For more than 60 years, Compassion has been lifting children out of poverty in Jesus’ name. Their model of building relationships between children and their sponsors has transformed the lives of millions around the world.
Sol Castiblanco’s sponsor was an invaluable support through her difficult childhood. But as she explained to Vision’s Karen Hunt, God also used Compassion to make some of her dreams come true in ways no one could have imagined.
Born in Columbia, Sol grew up in extreme poverty, and remembers an early childhood in which she wouldn’t eat for days at a time. She witnessed substance abuse, and was a victim of domestic violence. When her Aunt mentioned the Compassion program, her family were attracted by the financial benefit, but Sol says it was a blessing because it lead to her finding out more about Jesus, and giving her life to Him at age nine.
When she was 12, Sol’s father attempted suicide in front of the family. That day, Sol had to go to a church service. “I remember that was so difficult for me, but in my mind I just wanted to do the things for God, and also I felt that if God gave me my father and also my family, then He has the things in control. So I realised that I can rest in His hands.”
“So that was the thing that I did in those moments. I would rest in the hands of God. And then God began to change many things in the life of my father, and my mother also. Now they go to the church together. My father became a Christian maybe three or four years ago. So it was a blessing to us now to know those kind of things.”
At 23, Sol had left her home in Columbia for the first time to come to Australia. Her sponsor, a woman from Colorado Springs, had been supporting her for 14 years, and decided to continue helping her through her university education.
Years earlier, Sol had written in about visiting Australia in a book where she recorded her hopes and dreams, but she knew this one was far-fetched, because she could never afford the trip.
When a visiting pastor offered her the chance to work here as an ambassador for Compassion, all expenses paid, she cried for days with happiness. “When I heard this news, it was awesome,” she said.
On the day we spoke to her, Sol had just achieved another one of her dreams. “It’s an amazing thing because I remember when I prayed to God that I wanted to be here in Australia, I saw the videos from Hillsong, and I said one day, I’ll go there. One day, I want to sit in a concert to Hillsong, in a Church of Hillsong. And this morning, I sat in the worship, and I cried all the time, and I said ‘thank you God, because you don’t forget any detail that I pray for you’.”
Sol no longer lives in poverty, but she personally knows many other children who do. She’s excited by the opportunity to give back to a ministry that has had such a real impact on children all over the world.
“Compassion provided them food, provided them hope, provided them love. I think that was a blessing, that many people here in Australia became sponsors for other children. It was good for us, as a sponsored child, and for the sponsors too.”
To end their conversation, Karen asked Sol what else she hoped to see during her trip. “The first thing that I hope to see was the hands of God, working in other lives, through my testimony, through the things that they can see in my life. But also the idea for me is, many children have to be sponsored, so that they have the same opportunities that I had in the past.”
Sol’s story clearly shows the ways God is using Compassion to uplift people out of their troubles. It’s a great opportunity to connect with some of our brothers and sisters in Christ in other parts of the world. For more info on how you can get involved as a sponsor, visit their website at compassion.com.au.
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