Creating a Legacy of Gratitude and Generosity

When Evan and Rach asked their daughter AJ why their family sponsored a child, her response was simple but spot-on; "because we can!"

At first, this sort of wisdom from one so young seems unexpectedly profound; but when you’ve grown up in a family centred on giving, it makes sense. For AJ, there has never been a time when, Mary her family's sponsor child from Ecuador, hasn't been a part of her life. "She thinks of her like a cousin who lives overseas," said her mother Rach, "someone who has always been there, but we've gotten to know through letters."

Adopted by Evan and Rach when she was just a baby, AJ always had a natural compassion towards those in need and a desire for justice. However, Rach believes their commitment to giving through child sponsorship was a foundation that saw these traits strengthened and encouraged. “AJ has a real heart for the disenfranchised and maybe some of that found root in giving as a family,” she said.

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When Rach and Evan began sponsoring children 25 years ago, it was from a calling to bless children not their own who needed love and provision for whatever reason. Yet, as they brought their daughter into this process, sitting down at the kitchen table to write Mary letters and talking about where their donations would go, this giving took on a new purpose. Their sponsorship growing from a simple act of giving, to a legacy they passed onto their daughter; a way of not just telling but showing her the beauty of giving in action.

And Rach believes in a world that is increasingly driven by materialism and individualism, no message is more important. "AJ holds lightly to "stuff" and isn't very swayed by material wealth," said Rach. “AJ sees giving to Q as something that doesn’t divide our love or wealth but multiplies it.”

After 14 years of sitting down together to write letters to AJ, swapping photos of their families and eagerly waiting for a reply in the mail, Rach said Mary and her siblings felt like family, albeit ones who lived a little while away. So, when they had the opportunity to finally make the trip over to visit, it was nothing short of a gift.

“We were humbled to be able to go to Ecuador on a sponsors mission tour last May with Compassion,” said Rach. "Only Evan and I travelled that time as AJ was unable to get time off work, but said next time, she would be there."

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For Rach and Evan going to see Mary in Ecuador was a life-changing experience that served as a powerful reminder for why the family chose to make a lifelong commitment to supporting children in need.

“Meeting Mary, holding her, telling her we love her, and learning something of her story, has ignited a passion in us we didn’t know existed,” said Rach. While they started sponsoring a little 2-year-old, it was a strong 16-year-old girl that now stood before them, who had an education and a future made possible by their generosity.

When you give a little of what you have to sponsor a child, you are stopping on the proverbial road to Jericho and reaching out a hand to someone who needs it. But you are also creating a generational legacy, showing your children the sort of Christian you endeavour to be, and the one you hope they grow up to become.

So, the question is, what legacy are you leaving? What model of faith do you walk out in front of your children? Is it a Christ-centred life of joyful generosity and love for your neighbour?


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