“With peace we can do many things” (and why boys over 8 years old rarely get sponsors)

"With peace we can do many things." ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

He almost lost his life to the vicious twin beasts of drugs and alcoholism. It is an oft-repeated story, one that claims too many souls of these despairing poor. With no options, no opportunity, no hope, no goals…despair settles over them like a suffocating fog. Their only relief? A temporary, life-shattering fix.

And yet, when he held his Bible and spoke to us of how God had intervened in his life, the young staff member from the Colomi ADP explained how the Prince of Peace had saved his life.

“With peace we can do many things,” he said. And he smiled. The smile of peace is radiant–like sunshine breaking through the clouds of despair. Here, in the midst of hopelessness, the songs of freedom are pealing.

Peace is his life’s work now. And his simple testimony shook me to my core. I have not lived the way of peace because I have looked away from those who need my help.

Violence and addiction wage war on these people. How can we prevent these innocent ones from being sucked into the relentless, ever-hungry mouth of violence? Only by living the way of peace ourselves.

Mother with Child. ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

Any fool can wage war–and many do. But true peace happens through inner transformation. We start by changing one life, by offering a different idea, a ray of hope.

Once an addict, now a rescuer ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

Someone at World Vision offered this addicted young man a helping hand and it turned his life around. Now he runs a mentoring program to help endangered youth. He has exchanged the vicious cycle of addiction for the virtuous cycle of peace. He is creating his own safety net.

In Bolivia, there are no safety nets. When a child gets sick, it simply dies. When a special needs child is born, many parents simply abandon it. If the choice is care for the family livestock or care for the sick child–the cows get the aid because the cows provide milk whereas a child is just another hungry mouth.

Children at a school built by World Vision ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

Did you know that the last group of children to get sponsors are boys over 10 years old? Everyone loves a cute baby girl or sweet toddler (as they should!). But the boys? They wait. And wait. And wait. My Adalid had been waiting for 6 years before I sponsored him.

When you sponsor a boy over 10 today, he’ll most likely have been waiting for 6-8 years for you. He’s probably given up hope. Like the ADP worker above, the siren call of drugs and alcohol is already sounding in his ears.

Live the way of peace: sponsor a Bolivian boy over 8 years old TODAY.

I did. And when Adalid hugged me, he told me he had been waiting at his house every day (not even going out to play!) because he didn’t want to miss my visit!

Hugging Adalid ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

Now, I’m living the way of peace! JOIN ME by sponsoring an older boy TODAY! (When you sponsor a child today, please email me so I can thank you personally).

Me and my boys: Adalid (on the left) and Jhoel ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

  • http://Www.hardingadventures.blogspot.com Katie

    Reading posts like this always hurt my heart. Someday when I’m not in college and I have a real job, I promise I will sponsor more children!!!

  • Rosita

    When we sponsored our first WV child this year (from Zambia) we specifically choose a boy for two reasons: (1) the reason you mentioned above and (2) because we have all boys and thought they might identify more with a boy – especially for the first sponsored child. He is not quite 10, but he was older. Thank you for continuing to advocate for these children.

  • KatR

    I sponsor a toddler in Honduras. I didn’t choose him, I went to a lecture where they asked if people would be willing to sponsor kids, and his folder was put in my hands.

    His name is Angel, but in both of the pictures I have of him, he is scowling. It’s not a look of fear or sadness, it’s more like “I’m completely pissed at being forced to pose for this picture”. I take it as proof that we are meant to be together.

    • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy

      I wish I could like this comment because it made me grin. :D

  • http://www.apearantlysew.blogspot.com Alison

    The picture of you hugging your sponsored child brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing where the greatest need is (age wise). Going over now to the link you provided for sponsorship.

  • Jen

    Elizabeth, thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful posts about World Vision and your beautiful Bolivian friends. So much sadness and so much joy, all at the same time. Today, after reading this post, I signed up to sponsor an almost-13 year old boy from Zambia (my second WV sponsorship, first is a lovely girl named Amita in India). His face called out to me, and while he is not in Bolivia, he’s still in a poverty- and AIDS-stricken place. I am so excited to be connected to Darmus now, and hopefully for a very long time. Thank you for the exhortation and inspiration!!!

  • http://catholicpostergirl.stblogs.com Emily

    Elizabeth:
    You have inspired me to open my heart to what World Vision is doing. I don’t have the financial resources right now to sponsor a child, but I did just get their gift catalog and will be making some purchases in the near future. Do you have any suggestions about what sort of gift would be most appreciated?

  • velinka

    Thank you for participating in this and sharing the journey. It has been truly moving and inspiring.

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy

    We’ve sponsored two girls, and now I will see if we can manage two boys. It seems appropriate, since we have 2 of each in our home.

  • Chantal

    Hi Esther,

    I did sponsored a child a boy and a girl. I choose to have a child the same age as them. 4 and 6.

    Chantal

  • http://www.amberpeace.com Amber-Lee

    It’s so true. Older children are ignored and passed up. I saw it with my girls. Teenagers who will live in homes until they are 18, because no one wants to adopt a teenager. Worse, children that have been adopted and then released over and over. As if you could treat a child like a puppy. “Oh, IT’S not behaving the way I want. Here, take IT back” Then they are 18, with no one to guide them. It’s a sad, angry thing. I am just now old enough to be a foster parent, but no on will let me foster yet due to being unstable financially. I get it, but it’s still frustrating.

  • Valerie

    OH OH OH they are so precious! Praying for lots of sponsorship. We have a lot of kids in Cambodia we look after and there is no greater joy than knowing money is being used for Life.

  • Nurse Bee

    My first sponsored child was (at the time) an 11 year old boy….and that was back in 2002. He got married last year and so is no longer a sponsored child (WV sent me a new sponsored child), but I was happpy I got to follow along in his life that long.

  • J.

    Adalid looks like such a precious boy! So happy you got to meet both him and Jhoel! Very cool.

  • http://www.10for52.org shannon

    thanks for this post and for sharing your heart for kids, world vision, and bolivia. I just got back from tanzania with world vision and can so relate to your renewed passion!

  • Karen

    I recently signed up to sponsor 5 children from Africa after hearing my co-worker telling about his friend’s sponsorship of the children in Africa. At first, I intended to sponsor only 1 child but when I saw more pictures of the children with sad looking eyes, my heart couldn’t turn away from them. So I got five: 3boys, two 2 years old, one 7 years old and 2 girls: 3 and 4 years old.
    After reading your post I feel so sad to know that boys over 8 years old rarely get sponsors. I couldn’t help sponsor another boy, 13 year-old from Mali.
    I am not sure how much I can change my sponsored children’ lives but I feel they have already positively changed my life. I estimated my ability to sponsor how many children by looking at my past monthly spending on clothes and unnecessary things that I realized can not really bring me happiness. Just by looking at pictures of my sponsored children, I smile a lot; the feeling inside is indescribable! Hopefully with God’s continuing provisions I can keep this commitment for a very long time.

  • http://www.emergingmummy.com Sarah@EmergingMummy

    You know, I’ve noticed a huge change in your writing since you started to prepare for Bolivia and this just confirms it. Your heart – your big gorgeous heart that we all know – is just so much more open and spilled out here. I mean, you always wrote well but this just feels different, more raw, more honest, more loving somehow. You are changing us through it. Love you, friend.