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Lifting the Burden of the Family By One

Posted By Spence Smith On March 8, 2008 @ 7:04 am In Child Sponsorship,Children in Poverty | No Comments

Lifting the burden I spend a fair amount of time educating people about Compassion and what we do and how we are different. I love the process, and I love helping tie all the loose-ended questions together for people. It’s pretty simple to explain what we are all all about and proceed from there…

We do child development in developing countries facilitated by the local church. We don’t use missionaries and every child is guaranteed to be taught the gospel. Whether they accept the Gospel is up to them. We work with the poorest of the poor to change the community inside out…starting with the kids and moving into the family….

Lifting the burden

That last part is where the puzzle starts to make sense for people.

At Compassion, we build communities inside out…start with the kids and the work moves and extends into the family. Change a child’s life, change a family’s life, change the community.

Because we work with the local church, the church now has an equipping tool to reach families in ways they never could before by directly helping these little children.

You know…they get medical attention, meals, school clothes if needed, education and the Gospel. They are also taught vocational skills along with a little micro-industry from time to time.

It’s all pretty powerful when you see it in action. Not to mention the amazing impact writing letters has on these children and for you as a sponsor.

Then comes this question: Well, then how does it help the family? Oh, well…I’m glad you asked! These are just two examples.

  1. If the Compassion child development center is teaching the kids the importance of drinking clean water [3], then sometimes you will see Compassion staff pass this education on to the family: “We are giving your child clean drinking water and we want to make sure this continues at home. Here’s how to do this….”
  2. Another way is while these children are learning to read and write, chances are mom, dad, and other brothers or sisters don’t know how to read and write either. I’ve met several families over the years where their children have come home and taught the rest of the family how to read and write.

At the very end of the discussion with people, I can usually pinpoint when the big picture comes together.

They start talking about how they understand how helping one child helps the whole family by providing so much for their children and how cool it is to see the church literally grow in that community because so many are now accepting Christ into their lives, and then I follow up with this statement…You know, it lifts the burden of the family by one child.

At this point they get it. The light goes off and it all comes together. It’s something I came up with as my own little way of processing through the big picture. And then one day I was on a trip to El Salvador….

I walked into the home of one of our sponsored children in El Salvador with some of our artists in tow. We sat down with the family in this small 10 x 10 room where a family of five lived, slept, and ate.

Some of our group started asking questions. A little ways into the conversation, I asked the mother of the household, “how has your child being in the Compassion program helped your family?”

You know what she said? I have never heard this on a trip before.

She said, “It lifts the burden of our family by one child.”

Here’s my question for you. What does this mean to you? What would this look like in your own life if someone else had lifted the burden of your family by one child?


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[3] clean water: http://www.compassion.com/water-filters.htm

[4] Image: http://blog.compassion.com/who-is-your-hero/

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