he jumped in the game {#compassionbloggers}

2.2.16day3-1I’ve often been asked about our decision to expose our kids to ‘tough’ things. The questions are usually related to how, why and when we choose to open our kids’ eyes to hard realities. Sometimes the questions are fear based – fear of what could happen to a child when exposed to heart break.

When we took our two oldest boys to China and brought them along to visit the orphanage their sister spent her first year, there was concern from some that maybe it was too much for their little hearts and minds to process. When Chris began his work within the foster care realm, there were questions about how we talk about the reasons for foster care with our kids. When I shared we were coming on this trip, many were curious about how my son would handle coming face to face with a different level of poverty than he had seen before.


2.2.16day3-3Thankfully, Chris and I are on the same page. When we consider how we want to raise our kids – the characteristics we want to cultivate in them, the type of influences we want in their lives, the kind of faith that demonstrates a dance between faith, love and action – we can’t afford not to expose them to hard realities.

Choosing to hide those realities and topics from our kids seems like a far riskier option.

We choose with great intention what and how we share things with our kids. We walk with them through experiences and conversations in age appropriate ways, but we don’t hide from those difficult conversations and experiences.

2.2.16day3-7(my other kids following along this trip)IMG_9854When we began sponsoring through Compassion, we did not realize it would end up being as much for the child we sponsored as it was for our own kids. Developing long term relationships with our sponsored children continues to have a profound impact on my kids. Conversations about poverty and the difficulties many children face flow naturally from the context of sponsorship. As our children learn about the kids we sponsor, they see their world differently.

Sponsoring children is not only an investment in the futures of the kids we sponsor, it is an investment in the lives of my own children. While we sow seeds of dreaming and worth in the lives of our sponsored kids, we are sowing seeds of compassion, advocacy, and empathy in the lives of our own kids.2.2.16day3-6

Sometimes in an effort to protect kids from pain, opportunities to see them soar are also taken away. I want my children to learn from an early age that the world is far bigger than the 5 mile radius we spend most of our days. I want to be the one to expose them to world – its joys, pains, cultures, people – in age appropriate ways. Sponsoring kids through Compassion has been a very easy way to do just that.

Will their tender hearts break as they learn the hard stories of others? I hope so. Not in a devastating way, but in a way that stirs up compassion and love for others. I am more fearful of them growing up never impacted by the pain others face than I am fearful of what could happen if their hearts break. I would far rather raise children whose hearts break over the hurts of others and grow to be caring adults that use their gifts, talents and resources to reach out to their neighbor, both near and far, than raise children indifferent to the plight of others.

So, how has my son handled coming face to face with poverty and hearing the very difficult stories of other children? He is doing just fine. He is processing hard stuff. He is looking around. He is really seeing people. He is taking it in. And then he is picking up a soccer ball and jumping in the game.

And really….that is what I want for him and my other kids….I want them to be able to process hard stuff, to look around, to really see people, to take it in and then to just jump in the game.

2.2.16day3-4Compassion brings the world to our doorstep in the form of letters and pictures from a few incredible kids. It gives us a chance to be actively involved on a long term basis with children we would not have the chance to meet otherwise. It gets us in the game. What happens in the lives of my kids and our sponsored kids as a result of Compassion is an investment I can’t afford not to make.

After stepping into homes and hearing the stories of so many children, I can say with all my heart – this is an investment you will never regret. Will you join our team as we advocate for children by investing today in the life of a child through sponsorship?


More posts from our team:

To This World: I think I’ve been looking at you all wrong ~ guest post on A Holy Experience by Bri McKoy

El Roi: The God Who Sees Them ~ Ruth Simons of Gracelaced

If I Have Gingham But Have Not Love ~ Shannan Martin of Flower Patch Farmgirl

many photos in this post are by @mikevarel


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  • Ruth@GraceLaced - You are truly one of the most intentional people I know. I’m so honored to be your friend and to walk these dusty roads with you.

  • meg duerksen - i am ABSOLUTELY loving every post. what an incredible experience for all of you!

  • Steph - Yes, yes, and yes. I summed it up to my husband, and we had to fist-bump. Such good reminders.

