What a moment we are living in. I personally feel like every aspect of my life has been upturned. My work has changed, my kids are at home trying to make appearances in my video meetings, and I don’t know if I’ll find toilet paper on my next grocery run.
I know many of you have been impacted in much more gut-wrenching ways. Some of you have lost jobs; some have lost loved ones; others are in the medical field, trying to save lives without knowing how it could impact you or your family. It’s a confusing, scary, grief-filled season.
But if there’s one thing I’m learning in the midst of all of this, it’s that we really do need each other. We need our neighbors (near and far), and they need us too. We need to share our burdens with one another, and we also need to lift each other up with stories of hope. We need to lean in (in a social distancing approved way ?) and remind each other that God is at work, even in the midst of something as dark and confusing as COVID-19.
In this season, part of “leaning in” means that we’re not giving up our hope. This is why I want to share some hope with you through stories from Compassion staff and sponsored children around the world. Stories that prove there is good news, even in the midst of a pandemic. I can almost guarantee you’ll smile and take a nice deep breath. Most of all, you’ll be encouraged that God is holding tight to the kiddos we all care about so much. He is moving in and through his people to care for them.
What do you say? Do you want to hear some of the most joy-sparking, hope-fortifying stories I’ve heard in the past two weeks? I mean, how can you say “no” to that?
HONDURAS: Operation Grocery Delivery
When Honduras went into lockdown due to COVID-19, over 200 Compassion-assisted child development centers had to temporarily close. In communities where malnutrition is common, many children received their only meal of the day at their child development center. Compassion staff knew they had to act quickly to ensure the children in their care had food to get them through the lockdown.
With the help of local church partners, they came up with an emergency plan to purchase, pack and deliver groceries and other essential supplies to vulnerable families. However, executing the plan proved to be incredibly difficult. Many stores and markets had closed due to the lockdown, so buying food in bulk was near impossible. But they refused to give up. They knocked on every shop door to purchase groceries until they had 15 days’ worth of food and supplies for each family.
When they attempted to deliver groceries, they ran into yet another complication. Authorities told them they were not allowed to do so during the lockdown. But they did not back down. Staff pleaded with authorities, explaining Compassion’s humanitarian role and the jeopardy children would be placed in if they could not receive food for weeks.
Thankfully, permission was granted — and the authority came from the president of Honduras himself! With the president’s permission, and wearing protective equipment, Compassion staff members were able to deliver food and supplies to the most vulnerable children in their community. One of those children was Ivis.
“[Ivis’] grandmother broke down in tears when we delivered the groceries,” says Center Director Ninfa. “They had run out of food and had no one to turn to. I was moved to tears as well. If not for Compassion’s rapid response, Ivis and his grandmother would have been left adrift, like many others in our country.”
GUATEMALA: Face Masks Made With Love
In Guatemala, tailor Yonatan — a Compassion graduate — is making microfiber face masks to help prevent the spread of disease during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Quiché, Guatemala, protective supplies like face masks and hand sanitizer quickly sold out. The shortages inspired alumnus Yonatan Torres, who teaches tailoring at his former Compassion child development center, to take matters into his own hands.
“When we heard the news that Guatemala had its first case of COVID-19, all of the people in the community stocked up on supplies at the pharmacies. I was worried about how we could protect our lungs, so I decided to make reusable face masks,” says Yonatan.
Yonatan had been working on an order for school uniforms, but he paused this work to focus on serving others.
“My former sponsors live in Italy, and I would like to say to them, keep trusting in God,” says Yonatan. “He will take care of you. You sponsored me and today I’m praying for you because you supported me. Thanks to that support, I am helping my community today.”
MEXICO: Sponsored Children Pray for Their Sponsors in Italy
Many of you are faithful to pray for your sponsored children, but did you know they pray for you too? When sponsored children in Mexico heard how impacted their sponsors in Italy were by COVID-19, they filmed a prayer to share with them. Compassion centers in Mexico have since gone on lockdown due to COVID-19. We’ve been so inspired by the beautiful prayers of the precious children we serve.
KENYA: Inventive Hand-washing
In a small slum in Dagoretti, Kenya, access to running water is a major challenge. Since hand-washing is a key to preventing the spread of COVID-19, staff members at the Compassion center have been teaching parents how to build makeshift hand-washing stations. “It is simple, and anybody can do it. All you need is a clean, used jerry can and a nail to puncture a small hole at the bottom of the jerry can. The nail can also be used as a tap to block the flow of water when it is not in use,” says Mary, Director at a Compassion center near Dagoretti.
