She captured my heart with her smile, and I am forever changed. Those are the first words you read on Laura “Lola” Zinger’s blog. Above that sentence floats a picture of Ruth, Lola’s sponsored child. The bearer of that life-changing smile. But to understand the story of Ruth and Lola, we must start at the beginning.
Lola says she can’t quite remember what first drew her to Compassion. Maybe it was a concert, or an event at church? Lola just remembers sitting with her husband and three sons at their computer and choosing an Ethiopian boy, Gosaye, who was the same age as her middle son.
“I don’t know that I really ‘bought into it’ at first,” says Lola. “It was really just making a card for his birthday, for Christmas, looking at his picture on the refrigerator. Initially I did it for my boys, but gradually I could feel God tapping me on the shoulder. Planting a desire to connect with him deeper. Accepting him as a fourth son into our family.”
One of those “promptings” Lola felt was to host a Compassion Sunday event at her church. That yes began a journey that Lola could never have imagined.
When Lola received the box of child packets for her event, she prayed over each child. But one of the packets made her stop. A young woman named Ruth, the oldest child in the group.
She seemed to radiate off the page and I wanted to know her, wrote Lola on her blog. But she shook her head and put Ruth’s packet back in the stack, focusing on getting the children sponsored – not sponsoring them herself!
At the end of her event, Lola was thrilled that 11 of the children had been sponsored. But she was even more thrilled that Ruth’s packet was still there.
I was secretly relieved. And excited. I just KNEW she was supposed to be ours, Lola wrote.
Lola started sponsoring Ruth, and they immediately struck up a relationship through their letters. But when Ruth’s new photo came, Lola was shocked to see that one of the girl’s legs had been amputated. She called Compassion and learned devastating news.
Ruth had been diagnosed with bone cancer.