“Do for one”

Hey, friends! We are taking some time off from projects this week because we’re working on fixing up some technical-ish things behind the scenes, but I still wanted to pop in and talk about something that’s been on my heart a lot lately…

I think that as women, so many of us are natural “fixers,” right? We see a problem, and our brains kick into high gear, searching for ways to solve the issue and bring everything back to order.

This tendency toward “fixing” is part of the reason I love organization and decor so much. I walk into a room that is over-cluttered, mismatched, or just in need of a refresh, and I immediately start problem solving: “What bins do I have that I could use to create a system of organization?” “What pieces of furniture could I move around to create a better flow in this space?” “Let me go grab some paint so we can freshen things up in here…”

Our children naturally gravitate toward this “fixing” tendency in us as well. My boys love, love, LOVE their daddy (and for good reason– he’s amazing!), but when they’re sick or hurt, no one but mommy will do– mommy is the one who will “fix it and make it all better.” 🙂

Sponsor a child through World Vision | https://www.worldvision.org/

But sometimes I come across a problem, and an easy solution does not exist. The problem is bigger than me, completely overwhelming, and no matter how much brain power I devote to it, no matter how much time and effort I put into it, the problem will still be there, at least on some level. I can’t fix it on my own.

Starvation.

Poverty.

Disease.

Lack of basic necessities like clean drinking water.

The list goes on and on.

I admit that many times I am so overwhelmed by the BIG problems of the world that I am paralyzed into inaction. I am only one person. I can’t fix it. I wouldn’t even know where to start. Surely this task is meant for someone much smarter, much more knowledgeable, and much more capable than I am…right?

Or is it?

One day in our Sunday school class, I happened to mention how I was feeling overwhelmed by the amount of need out there in the world, feeling like I wanted to do something, but just not knowing where to start, and one of our oh-so-wise friends responded by quoting pastor Andy Stanley, who has said, simply,

“Do for one what you wish you could do for all.”

And there it was. A starting point. I may not be able to feed all of the starving people in the world or cure all of the diseases, but “do for one”?

I can do that.

There are many different ways that “do for one” has begun to manifest itself in our lives, but one of the most simple and tangible ways our family has decided to “do for one” (or two!) is through sponsoring two children through World Vision.

Sponsor a child through World Vision | https://www.worldvision.org/

World Vision works to help children, families, and communities overcome poverty and injustice here in the U.S. and around the world. What drew us to their mission was their commitment to attacking the root of the poverty problem and investing in communities for the long term. They are incredibly good stewards, minimizing expenses and maximizing impact by stretching each and every dollar. You can learn more about how they work here.

Our family currently sponsors two little boys through World Vision– Pakiso, age 6, from the country of Lesotho in Africa, and Enilton, age 5, from the country of Albania in Southeastern Europe. (Connor and Caleb call them Paks and Enni for short! 🙂 ) We keep their photos on our fridge as a reminder to pray for them daily, as well as keep in contact. We talk to Connor and Caleb about the countries where Pakiso and Enilton live and the ways their lives may look similar to or different from ours.

Sponsor a child through World Vision | https://www.worldvision.org/

We’re not ending all hunger or solving all of the world’s (many, many) problems, but through our small means of support each month, we are able to make an impact on Pakiso, Enilton, their families, and their communities that could last far into the future. There are so many more children like Pakiso and Enilton who are waiting to be sponsored– you can read their stories here.

Sponsor a child through World Vision | https://www.worldvision.org/

For so long my tendency was to avoid “big problems” because I didn’t think that I could help enough. I’m now learning that while I can’t fix everything, that doesn’t mean that my only option is to ignore the need altogether. We will continue to seek out ways to “do for one” (or two, or three, or as many as we are able), in hopes that little by little, we can begin to make an impact on the big problems of the world.

Has your family had the opportunity to sponsor a child? I would love to hear about your experience in the comments! <3

80 Comments

  1. Brittany L Wise says:

    This is so sweet Abby! I agree, that sometime it feels overwhelming with how we can help the bigger problems. Thank you for sharing your experience with WorldVision!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you, my friend! I always figure that if I’m feeling like this, maybe others are too, so hopefully it will be helpful. ? Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Micah | Home Faith Family says:

    Your comment brought my mind to the scripture where Christ teaches us that what we do to one, we do to Him. Those boys are blessed to have your wonderful family sponsor them. Yet, the teaching opportunities that you and your husband will have with your boys will be made more manifest. Bless you all for what you’re doing. =D

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Micah! Love that scripture! Hope you are having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Julie Rogers says:

