Do you sometimes feel so overwhelmed by the issue of poverty that it stifles your ability to act?
I sure relate, but action is the very thing Jesus calls us to do. To share the love of Christ not only in our speech, but through our actions.
He wants us to DO something.
I’m continuously encouraged and inspired by the stories of what sponsors are doing to change the lives of children … and the transformation that has taken place in their own lives because of it.
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” — 1 John 3:17,18 NASB
When I was involved with the creation and implementation of the Christmas 2011 Gifts of Compassion gift catalog, I heard about two young sponsors who put their faith into action by rallying others and meeting tangible needs through the catalog.
Here are their stories.
A Christmas Gift Catalog Party
by Bethany Fristad, third-year student at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa
In my small town of Sartell, Minn., I hosted a fundraiser to promote the Gifts of Compassion catalog and raise money for safe drinking water and other items in the catalog. I also gave 100 percent of the admission proceeds to Compassion.
There were 29 participating small business vendors at the fundraiser, including Scentsy, Mary Kay and Pampered Chef. I also set up Christmas trees with images of the gift items from the catalog as ornaments.
More than $2,000 was raised, providing 32 families in developing countries with safe water for life as well as soccer balls, goats, garden seeds, Bibles, mosquito nets, school supplies and baby formula.
At the event, a young mother holding her baby was moved to tears as she purchased a $20 item on the tree to provide another baby across the world with formula. The thought of her own child in those devastating circumstances and without food urged her to make her purchase.
Two-year-old Caden loved the Compassion Water of Life safe water systems! He was so fascinated with how they worked. Not only did he show enthusiasm for the filtration system, but he grabbed a stack of pamphlets and showed no fear as he walked up to strangers and said, “Water.”
I love how God has brought Compassion into my life, but to be successful in this fight against poverty we must all do our part to make sure children do not go hungry, that they have the opportunity to be educated, to dream, and to just be kids.
God is working and He wants us to be involved. He wants our hearts to break for what breaks His so that we can do HIS work with OUR hands.
We can do the small things to show God’s great love at work. Simple things done with great love will change the world.
Your service power is not based on who you are, but on who Jesus is through you. When we offer ourselves to others, we offer ourselves to Christ.
Not Your Everyday Birthday Party
by Noah Gerdes
When my mom and I were planning my 12th birthday party, mom asked me if I would like to have my friends bring gifts for me or if I’d rather have them donate money to buy soccer balls through the Gifts of Compassion catalog.
I currently sponsor a 6-year-old boy, Ismael, in Ecuador.
It wasn’t hard at all to decide to have a party that wasn’t all about me. I have too much of my own stuff, and I wanted to help others who don’t have as much.
At the party, my mom and I made a soccer ball out of newspaper and twine to show my friends what children in some developing countries might have to use when they play soccer.
After my mom talked with my friends about the homemade ball, we played a game of soccer with it. Our game lasted only a couple of minutes because the ball quickly came apart!
My friends thought the helping children in need  was a fun idea. I hope it helped them realize that everything is not about us.
One of my friends wondered how often children in other countries must have to stop their games in order to fix their homemade soccer balls.
My parents and I plan to visit Ismael and my family’s other sponsored child, Kassandra, on a sponsor tour in February. I’m bringing a new soccer ball to Ismael.
It’s going to be fun to see how he will react when I give him his own soccer ball!
My friends and I raised enough money to purchase 15 soccer balls through Compassion’s Christmas gift catalog.
I probably would have had this kind of birthday party even if I wasn’t Ismael’s sponsor, but because I do sponsor him, it helped me make my decision more easily because I know what his situation is like.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Bethany Fristad is from Sartell, Minn., majoring in communication arts at Wartburg College in Iowa. After she graduates, she plans to work in the nonprofit field and continue being a strong advocate for Compassion!
Noah Gerdes is in the 6th grade in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., where he enjoys reading and playing football, basketball, soccer and the saxophone. He also keeps very close track of the statistics for all 32 NFL teams!
Kaley works in constituent marketing for Compassion U.S.