In Which “Rock Dude” Comes For a Visit

When I went to Uganda in February, Christian recording artist Shaun Groves was on our team of bloggers.  He’s a completely down-to-earth, unassuming guy–you would never know he has tons of fans and a very successful music career.  He’s the real deal.

Shaun and his manager Ben came to our city this weekend for some concerts, and they stayed with us.  I didn’t mention it to my kids until a few days before they arrived, because I knew the excitement level was going to be pretty high.  They know who Shaun is, of course, both from my trip and from listening to my iPod.  And my nine-year-old is…how shall we say this…easily star-struck.  As in, he thinks the mailman is famous because, "MOM. THEY GAVE HIM HIS OWN. WHITE. TRUCK."

(He also talks in ALL-CAPS most of the time.  With LOTS. OF. DRAMATIC. PAUSES.)

Anyway, I casually mentioned Shaun and Ben’s upcoming visit, and I waited for the eruption.  I wasn’t disappointed.  Stephen slapped both hands on the table and delivered the following paragraph in one long breath:


It actually turned into a great conversation, as I told my son how Shaun uses his platform to tell people about Compassion‘s work, and how he backs up what he says with the way he lives.  My boy was pretty impressed by that, too.

And it was a great weekend.  It was so meaningful for my family to meet someone who was on that life-changing trip with me.  Shaun and Ben were really great to hang out with my kids and answer their questions.  Shaun even signed Stephen’s guitar (Stephen: "MAYBE I CAN SELL IT ON EBAY FOR REALLY. BIG. BUCKS!")  Stephen was just a tad disappointed that Shaun didn’t write a song while he was here.  (At least, I don’t think he did.  Unless his next album has a song about a laundry room that smells like dirty soccer socks.  If so, that one’s all me.)

Shaun is heading up a team for another Compassion bloggers’ trip next month.  A group of six bloggers will be heading to the Dominican Republic in November.  Two of them–Melanie and Mary–are my dear friends.  Also going along are Jennifer from 5 Minutes For Mom, Tim from Challies (one of my favorite thinking-cap blogs) and Marlboro Man, husband of Ree, the Pioneer Woman.  Please join me in praying for this group.  In this month leading up to such a life-changing event, I can attest that they probably have all kinds of crazy going on in their hearts right now.

While we’re on the subject, I’d love to hear from you how your Compassion sponsor kids are doing.  I know many of you added to your families this way during the first trip–and many of you long before that.  How are they?  Our sweet kids seem to be doing really well.  Dissan, the nine-year-old boy I met in Kampala, still thanks me for the soccer ball, seven months later.  Abraham, 11, told us how he and his grandmother are harvesting ground nuts by digging with their hands, and he asked me, "Does your family dig?"  Joseph, age seven, reminds me of my own seven year old, asking pointed questions.  After I sent him a recent picture, he wanted to know, "Why don’t I look like you?  Will I look like you when I’m older?"  Sweet little Esther is only four, and her letters are short and sweet, written with the help of a worker at her school.  Usually she just tells us over and over how much she loves us.   

How are your Compassion kids?  I’d love to know.  Don’t have one yet?  Now is as good as time as any–click over and sponsor a child here.

45 thoughts on “In Which “Rock Dude” Comes For a Visit

  1. Melanie says:

    Our last letter said that she promoted to the next grade and I could tell from the tone of the letter that she was so proud. She always says that SHE is praying for ME. The faith of children all over this world astounds me.

  2. Prairie Rose says:

    My kids are doing great, my two new Ugandan kids I got as a result of the Feb trip I’ve already heard from four times which is phenomenal… and one of them was able to buy land to grow their own food with a family gift I sent, which I think is amazing. $150 buys LAND over there? Wow. That is just incredible.

  3. Carrisa says:

    Has Shaun put out a new album yet? It’s been way too long. I just love him.
    I have kids through World Vision. Two of them. I don’t do a very good job of corresponding with them though. I need to work on that.

