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Is sponsorship really trustworthy?

by Feed the 5,000 | 06.02.2011 | No comments | Posted in General, Sponsorship, Stories, Video

The idea of sponsoring needy children around the world is a compelling one, but many people wonder – do my dollars really go to help my sponsored child? Does it really make a difference in their life, or is this just a clever marketing ploy?

It’s an important question. One that deserves a good answer.

Shaun Groves was asked that very question and recently blogged his personal experience with Compassion International, which we’ve excerpted below – you can read the full version at his blog.

A Magic Trick For Kristen

[...] On my first trip overseas, way back in 2005, I boarded a plane to El Salvador to see if Compassion could really be trusted. I suspected they were a scam. I just had to figure out what that scam was. So when I visited a Compassion child development center in San Salvador, I asked a worker there if I could look inside a file cabinet. I expected her to ask a superior for permission, or ask me why, or get angry even. But instead she opened it.

I pulled out a random folder. It contained every record for one sponsored child cared for there. The worker explained what I was looking at, patiently wading through medical charts and report cards and financials. I walked away convinced. My CPA wife and I were so convinced that we drastically changed the way our family lives so that we could help more children live.

This afternoon, at a child development center in the Philippines, after telling that story, I opened a file cabinet.

I pulled out a file randomly. It contained all the financial records for the center for a given month. I flipped to a random page. It was a list of children’s names – children whose sponsors had given extra money that month so that their sponsored child could receive a birthday present. This was money above and beyond their monthly sponsorship of $38.

I picked a name randomly. The first one. “Precious.”

Now, when extra money is given by a sponsor for a birthday present, the social worker in the child development center works with the child’s family to buy something the child needs or wants. That purchase is supposed to be documented so that the child development center can prove to internal and external auditors that the birthday money didn’t buy a staff member a new dress instead.

“Can you show me the receipt to prove how this birthday money was spent?” I asked the bookkeeper?

Read the rest of the story and the SURPRISE ending at Shaun’s blog.

The five organizations highlighted for Feed the 5,000 were chosen specifically because of their reputations for good stewardship, experience in the field, connection to newlife, and above all, a focus on carrying out the mission of Jesus.

newlife pastor Wes Davis had the same skeptical attitude towards child sponsorship. Then he joined Compassion in Kenya and had the same life-changing experience that Shaun and so many others have had. Watch a video of Wes’ trip and see for yourself:

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