June 10, 2007

Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?

Shortly after Bart and I started dating, he got a letter and a picture from a little boy named Jinel. When I asked him about it, he told me that he'd recently started sponsoring Jinel, a little boy who lives in Haiti, through World Vision. Bart's monthly payment provides food, clothing, housing, and an education for Jinel, allowing him to rise above the abject poverty that plagues his community.

We continued sponsoring Jinel after we got married, even when we were living exclusively on my $8.50/hour TA job (a job which is made worthwhile by the experience, certainly not by the money). It was just one of those things that you can't really justify giving up, especially when you can still afford to go to the movies or out to dinner or to have cell phones.

Yesterday, we got a letter asking us to consider sponsoring another child, particularly a girl, since they tend to be at higher risk for sexual abuse, less likely to be educated, and are usually less valued by their communities. We looked through the lists of girls and selected one that had been waiting nearly a year to be sponsored.

It is more heartbreaking than you can imagine to look through these pictures of these little girls, with their sweet faces, in a wide variety of ages, countries, and skin colors, all waiting for someone to help them prepare for a better life, to give them an opportunity to fulfill their potential, and to make a difference in the world.

We have so much - a nice car, a great house, good jobs, clothing, gym memberships, cell phones, heating and air conditioning, a TV, computers, loving families, high-speed Internet, vacations, dinner out, more food than we could ever eat, etc., etc., etc. How can you possibly resent $30-35 per month when it goes so far and does so much for those who have almost nothing? It costs less than it does for us to have Internet access, or have cell phones, or get groceries for a week.

I feel good about helping another child, to try and be a little more giving with what we have. I just look at those faces and wish we could do more. How can you choose just one or two? I wish everyone would sponsor a child, to give more children an opportunity to succeed in the world, to grow up safe, healthy, and well-educated. I'm grateful to World Vision for giving me an opportunity to be a little be less selfish, a little more generous, and a little bit more grateful.


  1. Janssen-

    I saw your comment on Miss Nemesis' blog and your name isn't exactly common, so I figured I'd check to see if it was you and it is!

    I'm not sure if you'll even remember me..I was one of Carl Brinton and Thelma's friends from freshman year at BYU. I went to high school with Carl and Thelma was on my floor in DT.

    Congrats on getting married and graduating! Looks like you have a great life!!

    Kayla (Peterson) Moncur

  2. Come to think of it, I've seen your name on facebook too but since your last name changed and those little pictures are too dinky to really make out face..wasn't sure. Thelma could know more than one Janssen..I guess.

    We're not really up to anything exciting. We went to Costa Rica not too long ago but other than that we're just working and living in Mesa. Are you still in Utah?

    How long have you been married? How did you meet your husband?

  3. I've heard Austin is really nice, but I've never been there. Any particular reason you ended up there? Family? Good jobs?

    What are you both going to go to grad school for?

    My husband and I met in the singles ward while I was home for the summer from BYU. He was at ASU finishing up a master's degree in biomedical engineering. I dropped out of school (the shame!) and we got married in Dec of 2005. Now he works as an engineer designing medical devices and I do sales marketing with a real estate company.

  4. World Vision looks pretty cool. And they got a good rating on Charity Navigator. I'm interested. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Good for you to sponsor another child. It keeps things in perspective for us; after we had our son, we decided to sponsor a little girl in Vietnam who is just a little older than our boy. It's pretty amazing seeing the changes in her and hearing about what our sponsorship has contributed to in her community.


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