Potential in the Most Unlikely of Places

slums in Recife Brazil

Certainly Tales has already achieved more than most in his little corner of the world. He’s been a role model to his mother. Maybe this same strength his mother saw will be enough to propel him out of the vicious cycle of life he’s currently living in.

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Nine Consecutive Four-Star Ratings From Charity Navigator

“Only one percent of the charities we rate have received at least nine consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that Compassion International consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way, and outperforms most other charities in America,” said Charity Navigator President and CEO Ken Berger. “This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Compassion International from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust.”

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Eight Consecutive Four-Star Ratings From Charity Navigator

When it comes to achievement, repeats are impressive. Three-peats are utterly amazing. Any ideas on what we call an eight-peat?

In the world of charities, this translates to “exceptional.” For eight consecutive years, we have been awarded Charity Navigator’s highest rating – four stars – for responsible financial management.

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From Diamonds to Rectangles

Giving back to the community has become chic for many who are in the public eye and have the resources to do so, but for St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols, it isn’t about what’s fashionable or what looks good. It’s about being faithful to a God, Who has given him much, and helping the children he loves in his native Dominican Republic.

As Albert steps off one of Major League Baseball’s many well-manicured baseball diamonds, he often finds himself stepping onto the dusty streets of the Dominican Republic. But he’s not coming to play baseball, nor is he coming to instill in the children who live the way he once lived a love of the game he is now famous for.

His mission is to provide to those who are less fortunate something we in the United States take for granted – rectangular mattresses to sleep on.

two men carrying a mattress

For many of the world’s poor in places such as the Dominican Republic, a mattress isn’t a necessity: It’s a luxury. For Albert, this is a tangible and lasting way to use baseball as a ministry in his homeland. Through his partnership with Compassion, he is able to provide to those less fortunate something that will last for months and years to come.

But it’s not just mattresses that Albert is providing to the people of the Dominican Republic. To find out what else he’s doing, read his story in the summer issue of Compassion Magazine.

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More Precious Than Gold

Being involved with Compassion, both as an employee and as a sponsor, has allowed me — and sometimes forced me — to consider things that I used to not give a whole lot of attention to.

One of those things garnering more of my attention lately is the many blessings God has given me.

It’s not that I’ve never thought about my blessings before. I’m very thankful for everything God’s given me — family, friends, food, shelter, clothing — not to mention the many “extras” that we as American Christians get to enjoy.

Working at a ministry, however, has helped me to focus on the greatest blessing — other than the blessing of His Son — God has given all of us. That blessing is people.

Ministry is first and foremost about people. It’s about building relationships that will last an eternity. It’s about sharing with people the good news about the ultimate relationship with their Savior.

I, like most people, have no problem thinking about the family I come home to everyday as a precious blessing from God, but here is where my time with Compassion has challenged me.

My family isn’t just my wife and two kids anymore. My family now also includes my sponsored child, Kimberly, who lives in Guatemala.

Kimberly may have started out as a monthly “feel good” payment, but many letters, pictures and prayers later, she has become — like family — more precious than gold.

There are always competing items in any household budget, but Kimberly, like the rest of my family, has no competition. She has, for me, become as important as putting food on the table for my family.

Although balancing a budget is never easy, many are facing even more difficult choices as jobs are being lost across the country. Yet those who find themselves in difficult situations like this are still making the decision to invest in people and not give up on their relationships.

This article, The Not-for-Profit Surge, in Christianity Today talks about one widow’s decision to continue sponsoring three Compassion-assisted children in these difficult financial times. It also talks about how even in tough times, Compassion is doing better than most people would expect. Praise God.

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Reviving God’s Army

I have read various articles, columns and statistics on the state of Christendom in America, and the prognosis isn’t good. Christian commentators across the country are doing their best to encourage our churches to get back to the basics, but their pleas seem to fall on deaf ears.

But underneath the apparent complacency plaguing our churches is a revival that God is stirring in the hearts of our young people.

Like the young boy David who faced the giant Goliath when grown men cowered in fear, it’s times like this that God calls on our young people to bring a revival to His army – to the Church of God.

In my last post, I mentioned how 14-year-old Emily Blake raised tens of thousands of dollars to reach out to as many as 100 children in Kenya suffering from malnutrition and poor hygiene. Now once again, it is another teen who is reaching out to make a difference for children and their families halfway around the world.

Bite Back campaign logoSeventeen-year-old Jordan Foxworthy, daughter of comedian Jeff Foxworthy, recently had the opportunity to see the devastating effects of malaria while visiting Kenya with her family.

Being moved to action, she helped start the Bite Back Against Mosquitoes campaign.

