When you put a Mentos mint into a bottle of soda it explodes like a volcano, just like an explosive phenomenon taking place all over the country on behalf of children in poverty. In both cases this explosive phenomenon is about multiplication.
With the Mentos and soda, carbon dioxide bubbles rapidly form on the pitted surface of the mint and explode out of the bottle.
With Compassion Sunday, dedicated volunteers present Compassion in churches across the country, and tens of thousands of children are sponsored through their efforts. The purpose is to draw the attention of the Church to the needs of the world’s poorest children.
As a new child advocate in 1994, I started sharing about child sponsorships in people’s homes. One at a time, children were sponsored. Then it dawned on me that if I shared in a group, I could get more children sponsored at one time.
I shared in a Sunday School class and several children were sponsored in one day. So my next step was to speak during a worship service.
Having done that and having seen so many children sponsored all at one time made me realize that if I shared in another church or two, I could multiply the effects of my efforts even more.
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Within five years, I spoke regularly in 12 different churches and would see up to a dozen children sponsored each time I spoke. It was exciting and almost addictive, this process of watching new sponsors sign up with such excitement and gratefulness. In one youth group alone, 19 kids were sponsored at once.
Within another five years, that list of church groups multiplied to an additional 25 churches because God was helping me see all of the opportunities around me.
But the multiplication effect wasn’t limited to my efforts. This is where the explosion comes in. Some of the churches began to place their own Mentos in soda bottles, so to speak.
I made a practice of returning to the same churches every two years, and alternating years (and seasons) for the large group of churches I was visiting. When I called one of the churches, they said, “No, we don’t need you to come this year. We’re going to host our own Compassion Sunday.”
And that’s what they did, gaining 10 new sponsorships. One member of the planning committee even signed up to become a Compassion Child Advocate — one who would also share in other churches besides her own. That church now has one sponsored child for about every eight church members.
One of my most special Compassion Sundays involved attending this church and hearing the pastor ask each sponsor to pray for their child, one by one, out loud in the service. As I heard the voices throughout the sanctuary, along with the names of each child affected by this love, I cried with tears of joy.
This has happened all over the world, causing the Advocates Network to expand rapidly. Why? Because the joy of leading others to sponsor children is deeply satisfying and contagious. You are changing not only the life of the child, but also the life of the new sponsor.
I can’t begin to tell you how many people have thanked me for telling them about child sponsorship. When I return to churches, they thank me for coming back, and they bring their friends and family members to the Compassion sign-up table. Multiplication. And more than 500 kids have been sponsored in our region.
I’ll never forget speaking in a tiny church of seven people, and seeing five new sponsorships. Or another little church that has faithfully added new sponsorships each time I visit.
The joy at that church was so contagious that a church in a neighboring community heard about it and asked me to come and present a Compassion Sunday. It was just a tiny one-room church (with no restroom facilities, except perhaps an outhouse in back), and yet five sponsorships came out of that visit.
Do you understand what I mean about explosions? Never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to multiply your efforts!