Changing Children's Lives: A Woman's Mission
Life changed for Dorothy Samson in an Indian orphanage. Seeing the incredible needs of the children there, the Colorado resident knew she could make a difference. So started a journey that led her to Compassion International and its unique child sponsorship program. Now, after just five years working with the ministry, 25 children count on Samson for prayers, letters and support. "They crawl up into my lap; they call me 'Auntie Dorothy,'" Samson said. "They are my children.
" Although Samson never had children of her own, that didn't stop her from sharing her love and compassion with little ones. "I always wanted to have 12 children with an abundance of boys," Samson said. From her home in Grand Junction, Samson began her Compassion sponsorship experience in 1999 with four children from India and one from Haiti. That number soon grew to 13 children, and she got that abundance of boys. Later, when she learned that there was a need for sponsors for African children, she didn't hesitate to take on even more.
"Compassion told me that there was a lack of sponsors for African children because of the HIV/AIDS problem," Samson said. "I can understand people wanting to invest their money in children who are certain to grow up to be healthy, productive adults. But all children are precious, even those who might be HIV-positive. They aren't responsible for having the disease - they are innocent victims, and they, too, deserve the opportunity to have a happy childhood and to be loved and cared for." Responding to the need, Samson sponsored 12 African children - eight of them in Uganda. And in September 2002, she spent five special days with "my youngsters," as she refers to them. She treated her children to a game park, a safari and a boat ride to see hippos. "Of course, the kids were so excited. They'd never seen animals in the wild or even taken a boat ride. It was wonderful to see their excitement," Samson said.
Since she's returned from Africa, Samson has had several opportunities to share her experience and tell others about her precious Ugandan children, several of whom have already had to deal with the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS, having lost parents, siblings and other close relatives to the disease. "I don't know if any of my children have the disease," Samson said. " I pray that they do not. But it would never change how I feel about them. I love them as my own children. My hope for them is that they can have a happy childhood and become all they can be in Jesus - free from AIDS." When Compassion International opened its first projects in Uganda in 1980, the scourge of HIV/AIDS had not yet affected the world. Little did anyone know that only a few years later, many of the children Compassion serves in Uganda would battle the effects of this deadly, incurable disease. Compassion International currently ministers to more than 164,000 children in five countries in East Africa.