Gist is a noun, meaning the main point or essence of something. (I know I'm not telling you something you don't already know.)
But oftentimes I use the word "gist" as a verb. As in "let me gist it for you." (I know I'm breaking rules but hang with me ...)
Meaning, there's all kinds of information and research to support (or bore you with) what I'm going to say, but please allow me to boil it down and gist it for you ... (you get my point).
Last night, one little girl remained un-sponsored at our Trees of Glory CarePoint. Her name is Fantaye and she's 7-8 years old (her actual birthdate is not known).
One little girl, with a sweet, shy smile and a shaved head.
One little girl that stood patiently waiting her turn in November as we sat with each child individually to unwrap their care-package and read their letter from their sponsor family.
One little girl who nervously bunched her skirt in her hands and kept her eyes focused on the ground.
One little girl who back in November, got a package with a pretty pink shirt. Our volunteer wrapped arms around her and lifted her chin to look into her eyes ... and spoke love and hope and worthiness into her until she seemed to accept and nod.
But the tag on her package had her name only and the words "no sponsor yet" - and so we stood in the gap. (And our team of volunteers feels priveleged to stand in that gap - we know how precious and sacred it is to each sponsor and to each child.)
But that changed last night. She was the last waiting child at Trees of Glory. One final plea on facebook and within minutes Kathryn emailed me back saying "We will sponsor her!"
Kathryn already knows the impact sponsorship makes for a child. Because Kathryn sponsors another child at Trees of Glory and has already seen a steady and beautiful and hope-filled tranformation in that child - and now she will be that for yet another child!
One of the reasons I believe it is so important to take a team to Ethiopia every year (to work with the kids) is because it gives each person on that team a first-hand experience as to the difference YOU have made for these kids. And through our experiences, we can try our best to craft the words and pictures so you can see it too.
Sponsorship provides nutritious food, so their tummies aren't hurting and their brains are not starved of fuel. It provides clean water so they aren't curled up in pain from bacteria and parasites that have them doubled over and walking around with painful distended bellies. Sponsorship provides education, so they have opportunities to step with dignity out of the grinding poverty that has been their legacy and trajectory. Sponsorship provides hope and encouragement and self esteem because YOU speak words of love and hope and truth into a vacuum that is desperate for those healing words.
There is an excellent study that has just been completed (January 2013) by Bruce Wydick, professor of economics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, that reveals large and statistically significant impacts on life outcomes for children enrolled in Christian child sponsorship programs. The findings will be published in the April "Journal of Political Economy".
This online post does an excellent job of "gisting" the 45 page research document published by Wydick http://blog.acton.org/archives/51866-does-international-child-sponsorship-work.html. Here are the gisted bullet points:
I love seeing these positive statistics, but they are statistics. Faceless and nameless.
To me, the statistics are important because of the results they reveal ... but the visible, tangible, daily proof is revealed in their lives.
And each life has a name and a face ... and hopes and dreams.
These are just 4 of the kids at Kind Hearts who are still waiting ...
Please allow me to gist it. I've seen the difference with my own eyes. I know these kids, I've cried with them and laughed with them and held them in my arms ... and dreamed big lofty dreams of what their future holds with them.
Your sponsorship makes a difference.
ALL of the kids at Trees of Glory now have a sponsor family!!!
But there are still waiting children at Kind Hearts CarePoint.
If you are interested in being matched with a child, please contact me at email@example.com.