    How awesome you and your family are for helping these beautiful children. You are making a huge difference in their lives. You have made me think. I will have to look into this and see what me and my family can do. Thank you for sharing this. You are doing a wonderful thing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Julie! <3 I hope you're having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Wow, Abby! I love that you’re sharing this concept with us! I’m such a fixer, too, and I think it’s so easy to get burdened by what we can’t do, rather than focusing on what we CAN do. I’m definitely going to remember that quote from Pastor Stanley and take it to heart (and share it, too)! Thanks so much for being a light for others! And for setting the example of using your blogging platform (and I’m sure the income you earn from your blog) to make such a huge difference beyond the world of blogging! 🙂 – Mauri @www.theamericanpatriette.com

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Mauri! I love your perspective! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  5. Yes! We sponsor 2 kids through Compassion International. Robert is in Ghana and was born one day after my son and Ethel is in Indonesia and we have been sponsoring her since before we got married (11 years ago!). Love this!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      11 years! That is SO awesome. Thank you for sharing, Caroline! <3

      ~Abby =)

  6. Oh Abby! Thank you for sharing! This is just spot on!!! I was just having a conversation with a friend this week about the overwhelm that comes when trying to decide where to serve and what need to help fulfill. I love this concept! I’m sure it’s not new, but the way you explained it gave me an “ah-ha!” Moment! Can’t wait to implement instead of implode with overwhelm! Thank you for sharing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, so glad it was helpful for you, Tami! Have a wonderful weekend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  7. That’s awesome what you guys are doing! Thank you for sharing this with us to get the word out there.

    Also, this post made me think of a quote by Mother Teresa: “If you want to bring happiness to the whole world, go home and love your family.” In a world where strong families seem less and less the norm, never forget how much good you are bringing the world by loving and raising your boys. I believe that has a real impact on the whole world!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are SO right, Marie! I love that quote. Thank you for reminding me of it. Hope you have a wonderful weekend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  8. Rachel Teodoro says:

    Girl, you know I love this. So glad you found an answer to those heart stirrings we talked about at the market. I love the work World Vision is doing and I’m sold out! It’s totally worth doing for one. You can’t save every star fish but you can help these.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I am so grateful that we got to connect on that trip! I have been seeing your photos from Bangladesh, and it looks like it was incredible. Love your heart, friend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  9. What a beautiful post…

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Helen! Hope you’re having a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Karen Crowl says:

    If you ever have time to read “The Hole in Our Gospel,” I highly recommend it. The CEO of World Vision wrote it, and it’s definitely an eye opener!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Ooh thank you so much for the recommendation, Karen! Adding it to my list!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Hi Abby!
    What a great post! I felt like you were writing words and thoughts from my head while I read it! I have been feeling the same way, and while making small donations helped relieve that feeling of “what can I do” it still doesn’t feel enough sometimes. I love for idea of sponsoring kids because it’s about making those personal connections! Thanks so much for the idea and such a heartfelt meaningful post! We love your blog!?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words, Leasa! It’s hard to know how to help sometimes, but I think it’s good to be aware and on the lookout for needs we can help to meet. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  12. This was such a great reminder! There are so many people in need that it can be overwhelming. Our family sponsors a little boy in Ethiopia named Wondatir. Watching how he’s grown over the years and reading his letters has made a huge impact on our family. We’re hoping to sponsor another child sometime this year. I know we can’t completely “fix” things, but maybe we can make them a little bit better for one or two children in the world. Thanks for spreading the word about what an awesome organization World Vision is!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Love that you’ve been able to build a relationship over the long term with Wondatir! I’m sure he is grateful for the opportunities your support has given him! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Rebecca!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Our family started sponsoring a boy, Bubacarr, in The Gambia a few years ago. It’s been a wonderful way to share our abundance with him – even when we’re operating from a place of not so much abundance. 😉 We go through ChildFund, and there are so many good organizations in the world who take care of children.

    On the home front, we invite our boys (12 and 15) to invite their friends into our home in the afternoons, for rides to school in the morning, and I feed them. Any time. I love the quote from Andy Stanley – our Sunday School did one of his online studies, and I quite enjoyed it. I’ll have to remember that quote. We even had one of our older boy’s friends stay with us for a month at the beginning of the school year, as his family was working through some tough problems.

    Love your blog, and thank you for sharing this today.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I love all of the ways you are making an impact, Emily! I’m sure that Bubacarr and your boys’ friends are so grateful for you! I hope you’re having a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Heather Thibodeau says:

    I love that idea. Do for one what you wish you could do for all. It’s perfect. Being paralyzed to inaction is something I think so many of us feel so often. But if enough of us did just one small thing, together, we are so powerful. Thanks for this beautiful reminder <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Agreed– it’s amazing how many could be helped by each of us doing a little something! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Heather!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Deborah H says:

    Abby thank you for sharing this. I am a new subscriber to your work and you have already inspired me. Any of us can do SOMETHING for one, and if all of us did something for one – the world would be a better place.

