When I was 9 years old I came home from school and declared that I wanted to play the violin. Although my brother and I had already been taking piano lessons for a couple years, we weren't really a musical family. My mom played some piano and my dad played guitar a bit. And, sure, we liked to listen to music, but I'm pretty sure the thought that one of us kids would pursue music as a career never even entered my parents' minds.
I don't remember my parents' response to my declaration. I don't know if they tried to talk me out of it, if they thought I was crazy or if they wholeheartedly agreed that learning to play the violin was a good idea.
All I know is that they let me try. And then once I began, they didn't let me quit.
Have you ever heard a child learn to play the violin? Even in the most ideal situation it can be a form of ear torture. And my situation was not ideal. I was learning to play after school, in a group, from a person who didn't play the violin herself.
Eventually, my parents signed me up for private lessons with a real violin teacher. Once a week they drove me to a nearby town, sat through the lesson, drove me home again and endured a week's worth of
After several years, a dream was born. A dream to continue to study violin - music - and to become a professional musician. Parents, teachers and friends fueled my dream with encouragement.
Despite all my education and degrees in music, I'm not a great violinist. I've auditioned for orchestras many times and not been accepted. But in the past 30 years there was not a single person who said, "You know, you really should think about doing something else with your life."
Instead, I was encouraged to push through and keep on nurturing the love and desire for creating and teaching music. I am living my dream because those speaking into my life didn't allow me to give up.
Now that I have children of my own, I can listen to their dreams and encourage them to follow through. I can do this with my sponsored Compassion children as well. In fact, it's one of my favorite parts about sponsorship.
The children I sponsor through Compassion International could easily be described as the least of these. They are children, dependent on others, living in poverty with few opportunities.
With each letter I write, I have the opportunity to speak life into their lives....to offer words of hope and encouragement as they go to school and struggle to overcome their circumstances.
I know that Bulu in India wants to be a police officer. I know that Joseph in Tanzania and Nadege in Burkia Faso both want to be teachers. I can encourage them to study and do well in school so they can achieve their goals. I can tell them that I believe in them.
What about you? Who spoke encouragement and life to you?
Could you now give this same gift to another child? A child like Maria in Colombia?
To see children waiting for sponsors, simply visit this page.
If you do decided to sponsor a child, would you be so kind as to let me know. I would love to help you get started on this journey.
And if you have any questions, ask away.