|   Posted: September 14, 2018   |   Updated: November 01, 2022

An alumnus of Compassion’s program shares about his childhood in poverty and how his sponsors’ kindness helped him persevere.

These Words of Kindness Gave Me Strength Amid Poverty

An alumnus of Compassion’s program shares about his childhood in poverty and how his sponsors’ kindness helped him persevere.

Gilbert grew up impoverished in Uganda

I am Gilbert Mfitundinda, and I was born in southwestern Uganda to a family so poor that even other poor people in our community looked down on us.

At a young age, I did not think that the future had anything to offer me. As the eighth child in my family, I had seen my siblings drop out of school. I was so hopeless. My family survived on less than $1 a day. Life was a daily struggle.

When I was 7, I got invited by my local church and community leaders to participate in Compassion’s child development program. For the first time in my life, I got a mattress to sleep on and a blanket to cover myself with. I also got my first sponsor.

One of the greatest gifts that I got from my sponsor is the gift of kindness. I so happen to have had three sponsors throughout my tenure with Compassion. My sponsors had a way with kind words in the letters they sent me. Poverty had told me several lies that crushed my spirit. I had believed those lies, including the one that told me that I would never amount to anything.

The letters from my sponsors were not mere papers but contained words that I needed at that time. I still read them today. My sponsors’ kind words were a source of encouragement to me. They helped me to pick up the broken pieces of my life.

Words like …

Gilbert, we believe in you.

Gilbert, you can do better than that.

Gilbert, God loves you.

Gilbert, you have value.

Gilbert, you are precious.

Gilbert, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

These messages helped me to lift my head higher than my weaknesses and inadequacies. [My sponsors] continuously told me how proud they were of me. Their kindness, displayed through their encouraging words, helped me to get my attention off my flaws and onto my strengths. Their words changed my hopelessness to the hope that only Christ can give.

I learned that it does not matter what people say or the circumstances going on around you; what matters is what is going on in your mind and in your heart. This changed my attitude. I regained my self-esteem.

As of today, I believe that little is enough when given with love. My sponsors' kindness taught me that, even though I might not have enough right here, right now, I could share the little that I have.

I started a ministry called Love Restoration as a motivation to give back. Love Restoration empowers communities to care for deprived children. Our mission is to provide education, nutrition and health care to children in need. We now serve 150 children! My hope is that I am sharing with them the same kindness my sponsors shared with me.

Will you share some kindness today? I would also like to request that you pray for a child in extreme poverty who needs some encouraging words.

Read more about Gilbert Mfitundinda.

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