  4. Amy says:

    We “adopted” our Compassion child, Peter, right before we happened upon your blog, which was right about the time of your trip to Uganda. He’s from Uganda, so of course I started following your blog and got hooked. šŸ™‚ Peter writes a little bit more in each letter-usually just practicing his letters and numbers, as he’s five, almost six. We chose him because he shares our son’s birthday (although Peter is older.)
    His most recent letter asked that we pray that his family would have enough fuel for the family home. Of course we are praying for that as well as how we might help.

  5. Anissa@Hope4Peyton says:

    Bruce Springsteen is coming into Tampa for the Superbowl, think I could get him to stay at Villa Mayhew? Yeah, me neither.
    What an awesome experience and an eye opener for your kids, to see someone who lives such a life of success and who could own a life of luxury, using his voice and stature for the betterment of others. THAT rocks.

  6. Jenni says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me a bit to find out that Shaun Groves wrote a song about your laundry room.
    I’m sure it would totally rock, too.
    I can’t wait to hear from our new Compassion kid…I didn’t realize until I got home what a cool name he had: “Jibin Jayan” It’s like music.

  7. chilihead says:

    I had heard you were having a famous guest this weekend. šŸ˜‰ Am I always the last to know? Glad you all had a good time. You need to be on me constantly about Compassion. We talk about it and I don’t act. Please nag me.

  8. TransitionGirl says:

    I’ve gotten one letter from my Compassion girl. There was supposed to be 2 though. One probably got lost on its way from the US to Singapore. My girl has her tutor to help her write since she’s still pretty young, but she’s so adorable. Telling me all about her school, how much she loves drawing. I wonder if there’s any way I can get some drawing materials to her. I know Compassion says to send only flat and small stuff… Hm…

  9. Robyn says:

    My Compassion kiddo, Nevine, is 14 and from Kenya. We get letters from him often. Way more often than I thought we would get them, which I absolutely love. He is studying for exams, playing football (soccer), and taking a class field trip soon that he is thrilled about. He sent me a picture of him playing in a river and it is prominently displayed on my fridge. My daughter prays for him every night and enjoys learning about Kenya. My youngest 2 daughters don’t understand who he is, but know his name (they are ages 3 and 22 months).
    This has been such a bigger blessing than I could’ve ever imagined. I want to meet Nevine so badly and squeeze his face. Maybe one day…

  10. Lizzie says:

    James’ Compassion Child writes to us a lot! He is so sweet. He talked about the harvest as well. We’re going to send him a photo of James playing in the snow this winter.
    James prays every night that Dauglas will come to know God and be healthy.

  11. Cheri says:

    I don’t have a Compassion kid – I have a World Vision boy in Mozambique šŸ™‚ His name is Joey and he’ll be 13 on Jan. 1. We sponsored him almost four years ago. He is doing wonderfully. A couple of years ago God blessed us with some extra money and we sent a chunk of it directly to his family. OH MY WORD! You would be absolutely amazed at how far a little extra will go. He wrote us a letter and thanked us for solving his family’s “problem of nakedness.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    I have very strong feelings about wealthy (or even just middle class people like my family) Americans taking the time to sponsor children through wonderful organizations like World Vision and Compassion. In fact, I suggest you don’t get me started.

  12. Angie says:

    I love how our sweet little Guatemalan boy likes cartoons and is so interested in our lives, asking always about the weather here and what our children like to play. He is the same age as our oldest (six) and it is so fun to watch them grow up “together”.

  13. Carolyn F says:

    Upendo is doing well, and starting to share more in her letters. I added a correspondence child in July, and haven’t heard from her yet. I just took advantage of free photos from Shutterfly to print pictures to send in the next several letters to both girls.

  14. Chelsey @ Brown Eyed Basics says:

    My Compassion friend is Lisbet, and I fall more in love with her with each letter she writes. I started sponsoring her in December, and I’ve already gotten 4 letters and a picture. She’s 9-and-a-half now, and one of my favorite things is that she writes in beautiful cursive (in Spanish, though). I love it.

