13 December 2017

Compassion in Jesus’ name: A Mother’s Prayer

It comes around one day a year and it is often joked that in reality it happens every day of the year. Can you guess what I’m referring to? This year, on Sunday 18 March, we celebrate Mother’s Day.

Unfortunately, Mother’s Day doesn’t really exist in developing countries the way it does here in Ireland and the UK. There’s no nice presents and cards, no meals out with the family. For those living in extreme poverty, every day is a struggle just to survive – there’s little time to celebrate the mothers that maintain this survival of their families.

Maybe you’re a mother yourself? Imagine if you will what it must feel like to be the mother of a family living in absolute poverty. The father of the family is miles away trying desperately to get work, or maybe he has died or has abandoned his family altogether. Imagine as this mother how it must feel to look at your children every morning and wonder if they will have food in their tiny stomachs today. Imagine the heartache and the pain this causes, knowing you cannot do more for your babies. This was exactly the situation for Mirtala from Guatemala before her family was helped by Christian charity Compassion: “We were poor and I had no way of giving them more than just breakfast. I was a single mum and worked as much as I could.”

Olly Van Der Flier, National Manager of Compassion Ireland, visited some of our projects out in Ghana back in 2010. She told me of a mother she met there. This mother had lost all ten of her children to preventable causes such as malaria and diarrhoea. Let me say that again, all ten of her children. Olly was truly shocked and deeply affected by this encounter. Her own daughter had been recently ill with a ruptured appendix. Olly realised that if she had been a mother in Ghana her daughter would have died.

Compassion Ireland’s core ministry is to release children from living in extreme poverty through one-to-one child sponsorship. A sponsor’s support allows Compassion to provide for them physically, socially, spiritually and emotionally. Although Compassion’s first priority is the children, the rest of the family can be positively impacted too, particularly mothers. Many mums feel incredibly grateful and relieved that another person in the world cares about their child, enough to want to give them an education, healthcare and safe places to play. That someone else in the world is praying for their child and their family. That someone else is taking the time to sit and write to their child, encouraging them with loving words.

So you see, not only can a child’s life be transformed by Compassion, but a mother’s too. Edith, a mother from Uganda and a sufferer from sickle cell anaemia, says: “This programme has given me peace in my heart. They have helped my baby and me to survive, and we now have a future! I just know one day that Suzan will grow up to be a member of parliament and advocate for those with sickle cell anaemia — people like us.” Isn’t it amazing to hear directly from a mother about the hope that comes from being part of the Compassion programmes?

And then there’s the greatest joy of all: the salvation of those who come to know Jesus through the Christian teaching provided by Compassion. Again this is not something confined to the children; we hear many heart-warming stories of parents putting their faith in God through the witness of their little ones. These are the words of Rumela, a single mother in India: “I have learned to pray and believe in God which gives me a lot of peace inside. It makes me feel blessed and relieved of my burden. I know I’m not alone anymore!”

Could you be the answer to a mother’s prayer today? For the same cost as a chocolate bar, just €1 or 70p per day, you can release a child from extreme poverty.

Lisa Fitzsimons

Assistant National Manager

If you’d like to know more about Compassion’s ministries, please visit our website at www.compassion.ie. Alternatively, please feel free to contact us directly by e-mailing Olly Van Der Flier at ollyvdf@compassion.ie or Lisa Fitzsimons at lisaf@compassion.ie.