Have you noticed the “international” component of who we are? Compassion International.
Part of that internationality is that we work in 24 countries throughout the developing world … uh, 25 countries (you know about, right?)
And the other part of that internationality is that there are 11 countries that form Compassion’s Global Partner Alliance. These are the countries where you, the sponsors, come from.
For the most part, the blog is written by Compassion U.S. staff with great contributions and insight coming from staff in the developing world. But there is more to us than those two perspectives.
Today’s post is written by Irene Kao, digital marketing specialist, in the Compassion Australia office.
Our plan is to have our global partners contribute as frequently as possible to help expand your perspective on who we are and how we work, as well as connecting you with sponsors and donors throughout the world.
Take it away Irene!
I’m a Compassion Australia employee and I’ve seen poverty firsthand. But three weeks ago, for the first time in many months, I started thinking seriously about sponsoring another child.
It’s not because I haven’t been confronted by poverty in the past. During my short-term mission trip to Uganda in February 2008, I came face-to-face with children who were born into desperate, heart-breaking poverty. I saw that without outside support, they were spiritually dead, physically malnourished, emotionally depressed, economically destitute, and socially rejected.
It’s not that I haven’t witnessed the powerful, positive impact that Compassion’s programs are bringing to poor communities around the world. I had the privilege of visiting the homes of Compassion children in Entebbe, Uganda. Seeing the little that they have was not only confronting for me but also a humbling experience. But despite the underprivileged lifestyle they still lived, they now have a life filled with hope …
I sensed their heart-felt gratitude towards their God-given Compassion support. Their Compassion support was a ticket that’d help them break free from the chains of poverty. Seeing children set free from poverty in the name of Jesus have been, for me, holy encounters with the heart of God.
Am I a child sponsor? Yes. Have I considered sponsoring another child? To be honest, sponsoring another child isn’t on my immediate agenda.
As a Compassion employee, releasing children from poverty has become a part of my lifestyle. I’m also constantly exposed to compelling facts and footage geared toward challenging me to do something about poverty. I’m conscious of how in the course of working in the ministry, I need to make sure that I don’tto the brutal reality of poverty. And I believe that God orchestrated a series of events at Hillsong Conference 2008 to help me re-examine my heart and my actions, and to align them with His.
For me, Hillsong Conference 2008 focused on a running theme of God’s heart for His children, His church, and His desire for us to live a life of love. Our natural response to knowing His love would simply be to share in His love. On the third day of the conference, I sat in the Acer Arena along with 17,000 conference delegates as Compassion Australia presented its 10,000 Children campaign video.
Through Pastor Brian Houston and Pastor Darlene Zschech, the audience was transported to the slums in India, where grandparents shared their struggles to raise their abandoned grandchildren, where the struggling next-door neighbor of a mother of two shared his desire to help his less fortunate neighbor … if only he had more income. The video came to a close with a young sponsored boy expressing his heart-felt gratitude towards God and his sponsor.
I was heart-broken … and a mess. Thankfully, I wasn’t alone.
It was as if a veil were lifted from all of our eyes as 17,000 people were, together, exposed to the violent effects of poverty. At the same time, a sense of responsibility arose from within the arena. We were anointed to make a difference in a way I’ve never sensed before.
Conference delegates trickled through the Compassion tent during the rest of the conference. People thought seriously about making a sacrifice to see more children released from poverty, or to find someone else to help. A fellow colleague shared his experience working at the Compassion tent:
“The thing that impacted me the most was the number of complete strangers who threw their arms around me purely because I was wearing the Compassion jumper. Also, the number of young people, many of them students, who despite their difficult financial positions wanted to sponsor children. Inspirational!” –- Marcel
In moments like this I’m reminded that at the heart of this ministry is the heart of our God. It also reminded me that even though I didn’t enter into the ministry expecting people to love me for it, I have been affirmed countless times for simply doing what God has called me to do.
But I need to be reminded of that passion God’s given me for the cause (ever so often), and to remind myself that I’ve been empowered to act out love in His name. We can’t end world poverty on our own. But as Pastors Brian and Bobby Houston said, “We can’t do everything … but we must do something.”
Share the 10,000 Children campaign video on YouTube.