Finding Compassion My association with Compassion began 10 years ago this month as my family attended our very first Creation Festival at Agape Farm, Shirleysburg, Pennsylvania.

On a sizzling summer evening, our twins, Danny and Justin, age 11, responded to an altar call and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. To commemorate the awesomeness of the occasion, the next day, and led by the Holy Spirit, my wife and I allowed them to select a Compassion child to sponsor.

Prior to June 1999, neither of us had ever heard of Compassion. Perhaps we should have scrutinized the Compassion program a wee bit before diving in, but because we felt compelled by God to sponsor, we willingly took that leap of faith.

In hindsight, it really wasn’t that much of a leap — the cost of sponsorship, about a $1 a day, was not going to be missed when we paid the monthly bills. I didn’t actually examine Compassion’s ministry until about two years later when I decided to become a volunteer in the Advocates Network.

My investigation revealed that Compassion is the real deal — the program was and still is steeped in integrity, the fragrance of Jesus Christ wafting throughout.

As far as Christian, child development, ministries are concerned, I was sold on the fact that Compassion is numero uno in three critical areas:

  • partnering with the local church
  • bringing children into saving relationships with Jesus Christ
  • discipling these kids in their newfound faith

Grateful to God

I also liked the fact that Compassion just didn’t take volunteers off the street. There was a process involved with becoming an Advocate for children living in poverty.

First and foremost, volunteer Advocates are required to be active, Christ-proclaiming Christians. In addition, references were needed as were background checks.

Despite all that, they still allowed me into their fold — I thank God quite regularly for using me in this capacity.

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.” — 1 Corinthians 2:1 (NKJV)

After being received into the Advocates Network, I worried that perhaps I was in over my head. The things Compassion was asking me to do were way beyond my comfort zone.

God calmed me then and He still comforts me now, reminding me that in my frailty, in my need and even in my distress, when it is for His sake, I am made strong. Just recently I heard an account regarding D. L. Moody, which offered some more assurance.

Although Moody was one of America’s most effective evangelists, he was not linguistically polished — a trait I can readily identify with.

After one of his sermons, he was approached by a congregant who was quick to point out 18 grammatical errors in his teaching. His response nailed his position while simultaneously convicting the woman in hers, “Ma’am, I am using all the grammar I got for the Lord. What are you doing with yours?” Amen, Dwight!

“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” — 1 Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV)


Bridled But Not Broken

I credit God with using Compassion as an instrument in His hand to grow me up in the faith. Honestly, I cannot imagine where I would be spiritually if not for my involvement with Compassion and child advocacy. I suspect I would be wallowing away somewhere in pew wondering what God’s plan was and how He intended to use me for His good pleasure.

Ravi

But I don’t have to wonder. God wound up bringing me to India where He would impart to me a small portion of the throbbing ache contained within His heart .

Ravi was an astonishing guy. I heard him speak at a local New Jersey church about how the Lord was using him to share the Good News, save lost souls, and plant churches in and around his native Bangalore, India.

When he had finished his talk, almost nonchalantly he asked if anyone would like to go with him to India to spread the Gospel and plant some churches. My hand sprung up before I even realized what it was I was doing — before I had even discussed the matter with my wife.

Six months later I found myself walking among the children of an Indian slum. It took only but a few moments for my heart to break. From the heavens I think I heard a faint, “Mission accomplished.”

Did I mention that Ravi was a formerly sponsored Compassion child?

It’s true! This was not an official Compassion tour, but God still brought Compassion into the equation.

On the trip we estimated that perhaps 500 people gave their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ, and five churches were planted.

One day, while we were all muttering around, Ravi stopped a Hindu priest as he walked home for lunch. Ravi shared the Gospel with him and he ended up receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior!

I learned after we had gotten home to the states that this former Hindu priest had in fact enrolled in Bible school! God is so good!

Anyway, that’s how I found Compassion (or how Compassion found me) and how the Lord has used His ministry to bless me, refine me and raise me in the faith.

I will never cease to be amazed how God can bless both the giver and the receiver, and anyone else who just happens to be passing by.

What’s your Compassion story?

