I was recently in Honduras with Compassion International, visiting their student centers in some of the poorest villages of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. This is not my first visit to a developing country with Compassion, but it was definitely the most eye-opening.
Apart from seeing the great work Compassion is doing through the centers and the partnering churches, we also had the privilege of visiting many of the kid’s homes.
Home visits are often the most heart-breaking part of our time with Compassion – not only are the homes too small, without any of the comforts we take for granted, but every home has a story and it often revolves around broken relationships.
There are very few two-parent living situations; many homes only have a grandmother as the main care-giver.
During our first day in Honduras we visited with an 86 year old grandmother, who is the main care-giver for 5 children (ranging in ages from a new born to a 12 year old).
The 2nd middle child was sponsored about a year ago, and began to attend the Compassion student center in his village.
He was a six year old boy, and on his arrival to the student center had a packet of cigarettes in his top shirt pocket. He drank and smoked, usually receiving alcohol and cigarettes from the men of the village who he would hang around with.
Thankfully, a year later, he no longer smokes or drinks, and chooses to spend time at home rather than out at night with the older men. His journey is by no means over, but Compassion is committed to journeying with him as he grows, offering him real hope in the midst of a seemingly hopeless home situation.
Our home visits made me realize that homes can be full of light or darkness, and not simply physical light or darkness.
There can be a spiritual darkness that surrounds a home and it’s inhabitants and no amount of physical light can push back against it.
[This kind of darkness is not just reserved for poverty stricken parts of the world either. Many homes with “everything” can still contain an unspeakable darkness.]
There was one distinct difference between the homes filled with “light” and those filled with “darkness”, and that was the presence of hope. Hope, that this is not the end of the story; that there is more to life than just the struggle to get by; that a young son or daughter might break the cycle of poverty…thanks in part to a sponsor halfway around the world.
Compassion does a lot of truly amazing things – it provides education, food and clothing, medical care, and a community of believers who love children unconditionally – but primarily, Compassion deals in the currency of hope.
They bring a brighter future for the kids sponsored through Compassion’s sponsorship program, and most importantly, offering the hope of eternal life with Jesus.
The writer of the book of Hebrews speaks of a hope so sure, and so certain, that it holds the soul like an anchor holds a boat in the midst of even the most powerful of life’s storms.
This is a hope that brings light to the bleakest of situations, pushing back against darkness wherever it is found – be it Honduras, Nashville or Sydney.
Along with our home visits, our time in the student center’s were a genuine highlight – to be welcomed by the 100’s of smiles on the faces of children ready to grab hold of your hand, or give you a hug, is an over-whelming experience!
These student centers are the hub of Compassion’s work in the developing world, each one connected to local evangelical churches. The pastors of these centers are men with a vision, as one of them told me over dinner one night,
“I am committed to the children, because these kids are the next generation of leaders in our nation – leaders of families, leaders of communities, leaders of the country.”
What a privilege to be connected to such a powerful vision of the future!
These Pastors, in partnership with Compassion, work to see God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
The more time I spend as a sponsor (and artist advocate), the more I am compelled to share the urgent needs of the developing world, and the best answer I know for addressing this need is through the work of Compassion.
Will you join me? Together we can help to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name!
It only takes a couple of minutes to change a child’s life (and change your own life as well!).
And, the child you sponsor will be your child to write to and journey though life with!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nathan Tasker is originally from Australia where, in 2011, was voted Artist of the Year. As a singer, songwriter and Compassion Artist, Nathan shares the ministry of Compassion regularly with audiences worldwide. He and his wife, Cassie currently reside in Nashville, TN.
Nathan’s post originally appeared in the CCM Magazine Blog.