An Unexpected Friendship

"P.S. Be sure to say your prayers. I do every day."

“Wow, I still can’t believe it. Imagine, of the millions of children that Compassion is sponsoring, I was chosen by the president of America to be his sponsored child from many miles away. He became my sponsor when I was 7 years old and he went by the name of George Walker. Looking back, now I realize that he did give hints that he lived in the White House. I remember he gave me a picture of the White House one time.”

 

As Christians, it can be sometimes easy to take the Gospel for granted, to not appreciate or fully understand God’s gift to us of his Son Jesus Christ, how amazing it is to have a relationship with the God of the universe, that we have “confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus” (Hebrew 10:19). Sometimes, we need a more “mundane” example to remind us of the privileges we have.

A few weeks ago, after the funeral for President George H.W. Bush, it was reported in the news that the President had sponsored a child through Compassion International. During a Christmas concert many years ago, when the Ministry of Compassion International was presented and the audience was asked to consider sponsoring an impoverished child, Bush raised his hand and volunteered to sponsor a 7-year-old boy in the Philippines. Out of concern for the boy’s safety, it was decided that the president’s identity as his sponsor should be kept secret. But the president and the boy became regular pen pals for more than a decade.

In the president’s first letter in 2002, he wrote,

“Dear Timothy,

I want to be your new pen pal. I am an old man, 77 years, but I love kids; and though we have not met, I love you already. I live in Texas and will write you from time to time.

Good luck,

George Walker.

P.S. Be sure to say your prayers. I do every day.”

Occasionally, over the years, President Bush would break protocol and give little hints in his letters about who he was. One time, he sent a picture of his dog, writing, “This is Millie. She’s met lots of famous people.” Another time, he mentioned being invited to the White House. But, despite these hints, Timothy never caught on. It wasn’t until several years later that one of Bush’s assistants traveled to the Philippines and let him know who his pen pal was.

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