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  1. Chuck Guth
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 5:26 am

    God Bless! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Jun 8, 2009
    at 6:49 am

    And then you changed your name to “Compassion Dave” (or “CD” as we affectionately call you) — isn’t that the “rest of the story?”

  3. Amy Wallace
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 7:01 am

    Awesome post, Dave!

    My Compassion journey began on May 18, 2006 at a Newsboys Concert in Saint John, New Brunswick. Someone started talking about Compassion and informed us that volunteers would be walking around with child packs, and if we wanted one, to raise our hand. It was in that moment that I heard God speak to me for the first time in a way that I could CLEARLY understand. I knew there was no way I was walking out of that stadium without a child pack. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t raise my hand, God would have raised it Himself. So, up went my hand, and as I waited for a volunteer to come to me, I was thinking, “ummm…how am I going to afford this? I’m still in high school…I don’t have a job…” All those fears went away when I was handed a beautiful girl from Indonesia named Paulana. She even joined me in the Newsboy mosh pit (well, her picture did, anyways).

    Thus began what has been the best 3 years of my life. I now sponsor 4 wonderful children (strongly considering sponsoring a fifth). As a university student, I don’t know how I do it, but God has provided for me, so I can provide for my children.

    In September 2008, I took the next step and became and advocate. I had thought about doing this for quite a while, and even filled out the application a couple times, but I kept backing out because I’m not a big fan of public speaking, and I wasn’t exactly confident in how effective I could be as an advocate. I think God finally gave me a little slap across the face to smarten me up, and I finally realized that I needed to step out of my comfort zone and speak for these chidren fighting for their lives on a daily basis. I filled out the application and actually submitted it, did the interview, and since then, it has been a whirlwind.

    Within a week of receiving my first child packs, I had 3 sponsors (I hadn’t even given a presentation yet). I’ve had 13 other kids sponsored since then, and all the previous fears I had about public speaking and not being a good advocate seem trivial when I think about the lives of these 16 kids have been forever changed.

    I’m like you, Dave, in the fact that God has used Compassion to help me grow in my faith by leaps and bounds. Since I became an advocate, my walk with God has only gotten stronger, and it is the best feeling in the world. I believe that my faith has grown so much because I am doing what God wants me to do with my life – helping those who are living in poverty and who have forgotten how to hope. I fully believe I was born for this very purpose, and as soon as I acknowledged that, well, let’s just say nothing can bring me down now.

    I expect God to do even bigger things in my life when I go on the advocacy tour to Colombia in July with Compassion Canada. I know it will be a life-changing week for me, and I am ready for that! I want God to take my life from the very roots and turn it completely upside down, inside-out, clock wise and counter-clock wise, and any other way He can change my life. I know that in the week that I am there, God will only confirm His plans for my life, and I fully intend to live out those plans as soon as I get home :)

    Ok, wow, now that I’ve written a novel, I should probably get back to work now :) I just get so excited when I talk about my Compassion journey that it’s hard to contain myself sometimes!

  4. Jun 8, 2009
    at 8:56 am

    Great story, Dave! This is the first time I’ve heard your own “Compassion story,” and it was about time. :o)

    I so understand just diving in to sponsor those first kids, without any thought for whether the organization was good, would handle our money well, etc. But when you absolutely *know* that the Holy Spirit is in it, the research can wait. Bless you, my friend.

  5. Kristen
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 11:35 am

    @Amy Wallace – Wow, Amy! What an inspiration you are. I love your excitement about having your life taken from the very roots! I, too, have filled out the application on-line several times and never been able to hit submit. One of these days…

  6. Jun 8, 2009
    at 12:41 pm

    Dave – “I cannot imagine where I would be spiritually if not for my involvement with Compassion and child advocacy. I suspect I would be wallowing away somewhere in pew wondering what God’s plan was”
    You hit the nail on the head! We sit around, waiting for the ‘perfect’ opportunity to serve God, not realizing that we have been give the grace to take a step forward, no matter how small.

