Read all of the articles in this series from Barbara McMillan.
On the morning of my Compassion Sunday event, I arrived early before the first service to set up my table and meet with the technical-support volunteer who would be playing my DVD and running my PowerPoint show. My 15-minute spot would be just after announcements.
We got our signals straight as to when the DVD should start, when I should come to the front, and how I would indicate that it was time to advance the presentation slides. I put a bright blue Compassion tablecloth on the folding table, set up the cardboard attention-getter from the preparation kit, arranged the child packets and my personal scrapbooks about my sponsored kids, and went to sit down.
When I realized how many people were browsing as they entered, though, I realized I needed to remain near the table.
One woman looked at the display, went to her seat, then returned, telling me that she had been to the Compassion website before but had never sponsored a child. She selected a child packet and asked me to put it aside for her, which I did. It looked like I would get at least one sponsorship!
I lecture college students every day, and I have given a significant number of professional presentations at conferences in my career, so I never expected the case of nerves that hit me as I began to speak.
Once I got started, the hardest part was finding a place to stop. As I returned to my seat, my pastor announced that two offerings would be taken that morning. The first, taken at the usual time during the service, would be for tithes and regular offerings. The second would be taken at the end of the service for Compassion. Wow!
At the end of the service, the pastor directed two of the deacons to take offering plates and stand by the exit doors, and reminded everyone to visit the Compassion table. Many people looked at the scrapbooks and packets and asked questions. Several asked for brochures or particular kinds of literature or information. I took notes for follow up later.
By the time the room cleared, seven child packets had been spoken for, and three were returned with payment right on the spot.
My nerves were actually worse during the second service than in the first one. My tongue was stuck to the roof of my dry mouth. Nonetheless, the presentation went well enough and the response was again good. A total of 11 packets were taken, leaving me only four.
Again, a number of people asked questions or requested some individual follow-up. For example, one family wanted a child from Bolivia, and I had already given away the three Bolivia packets I had, so this family gave me sufficient information to select a child for them and sign them up online that afternoon. At the end of the day, I was overwhelmed and humbled by the response of my church family.
Once my Compassion Sunday was over, I wanted to wrap up the loose ends as quickly as possible. I wanted to FedEx my paperwork and money to Compassion the next day; however, although 11 child packets had been selected, only six found their way back to me complete with checks or payment information.
I was thrilled with six new sponsorships, but I hoped for the others to come in too. In addition, my church had collected a special love offering that I really didn’t know how to handle and I wasn’t sure when I would have it in my hands.
I contacted my Regional Coordinator for help and support for the logistics. She assured me that it would be fine if it took me a few extra days, and she talked me through the details.
My Compassion Sunday kit contained 15 packets. At last count, my church family has sponsored 12 new children. The offering amounted to $1,339.00.
I am praying for the remaining children whose packets are in my care, and at this point I can envision the Lord moving in the hearts of potential sponsors to accomplish what I would have thought was impossible just a few weeks ago.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara McMillan and her family sponsor three children and correspond with one more. She has been an advocate for two and a half years.