Through this campaign, she enlisted many other teens to join the fight against malaria and is encouraging the rest of us to join the fight as well.

Watch a video segment of Jordan talking about the Bite Back campaign on Christian World News.

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God’s Army of One

It never ceases to amaze me how diverse the army of God is. I think in our adult minds, we all too often differentiate between “adult tasks” and “children’s tasks,” but God doesn’t think that way. His foot soldiers include people of all ages from every nation.

woman walking with small child with people looking on in backgroundConsider for a moment the job of fundraising. Now, I’m not talking about the summer phenomenon of lemonade stands that offer a refreshing cup of the tart but sweet drink for 50 cents. I’m talking about the task of raising tens of thousands of dollars. Most of us would not consider that a child’s job.

However, one 14-year-old wasn’t hindered by the adult mentality of the impossible. God instilled in young Emily Blake a passion for the possible.

While attending a church summer camp in 2007, Emily, then 12, heard the disturbing statistic that more than 25,000 children living in poverty die each day from such preventable causes as poor hygiene and lack of food. The young preteen looked around at the world she had grown up in and knew it didn’t have to be this way, so she decided to do something about it.

Uninhibited by her age, she successfully reached out to as many as 100 kids in Kenya whom she never met, and changed their lives forever.

This is how she did it.

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Letters From Kenya

It amazes me how often God uses the “least of these” among us to teach us valuable life lessons. Having worked here for a little more than four months, I have already experienced this phenomenon many times, as the children we serve “speak” to me about things such as hope, faith, love and trust.

Last week, they spoke to me again from a place where you wouldn’t expect to find much of anything at all except despair, doubt, hatred and cynicism. (more…)

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Compassion on National Public Radio

Earlier this month, I told you about how through the creativity of one of our donors, many children have been able to participate in Compassion-assisted programs throughout the world. Since then, the story of Mike Foster’s Junky Car Club in Southern California has taken on a life of its own.

National Public Radio (NPR) will be airing a story about the car club on their Christmas morning program each hour at 10 minutes ‘til the hour. I hope you can catch the segment when it airs because I’d appreciate hearing what you think.

And while you’re at it, let NPR know as well.

Merry Christmas!

Find your local NPR station.

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Home School, Job Search and Sponsor a Child

Hi, my name is Stephan Archer. I joined Compassion a few months ago as the U.S. Communication Specialist. Although I am in the business of communicating from day to day, this is my first attempt at blogging, so bear with me as I try to figure this out.

archer-familyMy calling to Compassion was really a journey that began at home, and it began with two small children — my own.

You see, my wife and I are homeschoolers. Our two girls, ages three and five, are now in preschool and kindergarten. Like other children this age, they have a million questions, most of which I struggle answering.

  • Why is God invisible?
  • Where does the sun go to bed at night?
  • Why are yummy things bad for you and yucky things good for you?
  • Why won’t Bambi see his mother again? (Those of you with young children who have a movie collection that teeters heavily towards the cartoon genre will appreciate this question.)

But while our children ask many things, there are many more things they don’t ask that they need to know.

For example, in such a richly blessed country as America, I don’t suppose too many kids learn on their own what it means to be thankful and content. Yet this is so important for children to understand if they are to grow up and be the adults we want them to be.

Thus, like many homeschoolers in search of ideas, my wife and I turned to the internet and started Googling — using words such as “contentment,” “thankfulness,” and “compassion” for those less fortunate.

kimberlyWe came across Compassion’s website and were so moved by what we saw that we immediately decided to sponsor a little girl named Kimberly in Guatemala.

Sponsorship has been nothing short of a wonderful experience for my entire family, as both my girls pray for Kimberly regularly. My oldest even draws pictures for Kimberly and sends encouraging notes with them.

I went one step further and read Wess Stafford’s book, Too Small to Ignore. After reading his book, I was more motivated than ever to be a part of this ministry.

During this time, God led me on a six-month employment-seeking journey as I communicated with various people at Compassion. I was able to examine my own heart and pray for God’s leading.

Now that I’m here at Compassion, I can say with confidence that this ministry is everything it purports to be.

Like any ministry or church body, the day to day things are managed by human beings, and with that, comes challenges. However, everyone here knows that God is ultimately leading this ministry. I’ve never seen a leadership team more dedicated to God’s will than I’ve seen at Compassion.

I’ve enjoyed reading what all of you think and would love to share with you from time to time what’s on my mind. Sometimes, I’ll jump in on your conversations and share my personal thoughts on the matter as well. Either way, I’m looking forward to being blessed by our discussions, and my hope is that you benefit as well.

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