Dave DeBruine wondered why he had decided to stay for the Compassion Sunday at The Chapel in Barrington, IL, following the Chicago Advocate Conference in late April. First, DeBruine had been away from his Milwaukee-area home far too often during the early spring and he longed to be home. Second, there were more than enough advocates helping at the sponsorship table that day.
As is always the case, God had a plan and a purpose for DeBruine’s involvement at The Chapel, and it began to take shape through a conversation he had with local business owner, Berndt Fetzer, at the sponsorship table. Fetzer, who owns the surgical instrument manufacturer Instrumed International, Inc., was deeply touched with Compassion graduate Daniel Maina’s story during the Sunday morning worship service. Fetzer decided to sponsor two children, and then traded contact information with DeBruine.
Fetzer, who had never heard of Compassion before The Chapel’s Compassion Sunday, was impressed with DeBruine, who has been a part of the Advocate Network since 1995. “His passion was second to none,” said Fetzer, adding that the idea of his staff hearing about Compassion “was almost an instant thought (while talking with DeBruine).”
DeBruine’s follow-up email to Fetzer, expressing his personal appreciation for Berndt’s decision to sponsor and to offer his support with any questions the new sponsor may have as he started his sponsorship journey, was followed by an email reply from one of Fetzer’s employees, Michelle Farrar. Farrar shared how excited the staff was after hearing their boss share about the two children Fetzer had chosen to sponsor. “Michelle asked me, ‘Can you give me a call today?’” DeBruine recalled. Not wanting to lose the opportunity, DeBruine called and, in his words, “She ended up not letting me get off the phone. She wanted to know all about how this works.” The 30-minute phone conversation concluded with DeBruine asking if Instrumed’s staff would like a presentation about Compassion, and his thoughts immediately went to advocate Anji Sisler (pictured) since she resides in the Chicago area and could serve as that local link for the business with Compassion.
Sisler jumped at the opportunity to share with Instrumed’s employees. “It was different from anything I have ever done before,” said Anji about her 12-minute presentation. The group was standing around an island, a “prep area” for the company, listening intently to Sisler’s presentation. “People were very engaged. Tears were welling up in people’s eyes,” she related. The 17 employees had been told by Fetzer that he would pay for the sponsorships of the children “all the way through” the Compassion program, said Sisler, but the employees would need to be the corresponding sponsors. When Sisler, whom Fetzer referred to as “a magnet – people are just drawn to her,” placed the packets on the table, the employees quickly began passing them around and even “fought” over child packets. Sixteen children were sponsored that day.
“That was just about the best day of my life,” said Sisler, who plans to follow up with the new sponsors by offering a letter writing party at a later date.
“The cool part for me,” said DeBruine, “was to be that link, to bring him (Fetzer) from that table to a follow-up presentation with Anji. This shows the power of a Network to work together with a common focus and to not worry about who gets the credit.
“It is doing what we are called to do and being willing to do it.”
One of Fetzer’s employees may have best summed up what sponsoring a child means. “What was really cool…after Anji (presented),” recalled Fetzer, “was when one of the employees said, ‘This is the best gift anyone has ever given me.’”