A while ago, I shared a story about meeting Crisvin and about what poverty looks like. The other day, God blew me away with a passage of Scripture that I want to share with you, but first I need to tell you more about Crisvin.
By the time I met Crisvin, I was sweating a lot. I had just spent an hour or so playing soccer under the hot Honduran sun, my face was flushed, and I was chugging water from a water bottle. I looked rough, I smelled bad, but neither of those obvious “put-offs” kept Crisvin from giving me the biggest hug ever.
She was a beautiful little girl. She had perfect olive skin, dark black hair that was pulled back into a pony-tail, timid and sweet eyes that sat on top of cheeks that were full of dimples, and she was wearing a light green checkered dress. Immediately, she stole my heart, and we instantly became best friends for the rest of the time we were at her village.
A few hours after meeting Crisvin, I had the opportunity to visit her home. Crisvin and I climbed into the air-conditioned bus (I love air-conditioning), and headed down the bumpy gravel road to her house. On the way, I met Crisvin’s aunt, who was responsible for bringing her to Compassion’s program. I took the opportunity to learn about Crisvin and her family, and our conversation, through a translator, went like this.
“Where are Crisvin’s parents?” I asked.
“Her dad is gone. He left a year ago to start a family with a new woman.
(I found out later that divorce is VERY common in developing countries. Sometimes it’s because the dad get’s so frustrated with the families inability to get ahead and escape poverty, that he will try to start over with another family. Other times, the dad is just a jerk. Crisvin’s dad was both.)
“Crisvin’s mom works in another city that is several hours a way. She found a job at a parachute factory, and is trying to pay the bills now that Crisvin’s dad is gone. Crisvin and her little brother are mostly being raised by their grandmother whom you will meet when we get to the house. All of the rest of the time, they hang out with me.”
“Does Crisvin’s mom make enough to provide for them?”
“Not right now. She has only been at the job for a couple of weeks, and is still training. The workers at the factory get paid for each parachute they stuff. Right now Crisvin’s mom is making $2 a day. Some of the ladies that she works with have been there a lot longer and they can stuff enough parachutes to make $50 a week. Crisvin’s mom will get there soon, she is a hard worker.”
As we continued bouncing down the road, we came around the bend and Crisvin pointed out her house. It was actually nicer than a lot of the houses we have been to in Honduras, but that is not saying much. It was made from green wood paneling that actually matched Crisvin’s dress that day. It was a one-room shack the size of the master bathroom in my house. Inside I found that Crisvin’s family was quite organized with their limited possessions. The shelves were tightly packed with odds and ends, and the concrete floor was swept perfectly. The walls were covered with pictures of their family, and I noticed all of Crisvin’s diplomas from passing different grades in school.
Their family was blessed to have two small twin beds that were pushed together. I recognized Crisvin’s bed immediately because it was covered with a Barbie blanket that was tucked in neatly on all sides. A few minutes later she pulled her two Barbies out for me, and we sat on her bed and played dolls. Not to brag, but I am really good at playing dolls. One of the team leaders on our trip found it hilarious that I was so good at brushing Barbie’s hair, and I had to explain to him that I grew up with three younger sisters — brushing Barbie’s hair was what I always did as a kid right before the “tornado” came through and destroyed her house! (my sisters didn’t like that part as much)
When the time came for us to leave, I grabbed Crisvin and held her in a big bear hug. I knew a little bit of Spanish and used every bit of it to tell her that she was beautiful, that I loved her, and that I would write to her soon. She was my new pen pal, and I couldn’t wait to get back and send her a letter.
As I let her go, she turned around into the backpack that she kept all of her barbies in and pulled out a small wooden container. She opened the lid, dumped out the Barbie shoes and accessories, and then handed the wooden box to me.
“This is for you.” She said.
“For me? Crisvin I can’t take this.” I replied.
“I want you to have it because you are my family.”
“Thank you,” I said and pulled her close for one more hug. My heart was overwhelmed. I had never experienced a more difficult dilemma in my life than whether or not I should accept that gift. How can I take something from this little girl who has nothing?
A few months later I read part of a letter that Paul sent to the Corinthians. He was talking about the Macedonians, some group of early Christians that I know very little about, and Paul is describing their generosity. He writes: “And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. In the midst of severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own…” Later Paul tells the Corinthians that if they are cheerful givers that they “will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
That day in Honduras, Crisvin gave as much as she was able to a guy that didn’t need it. And that small gift resulted in thanksgiving to God. As a very rich American I struggle with giving, and yet here is girl that gave out of her poverty. Crisvin was a modern day version of the widow with two copper coins that Jesus says “put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”
If you don’t sponsor a child like Crisvin, you should. Click here and make the $38 dollar monthly investment to help release a child from poverty in Jesus’ name. This would be a great first step to move from apathy to compassionate action in your own life!