    The plight of children in America is so, so horrible to me. We can do better, we really can. The BBC did a series on this several years back and everyone in the USA should read this and weep…and then we need to DO something, even if all we can do, is for ONE.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-15288865

    Your “Do For One” …will make me do more, Abby. Thanks again!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That article is so heartbreaking. It’s just hard to believe what some of these sweet children are put through at such a young age!

  16. Michelle McLean says:

    Abby, I have been feeling the same way, so thank you for sharing what is in your heart! I too feel overwhelmed at times, with all the issues we have going on in this world. I think to myself, what can I do? And I end up doing nothing because it just seems like I won’t make a difference. Bu you are absolutely right. I can make a difference by doing something. Anything. Thank you again for posting. You are amazing!! Blessings ~

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Michelle! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  17. I love this thought process! I too feel overwhelmed at the thought of all the suffering experienced by others. But I can help just one! Thank you for sharing Abby, I am always inspired by you.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, Esther! Good to know that I am not the only one who gets overwhelmed by it at times! <3 Hope you're having a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Leanne Parsons says:

    Great post, Abby! Edward Everett Hale said: “I am only one, but still I am one.I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” Sponsoring a child seems like a small thing to do, and yet for that child it is huge.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Love that quote, Leanne! Thank you so much for sharing! <3 Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Lauren Lanker says:

    I love that Andy Stanley quote! (Hadn’t heard it before.) It’s so spot on…and reminds me of the passage in Matthew 25 where Jesus tells the story of the goats and sheep… “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” It is an act of love to Christ to care for “the least of these” here on earth. And it must be so pleasing to God for Him to see you shining light on the opportunity we have to love kids in poverty through sponsoring a child. You go, sister!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Love that passage, my friend! Thank you so much for sharing it! Hugs to you!

      ~Abby =)

  20. Beth Anne says:

    I love this Abby! What a good mindset to have: Do for one what you wish you could do for all.

    I feel this way about adoption. There will always be so many kids still waiting for homes, but I can do for one, (or maybe two or three!). Hoping to start the adoption process again after we move.

    Thanks for this great post and reminder!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You guys are my heroes– love your hearts for adoption! Looking forward to having you all close by soon!

      ~Abby =)

  21. Thank you Abby, for such good advice and for reaching out to help others.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      <3 Hope you're having a wonderful weekend, Gerri!

      ~Abby =)

  22. Crystal Storms says:

    So thankful that God united us with Luz from the Dominican Republic. It is an honor to partner and pray for her. And I love when she sends us pictures she colored and tells us through an interpreter about her family. Happy mail!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That is so awesome, Crystal! Such a special relationship!

      ~Abby =)

  23. Our family currently has an amazing foster child who we’ve had for almost 3 months who is turning one soon. We would love to keep her, but we know the Lord knows what the outcome will be. It is a roller coaster ride, but she has brought so much joy to our lives and family. I feel good knowing I can help at least one child either while we have her or for her whole life. It’s not easy as I homeschool 4 already, but it has been such a blessing!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Oh bless you for choosing to foster! That is so amazing, Courtney! I love your perspective! <3

      ~Abby =)

  24. I love this quote by Andy Stanley. I love listening to his podcasts. I used to sponsor a child from World Vision before I was married. It is definitely something that we’ll have to do as a family. One thing we do as a family during Christmas time is fill two boxes of gifts for two kids for Operation Christmas Child. We pick someone my girls age and explain to them that not everyone has money to even buy a toy or things they need. We also did the Angel tree from my oldest daughter’s school.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Sounds like you are involved in some great things with your girls! I actually interned with the Angel Tree organization when I was in college– such a great organization! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Julie!

      ~Abby =)

  25. Abby, thus post is so great. I have been praying where God wants me to serve, in a tangible way. I don’t have the financial means right now, but I have the time and energy. Thank you for sharing.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yes– time and energy are just as important ways to give and help! Love that you have been praying for God to use you in that way! <3

      ~Abby =)

  26. I love your post. It is nice to know this an organization to “trust”. Too many other organizations out there that are not good stewards of the money they receive. We support an orphanage in India through our church. But what I liked best in your post is how you are encouraging your boys to help others in need. Too many families now are more into buying “stuff” for themselves and teaching their children that those things will make them happy. There will always be someone in need and hopefully people willing to help them. While it is important to support the less fortunate, it is just as important to raise children that want o help meet those needs.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      How awesome that you are able to support an orphanage in India through your church! And I definitely agree with your thoughts about teaching our kiddos. I hope our boys will have a desire to make a positive impact as they get older. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Karen!

