Here’s a bit more about our wedding registry, and our admiration for the work they’re doing.
Compassion International (CI) literally opened up their accounts ledger and showed me line-by-line where each penny is spent. Later that day I saw firsthand where my dollars were going.
It was in the gratitude of the mother who no longer has to prostitute herself for $3 a night. $3 is just enough for a few meals to feed her two children. Her kids are fed through CI now.
The bright smiles of teenage boys learning algebra and computers by CI , instead of how to rob or murder with the street gangs, showed me too.
Pages … books… could be filled with the remarkable life-change I witnessed in both my international trips with Compassion International. Birthed 50 years ago in the heart of a man who saw starving Korean children literally thrown away in garbage bags, CI is now a mainstay in 26 countries. The foundation and core of CI is to provide food, shelter, education, medical care and Christian training, with the goal of breaking the cycle of poverty in children’s lives.
Joshua and I have partnered with Compassion International for our wedding ‘registry.’ They graciously custom created a special page just for us that lands on their Gift Catalog page. If you feel so inclined, you may choose from any of the gifts (seeds, livestock, immunizations, etc…. we didn’t actually pick out gifts per se), or there is also the option to sponsor a child. We sponsor Diego and he is an absolute delight and adds oh so much to our lives.
My sweet friend Joni has told me countless stories of her dear grandfather, Charles Keyes. Over 50 years ago he established Parson of the Hills Foundation to provide ministry to the less fortunate. He used to load up Joni, her grandmother, and donated toys in a van and deliver Christmas presents to families living in dirt floor shacks in the hills of the Appalachian Mountains.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that depth of poverty is in our own backyard. And it can be easy to ignore. But Charles Keyes couldn’t ignore it … and didn’t. He went on to build Camp Joy, located in Hickory, NC. Each summer, those same children who received Christmas presents could come for camp, free of charge.
This amazing camp is running still, and delivers much more than a fun week in the sun. Kids receive hot showers (which includes delousing for many), nutritious meals, plenty of hysterical stories and hugs from Joni’s mom (the amazing Finley), 1:1 attention from camp counselors, Bible teaching, and a week to just be a kid. Many of the kids come back as counselors when they’re old enough… that’s how much Camp Joy has an impact on them. Wow!
Helping those in poverty is something Joshua and I are passionate about. And, should we be blessed with kids, we really want them to have a childhood…to not have to grow up so fast, but to just be a kid. That’s what we love about Camp Joy and why it’s on our wedding registry. To make a donation to them, please send make a check out to Valley Haven Camp and Retreat and send it to:
Valley Haven Camp and Retreat
7655 Valley Haven Dr.
Hickory, NC 28602
Thank you so much for investing in others’ lives with us! We’re oh so excited for the lives that will be changed through your gracious generosity.
With gratitude and love,
Joshua and Samantha