  15. Mrs says:

    My 16 year old daughter just received her Compassion package yesterday! Her girl’s name is Leony. Kelly loves her already and can’t wait to begin their relationship. Kelly recently got a part time job and the first thing she said was, “Now I can sponsor a child!”

  16. Brandy T. says:

    Thanks for the reminder! I haven’t sent my “compassion kid” anything in a while. His name is Samuel, and he lives in Kenya with his grandmother. Ok… I’m off to write a letter…

  17. k says:

    Our relationship with our Compassion daughter (because that is how I feel about her, she is my daughter now) is going strong. We sponsor Shivan from Uganda. Our family couldn’t wait to jump on board during your Compassion trip.
    We just got a letter from her on Friday. We write her at least once a month and send stickers often.
    It blesses my heart when she says she loves us for picking her. She says this often.
    We have her picture in a frame, so we can see her every day.
    It has been a blessing to be a part of something so eternal minded, like Compassion.

  18. Joan says:

    Our Compassion child is Julie (5 yrs old from the Philippines. She lives with her mother a widow and 4 siblings. She is the youngest. Her mother writes to us and sends us pictures that Julie draws. We pray daily for her and her family. She’s going to pre-school and they are very happy to have the support of Compassion. Maybe someday we will be able to visit her.
    It is such a blessing to us to help this family.

  19. Tina says:

    I got my first Compassion kid when I was in college. She’s now grown up and “graduated” out of the program. Our second child, Rechie, will graduate Spring 2009. He and his family are struggling financially and I think he has to work a lot. His last letter sounded…tired. I don’t know what life is like in the Philippines, but it breaks my heart to hear a 19 year old tired from working.

  20. Candace says:

    Our little girl is just the cutest thing, and her letters are always the highlight of our day. I haven’t received a letter in a while which probably means I am due for one any day now! Yeah!
    Glad your family had a great visit with Rock Dude. What a hoot your SON is! šŸ™‚

  21. The Things We Say says:

    An idea for others….our church has our children’s Sunday school classes (including the youth group kids) use their offering to support a child. Our boy is thrilled that he has a whole church in contact with him. The Sunday school kids have a poster board with his picture and about him in their classes and they write letters to him and we send little things with pictures too. He writes us back often and the Sunday school kids love it. We publish his letters in the church bulletin for the whole church to read. It’s been so great for our Sunday school kids to see their offering money go to something tangible and it has really humbled them to know that their little bits of giving actually feed a child on the other side of the world. It’s made a HUGE impact on their materialistic little American lives. I highly recommend it!

  22. Jeni says:

    Our Compassion kiddo is named Brayan, and he lives in the Dominican Republic. He’s 6 years old, he does pretty well in school, and he really likes to play with toy cars. His smile reminds me of my 6 year old nephew – they both have barely-hidden scheming in their smiles! šŸ™‚

  23. worshipfan says:

    Enock, our compassion child is so precious. He writes us almost once a month and asks a lot of questions. He is nine, the same age as my son. We are hoping to sponsor another child, a girl my daughters age, when my husband’s raise becomes effective.
    My in-laws sponsor a child every year through their church organization in my children’s names as a Christmas gift…I think it’s an amazing way to teach the kids about generosity and giving….
    The child they sponsor for my kids is 10 and she doesn’t write as often, but is still precious.
    We write them about once a month and pray for them every night as a family…It’s awesome!

  24. Kristen says:

    Our Compassion son’s name is Dennis. He lives in Uganda (I signed up due to your blog trip, so I picked a child from Uganda!). He’s 6 years old, and like your young Compassion daughter, he mainly just tells us how thankful he is for us, and he “praises the Lord for us.” We were able to send a little extra gift at his birthday, and we were excited to find out Compassion helps the family decide how to use the money so it can benefit the entire family. In Dennis’ last letter, he said they got a goat for the family and a whole new outfit for him with the birthday money (including a belt and shoes!). He seems to be a very compassionate and caring boy, as he compares the pictures of our 1 year old daughter we send to his “beautiful sister” (how many 6 year olds that you know would call their sister beautiful?). We hope to be part of Dennis’ life for a long time to come!

