Every day, I’m hit with a headline in the news that leaves me feeling helpless. Acts of violence and hate seem to be happening more than ever. Compassion fatigue has hit me big time.
I recently stumbled upon Mandisa’s new album, “Out of the Dark,” on Spotify. Her song, “We All Bleed the Same,” couldn’t have encouraged me at a more perfect time. The lyrics, “only love can drive out all the darkness,” keep repeating in my head.
God has given us the capacity and tools through HIS love for us to love one another. To live with compassion. To stand together and care for ALL of our brothers and sisters — even those who are different from us. Those who are disfranchised and marginalized. As Mandisa’s song says, “We’re more beautiful when we come together.”
This month for our Totally Worth It Series, we’re highlighting stories and people who are lighting up the world through acts of compassion and love instead of hate. Because love is always worth it.
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News Stories Spreading Light Instead of Darkness
Changing Stigmas With Fashion
Stephan was born and raised in the slums of Kibera, near Nairobi, Kenya — and he’s shining where he’s planted! This fashionista and photographer finds colorful clothes at secondhand stores to wear around his community so he can brighten people’s spirits and showcase poverty in a different light!
Why this is worth it: Poverty is often depicted as only deprivation and struggle. But God sees the “least of these” as so much more! It’s important to know the issues those in poverty face. But it’s just as important to maintain their dignity.
Lighting Up the Darkest Homes
A nonprofit in the Philippines is lighting up lives by lighting up homes with little or no electricity. By filling discarded water bottles with water and bleach, people can refract light into their homes just like a light bulb. They’ve helped bring 850,000 homes in more than 12 countries out of the darkness!
Why this is worth it: As of 2014, around 1.2 billion people lack electricity in the world. Access to a light source brings power to those often seen as powerless. Families can work later, while their kids complete homework. The darkness no longer gets in their way!
Girls Lighting the Way for Other Girls
Though there has been progress, women still face a lot of inequality in the developing world. These girls in the following stories are total rock stars in moving women forward in their cultures and communities!
Destroying a Destructive Age-old Tradition
Five teen girls in Kenya teamed up to create an app to end female genital mutilation (FGM). Through the app, girls can call for help if they’re in danger, need rescue, report a violation, learn more about FGM or donate. With a touch of a button, girls are uniting together to support each other!
Why this is worth it: According to UNICEF, more than 200 million girls worldwide have undergone FGM. These girls are less likely to finish school and more likely to get married young. Sometimes, it can even lead to death. This app is helping girls escape this horrible injustice and live the life for which they were created.
Making a Vow Against Child Marriage
Jenipher dropped out of school at 14 to marry a man that mistreated her. At 20, she was able to get out of the marriage and finish high school. She doesn’t want other girls to suffer like her, so she’s stepping up to help them. She mentors young girls teaching them about the importance of choosing education over marriage!
Meanwhile, Grammy-award singer Angelique Kidjo is singing out against child marriage! The powerful refrain of her song translates as, “A little girl is still a child. She cannot be a mother or a bride. Let her grow up to live a fulfilling life. Say NO to child marriage!” Now, that’s a message worth tuning into!
Why this is worth it: Every two seconds somewhere in the world a child marriage takes place. That’s 28 child brides a minute! Girls living in poverty are at greater risk because they’re often told it’s a pathway to financial security. But the reality is child marriage robs girls of a present and a future. Those who help combat it are making a true act of love.
We believe no girl should ever be robbed of her childhood, well-being or education by early marriage.
Learn more about child marriage and how Compassion Mexico is helping young women achieve their potential!
Loving a Beautiful Creation
Disability Doesn’t Mean Inability
Eighteen-ear-old Grace was born without legs and only one arm, but she’s living without limits! Throughout her life, she faced a lot of rejection. Some even saw her as a curse.
But her mom loved her unconditionally. God strengthened her. And words of encouragement helped her overcome the darkness. She wants to share her light with others by starting an uplifting television show and opening an orphanage!
“My motto is that disability is not inability. With God, all things are possible.”
Seeing Love With Eyes Wide Open
Shakul, a joyful young boy in our sponsorship program, was born with a genetic condition so he looks a little different. His blue eyes, dark skin and white hands confused his parents. They abandoned him soon after birth.
But his grandma Namatovu took him in. She saw him like any other baby … precious and loved.
Read about Shakul and Namatovu’s journey of love on the Compassion Australia Blog: The Baby Left At the Door
Music Bringing Us Together in the Name of Love
If you are loving Mandisa’s song, “Bleed the Same,” as much as me, you’ll love our new Spotify playlist filled with music from some of our favorite artists and friends that will light you up your day!
Sponsor Love Lighting Up Instagram
Samantha and Gilbert are beginning a beautiful journey together. When we extend our hearts to others, we find we’re not so different after all!
My old New Years resolutions were about me: lose weight, be more positive, do something that scares me, etc. But, this year I wanted to do something greater than myself. I wanted to impact someone's life that I didn't know. January 1st, I chose to sponsor a 3-year-old (now 4) from Indonesia through @compassion because I loved that they incorporated faith into their teachings. The little boy's name is Gilbert. We write letters back and forth and this time, he drew me a picture. Something as simple as giving up Starbucks a few times a month could give this little boy food and shelter. I sent him birthday cash and do you know what he bought? He didn't buy a tv or a new iPhone. He bought clothes and church shoes. My family and I pray for him daily and it's as if we all know him. My 5 year plan is to meet him and hug him and thank him for changing my life. I highly recommend going with your gut if you have been debating sponsoring someone. Your selfless act could change someone's life- and if you're like me, they might change yours as well ??
Learning How to Love One Another
Living a life of love isn’t always easy. But now more than ever, our world yearns for it.
“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love near fails.” — 1 Corinthians 13:6-8
Check out 3 Lessons From Jesus on How to Love Your Neighbor for a good reminder on how God’s love through us can bring light into the darkness.