I did not know fully what to expect, except that I believed it would be important. Excitement had been building for nearly two months following an email from Compassion International about upcoming events that I might be interested in volunteering for. The list included a concert featuring Jeremy Camp (that would be very cool – I’ve seen him before, and his music is awesome), a comedy night for women (that could be fun), and a concert featuring some woman named Christine D’Clario (hmm…. not familiar with her). Information about Christine D’Clario was written in Spanish, as well as English.
Having spent this past summer in Español Intensivo Clase, through Colorado Free University, I was painfully aware, at Level 3 of 8, of how much I did not know, and how much longer I would need to continue learning in order to have any semblance of language fluency. Regarding this desire to learn Spanish, there is a determination residing within that will not loosen its grip, so I took to researching who this Latino Christine lady is.
Turns out, Christine D’Clario is an American Christian music singer, songwriter and worship leader, primarily in Spanish, but she also utilizes some English. I search for her on YouTube, listen to a few songs, and check out her website. She has released several albums and is currently touring the U.S. to raise awareness for Compassion International’s goal of helping the poor through child sponsorship. She is also touring to benefit victims of the recent hurricanes that affected Puerto Rico, and victims of the earthquake in Mexico. Liking her music and her focus, I sign-up to volunteer at the concert, Una Noche de Adoración con Christine D’Clario.
IMAGE: NOAA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Figuring that listening to Spanish lyrics will bolster my learning of the language, I order two of her more recent CDs, Mas Profundo, and Eterno. In spare time, I translate the lyrics of the more popular songs, hoping to get all the way through the two albums before the concert. Life, however, often circumvents one’s best hopes and plans. Days filled with homeschooling, church activities, and general family life, quickly caused the lyric translation to fade into the background with only four songs completed.
The day of the concert quietly snuck up. Life spinning in all directions, my teenager was schooled, transported to town for Parkour class and back, country-style ribs were prepped and in the oven for family dinner in my absence, and all I needed now were directions to the concert. Only a 25 minute drive, I slipped on my light blue volunteer t-shirt and skipped out early to assure time for parking and joining up with other excited volunteers. Attempting to sing along with Christine from a CD playing in my Toyota, twenty minutes into my drive, I am suddenly reminded of why I live in the country, along with the joys of working from home, as the traffic – two miles from my destination – came to a standstill. The next fifteen to twenty minutes were spent creeping along I-25, and I felt the pressure and frustration of being so close, yet so far from my destination.
Tonight’s event was in a local church with seating capacity of 2,000. Volunteers in green shirts from the church were buzzing about everywhere. None seemed to know where the Compassion group was, but a few yards further in, I found the Compassion table with the lead volunteer anxiously awaiting the rest. Maureen had arrived 45 minutes earlier to help set up and check in volunteers, another two besides myself. It seemed like a very small number compared to the last event I volunteered for (see previous post, A Voice Worth Listening To), especially with the knowledge of the seating capacity and number of people filling the ticket line.
Even well after the concert began, people continued trickling in until the main level appeared to be at full capacity. Full of people ready to not only hear and see Christine D’Clario, but to worship God. At one point, we four volunteers were able to go inside during the concert. We stood in the back, every seat already taken. The lights behind Christine were blindingly bright, and for a time, I could only see a dark outline of her as she sang. Applause and joyful shouts erupted as the song ended, and she joined in the applause, making it obvious that she was not there to receive the adoration, but desired to give it all to the Lord.
The next song offered sounded more like a prayer. A Holy presence filled the atmosphere. Music barely playing in the background, I could tell Christine sensed and was very familiar with this Presence too. She could, or would, no longer sing, but instead, on her knees, basked in His presence. The whole of the crowd was affected. All were as still as they could be. Some had hands raised in worship, others were softly crying, many – like Christine – were praying. There was love, acceptance, repentance and healing happening all at once. My mind went to thoughts of angels, and I looked around hoping to see the usually unseen spiritual realm with spiritual eyes.
Christine began to speak and to share her story of sponsoring three children through Compassion International. I headed out to the sponsorship table with Maureen, Valerie, and Andy, the other volunteers for the evening. It was now near 9:00 pm, the time that the concert was scheduled to end. Soon people came streaming out, many to the sponsorship table to hand over their new sponsorship cards, and others browsed the table looking for specific children from specific countries to sponsor.
On this night, I felt a “turning of the tables.” Most everywhere I go, even when visiting a Mexican restaurant, the people kindly speak English. Tonight, however, several looked gently into my face and asked, “Does anyone here speak Spanish?” I laughed inside my heart, truly wishing I was fluent, and pointed to our one Spanish-speaking angel at the table. How thankful I was that Valerie was there that night to help us all out so much. The Compassion Event coordinator, of course, also spoke Spanish – those two were very busy that night.
The average rate of sponsorship at an event like this is approximately three to four percent. However, at nearly every concert of Christine’s, within the Latin community, the sponsorship rate soars to around ten percent. This night is no different. More than ten percent of the attendees made a monthly sponsorship commitment to children less fortunate than themselves. What incredible selflessness among these hearts and minds.
From this concert of approximately seven hundred-and-some attendees, eighty-two children throughout Central America, are about to have their worlds rocked. Letters will begin to flow as they “meet” their sponsor families. Their basic needs; physical, educational, social and spiritual, will be met and their lives transformed. Many lives will instantly go from hopelessness, to anything-is-possible, and not just for the child, but for the whole family. Compassion changes families and entire communities through their program. Sponsors lives are changed as well, as they discover the transforming power of their encouraging words and prayers, and “watch” the children develop, grow, and thrive with hope and joy for their futures, and the previously unfathomable belief that their families could overcome the hardships of poverty.
This talented and selfless woman, Christine D’Clario, returned to the stage and sang for another forty-five minutes or so to the largely Latino community, sharing a deeper love – this night – for God and His children; the least of these. I am impressed.
A week has passed, and just today, my spirit prompts me to open the Compassion App containing information about my own sponsored children. As often occurs, the very day that I sense it is time to check the app, a letter from one of my children sits waiting for me to open. This one, arriving this very day, is from Rwanda, from my sweet Umi. She has recently celebrated her eleventh birthday. I had sent her the suggested $30 gift. Often, a child will purchase desperately needed clothes with birthday money. I read her letter and can feel her intense excitement as she thanks me for the gift. She tells me “on my birthday we went for prayers thanking God, for our mother and father took us to aunt’s place and we took sodas,” “..here we use sodas to celebrate happy birthday,” and with the gift, “I bought rice, cooking oil and beans.”
To sponsor a child through Compassion, or to find out more information about sponsorship, visit https://www.compassion.com. Change your life today!