  • To This World: I've Been Looking at You All Wrong - Our Savory Life - […] in Ecuador leading our 14th Compassion Blog Trip which boasts of such bright hearts as Ruth Simons, Ashley Campbell and Shannan […]

  • Southern Gal - I’m keeping up with Ruth and Shannan, too, and it’s been just lovely. I love the hearts of all the bloggers (and their sons) this year. Thank you for sharing.

  • Ranee - Yes to all of this! Thank you for sharing your heart and the stories of this trip along with the wonderful mission of Compassion!

  • Candice - I so agree with you. A dream of ours is to get our children to see Peru where our compassion daughter lives. I am loving reading these posts!

  • Jenny L. - I agree with you wholeheartedly. It is so easy to hide behind that it is too sad, too hard, etc. I bought into that myth with a lot of things and wish I never had. Your kids can take it and they will be better off for it. You and Chris are wonderful parents.

  • amber - These posts are just amazing. Thank you for taking us on this journey with you. And, yes, yes, yes to this post! May all our hearts break for those who are hurting. We are all the better for it. What a treasure for your kids. Love this!

  • Laura Bell - I am sponsering a little girl from Ecuador. It does my heart a real joy to see that you get to actually meet your kids! So proud of you and your kiddo for loving to intentionally!

    Laura Jean

  • Renee - You have my wheels turning about sponsoring. I want those same things for my children and love that this can spark an awareness in them about global inequality and how we can help in some way.

  • joy the baker - Your words are beautiful and the joy pictured in these young faces fills me up. Be well. I appreciate that you’re sharing this journey.

  • Dustin - Great post. I take my 11 year old son on a trip to Uganda in May. I love the perspective you brought. Thanks for trusting God, and giving your kids this experience that will hopefully affect their lives in powerful way to help those in need.

  • Compassion Bloggers in Equador - […] He Jumped in the Game // Ashley Ann […]

  • Michael Patterson - This is great! My wife and I visited our Compassion kids in 2006. That trip changed our lives and we knew we had to go back with our children. It was a great investment into our children. Soon I will be traveling back to Haiti and the Dominican Republic with our daughter (adopted from Haiti). She is 9 and we will be visiting our sponsored children. I know this experience will shape her view of the world for the rest of her life.

  • Layla - In tears…big INSPIRED tears!!

  • Jessica P - Amazing post, Ashley! Cultivating compassion and empathy is so very important. Well said!

  • Barbara janaina - http://cienciahoje.uol.com.br/noticias/medicina-e-saude/terapia-celular-para-labio-leporino
    Dear Ashey, I just saw this news in the TV , is a new tecnic ,I dont know how to translate it all to you , but talks about lip fissures ( it’s right?) a new tecnic from Brasil, that improves very much the treatment , sorry for the bad english, kisses from Brasil

  • Nicole - I couldn’t agree more! We can’t afford not to teach them! We personally spend so much time editing the crap that tv,school and other outside influences send at our kids. But we’ve had no problem exposing or kids to the reality of life for kids around the world. We know it’s rough and they may have questions, but it really is important that they first see people as human and loved by God. Honestly, exposing them early on is probably better for them. They see a lot of beauty that we miss and they don’t have the fears that have grown in us adults. Last year we took our 5 & 3 year olds to Nicaragua with us. We spent time in a village where the kids had so much less than our kids. But there, playing soccer and hanging from the mango trees,they felt like they had made best friends. The have & have not’s didn’t divide them. We’ve also recently taken them to feed the homeless with us. I did have fear about explaining how these friends didn’t have food or a place to sleep, but they just took it in and served with kindness and a smile. They taught me how life should be when we don’t let fear get in our way. It was so beautiful. Way to go Ashley on taking your son and letting him (and the kids watching at home)see that the world is so big…and so is God’s love!

  • Six Blog Posts I Needed To Read | The Lettered Cottage - […] 2. He Jumped In The Game […]

  • Karen - YES! YES! To every word of this!!!!!!!!

  • Eleanor Clark - Iliked all your posts been sharing on facebook I sponsored another child Jennifer from the same child center as Ney they both live in

  • Eleanor Clark - I liked all your posts been sharing on facebook I sponsored another child Jennifer from the same child center as Ney

  • kris saia - You are a a terrific writer.