My church’s first Compassion Sunday was fast approaching. It had been a long time in the making. My hope was that it would be a life-changing experience for someone, not just a soon-forgotten, non-event in the life of my church family.
After becoming an advocate for Compassion, I spoke to a few small groups and so far I had only managed to get two children sponsored. I raised a little money for mosquito nets, a little for general programs, and I raised awareness about Compassion outreaches such as the Child Survival Program.
This would be the first time, however, that I would put myself out there and ask the entire church to consider sponsoring children.
I needed prayer! There was so much at stake, so many children were depending on my success.
When I became an advocate, I ordered a little bit of everything Compassion offered in the way of resources. I even had the “How to Talk to Your Pastor” literature in my arsenal while my church was without a pastor.
Thus armed, I approached my new pastor about presenting Compassion to our church right after he arrived. This was too soon, apparently, since his response was something like,
“Thanks, I’ll get back to you about that.”
I waited. Time passed.
In March 2010, my father-in-law died unexpectedly, and my husband and I entered a season that we now think of as “the valley of the shadow of death.” Both of our mothers had been diagnosed with terminal cancer the previous year, and by August, both of them had died.
That’s three parents in five months.
My heavy heart could hardly bear the losses, then, when I received the news that my Compassion son in Rwanda had died of malaria I could think of little else but the absolutely senseless death of my dear Emmanuel.
As I prayed for his family, I tried to think of something I could do to minister to them. Of course, I wanted to find peace and comfort for myself as well, but I could not rid myself of the thought that it was time to approach my pastor again to ask for the chance to share Compassion with my church family.
I posted on OurCompassion that I was going to give this another shot and asked for prayer support, which I received in great measure.
So, as I left church the next Sunday, I asked. I expected to have to set up an appointment and try to sell the idea, but this time my pastor’s response was quite different.
On the spot, he affirmed that Compassion was a great organization and that he would be glad to let me share with the church. I told him I would bring some literature for him to look over so that we could put something on the calendar. My pastor then told me that he had already mentioned the idea of Compassion Sunday to the rest of the ministerial staff.
Because my church supports Operation Christmas Child in November, our denominational missions offering campaign was in December, and the Gideons were already scheduled in January, we had to need to wait a few months to schedule Compassion Sunday.
We chose February 27. … to be continued
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara McMillan and her family sponsor three children and correspond with one more. She has been an advocate for 2 1/2 years.