I remember the first time I received stickers. I was only 9 years old. As soon as I opened the package, I saw a letter, but underneath the letter were stickers — beautiful stickers. I remember picking up the first page of stickers and running out to my friends to share about the exciting gift I had received. We were all so happy. I gave my friends a few, but I remember hiding the rest so I could keep this joy. So I could savor it and make it last.
Now, to many, simple stickers would not mean much, but to me, they meant the world. I was living in a place where beauty and joy was lost. Poverty had stripped us of everything. Patches of stagnant water, stray dogs, tin roofs, unsafe roads and inescapable dumpsites were my world. Stickers restored beauty and joy for me.
These stickers were more than stickers to me; this joy that they gave me was more than I could ask for.
Heather, my 15-year-old sponsor, continued to send me stickers and to write to me with words like, “Richmond, I am proud of you," "I love you," and “You are important.” These words reached deep into my heart, and with the help of Pastor Peter, who was the pastor of the church that partnered with Compassion, I become a Christian. Soon, the joy that was once forgotten began to become more familiar. Poverty might be a physical state of depravity, but once one finds the indescribable joy of Christ, they can no longer be impoverished.