- Compassion International Blog - http://blog.compassion.com -

Become a Child Advocate

Become a child advocate

“Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” —  Proverbs 31:9 (NIV)

In the movie Pearl Harbor, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle surveys a group of pilots who have stepped forward to go on a dangerous mission. In response to another officer’s concern about the mission, Doolittle determinedly says, “There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”

Later, one of the volunteers addresses the crux of the matter: “We’re the tip of the sword.”

It’s true. We —  both sponsors and Advocates —  are on the cutting edge of the fight against poverty, and we’re not giving up this battle!

I’m writing this post to ask you to join me as a member of Compassion’s Advocate’s Network. That’s it! Plain and simple.

This is my story of Compassion. It’s long but only because I love being the “tip of the sword,” and want to share every ounce of my joy and love with you.

How to Become a Child Advocate

I have been a blessed member of the Advocate’s Network since 1994, and my involvement began with my first sponsorship in 1988, one year after the network started.

I had been praying about sponsoring a child for months but didn’t know which company I could trust. My answer came as I was eating lunch with a missionary doctor from Haiti. She was telling me about a recent hurricane that hit the country.

I asked, “How do those people live? What do they eat?” and she replied that the children in Compassion had been well cared for.

I asked if she was talking about Compassion International, and she was. She proceeded to tell me all about Compassion’s excellence, integrity and effectiveness.

In fact, several of the nurses in her clinic were formerly sponsored children! With the answer to my prayers, I immediately called Compassion to request a child from Haiti.

Why Others Often Become Child Advocates

Many sponsors sign up because of the faithful service of members of the Advocates Network, members who are driven not by rules, paperwork or pressure, but by the love of God for children.

Child Advocates are not told where to work or what to do; involvement is completely self-initiated and voluntary.

As I tell my team of Advocates, God is already speaking to His people about helping the poor; we only need to be praying that He will lead us to those whose hearts are ready. It’s truly His work, not ours.

Being a member of the Advocates Network is all about Jesus. As we walk closely with Him, He brings people across our paths that want to sponsor children and want to know who they can trust, just like I did.

Although I cannot sponsor hundreds of children, I can help to connect them with their God-appointed sponsors. The plan is to help one child at a time, exactly the way Jesus did, and by following that plan I have been greatly blessed in so many ways.

Highlights From My Time as a Child Advocate

Become a Child Advocate. Attend the Annual Advocates Conference

One of the joys of advocacy is the opportunity to attend an annual Advocates Conference.

In addition to relaxing with family and friends, attending advocates are inspired to draw nearer to God and are instructed about the unique aspects of Compassion’s ministry —  our ministry.

I really believe we need the poor as much as they need us. As Dr. Wess Stafford has said many times,

“Without us they die in need and without them we die in greed.”

I believe there is a wall that separates the church here and the church abroad, in many ways, and that it is an Advocate’s job to bring down this wall through prayer, education, enlightenment and loving encouragement. We need each other.

We need their prayers, contentment and deep spirituality, and they need our support, confidence and friendship. In some ways, this is the only answer to our materialism and selfishness.

I’m delighted to help tear down the wall of separation and bring children and sponsors together, never to be the same again.

The conference is also a good place to form lasting friendships and partnerships in ministry. It is a great opportunity to meet pastors who support the needs of children in poverty [3], and to meet country directors, Global Ministry Center staff and formerly sponsored children of the Leadership Development Program (LDP). The testimonies are powerful!

When I meet members of the LDP, I have a million questions for them, because the girl I’ve sponsored in Thailand, since she was tiny, is currently in the LDP! I hope to attend her graduation in 2010.

I was recently able to attend the Global Advocates Conference in the Dominican Republic, and was inspired to meet Advocates from eight of the 11 partner countries.

There are currently more than 5,000 Advocates around the world. Collectively, we have brought in hundreds of thousands of sponsorships. The friendships have continued online and will last a lifetime.

Some Advocates have traveled together to visit their sponsored children. I think we all agree that the more we experience such visits to the centers —  meeting children face to face —  the more convinced we are that this ministry is really doing what we say it is.

We become more passionate in our goals to register new sponsors because it really works. We can personally ask country office staff and church workers and pastors about the inner workings and integrity of their centers. We are reminded why we volunteered for this very worthy cause in the first place. Our hearts are enlarged.

Become a Child Advocate

As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m writing it to ask you to join me as a member of Compassion’s Advocates Network. That’s it! Plain and simple.

If you’re up for it, you just need to:

If advocacy is in your future, training materials and resources will be supplied to you at no cost. Best of all, you will be welcomed into the Advocates Network with open arms, and you will begin to see lives blessed!

If you are a Child Advocate already, speak up! Tell us what experiences have impacted your life. What are your favorite stories?

“But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” —  Luke 18:16 (NIV)