  7. Sarah Charles
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 12:44 pm

    @Amy Wallace

    Amy, I really like you. I am also a college student and somehow God works through my finances and I sponsor 3 kids currently. Congrats on being an Advocate. I have considered it. How old are you anyways? You have done a lot so far!!! God bless!
    -Sarah-

  8. Sarah Charles
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 12:46 pm

    I forgot to add…I heard about Compassion at a Newsboys concert in Cincinnati,OH. Best day ever!

  9. […] Finding Compassion: Blame It on Creation. […]

  10. Stephanie G
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 3:43 pm

    Amy and Sarah,

    You all are an inspiration that you are sponsoring multiple children as college students. Thank you for your examples of faith – God does provide in all circumstances! I, too, am considering Advocacy so thanks to you both (and Dave, too) for sharing your stories!

  11. Amy Wallace
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 8:25 pm

    @Kristen – Go for it! You won’t regret it :)

  12. Amy Wallace
    Jun 8, 2009
    at 8:29 pm

    @Sarah Charles – Wow! We’re like a Canadian and American version of the same story!

    I’m 20, and I’m going into my third year of university. Like I always say, money is no obstacle to God!

  13. Jun 9, 2009
    at 6:12 am

    “Go for it” in deed!

    How can there be any regrets when there are lives being saved physically and spiritually.

  14. Pam
    Jun 10, 2009
    at 6:23 pm

    I also became involved with compassion at Creation in Shirleysburg. After hearing various artists talk about compassion, I decided to go check it out. that afternoon I had my first little girl. That night as I was praying for her, I felt God saying he had a second child for me, a child with a disability. I went back to the compassion table the next day,and was told there was no way to find a disabled child without looking at every packet. It was made quite clear that person didn’t want to be bothered, so I looked a little myself, and then went on my way. Well, you know when God has something in store for you, you don’t get away that easy. This was nagging at me all day. later that afternoon, I came across another compassion table. a lady asked if she could help me. I told her the situation, and she said we would have to look at every packet, but she was willing to do it if it took all weekend. she and I checked every packet on her table to no avail. She told me to come back in 2-3 hours. I returned to find that she had gathered a few other compassion volunteers and they had gone through every single card on the compound. she said they had found one little girl with a visual problem, but didn’t know if that was what I wanted. She was just precious, and in a third world country being visually impaired cannot be easy. I ended up sponsoring her, and had her until this month when her parents pulled her from the program. I currently have 3 sponsored children living in Honduras, El Salvador and Togo, all with special needs. I am excited to be going to visit my little girl in El Salvador in Oct. Although I haven’t met my little girl in Togo, I have been there, so I have seen the conditions she is living in, and I know my sponsorship will make a difference.

  15. Mike Stephens
    Jun 11, 2009
    at 1:47 am

    Sorry for my delay the electrician turned off all the power to the hotel to fix my outlet in the room so I can charge my video camera here in Dagupan, Philippines.

    “My investigation revealed that Compassion is the real deal — the program was and still is steeped in integrity, the fragrance of Jesus Christ wafting throughout.”

    Dave I rejoice with you as well. Yesterday the Compassion Philippines sponsor tour group visited PH-238 or 239 Foursquare church project here in the Philippines which is the largest CDSP project in the world with I think around 794 registered kids. After a home visit in which the mother was baptized on the same day I was May 1 and the father had the same name as me. We were walking to ride a tricycle back to the project and some kids were playing basketball and thank God it was a small basketball because those I can dunk!!!!!!! And dunk I did! I tried about 7-13 to have them alley-hoop it to me but I never quite made it. My fingers were bleeding ( I didn’t even notice) and a one-eyed tricycle driver poured some hydrogen peroxide on my fingers and wrapped some gauss and put tape on it. He said he lost his eye because his brother poked him in the eye with a knife! Many more things to tell but that was definitely a highlight! But about Compassion being the real deal, when I returned to the project the nursing staff and pediatricion cleaned my little cut/scape again and prescribed me all this stuff which was kind of nice and I felt
    official with the pediatricion writing out the presciption. I like how Compassion invites me into an opportunity to be the real deal and make a Jesus Christ magnitude of difference in the lives of the kids I sponsor and my life as well!!!!!!! Hopefully I will be back in the Philippines in a few years to visit, be an encouragement, and be encouraged!

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