Recently, I had the unique privilege of meeting Ssebufu Ronald, my sponsor child of the past 14 years through Compassion International. I began sponsoring Ronald when he was 5 years old; I was fifteen and had just gotten my first job. Over the past 14 years, we’ve sent letters and photos back and forth through Compassion. I still remember the first letter I received where he’d outgrown coloring, while he remembers the first letter he received with my married name instead of my maiden name. In many ways, I’ve watched him grow up alongside me.
As someone who doesn’t travel often, you can imagine the energy invested into making the trip to Uganda to meet Ronald! But let me tell you: It was 100% worth it. I will remember fondly the 3 days I got to spend with Ronald and his family in Kampala.
Upon meeting Ronald (see video), he told me that it was a miracle from God that I came to visit him, and that his family couldn’t sleep the night before because they were all so excited to meet me in person (and I, them)! They were so joyful, welcoming, grateful, and giving. I couldn’t help but be humbled, honored, and filled with joy in their presence. (Pictured left to right: sister Sheila, cousin Immaculate, little sister Favour; mother Doreen; me (Kensi); sponsor son Ronald).
By the grace of God and the work of Compassion, Ronald’s mother and family are believers. Doreen works hard to provide for her family (including her sister’s kids, Immaculate and Eric). Ronald works hard at home and at school, hoping to be an accountant in his future. He will graduate from high school this year, hoping to take the national exams and enroll in university. Ronald’s main prayer request is for his future.
I could go on and on about my time there and wonderful Ronald and his family are, and I want nothing more than to respect his personhood and dignity. Still, the need for him and his family is great, and I want to give you insight into what third world poverty means in real life.
Ronald’s family lives in a 2-room house that they rent from a tough landlord. The sleeping room is the same size as the room pictured here, just on the other side of a sheet. They have 4 mattresses, so one of them has to sleep on the couch. They have no bathroom or kitchen. A sheet covers their doorway. There are no government handouts and no public school system, so education of any sort is a luxury.
Ronald begins his day at 4:00am, waking up to complete his studies for school. Next, he walks to the neighborhood outdoor facilities to shower for the day, before heading back home to help his mom wash clothes. He then goes to the market to purchase food for his mom to cook for their family, as well as for her livelihood. He has to take a taxi everyday for transportation: M-F to school, Sat to the Compassion Project, and Sunday to church.
After prayerfully discerning how we would fund my trip to Uganda, my husband, Evan, and I felt led to steward the resources we had to pay for the trip out of pocket; to find out what the needs actually were for Ronald and his family; and to raise funds when I returned to the states to directly impact Ronald’s life.
I learned that the need is greater than I ever could have imagined, but thankfully, a little goes a long way with the help of Compassion, and Ronald's family will directly and 100% be impacted by our giving! So, here I am, asking you to prayerfully help fund Ronald’s future.
Ronald has 3 years left in the Compassion program. During that time, Compassion will allow me to give a gift of $1200 per calendar year to bless his family (there is a cap on giving so that families who are blessed through sponsor gifts don’t become targets or put in harm’s way in their impoverished neighborhoods). Ronald and his family will then be able to obtain the funds through Compassion to meet their needs. Continuing education for Ronald, capital for Doreen’s business, and the ability to move into a safer, more accommodating environment were just a few of the larger needs mentioned during my time with Ronald and his family, though I am certain there are more immediate needs.
I’ve set a goal of raising $3600 to gift to Ronald and his family over the next 3 years. Those who give will be listed in my corresponding letter to Ronald and his family. Once the funds are dispersed and used, I will receive a letter with photos of how the money was used to their benefit, which I will pass along each year to you!
I am truly so eager to do everything I can to bless Ronald and his family. And I am extremely grateful to you for your prayers for him and for being a part of this with me.