Lifting the Burden of the Family By One

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, 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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Taking Artists To The Next Level

People often ask me what I REALLY do for my job. It’s a valid question since for some of my friends it doesn’t seem like working with artists is that demanding of a job.

Actually, the time I spend traveling for this job should tell you how demanding it really is. I travel on average about 120 days out of the year.

As I try to master the art of video blogs, I’m going to bring you “A Day On The Road With Spence.” I’m sure you all will be glued to your seats for this Spielberg-like master piece.

So what does this have to do with taking artists to the next level? Not a whole lot other than I needed some sort of intro for this blog. On to the post….

When an artist decides they want to work with Compassion, I know going into this relationship that they have a heart for children living in poverty.

For most of us, that seems like its a “given.” For some artists, though they have a heart for it, they’ve never really seen the kind of poverty we are talking about and dealing with on a daily basis.

So on Compassion’s Artist Relations team, we take these artists overseas to see our work first hand. It’s a great experience for them and one of my favorite parts is watching these artist “get it.”

Meaning, you actually see them being transformed by what they are experiencing as they meet these children and their families and by learning how the local church is involved in these children’s lives on every level.

It’s at this point that an artist’s passion for releasing children from poverty goes to the next level. It becomes a part of their everyday lives. Not just a part of their show.

Last spring, I took country artist Bryan White to Ecuador to meet his sponsored child. It was an awesome trip!

After we got home, Bryan called me and said, “Spence, I wish I could travel with Compassion to visit every child in the program. This has changed me forever.”

You know…he was right. He talks to everyone he knows about children in poverty and how sponsoring a child changes children’s lives forever.

I love Bryan’s attitude. It’s what taking things to the next level is all about.

For Michael W. Smith, he has been talking about Compassion for over 20 years now. He’s been to see our work 11 times — 10 to Ecuador to see his sponsored child and once to Kenya.

I took Michael to Kenya in January of 2007, and we shot this video below. What you see on this video was a small example of watching a man, Michael, who had been talking about Compassion for all these years become even more passionate about the work being done for kids all over the world and the urgency to bring hope to these children in need.

Until next time friends…

Watch Michael W. Smith and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

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