Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:10-11).

We rattled and rolled down the narrow bumpy roads on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, Thailand. I was with our two Chinese daughters in the faith who had come from their own experience of poverty as children. Our Compassion International guide was Annie. She is a friend and a member of The Christian Zone, the church outreach center near Payap University where my dear friend Robert Reagan works as a missionary and mentor for interns all over Asia and the USA.

Shikang, the oldest of the two Chinese young ladies, is now in her twenties. She had raised her sister Xiaokang, two years her younger, and their little brother. She did this from the age of 8 until she went to boarding school. She did it largely by herself. I wanted Shikang and Xiaokang to see what believers were doing to help kids in similar situations to those they knew as little girls. I wanted them to know that being a disciple is more than nice talk, good songs, and going to church on Sunday. So we were spending a day with Compassion International looking at their work in Northern Thailand, centered in Chiang Mai.

When these two young women were told that Compassion's mission was "to release children from poverty in Jesus' name," Xiaokang immediately responded, "I love this!" Shikang quickly agreed. What awaited them at the end of our day as we saw how Compassion was doing this in Thailand would forever touch their hearts as well as mine.

Our driver pulled the van off the narrow dirt road at a crude scooter repair shop. A small wiry man covered in dirt, grease and grime greeted us with a big smile. He then motioned for us to follow him up the hill. The first 100 yards was a private road going to several houses up the hill. It was basically concrete filled ruts which ended when the path crossed a fence line, then narrowed and turned to dirt. Then it cut right up a steeper incline for 30 yards, made a gentle twist to the left up even more of an incline as we followed a well-worn footpath of dirt and trampled grass.

Finally, we arrived at a small house with a worn star indicating the faith found under this roof. In ways we did not yet realize, the star also signaled that this was the kind of place Jesus could have been born years ago and would be born again in our hearts today.

We had already experienced a very busy and fulfilling day while visiting Compassion's north Thailand headquarters along with several churches, projects, pastors, and Compassion kids from the Karen refugee ethnic group — you will hear more about these visits in coming months. We were learning about Compassion's work with the Karen ethnic refugees scattered along the remote areas of western Thailand and the border Myanmar.

The home visits and project visits helped us understand the great blessing Compassion has been at helping lift these refugees out of poverty and helping provide them a way forward economically while maintaining their ethnic heritage as well as supporting their passion for following Jesus.

However, we were not prepared for what lay ahead up the long hill with the winding path that ended at a very small two-room house of less than 160 square feet that housed a family of four and a grandmother.

Shikang and Xiaokang squealed with delight to find three little children inside the house along with the 13-year-old girl we came to visit. She was the daughter of our host who worked as a day laborer for the man who ran the scooter repair place at the bottom of the hill. He had been given this small plot of land and built his family a house.

We sat on mats as we visited about the world this 13-year-old girl knew. We visited about the Saturday project for the Karen kids provided through the support of Compassion sponsors. This was a day each week to be with over another 125 Karen kids to worship, learn the Bible, share a meal and learn to play a musical instrument. We talked about why Christmas was important to her — Jesus, not presents, but her dad emphasized that the sponsor's Christmas donations made a huge difference for the whole family to be able to have Christmas gifts and food!

As the afternoon sun cast a warm glow on our last ten minutes with this family, the sweetness of the moment turned holy and precious. We had brought a couple grocery sacks of staples — rice, beans, cooking oil, and hygiene items. These would be received later with gracious thanks, but not quite yet!

Shikang and Xaiokang were sharing two gifts with the 13 year old girl they had brought for her — earrings and a necklace. They wanted her to have something personal that could make her feel like a young lady. She smiled sweetly with earrings, then broke into a big smile with the heart necklace realizing they were for her.

Our attention was focused on these three young women, two Chinese and one Karen, talking together in Thai about girl-things. Before we could offer our food staples to bless his family, the dad used the girls' visiting as a distraction to turn and reach behind him. He pulled the only thing he had in the shelves: a small pumpkin. He then held out this small pumpkin to us with a smile that could stop time... and for our little group, time did stand still. Never had one pumpkin meant more! We had come to bring gifts and share the love of Jesus with them. We received that love back and more — we received God's grace in a pumpkin.

We then shared our gifts of food staples that now were so needed and yet now seemed so small by comparison to the gift of the pumpkin. We then asked this husband and father what we could pray for his family before we left. Again, our hearts were captured by his request. This father of such humble means and gracious generosity said, "Please pray for my children to be healthy and pray for Jesus' church all over the world. I pray each night with my daughters and we always pray for Jesus' church all over the world."

My words of prayer were faltering and hesitant — not because I was unsure of what to say, but I felt unworthy to break the holy silence of such grace that danced around us with the sun's dying rays. A small pumpkin shared in response to our visit left us with a lump in our throats, warmth in our hearts, and a moment of reverence for the grace we had received.

As we hugged, high fived, took a picture and walked down the hill we knew we had just experienced Jesus' promised presence as Immanuel, God with us:

"'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me'" (Matthew 25:37-40).

God is looking for people, groups, families, communities, and churches who are willing to live as conduits of his grace. These are the kind of people who are bold enough to offer their own small pumpkin when there is nothing left on their shelves. They share it because of Jesus whom they know and because they know someone needs to be touched and sustained by his grace.

Remember where we began? Read Paul's words again and make them your own!

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Corinthians 9:10-11).

The question each of us must ask our self is really pretty clear: Will I share my pumpkin so a child can know God's grace?

Those of us at and believe Compassion is a great way to help release children from poverty — physical, spiritual, and financial poverty — in Jesus' name. We are excited about nearing the 1,000 sponsor mark. We are Compassion sponsors — my wife, Donna, and I sponsor four precious children. Now Shikang and Xiaokang are joining me in sponsoring a young Thai child. So we invite you to reach for your own pumpkin and join us in sharing this special grace of Compassion!