By: Kasey Huss   |   Posted: September 28, 2022

As we look back over 70 years of ministry, we celebrate the men and women that have made it possible—men and women like Richard and Lois. This beautiful couple has dedicated the last 48 years to helping children in poverty through sponsorship. Read how Richard and Lois order their lives around generosity and how they have been impacted in the process.

Celebrating 48 Years of Sponsorship

As we look back over 70 years of ministry, we celebrate the men and women that have made it possible—men and women like Richard and Lois. This beautiful couple has dedicated the last 48 years to helping children in poverty through sponsorship. Read how Richard and Lois order their lives around generosity and how they have been impacted in the process.

Written by Kasey Huss
Richard and Lois hold a picture of one of their sponsored children

One of the most remarkable things about Richard and Lois is how unassuming they are. They sit together at a simple table in a modest ranch home, hidden in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On this table lies stacks of letters and pictures — the only tangible evidence they have of their commitment to child sponsorship since 1974. But on the other side of the world, women are walking free from the cycle of poverty as a result of their generosity over the past 48 years.

Richard and Lois said “I do” in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1974. Lois wore a white shawl over her elegant wedding gown and a cross around her neck. The newly married couple shared kind eyes, a sense of humor and a faith in Jesus that would shape their life together. Before the end of the year, Richard and Lois would sponsor their first child with Compassion.

When asked about the moment they learned about Compassion’s ministry, they looked at each other long and hard. Lois shook her head. It has been 48 years and the memory is lost to time. But what they both vividly recall is reading Isaiah 58:10:

If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry
  and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
  and your night will become like the noonday.

They believe that the call to serve the poor is clear in Scripture. So when the newlyweds saw a picture of a little girl from Africa who needed a sponsor, they said yes. “We are believers,” says Lois. “This is just what God tells us to do.” She smiles and shrugs her shoulders, seemingly perplexed by the question of why they chose to sponsor a child. It seems the choice was so obvious that “why” had never even crossed her mind.

a Progress Report from one of their sponsored children

Preparing for Generosity

Richard, now 80, worked as a handyman his whole life. Lois, 70, was a nurse. Richard’s income tended to fluctuate from time to time, but their care for the poor remained steady. Early in their marriage, they set up a budget and worked their obedience to God’s Word into the bottom line. “[Sponsorship] is taken out of the checking account automatically,” says Lois matter-of-factly. “It’s part of the budget. If for some reason we are a little short at the end of the month, then we decide we just don’t need as many groceries as we had planned.” Richard nods and adds, “We could have a new car or a nicer house, but we don’t because that money goes into all kinds of things to support others. We have all that we need, and we are thankful.”

In addition to sponsoring children, Richard and Lois support missionaries abroad, volunteer at their local food pantry and are involved in their church. Lois always keeps a fully stocked pantry and a ready guest room so that she can meet a need at a moment’s notice. “You have to be prepared to be generous,” Lois adds.

The preparations they have made to their finances, their home and even their time has allowed them to walk in faithful obedience to God’s call to serve the poor for nearly five decades. And when one sponsored child transitioned out of the program, they would sponsor another without hesitation because, no matter their circumstances, spending themselves on behalf of the hungry has been their priority since 1974.

Experiencing God’s Provision

Richard and Lois have had their share of challenges over the years but have witnessed God’s provision in amazing ways. In 2013, Lois had to stop working for four months after injuring her knee — ending their only flow of income at the time. She and Richard began collecting things from around their home during the week to sell on Saturdays at a garage sale. Each week, the amount they made in sales would somehow always cover the week’s expenses. Before long, Richard and Lois would receive an unexpected financial gift in the mail, and Lois was granted disability. Lois’ disposition about God’s provision is similar to her attitude about helping the poor — she’s pretty matter of fact. Just as she made a decision to obey Isaiah 58, she’s also decided to believe its promise too. After God’s call to care for the poor, verse 11 reveals a remarkable assurance:

“The LORD will guide you always;
  he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
  and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
  like a spring whose waters never fail.”

“God really does bless you when you honor him,” says Lois with a shrug and a smile. “When God provided for us, he was providing for our sponsored children too,” she says.

Making An Impact

Lois holds a letter in her hands and reads aloud:

I am so grateful from my deep heart and my soul for everything you have done for me. Now I am at college to be a BA in psychology to be able to help my community and all young children. Always keep me in prayers. I will never forget your kindness.
  — Your dear daughter, Elizabeth

Richard and Lois sponsored Elizabeth when she was just 7 years old and saw her through to graduation. And when they received a letter from Compassion asking if they would like to sponsor another child, Richard and Lois would reply “yes,” as they had done numerous times before, without hesitation. “We keep sponsoring because we see the good things that happen,” says Lois. “We see the children thrive!” Richard agrees and says, “Just knowing we are helping enriches our lives.”

Lois holds a picture of a sponsored child
Richard and Lois hold an old family photo
Richard holds a picture of a sponsored child

A lot has changed in 48 years of sponsorship. One of the changes that impresses them the most: letterwriting. “Now you can just go online and write,” exclaims Lois. “But back then it was all through the mail!” Lois shares that she had just written her sponsored child, Elodie, the night before. “I told her about the weather here and told her I hoped she was doing well.” Lois writes as often as she remembers but is always sure to give a Christmas and birthday gift. “That might be the only gift that child ever receives,” reasons Lois.

Remaining Faithful

Today, Richard and Lois are concerned about the global food crisis that is hitting impoverished nations the hardest. Richard is well-informed and has read projections of starvation that grieve his heart. “The Lord is in control and knows all these things, but we have to do the best we can,” says Richard. He points to a greenhouse frame on his back porch — his most recent handyman project. “We are going to grow our own vegetables,” he shares. “We want to be self-sufficient so we can continue to help others.” This project is just one more example of how Richard and Lois continue to prepare for generosity, experience the Lord’s provision and reach out to help others in the way they live their lives.

And in their modest home on Countryside Drive, they will continue to write their current sponsored child in Burkina Faso, send her annual gifts and have her sponsorship donation drafted from their account each month. They will continue to walk in faithful obedience to God and his Word because, as Lois says, “That’s just what we do.”