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10 Questions With Mark Peters (Part II)

Yesterday, Mark shared [3] about what child sponsorship is through Compassion and how it has evolved over the past 55 years. Today, Mark answers the question “Why Compassion?”

6. There are a lot organizations who use child sponsorship to fight poverty. What makes Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program [4] unique?

Compassion is Christ centered, child focused, church based, and committed to integrity [5]. All of our core programs are holistic. We also value the dignity of all people and endeavor to uphold high standards of stewardship and excellence. The Child Sponsorship Program focuses on the long-term spiritual, physical, socio-emotional development of children from age 3 up to 22. It is during those years that children develop their self-image, acquire knowledge and skills that can help them become financially self-sufficient, and develop good health habits. It is also during the childhood and adolescent years that the majority of Christians come to know Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.

7. So, why Compassion? Why should someone choose Compassion instead of another ministry that helps children?

Compassion sponsors often tell me that they chose to partner with Compassion after researching several different organizations. They want to work with an organization that shares their Christian values and convictions.

8. Compassion focuses on development, not relief. Why? What is the difference?

Providing relief to victims of natural and man-made disasters is necessary, and several organizations do that well. However, Compassion’s area of expertise is long-term child development. We believe that children need sustained nurture and instruction to develop into the men and women God desires them to be. Additionally, our Complementary Inventions activities assist children with any special needs they may have along the way including disaster relief.

9. Most sponsorship organizations place less emphasis on the one-to-one connection and more on the physical resources provided through monthly gifts. Why does Compassion focus on that relationship, specifically through letter-writing?

After 55 years, we have begun placing a greater emphasis on the role sponsors can play in encouraging their sponsored child through letters, gifts and visits [6]. Sponsors have a unique opportunity to speak into the lives of the children they sponsor. They have the special opportunity to bring children to Jesus through their words of encouragement and by sharing their testimony of God’s faithfulness in their own lives. They can speak words of life, love and hope into the lives of children.

I have seen firsthand how this relationship can be transformational for children and sponsors.

Mark with his sponsored child Karen

10. What’s your favorite Child Sponsorship Program success story?

Lillian is a wonderful example of a young person whose life was dramatically changed as a result of being in Compassion’s program. Lillian’s mother died when she was 3 months old, and her father died just two years later. Then, her guardians abused her. But one day Lillian was spotted by Patrick, the director of a Compassion-assisted center near her uncle’s house, and she was registered in the Child Sponsorship Program. This was a critical turning point in Lillian’s young life. She went on to attend college through the Leadership Development Program, and now she is a full-time staff member in the Compassion Uganda office.

As I think about all the twists and turns in Lillian’s life and her amazing story, it is impressed upon me that she is a product of her participation in Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program. Lillian tells me, “I am a living testimony. I would have never seen my value in life if it were not for Compassion.”

Read all the posts in the 10 Questions series. [7]