Raising Zebediyo

My wife Amy Vanz is far more actively compassionate than I am. Before we married some 9 years ago I’m not sure I even knew how to express any compassion.

When we’d walk into a store my thoughts were always focused on what we need to get. Her thoughts would be about who’s birthdays were coming up, who was about to have a baby, or could somebody use something in their life that we could pick up. I thought she was crazy. (still do at times)

Over the years though, compassion won. Although still filled with enough selfishness to go around, I find myself thinking of others before myself. It’s safe to say, she pretty much screwed me up! HA!

When I met Amy she was one of the people that had a picture of a Compassion International child magnetized up on her fridge. I’ve heard people plenty of times pressure an audience to sponsor a child but it wasn’t until Amy’s story made me feel that it was more than just a guilt trip, it was about a real human being in need.

His name: Zebediyo. She began her sponsor-adoption in 1998. In 2000 she took a flight to Kenya to serve on a mission and it was there that the picture of the boy she had on her fridge met her face to face.

As she entered his home (a box of sheet metal) to see where he lived she looked up and noticed something awesome. Just as Amy had a photo of him on her Fridge back in America, he had a photo of Amy on HIS wall.

I can’t even imagine that moment.

This year, Zebediyo graduated. A letter was sent to Amy letting her know that Compassion International was no longer responsible for him and that her sponsor-adoption was over. Thanks to Amy, this boy was able to eat, drink and be educated. I can’t tell you how unbelievable that is.

Last night a Thank You Letter came from Zebediyo

(click to enlarge)


2 weeks ago the baton was handed over to our son, Ethan Vanz, who referred to Zebediyo as “His other brother who lives far away”. He got online at www.compassion.com and got to choose a brother. A new brother. His name is Novandio.

We call him Dio.

During Amy’s time with Mwaji, they shared letters back in forth. Some were written in crayon and sometimes even covered with stickers. It will be interesting to see how Ethan and Dio’s relationship will go.


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