I called, and spoke to Georgina, lovely Lady.

    She confirmed everything to me regarding my "what I call neglectng him", however, she said it wasn't. I have sponsored him from 3 years old, his money is always there, and he is now 7....I think! So you see, it's worth it, folks! xx

    Thank You World Vision!

    Everything you do, and believe in, is worthwhile!

    Merry Xmas, please pass it around the world, however poor...

    Lynn xx

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