Stop Watching and Start Doing

Milvia lives just outside of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. In her neighborhood, violent tropical storms drive rain through the holes in rusty tin roofs. Puddles collect on the dirt floors, and water runs right out the door.

It isn’t the best environment for a child to grow up in.

Enter EJ Swanson, a speaker at various youth events and churches throughout the US, became interested in partnering with our team of speakers and artists. He started by sponsoring Milvia.

man and girl smiling

When Milvia’s sponsorship packet and photo arrived at the Swanson home, EJ and his wife, Abbey, both felt connected to Milvia through her smile. But when EJ visited Milvia’s home in the Dominican Republic and saw the conditions she was living in, his heart jumped in all the way.

“When I stood in Milvia’s tiny, nearly un-liveable house with walls leaning sideways, spiders in the rafters, and a muddy floor, it really hit me. This is the way most of the world lives, and we stand by and don’t do anything about it.

“Sooner or later, someone has to stop watching and do something!”

EJ knew Milvia’s involvement with our ministry would help meet her basic needs, but he wanted to make a gift to the family to help fix their home quickly.

a house

Because EJ speaks regularly at camps and conferences across the country, he saw an opportunity to meet two needs at once — in a practical and visible way. He could raise some money for Milvia’s family, and he could help disciple students at the same time.

“I speak to a lot of younger audiences, and I want them to really get it — that Jesus can change their lives and change others through them. And part of that means not just standing around and waiting. It means actively doing things to love Jesus and love people.”

EJ decided to begin selling fashionable watches to students, asking them to “stop watching and start doing,” and the response floored him.

The funds to help Milvia’s family were raised so fast that EJ found himself looking for more places to give money. The idea turned into a new business called “I Won’t Watch,” and since November 2011, has been able to send more than $25,000 to the ministry.

man and two women and two children

“It’s been really fun to see this take off because I really believe we can end extreme poverty in our lifetime. It has to with everything about how we live.

“I wear a watch for lots of reasons: I want to know what time it is, the color may match my shoes, and it’s a fashion statement.

“But I have choice in the process – I can buy my clothes and other things in a way that I know helps someone, instead of just being about a higher profit for the business owner.

“And it’s very exciting with “I Wont Watch” to know I’m able to channel money through Compassion and know it’s actually making a difference.”

EJ Swanson is just one example of a Christian speaker who is using his influence to help people understand Compassion’s ministry.

I’ll share more about EJ’s story throughout the month of July, but you can see the whole list of speakers who work with us here:

Photos courtesy of Abbey Swanson.

3 Comments |Add a comment

  1. T.T.H. July 4, 2012

    Beautiful mission of God and wonderful opportunitity to touch hurting souls. Anyone who is able to go into the lives of these children and make them better, are truly being honored by God. Not everyone has the opportunity or even enough heart or love to go into these broken lives and desire to contribute to them. So doing this work and doing the work to God’s liking shows His wonderful grace here on earth.
    Go get’em!

  2. Bayarsuren July 3, 2012

    Hi, my name is Ms. Bayarsuren from Mongolia. I sponsor three kids via compassion organization. I wanted to tell you that me and my church sisters were happy to hear that you helped cute girl Milvia. In Mongolia, many kids live nearby the city garbage center and filter garbage to find their clothes and food. Me and my church members have been watching them for long time. We really want to help those kids. But we have not figured out how to start and help them? If you share any ideas would be great. God bless your business for kids.


    1. Marvin July 4, 2012

      Hello Bayarsuren from Mongolia,
      I live in Taiwan. At university I have friends that are from Mongolia. It sounds like a nice country. My church in Taiwan started a program to help needy families. Taiwan has a lot of very rich people but many families are broken and do not have a lot of money. The church just started helping students after school with homework. After the program reached about 100 kids they started to ask people from the community to help support it, so they could hire teachers to help more kids. It’s now grown to about 300 students and each year they have a fundraising dinner to raise the money needed for the program. Just start doing something and once it gets going people will see the good it does and want to help. Maybe just start with a small class on Saturday to help students with homework.

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