this crazy hope :: day 5

Iwas really kind of terrified to come on this trip. But you already know that. Exactly one week ago, I zipped up my suitcase for the final time, stuck that blue Compassion tag on it, turned around to look at The Man, and burst into tears. Just now, I zipped up my suitcase again, only this time, I’m going home. The tears aren’t bursting like they did before I left; rather, it’s a slow trickle as the Filipino children have crowded their way into my heart, crowding out everything else.

The girl in the blue shirt is Danika–think Filipino Punky Brewster. She walked confidently up to me, all 3 and a half feet of herself, and asked me in her loud, raspy voice, Wha ’tis your name? I told her, and she said Oo. Veddy nice name. What is your age? They all want to know how old we are. And when I told her she had to guess, she paused for a moment. Tirty-four.

Drat. I was hoping for at least in the twenties. Instead, she guessed exactly right. These kids are just … kids. Curious, vibrant, playful kids. And a lot better at guessing age than I am.

Stephanie pulled out an album with photos of her own kids in it and these couldn’t gather around her fast enough. They were fascinated to see pictures of kids just like them. Only not. Somewhere between seeing the poverty where these children live and watching them write love on their hands, the fear fell away.

And I’m left with this crazy hope that doesn’t make sense in the middle of all that we’ve seen.

Yet, there it is.

When you’re standing in a house built on stilts in a marshland, you look for the hope. When you’re walking down the crowded streets with the skinny cats and the barefoot babies, you look for the hope. When you look at the dusty dirt on your feet and then move your gaze up to the cardboard windows two shaky stories high, you look for the hope. You must. And when you find it,
you don’t let it go.

I promised to come to the Philippines and not close my eyes, and I think one reason I was so terrified was because I feared I wouldn’t see the hope. I feared I would see a thousand AJs sleeping on the hard floor, ten thousand Emilys waiting for the next flood to bring down her house, a hundred thousand Rose Anns without food to feed her family. I was afraid I would see them and then, I would leave only broken. But that is not what is happening.

Instead, I am seeing Maann in every child I meet. I see their potential, what they could be. Because Hope has found these children. And He is not letting them go. Because the tagline is right: the only way to be released from poverty is in the name of Jesus. He isn’t going away, running away, or turning away from this need. He is showing up every day in these churches we have visited that are home to the child development centers here.

Friends, there are nearly 6,000 little Maanns running around the Philippines today who are registered with Compassion but currently have no sponsor. They are children who need someone to remind them of the Hope. Could you be that someone or do you know someone who might be? Thank you for prayerfully considering. If you decide you would like to partner with Compassion International in releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, simply click here to choose from a long list of beautiful Filipino children.

If you want to know more about what it means to sponsor a child with Compassion, Shaun wrote an excellent post that answers the question, so what is Compassion International anyway? He explains things way better than I ever could. And my roommate, Brianne works for Compassion and has been writing the posts for the Compassion blog this week. She’s a tiny, adorable, lovely, newlywed who knows everything a person could ever want to know about Compassion. And if she doesn’t, she can find out quick. So if you wish to learn more, ask Shaun or Brianne. That’s what I do.


  1. Kendra says

    I echo Kelly. Happy. I love hope. And it’s definitely crazy. I’m proud of you for going. Really proud. And I’m also glad you’re coming home. I can say that, right? See you soon.

  2. says

    Those kids are so adorable! Thank you so so much for sharing your journey with us all and for going even though it was a scary step! It’s been amazing reading of all you have seen and done there.

  3. says

    Thank you for going, despite your fear – and thank you for letting us “tag along”.

    I’ve sponsored children through Compassion for 16 years and last summer I finally had the opportunity to go on a trip – to Peru. Even though God has already changed me through this ministry, I came home a new person. God gave me a renewed desire to reach out to these children – on a deeper level – and to redirect my focus of advocacy.

    Prior to my trip, Compassion was “my thing”. Now we’ve intentionally made it our family ministry. We have a blog called Compassion Family where we write about including all family members in the sponsorship experience. It’s not widely read, and that’s ok. What’s so cool is that through the process, the ministry of Compassion, the act of sponsorship has truly become a family affair.

    Daily I praise God for what he is doing through Compassion.

  4. says

    Thank you for releasing us from the poverty of plenty, in Jesus’ name. You did a wonderful job all week, good and faithful servant. Thank you! My husband is underemployed right now, but when we are through that, we’re sponsoring!

  5. Lindsey says

    Just wanted to send a note to say thank you. i stumbled upon your blog today and read it longer than i should have considering i am at work but it was such a blessing. I too am a NC youth pastor wife who sponsers a Compassion child so i felt as thought i could relate to your thoughts and perspectives. thanks for being a blessing.

  6. Alexandra says

    Thank you so much for setting aside your fears and worries and going on this trip. It has been great to get to read you posts. Every single one of them has made me cry. And pray. And think about what God is calling me to do in light of the poverty there is in the world.

  7. says

    Emily, this is so beautiful. I think you and I would be great friends. I feel so many of the things you mention.

    The Philipino children are just beautiful. And you are right. There IS hope. I’ve seen it on the field too – but didn’t have a name to it until now. When I leave for Guatemala in just 2 weeks – I’m going to look for it. And I know it will touch my heart and bring tears to my eyes when I find it.

  8. laney says

    …looking at those beautiful faces…and reading the beautiful words written on your heart…make me so happy that i am going to know you in heaven…

  9. says

    Your pictures have a way of placing me right there with you, right next to the “Filipino Punky Brewster” and I love that you are walking away from your experience with crazy hope. I pray that these words and images stay etched within us for a long time.

  10. says

    6,000?!? Just in the Philippines. Oh girl, that overwhelms me. I want to sponsor all of them. I’m praying (in addition to your safe return) that God will move big through your beautiful words going forth in the blogosphere. Really, really BIG. Love and prayers to you!

  11. Sissy says

    I cannot believe that time has flown by so fast and that you will be home before I can think about it. I’m so glad that Compassion is there and that you were able to bring US there with your blog this week.

  12. says

    Came over from Frugal and Focused. Gods blessing to you for taking the trip and thank you for showing us these amazing children!

  13. Amy says

    Just wanted to let you know that God used your blog posts to prompt me to sponsor a child. She’s is the same age as my daughter and shares my birthday and has been waiting a long time for a sponsor. I just started a part-time job after being a SAHM for a very long time and I am thrilled we can use my extra income to sponsor a child in need. God Bless you and those who are doing such a good work in His name.


  14. says

    I’m so glad to see your face mixed in with all these children and people. Just think of all that you would have missed out on if you would’ve said no. I’m so glad you said yes, because you’ve caused a dormant seed begin to take root in my heart. My family is considering sponsoring a child. I’m very excited about this new step in our family’s life.

  15. says

    ‘…the only way to be released from poverty is in the name of Jesus.’

    this is it…that singular focus that calls us to the unconventional and crazy and those-who-hope-in-the-Lord strength to do the seemingly impossible, or so we thought when we began;) And now here you are! {I’ve been not following as fully with just about the craziest season of our lives upon us–preparing to lock-stock-barrel move overseas…but you all have been on my heart, especially you, Emily:}

  16. says

    What a wonderful trip! Compassion is such a wonderful organization and you do a fantastic job here telling their story and the story of your trip and the lives involved.

  17. says

    I was brought via your feature at SITS. My heart is filled with hope as I read your journey, spreading love and hope to the less fortunate people of my homeland. God bless your kind and compassionate soul.

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