  25. Jennifer says:

    Our Dominican Republic girl, Marialex, is 9 years old. We have recieved two letters, and my husband and I were so excited to read the letters together. She tells us what he favorite cartoon shows are and what her favorite subject in school is. Her birthday is Thursday, so we sent her a birthday present, hopefully we will hear what she did with it!
    Shaun Groves is from Tyler, TX where we live now. I got to hear an interview of him on a local radio station one morning on my way to work. I stayed in my car after I parked to just finish listening to him! He was scheduled for a concert that coming weekend, and the DJ asked what he would do back “at home” for the weekend. He said that he was going to go eat at this Mexican place that we love, and that made me laugh! He’s so normal!! Then he talked about how TexMex here is totally different than TexMex in Nashville, he went on and on about it. Made me just laugh and laugh!

  26. Wanda says:

    Cool….hangin out with Shaun? Whatever!
    I have sleepover’s with Amy Grant & Natalie Grant! NOT!
    I wish!
    That is really REALLY cool beans!
    My kids would F L I P O U T !!!!!
    For reals!

  27. Homeschoolmama says:

    We just adopted a 10 year old girl last week. I just sent her the first e-mail and a birthday gift. I’m so glad you wrote about Compassion today so I would remember to call and get my sponser number and send her a gift!
    I can’t wait to hear from her!
    Can you guys tell me what you send in with your letters? I know I read stickers are a good choice.

  28. Shaun Groves says:

    I feel al contest comin’ on. “Sleepover with Shaun.” Wow, that sounds a bit naughty. Better not.
    If you ever get a chance to sleepover at Shannon’s place I highly recommend it. I also recommend the french toast casserole thingy and the bedroom with camouflage sheets and whitenoise maker deal. Highly.
    Thanks for letting us crash, Shannon. And you husband is way cool. He deserves much more blog time than he’s been getting. And, no, he did not slip me a twenty on the way to the airport for saying that. Nope. I swear.

  29. Sally T says:

    My family doesn’t have a Compassion kid (yet), but we DO have a 9-year-old who also SPEAKS. IN CAPS. WITH VERY.DRAMATIC.PAUSES.
    On a side note might I recommend your reader Cheri (the 12th commenter) as a guest blogger? I would love to hear her views on sponsoring kids. I really enjoy reading how people make the decision to sponsor, as well as their experiences with the kids they help.

  30. Beth @ A Quest for Relevance says:

    Funny, I posted about my sponsored child just yesterday! We got a new photo, a picture that she drew, and the first handwritten words from her (someone else writed the letters for her ‘cuz she’s just little). She wrote out Genesis 1:1 and drew the picture to match it. Precious!!

  31. Kari says:

    Our little Syrus from Uganda is doing wonderfully! We just got a letter from him….he broke down how he spent the birthday money we gave him…unbelievable!! Get this….he tithed a BIG amount of it….humbling eh??!! šŸ™‚ What a blessing to be apart of his life through Compassion!

  32. Tara says:

    A young couple from our church did a Compassion presentation this week. I was in the nursery. After church, DH told me to go “pick out a kid”. This from the man who has told me “no” time and time again when I presented him with information about Compassion! So, Adrian in Equador is now being sponsored! He is just a week older than my oldest. Evan is very excited to have a pen pal! Thanks for the work you do for Compassion. (Also loved Shaun’s comment earlier!)

  33. Headless Mom says:

    I’m definitely praying for this group. I’m also praying that if it is God’s will that someday I’ll get to go on a similar trip. It really sounds like an amazing experience, and a great way to work with God and a great group of people to help those who really need it.