“I am very happy that I can now keep myself and my children safe,” says Leah, one of the moms who was helped. “We are also able to protect the children from diarrhea, worms and many other issues.”
Compassion staff members have also taught the caregivers how to make homemade hand sanitizers from glycerin and rubbing alcohol. “The demand for sanitizers really escalated and so did the prices. We have provided provisions to every beneficiary and taught them how to make sanitizers so that when water is not available, they can still be safe,” says Mary.
THE PHILIPPINES: No Building, No Problem
Compassion staff in the Philippines is getting creative with technology. They have been able to stay in touch with each child that attends a Compassion center to make sure they are well and have what they need. When they learn of a need, they are going above and beyond to find a way to meet it.
Those who are ill are being supported with medicine, vitamins and health advice. Those who are hungry are receiving food. They are also providing parents with Bibles and other spiritual materials so they can read at home during the quarantine. Even church services are still continuing as many Sunday services are now taking place via Facebook Live.
Compassion Philippines National Director Noel Pabion says staff members are working to minister creatively during this time, keeping their focus on bringing hope and calming fears.
“Any crisis is an opportunity to establish where Christ is in our lives,” says Pabiona. “Psalm 56:3 says, ‘When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.’”
Praise God that the church is a group of people and not a building!
THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Check, Check, Check … Are You Washing Your Hands?
While the rest of the Dominican Republic was preparing to lock down, Compassion’s church partners mobilized. They knew swift action was required to educate the communities around them about how to prevent COVID-19, since many of the families they served had little knowledge of disease prevention. And they especially wanted to make sure the most vulnerable families had what they needed to get them through.
The began distributing educational pamphlets and posters to educate the community about how to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They even connected with local radio broadcasters so the message could reach a broader audience!
With love and care, church partners are calmly educating their communities, without creating panic or anxiety.
“Our children are calm. We’ve explained it to them in a way that they have understood the seriousness of this virus and how to prevent it, without scaring them,” says Paula, a Center Director in the Dominican Republic.
Be encouraged; God is at work. His people are still his hands and feet and they are messengers of hope, even in the midst of darkness. If you feel led to give toward the unique needs that have arisen due to COVID-19, please give to the Disaster Relief Fund. Compassion staff across the globe are working to provide medical and sanitation supplies, and are delivering emergency food and water to the most vulnerable children and their families. Your support would mean so much.
Thank you so much for your heart for children living in poverty and for “leaning in” during this difficult time. Although this season is hard, we wouldn’t want to walk through it with anyone else. Thank you for standing with the church around the world, sending every child the message, “God sees you!”
P.S. If you’d like to hear more stories of hope, join the Facebook Group Share the Good With Compassion International. In this group, members share encouraging stories, ideas for activities and prayer requests. It’s a way to be part of a community of hope, joy and positivity!
Reporting and photos by Javier Elis, Edwin Estioko, Yrahisa Mateo, Isaac Ogila, Juana Ordonez and Alejandra Zuniga.
37 Comments |Add a comment
People like you make the world a better place..❤❤❤❤
Thank you for everyone who are, inspire of this terrific pandemic, still using your gifts to serve God and help those in desperate need! As I read of the creative ways that are being able to still care for those less fortunate, I had shed a few tears of heartfelt joy! May God protect you and continue to open doors for you to serve!
I’m His Precious Name ~ Becky
Thank you compassion and partners for helping the little and innocent lovely children in this pandemic . God bless you.
I am thankful for your work in keeping our children and their families healthy by teaching good hygiene and by having having masks made. We will continue to pray for our child Maylay in Haiti and the other children sponsored by Compassion.
Thank you for this encouraging news about our precious little ones! The hands and feet of Jesus. THank you to compassion and partners on the ground fro your dedication!!!
I am praying for the whole world. My child is Terreza Faustian John. let her know that we love her and continue to pray for her and her family. She is from Tanzania. That we pray for the Holy Spirit to fill her domain and bring them the peace of Jesus Christ and surround them with His love. Don’t worry my child
God is always in control. He will never forsake you. Keep strong in your faith. And allow others around you see your courage and strenght you have because of God. Shine, shine, shine my beautiful child. Be the bright light in the world that God our Almighty Father expected you to be. Love and Hugs.
