What caused me to start advocating for children in need? I honestly don’t remember, except that I know I signed up the first day I heard about the Advocate Network. It has been, by far, the most meaningful and successful ministry I’ve ever been involved in.
What keeps me involved? Not organizations, paperwork or activities.
It’s children. People. True treasures.
Let me explain how this became so evident in Colombia recently. I was attending my Leadership Development Program student’s graduation in Cartagena at a large hotel complex. The day of the graduation I came down from my room and there they were – the students – gathering in various rooms, hallways, and lobbies.
I could hardly believe my eyes. They were gorgeous, and they had come from all over the country for this special event.
Each one was wearing a beautiful outfit provided by Compassion – bright colors representing each age group. I wanted to hug each and every one, listen to their stories and encourage them.
The day following the graduation ceremony I had an opportunity to speak briefly to all the students. It was at the Leadership Development Program camp a short distance from the city. The students looked “normal” now, as they sat in their regular clothes, relaxing happily with friends from each region of Colombia.
I told them about the thrill I felt when I first saw them before graduation in their bright colors. You see, the thought had occurred to me, as I told them,
“YOU are the gems of Colombia! You are the ones that God will use to change homes, churches, communities, and your nation. I am honored to be in the presence of such bright jewels!”
Students. Young adults. True leaders.
I’m so proud of my own Leadership Development Program student’s accomplishments.
Against all odds, Luis has realized his dream of completing a degree in Information Technology. He hopes to open an internet café some day. But what keeps him going? Not computers, businesses, money. But boys. Girls.
For several years he’s been mentoring young students near his home, and his fiancé is now the Child Development Center Director of a new partner church with Compassion. I can easily imagine this young couple ministering to children for years and years to come. They understand what matters – not homes, clothing or possessions – but children.
This is the way God works. It’s always about individuals. One more jewel. One more child.
Another one to love and cherish – the greatest treasure of any nation.