      ~Abby =)

  27. The Curious Frugal says:

    I loved this post so much! Thanks for sharing such an impactful way that you are using your natural desire to fix and help.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  28. Abby,
    This is a wonderful and inspiring blog post. Thank you for sharing what your family is doing to help our world be a better place. You are setting a superb example for your children and everyone that reads the blog.
    Maureen

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Maureen! I always figure that if I’m thinking through an issue, others probably are too, so it may be worth sharing! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  29. Diane Quintana says:

    I agree with you, Abby. We, women, are prone to thinking we CAN fix most everything. I love your idea of sponsoring children. I agree with the rest that you are giving your children as much as you are those boys you’re sponsoring since you are teaching them to be kind, empathetic, and generous to others.

    Your pastor is so wise. I love the idea of doing for one. I try always to help as much as I am able in the community.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      You are so sweet, Diane! Thank you so much for your kind words! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  30. I totally understand, I often feel the same way. I’m a substitute teacher and there are so many kids going through stuff and I’d love to take them all home! I like the idea from your pastor about starting out by helping one at a time. I’ve always wanted to sponsor a child. That’s neat that you’re able to do that.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I hear you! I taught for a little bit too, and it can be heartbreaking to see what kids are going through at such a young age. Bless you for investing in those kids’ lives! Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend, Brenda!

      ~Abby =)

  31. Tiff|18thAvenueMom says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Abby! It’s so true – that really puts it into perspective. And you’re taking it another step further, because you’re not just helping one – you’re sharing this and spreading awareness, which will cause others to help as well. Your generosity is being multiplied! I love how you have involved your sweet boys in this. You’re teaching them the love of Christ, and showing them that we can all make a difference in our world! ?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much for your sweet words, Tiff. It never feels like enough but doing something, even small, is certainly better than just being overwhelmed and doing nothing. Have a blessed week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  32. Thank you for sharing this. My heart just breaks to think of small children and their families struggling for just the basic necessities of life. I take care of two toddlers during the week while their mother works as a teacher. If they need anything, their house is well stocked. If we run out of baby food or diapers, Kroger, Walmart, Target, and Costco are all close by. I just can’t imagine trying to care for a baby without food,diapers, or clean water. I want to try to help one or two children. I appreciate you including links so we can follow this too. Thank you.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      It really is hard for us to wrap our minds around sometimes. I love that you’re interested in helping, too! Have a blessed week, Tracey! <3

      ~Abby =)

  33. We have sponsored two girls over the past 20 years through World Vision. One in Central America who graduated from the program at aged 17 and now another young girl in Africa. It has been great to see their progress over the years and watch them mature into healthy, educated young people. I also work with programs supporting Indigenous elders in remote areas of Australia, sure I can’t make a different for everyone, but I can make a difference for one or two people.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      LOVE this, Carrie! Thanks so much for sharing! <3

      ~Abby =)

  34. Last year a group from our church went to help at an orphanage in Dominica. Just three weeks ago the founder came to our church to talk and explain how she started the orphanage. Since my kids are grown and on their own, my husband and I have always wanted to help “all” the children. Well, three weeks ago we were able to sponsor an orphaned teenage boy. Thank you for inspiring us that when many do a little thing, we can accomplish big things together. Blessings to you and your family & Paks & Enni.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That is SO awesome, Beth! Thank you so much for sharing!! Have a blessed week! <3

      ~Abby =)

  35. Great post! We’ve sponsered children through Compassion for about twenty years. “Strange” that we set out to be a blessing and we are the ones blessed in the relationships. ❤️

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So true, Moriah! My family sponsored through Compassion growing up, too! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  36. Casa Abarelli says:

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. My girls decided to sponsor two girls via Compassion International after attending a Compassion Experience a few summers ago. Their names are Rose & Maria. It has been such a great experience for us as a family. We love exchanging letters and supporting these girls in our own ‘little’ way as they make their way in the world!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Love that you guys do that! Thanks for sharing, Casa! <3

      ~Abby =)

  37. Love your post <3 One relationship at a time, one act of Kindness at a time, one act of Tangible Love shown to one person at a time, one Kind word at a time……from each of us Will change so much!!!! Thank you for sharing your heart <3

    1. justagirlabby says:

      YES! So much this. Thank you, Karyn! <3

      ~Abby =)

  38. Jewell Staley says:

    God bless you and your family Abby. Thank you for doing your part and awakening the spirit of service that I believe is the calling on all of us living this human experience.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thank you so much, Jewell! Have a wonderful weekend! <3

      ~Abby =)

  39. Fouad Atitebi says:

    I completely agree that fixing a bigger problem can sometimes become overwhelming. Reading about your experience was very helpful. Thank you, Abby.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful for you. Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  40. This post is absolutely amazing! “Do for one what you wish you could do for all.” This quote gave me the feels! I will always remember this & when I feel overwhelmed & wish I could do more, I will remember this post! If I can make at least one persons life better, it’s better than nothing at all.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was as helpful for you as it has been for me, Jess! <3

      ~Abby =)

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