Last week at this time I was in the Dominican (Republic).
I was part of a team that traveled with Compassion International and BTI360. Among other duties, my husband Mike is the Chief Giving Officer, at BTI360 which basically means he is in charge of the Give Back programs–how rad, right? BTI360 has been giving through Compassion to various projects in the Dominican for a long time, each year a team travels there to meet sponsored children, to see the impact of the projects and to grow as a team. For the first time ever, spouses were invited to travel. I jumped at the opportunity. Mike has been going to the Dominican for the last 5 years and I really wanted to go. I wanted to meet the people he had been telling me about and to see the impact the BTI360 giving was making.
The trip was quick, just 5 days total and it was beyond amazing. My friend Kelly, captured the activities of each day beautifully on her blog, please read it if you would like to learn more about the details of the trip.
The one thing that I was struck by the most on this trip is the power of influence.
One positive, generous person can literally change another person’s life.
I met so many people on the trip and listened deep to their stories–that is one of the highlights of traveling–story-listening. And I was struck again and again with the same question, “How can a person who endured extreme poverty, tragic-heartbreaking loss find the courage to rise up and literally turn their lives around?” The answer, from all of the hard-stories that I heard, having a positive influence in their lives–even if it is from the other side of the world.
Take Jon. He grew up in extreme poverty. When he was young his shoes were held together with tape and cardboard, he was rejected to his face by his father, he didn’t have clothes for school so he had to borrow them, and he lived with constant hunger pains.
Jon’s life seemed hopeless, until he became sponsored through Compassion. It was then he began to receive funds for food and clothing AND letters from a loving sponsor.
Let this next line soak in.
Jon carries the original letters that his sponsor wrote with him, he has carefully kept them for the last 15+ years. They are precious treasures to him. Jon has highlighted lines that he read over and over, lines like “It is Thanksgiving here in the States and I just wanted for you to know that I am so thankful for you.” And there were notes where she was praying for him. She often wrote words to encourage him to do well in school, she told him that she believed in him.
These kind words changed his life.
I know that I am absolutely unable to impart the impact of Jon’s story in a blog post. But believe me the letters changed the course of his life AND changed my understanding about the power of words and influence.
And it isn’t just Jon.
While I was in the Dominican, I met Daniel, and Ruben and the sweet mama in San Cristobol. Everyone has a story of hardship rising strong to greatness because someone spoke encouragement into them. All of the Compassion children had very similar stories to Jon. It was powerful.
This post isn’t a call to incite you to sponsor a child–though I wish you would consider it. Compassion is an amazing organization who knows every child by name in their program. I saw the folders on each child. I heard the hearts of the tudors. Compassion is changing lives.
This post is about your power to influence others. This is about being known for something bigger than being a designer or a writer or as a mom or a coach.
You have influence. Don’t be passive, choose to be generous, choose to encourage, choose to be a change maker.
Choose to DO GOOD.
In this online community that is constantly shouting look at ME and all of MY earnings, I am begging us to rise up and be known for something different. Wouldn’t it be something if instead of posting Monthly Income Reports everyone posted Monthly Giving Reports? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we pooled our earnings and together gave to a community in need?
BTI360 built a water cleaning system for a town so they have affordable clean water. Mom’s can work, kids aren’t getting sick –they are going to school and growing up!
What do you want to be known for? What do you think you are known for? Be known for something big. Be generous. Sponsor a child. Buy ethical products. Encourage others.
I want to be known for Doing Good. For Encouraging. For Giving Back. For using my gifts to do all of that, I design for cause based organizations. I analyze Google Analytics and use the data to encourage business owners and I give back.
How about you? Leave a comment and let me know.