Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Making Room For Compassion and Why I Did It Welcomes Gail Martin!

This week on Words to Go, I’m chatting with novelist friends about “Making Room For Compassion—Why I Did It.” Yesterday’s chat with novelist Kaya McLaren was the result of a spontaneous chat between Kaya and me and is available below. Each novelist is contributing a book for Saturday’s Feel the Love Book Give to winning bloggers leaving feedback this week.

Gail Martin is a prolific romance novelist. She has 21/2 million books in print. Many times readers think that we novelists have a glamorous life, we just stay home and write novels. But most of the novelists I know have a deeper life, one that has an integrated purpose because their personal faith has opened their hearts to the world around them.Gail Martin shared with me recently why she and her husband decided to make room for compassion:

PATTY: Welcome, Gail, to Words to Go.

GAIL: Thanks for inviting me, Patty

PATTY: First of all, Gail, why do you think that all of us first hold back from participating in compassionate works?

GAIL: We should. We could. What if? Phrases like these fill people’s minds about doing the right thing, but so often we let opportunity fly past and ignore the feelings we had that prompted those words.

PATTY: I know that I’ve rationalized away the “little voice” that says “do something.”

What brought you out of your chair and into action?

GAIL: My husband and I had talked numerous times about sponsoring a child from one of the charity organizations, but we wondered if the money really got to the children rather than funding the pockets of the bureaucracy.

PATTY: As one who started a charity, might I say that charities have materials available to anyone wants to ask about how their funds are used. Mine—98% of funds go to the moms and kids because I don’t take a salary. How did you find out about the group that first piqued your interest?

GAIL: It was during intermission of a Christian concert where we’d been lifted up with music by Michael W. Smith and Point of Grace, we came upon rows of tables filled with photos of children. My husband and I stood back and looked at each other, then moved forward together. I lifted the photo of a six-year old girl dressed in a pink satin dress, white ribbons in her hair, and lacy-topped stockings, but no smile. She stood on dirt with a cinder-block backdrop camouflaged by a tree limb leaning against the stark gray concrete.

PATTY: My husband wants to sponsor them all. The pictures get you every time.

GAIL: My heart ached and I saw the same emotion on my husband’s face. No words were spoken. My husband pulled a credit card from his wallet and we handed them to a Compassion representative and made a commitment to Rodjelie from Haiti.

PATTY: How did you find out this was a real child?

GAIL: We have been touched by her letters and her drawings along with the photographs of her these past six years. We encourage and pray, and she provides us with love. We believe in Compassion as an organization that gives totally to the children and their families.

PATTY: What I like about your story is that this is something that every person can do. It’s Compassion 101—child sponsorship. But you’ve also taken an active part in helping others find this work too, haven’t you?

GAIL: Yes. Last year, we arranged a Compassion Sunday at our church were twenty-three people agreed to sponsor children from various countries. When we eyed the few photos left on the table, I spotted an eight year old boy from India named Netram.

PATTY: Yesterday, Kaya alluded to sponsoring three. I think it must be addictive.

GAIL: It was for us. I drew my husband’s attention to the photo. “This boy is ours.” The child’s name was so similar to part of my husband’s email address where he uses our last name backward “nitram.”

PATTY: That is kind of remarkable, isn’t it?

GAIL: I felt as if the Lord had guided us to this child. Netram has been a joy to us with his loving letters and his faith in the Lord. He sends pages of coloring books he’s colored, and the letters fill us with God’s love. We sponsor both children and know that our small gifts of money we send is nothing compared to the joy and blessing we have received. With our prayers and contribution, we are touching the lives of not only a child but a family as they learn about Jesus and receive hope for a better future.

PATTY: And that’s Gail’s story. Within the simplicity of a decision, love filled her life. Sometimes we might feel as if we cannot add one more brick to our already towering wall we call our life. As a matter of fact in April I’ve invited authors like Randy Alcorn and Lisa Samson to share with us about how they found the joy of The Simple Life. Believe it or not, active compassion and the simple life go hand-in-hand.

Maybe you’ve found this to be true and would like to share with us today. Your feedback might be the winning name we pull out Saturday to win Gail’s novel Butterfly Trees or Kaya McLaren’s Church of the Dog.

Tomorrow my awesome new friend, novelist Elizabeth White shares a compelling personal story of how compassion got into her heart and changed her entire life!

I know you’re addicted now, so you might as well come back and chat with us for this very special week of how some of your favorite authors made room for compassion.