  34. Michelle says:

    I have 2 Compassion kids.
    James is 7 and doing great! He loves to run and help out with chores at home.
    Simon is 18 and doing well in his trade school. He is not a follower of Christ, but we pray for his salvation often. Simon is getting ready to graduate and we plan to sponsor him for as long as we can.
    Both boys are in Kenya, where my husband visited in Dec 2006. We hope to travel back in a few years.

  35. AF says:

    Our Compassion kiddos are Alger in the Phillipines and Wendy in El Salvador. Both are asking me the sex of my baby…and I’m not pregnant! Maybe they know something I don’t? šŸ™‚

  36. $5 Dinner Mom says:

    What a blessing to have been on such an amazing trip with such amazing people! I will cetainly join you in prayer for the Dominican Republic trip. The DR is near and dear to my heart, as I lived there, ministered there and taught there for 6 years! It is a country in need of grace! We do not have a Compassion child, but do support a little girl in the Dominican Republic. The little we give enables her to go to a Christian school each month and to hear the gospel and love of Christ!
    Prays for the upcoming Compassion journey!

  37. Stephanie says:

    My first “adopted daugher”, Dalia in El Salvador, turned 15 this year and is learning to do hair. I sent her some cropped magazine pictures of teenage hairdos (at my 30-year-old daughter’s suggestion), but don’t know if she received them. Her letters are still a bit stilted, after 7 years of sponsorship, but some people are just not letter-writers.
    My newest little girl, 8-yr-old Aduri in Bangladesh, has written me twice already and just started school for the first time. She tells me she wants to be a doctor. I don’t know if she says that because she doesn’t know what else to say, or because I’m a nurse, or if she really means it, but I think it’s precious.

  38. Kathy- the J Crew says:

    My only “daughter” is in Haiti. She has been apart of our family from pretty much the beginning (7 years) She is a joy and has an amazing heart.
    We hope to bring more Compassion sons and daughters in our home.
    I can’t express to you how great I think it is that you a part of this.
    Soli Deo Gloria

  39. Queen of the Click says:

    I hope the girl I sponsor and her family are okay. Olphine just turned nine and lives in Haiti. There has been a lot of flooding in Haiti and food has been a problem in the area.
    I just wanted to let you know I was grateful that you shined light on Compassion and for sharing your trip to Uganda. I cried as I sat at my computer and read your posts and saw pictures of Dissan and the other beautiful children. Sponsoring Olphine was the best thing I did all year for me.
    I’ve send cards, pictures, stickers, small books, oragami, bookmarks, paperdolls, etc. I have run out of new things to send. Any ideas?

  40. Amy A says:

    I chose the Dominican Republic as the country we would sponsor a child from. Then I let my 7-year-old son choose the child; he chose Yeral because they liked the same things. I decided that I would put my son’s name as the sponsor and let him communicate with Yeral directly. I am a bit disappointed in the letters. We have sent 3, written by my son, along with pictures of our family and drawings. Our letters have explained that my son is Yeral’s same age, what he enjoys doing at school and home, etc. Then, in Yeral’s two letters to us, he asked, “Are you married?” If he had gotten the letters, he would know that my 8 year old is not married. It seems like he has not even read our letters. Do you think he is getting them? Do you think it’s a translation problem? He has never referenced anything we have written. I just want him to be getting ours.
    I don’t want this to seem negative. We are very happy we are sponsoring Yeral, and we pray for him regularly. I never would have done this if it hadn’t been for your blog reports. Thanks for sharing.

  41. Jennifer, Snapshot says:

    Thanks for mentioning the trip. I’m excited to be representing 5 Minutes for Mom on the trip. Now that it’s getting closer, I’m getting a little bit of cold feet I think.
    As far as my Uganda girl Darfin Gloria, she is so sweet. Since I’ve begun using the email feature on the site, I’ve kept in touch much better. I’m not great about it, and I felt like it was less personal, but at least I am more regular now.

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