In Christ, Yolanda and Robert Kroeger
God Bless you all wherever you may be on this Good Friday? Thank you for your care and love to children around the world. May The Lord bless and keep you, may the Lord make His face shine upon you, and give you peace forever☺️☺️☺️☺️
God Bless all the Compassion servants all over the world for all you do. I am praying for good health and safety to all you serve and you and your families. Yes, there are many changes we are all going through in this trying time but one thing will not change. Tomorrow, Christians all over the world will be attending Good Friday services through some type of technology. Then on Sunday, Resurrection Sunday. we will all be shouting out, “He is risen, he is risen indeed” as nothing can stop this from happening. Love and prayers to everyone. Veronica
A huge thank you to all Compassion staff and church partners around the globe! You guys are going above and beyond what I would expect but your actions are evidence of what is in your hearts, and again, I thank you dearly. It’s really a wonderful job you all are doing!!
This is a time we can all come together and “lean” on each other to help us get through this event, I agree. I also believe God is telling us that we need to draw closer to Him. He wants us to use this time to do that. For me personally, I have neglected my relationship with Jesus because of the cares of this world. I’m still working full time but the quarantine has, like everyone else, restricted me to my home. I’ve been praying, reading the Bible, and moving towards that first love I once had with Jesus. I don’t mind telling you all this, I suspect some of you are experiencing the samething.
God bless you all, hang in there, this will come to and end.
WOW! God Bless you all on the front lines. For everyone, may the Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you; and give you peace.
Emmanuel… Please know I am praying for your safety and for the safety of your family members and all of your friends and fellow villagers. Our God sees all and knows all and He will never leave you or forsake you. I am so grateful for the life you are living and how God will use you in His future plans. May our Lord Jesus continue to protect and guide you… Mike
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you are doing in these children’s lives around the world all the time and especially now with this crazy virus. My sponsored child is in Nicaragua where I was born. I also lived in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico growing up, so I know how critical and day to day the needs are in many countries. I now live in Ga, USA and we are also on lock down. Dealing with toilet paper shortages is certainly not a critical issue compared to all we are facing. God is certainly faithful in all circumstances and my prayers are with you.
I sponsor a child in Ghana. How is he being helped during the COVID19 crisis? Similar to Kenya with handwashing stations?
Please know that this global pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. Compassion’s staff and volunteers are doing everything they can to minimize the impact to the children in our program. To that end, we have temporarily closed our child development centers in most of our field countries, suspended group activities, and limited contact to home visits for the delivery of medical supplies, hygiene kits, food, water, and other resources to help during this time of crisis.
We’ve also suspended all international travel to our national offices and frontline church partners. This means we will not permit international visitors to meet sponsored children, visit Compassion child development centers, or visit national offices.
We would recommend checking out our page here: https://www.compassion.com/crisis/covid-19.htm. This is where we are keeping the most up to date information we have on each country.
Thanks to all the Compassion staff and volunteers for the great work you’re doing during this difficult and dangerous time. May our Heavenly Father strengthen you with His might and love as you serve Jesus through your ministry to the Compassion families. <
The video of the children praying brought me to tears. Thank you for your hard work and may God keep you safe.
Thank you for your website information posts. It is so good to be able to hear from Racheal in this manner. Even though we can’t hear from her by written word we are at least able to know that she is safe. Please continue these valuable posts.
Thanks to all of you for all the love & support that you give. Thanks for the updates.
God Bless everyone ? This soon shall pass God Willing .
My name is Kathy and I am to still work . The virus is a scary thing but believe in God and He bring you thru this terrifying time. Keep your head up and take care of yourselves and pray daily. I will pray for all of you guys . Take care
Praise God for all the good work He is doing in the midst of this crazy time. Thank you to all the Compassion staff and volunteers who are working tirelessly to take care of these children and their families. They truly are the most vulnerable — but God is faithful! With Him, we will all get through this.
May the Lord Jesus continue to keep His protection encamped around each of you as you meet the needs. You have chosen to continue being the hands and feet of Jesus at great risk to yourself out of His love. May the Lord give you a double portion.
No mention of Columbia where our sponsor lives?
And also, we are a little disheartened with the picture of him that we got in the mail a few days ago …..it’s the exact same picture that was on his “sponsor packet” when we signed up last year ….
Makes us Leary to move forward with money ?
I am so sorry to hear about your concerns. First off, please know you can click here: https://www.compassion.com/crisis/covid-19.htm for the most up to date information on each of the countries that we work in.
