There is Always a Way to Say “I Love You”

Compassion Bloggers Dominican Republic 2015

My husband Mark and I walk through the door of a Compassion International center in the Dominican Republic and are quickly surrounded by a group of enthusiastic kids. In place of loud chatter and giggles, their hands fly as they welcome us. They use sign language to say, “We’re so glad you’re here. We feel special that you came.” Then they begin to teach us the phrases they think matter most including, “I love you.”

Compassion Bloggers Dominican Republic 2015

These children are part of a program for deaf and mute children. Some of their classmates can hear as well as speak so they share their hearts with us in their own ways too. In Spanish they exclaim, “Te amo” (I love you) with grins on their faces and outstretched arms.

Compassion Bloggers Dominican Republic 2015

Later in the day I’m invited to sit on the porch of a local family who has been through deep tragedy and smiles are harder to find. The mother and father were killed in a motorcycle accident leaving four children behind. The grandparents have stepped in to raise them. Compassion has been their lifeline since two of the boys are deaf and have been able to join the Compassion program and school–the only one for children like them in the entire country.

Compassion Family - Day 2

A family staying strong and united through tragedy but still struggling. The youngest, Daniel, is holding the chicken–he’s deaf and dreams of growing up to be a veterinarian.

When we get up to leave I give the Grandmother a You’re So Very Loved necklace {the one you’ll also get if you sponsor a child}. I point to the heart hanging from my neck as well. Through the translator I say, “See, I have one too. And when I wear it I will think of your family and pray for you. Because we love you.”


In Spanish.

Through sign language.

By sharing a simple gift.

Love has endless ways of being expressed.

And the more time I spend with Compassion the more I realize this is really the heart of what they do. Yes, they meet needs in all four areas of a child’s life—spiritual, physical, emotional/social and cognitive. But all of it really comes down to what Jesus said matters most:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt. 22:37-39

We all have the same mission: love. And yet how we fulfill it varies with each one of us. God will use your strengths, skills, gifts, experiences and resources to touch the lives of others in ways only you can.

Today I met a tutor who has quietly and faithfully helped deaf children for twenty-four years.

I watched a grandmother’s protective love wrap like a blanket around her family even in the middle of her own grief.

I saw love in dozens of small eyes who welcomed us into their world.

And if I stepped into your life today, I’d see you love in your own wonderful ways too.

A family's treasured possession--a letter from their child's sponsor. It's tattered and covered with fingerprints from being handled so much.

A family’s treasured possession–a letter from their child’s sponsor. Tattered and covered with fingerprints from being handled so much.

We can each come to God every day and ask Him: “How do you want to say ‘I Love You’ through me?”

It’s a question that brings God joy to answer. Because wherever you are and whoever you’re with there will always be a new way to say “I love you.”


Holley Gerth

This post is also featured on (in)courage.


One way you can say “I love you” is by sponsoring a child through Compassion International. After talking with sponsored children and their families I can assure you the $1.27 a day you give is about so much more than resources and opportunities. It’s about expressing God’s love to those who can feel overlooked in this world and saying: “I see you. You matter. There is hope and a future for you.”

Here’s a fun idea too: You could sponsor a child in honor or memory of someone special. Marilyn left a comment on yesterday’s post saying that’s what she did and I thought it was such a wonderful idea! You could even give the free Lisa Leonard necklace you’ll receive as a gift to that person–yet another way to say “I love you.”

Necklace and Compassion

Super-Exciting Update: As I’m writing this, 43 children have now been sponsored through the Dominican Republic Compassion Bloggers! Each one will hear “I love you” in their lives in so many new ways because of you. You can see all of them here. Thank you!

Read more posts from my fellow travelers on this trip: Bonnie Gray, Bri McKoy, Lisa Leonard, and Ruth Soukup.

first three photos by Compassion, all others by Bri McKoy


Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!


I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

{click to tweet}

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


Never Miss a Thing

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