Child Sponsorship and Eating an Elephant

You can’t eat an entire elephant in one sitting.
—My mom


As a youth, I wanted to achieve and had little patience for the process of obtaining results. When I got older, my mom’s saying about eating an elephant stuck with me. I now understand that she meant we need to take things slow, in small portions, little by little. Before we know it, we’ve conquered the enormous task of eating an entire elephant!

Poor elephant… don’t worry, it’s just a metaphor!

This metaphor started to speak louder to me as I made a conscious effort to walk with Christ on a daily basis. It became clear that my mom’s lesson applied to all aspects of life, including helping others. I see that clearly in the work I do with the Food for the Hungry child sponsorship program.

When someone decides to take on the role of sponsoring a child or children, it is important to remember we can’t eat an entire elephant in one sitting. Just as a seed takes time to bud, sprout and develop, so does the impact of child sponsorship.

While sponsoring a child helps the child you sponsor, I’ve learned that your sponsorship reaches far beyond that single child. Food for the Hungry uses a Child Focused Community Transformation Model in our programming, through which we focus on transforming individuals as well as entire communities through child sponsorship. The image below shows how it works.

child sponsorship model

A Sponsor’s Story

A member of the Food for the Hungry staff shared a story with me that I wanted to pass on to you. Her story began before she started working for FH.

In 2006, she attended an FH sponsored event at her local church, where she regularly supported groups who helped abused women. At this event, she gazed at pictures of children and asked God, “What little girl needs her life changed? Who do you want me to pick?”

The picture of a girl from Bangladesh caught her eye. “Hmmm. Why Bangladesh?” she thought as she began her sponsorship experience.

Seven years later, in February of 2013, this sponsor joined FH as a staff member. At our weekly chapel, for the first time, God answered the question she asked back in 2006: why Bangladesh.

During chapel, someone spoke about young girls from Bangladesh being forced into marriage to older men. These girls were having babies at the ages of 12, 13 and 14 years old. They weren’t even fully developed themselves. Their bodies weren’t ready to bear the weight and trauma of delivering a child.

That was the moment this sponsor realized her crucial role in keeping one young girl from becoming a child bride. Instead, her sponsored child received an education through the FH child sponsorship program. Today, this young woman is a graduate of FH’s program and is on her way to higher education to become a teacher.

The sponsor’s seven-year journey reminds me of the Bible verse: Acts 1:7:

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.
—Acts 1:7 (NIV)


Sometimes we wish to see the results of our efforts right away, get an answer immediately and to be able to eat an entire elephant in one sitting. However, we can never understand God’s timing, we trust that in time, He will show us the answers, as He is always faithful to us all.

But while you wait as a sponsor, you can have a relationship with a child by exchanging letters like the one below.

Child sponsorship letter