Secondly, I am so sorry for the confusion on the photo of your child. Compassion is only able to provide an updated photo of your child every two years. I see you are due for a new photo in October this year, so you are almost there. In addition, you are also welcome to send either a child or family gift of $60.00 or more and this will also warrant a thank you photo. These are done by staff at the center, so the quality is usually not quite as good, but it is really designed to show you what was purchased. In addition, either your child or one or more of their family members will be included in the photo. Sometimes you even get lucky and get a picture of your child with their whole family. 🙂
Lastly, please know if you ever have questions about Compassion or are having an issue, you can always email our team directly at [email protected]. Thank you so much!
For my Janine, and all God children. God is good. We will get through this. Either way on this earth or in Heaven with our Father. In Jesus name we Pray. Amen
My prayers go out to all the Compassion staff and especially the children that attend the centers. Please remember to wash your hands as often as possible and use protective equipment when available. May our amazing God protect you all, keep you safe and heal those who are sick.
Thank you for the update. Thank you for being God hands and feet and for all that the angels do to take care of God’s precious children. He reigns and his love is everywhere in the hearts of his people. May God continue you to bless us all. Give my love to Gabi and her family.❤❤❤
I sponsor Miguel in Peru and Elias in Ecuador.
Father in Heaven – I praise you that you are in control of all of the things we, as your children, cannot control. We know that you are in control of COVID-19 and all who are affected by it. I want to pray that you keep our children around the world, those in our Compassion center areas as well as children who are not. I pray for those who care for all of the children in poverty with Compassion as well as through other sponsor programs. I pray for children who are not in need of the care that is given through our programs. I pray for the caregivers in all the countries. Please Lord, if it is your will, keep all children and those who care for them safe in your loving arms. Please keep the parents of our Compassion children safe and healthy.
I especially want to lift Miguel and Elias up to you, Lord – keep them healthy and safe. I pray for their parents who may not be able to work at this time. I pray for the Compassion centers my two boys attend that the center staff stays healthy and is able to provide for the boys according to their needs.
Lord, I also pray for myself that I stay healthy and weather this pandemic so that I may continue to provide for my sponsored “grandsons”.
All of this I pray, Lord, according to your will. In Jesus’ Mighty Name – Amen
“Jesus Te Ama”, Jesus Loves you and all will be well in him so just shine your light of Christ to all!
How is Thailand doing? We sponsor a little girl there.
This global pandemic has affected all of us in one way or another. But please know that Compassion’s staff and volunteers are doing everything they can to minimize the impact to the children in our program. To that end, we have temporarily closed our child development centers in most of our field countries, suspended group activities, and limited contact to home visits for the delivery of medical supplies, hygiene kits, food, water, and other resources to help during this time of crisis.
To learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting your sponsored child’s country, you can go to compassion.com and click on the COVID-19 banner.
Praying for everyone and sending prayers to Hannah Wahu in Kenya, Jesus loves you all! With Christ we will overcome! Sending lots of love!
Wow! Love in action! This makes me smile.
Thank you Compassion and all the workers around the world. God will prevail and we will be a better world and while we are going through this it is so important for us to continue to show God’s love. Thank you for all you do and keeping us posted. It is so great to here about Compassion graduates who are making a difference in the world. God is good. Fear is a liar and God is still in control.
All in all God is in control ? we thank him for the grave and we pray we shall overcome this.Am so passionate with the work compassion is doing I will thank you forever ❤️.May God bless the works of compassion at large. Gilbert sponsored child Atutur Cdc ,kumi, Uganda
How is Uganda being helped?
Lola, Compassion staff are taking every precaution to protect the children in our program. We have suspended all international travel to our national offices and our frontline church partners through the end of April. This means we will not be permitting any international visitors to meet sponsored children, visit Compassion child development centers, or visit national offices. We will be reassessing our travel policy throughout the coming weeks and may extend this travel suspension depending on the situation. As a regular part of our program, we also continue to teach hygiene to children in our program (and moms in our survival program), which helps reduces the spread of illness.
Coronavirus cases continue to rise in Uganda, and the country is on lockdown until April 14. The government directed all mass gatherings to stop and all churches and schools to close. A curfew is in place from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. All public transportation has been suspended and nonessential businesses are closed. Compassion child development centers have discontinued group activities through April 30. The centers are open only for one-to-one interaction with children and caregivers on an emergency basis. Partner church staff are visiting homes of beneficiaries only when absolutely necessary, including assisting with medical needs and child protection. Emergency needs are addressed with the approval of local governments and in compliance with all national guidelines.
Please visit https://www.compassion.com/crisis/covid-19.htm for regular updates. Thank you for your continued prayers and faithful support.