What fuels the passions burning inside of each of us? Mine stir up when I see images or hear stories of children in East Africa.
Four years ago, a life-changing documentary ignited a fire in my heart that’s been gathering fuel ever since. This “Invisible Children” documentary follows the journey of child soldiers in northern Uganda, an area where we have child development centers close by.
I sponsor a beautiful child in Uganda named Emmanuel, and children Emmanuel’s age are vulnerable. Partnering with nonprofits like Compassion and Invisible Children, I try to use every sphere of influence I have to tell the story of the children in Uganda. The children who are pulled from their beds at night to join the rebel army. The children who are forced to shoot their parents and family members in order to survive. The children who are forced to fight a war older than they are.
But I – we – must do more than watch a documentary or read an article and think about it. My best friend says, “Words without actions mean nothing.”
So I ask you: What is your passion in life? And how can you fan the flames of that passion?
My guess is that if you’re reading this, you’re passionate about children … or poverty, which is why we love you. And that’s why you’re making a difference in the lives of little ones around the world, including ones in Uganda.
But I wonder: Can you take it a step further?
Maybe as you’re reading this, you’re thinking … “I need to . . . .”
What exactly is it that you’re thinking? 🙂
Don’t hesitate. Do it!
Jesus is remembered for extravagant love. What do you want people to remember you by?
If I were to die tomorrow, I would want everyone to remember that I loved Africa deeply. That my heart burned for a land so far away, yet so close that it haunted my dreams and stirred in me something I never dreamed possible. That I fell deeply in love with a group of children who were forced to kill in a rebel army.
And mostly, I would want people to keep fighting so that someday, those children will be free – and the children we serve at Compassion are released from poverty.
During my recent trip to East Africa, a leadership development student said to me, “We hear your prayers and we want you to know … we are not asleep. We are awake.”
He reminded me that through your support, more than 1 million children across the world have come alive and been released from poverty. How will you and your passion come alive today?
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Thanks to all of you through
whom GOD is restoring dignity to our beloved country. Our country has so been ravaged by this war and it humbles me that the lord has risen up through you to bring hope to the hopeless. For lack of a better word, i can only say thank you. May the devine embarrass you with mega blessings if not in this world, then in the world to come.
There are still so many child soldiers, the monster still forces the children to kill all their family members so that they are left with no one to look up to. if you refuse to kill your family, he kills you and your family.
The warlords also rape women and children, they cut off people’s sitting arrangements, noses, mouths, ears and also plucks out eyeballs. This may seem unbelievable but it is true. Continue to pray for beloved country and let your support continue to flow in.
For God and our country.
I looked for you on Facebook, but there are about 10-12 Diane Loewen’s and I wasn’t sure which one was you! You can search by my email ([email protected]) or by my name if you’re interested in being friends. 🙂
I too “attempted” to stray from the Lord for several years. I say attempted because I know that God never really let me go! I am praying for your daughter and you as well. The fact that she still has such a passion for the children of Uganda tells me that the Lord is still working in her heart! I specifically asked for a child in Uganda to sponsor. I couldn’t watch the documentary “Invisible children”, but my 17 year old son did. He also wrote a paper about these invisible children for his history class this year. I hope to be able to go to Uganda and visit my beautiful little girl one day soon.
Your comment really touched my heart. I will be praying for your daughter. I’m sorry to hear that she’s strayed away from the Lord, but as we know, our God is jealous. Our God is a pursuer. And with all my heart, I believe that He will continue to pursue her! I know many staff members of Invisible Children who have a committed relationship with Christ. I pray that she will have the opportunity to interact with these people. Thank you also for being an advocate and making a difference in the lives of children in Uganda!
My daughter used to walk w/God and her passion is Uganda due largely to “Invisible Children” campaign which she took on and raised a lot of funds for. While she was doing this we also had an opportunity to sponsor a child w/Compassion and a girl from Uganda grabbed our hearts. We ‘ve sponsored her for 3 years, I’ve become an official advocate and my daughter has strayed further and further from God. She does continue to have the deep passion in her heart for Uganda and is going on the next group tour. I would appreciate prayer for her and me as I continue to find sponsors for the children of Uganda. I also encourage prayer for “Invisible Children ” people. God I believe is reaching many in their hearts thru this secular group and I pray they may all come to know Jesus if they haven’t already. I’d love to have you on facebook friend so I will look you up or find me please…..thanks for this article…..Good stuff !!!
@Barbara M. –
Sorry the link to my photos didn’t work. I am not aware of any on line videos from the trip. Barbara M: Is there a way to get your email address so I could send you some of my pics and videos? Are you on Facebook?
The child I visited is 19 years old and I have been sponsoring him for about 12 years. I was on the waiting list and joined the group at the last minute, so he didn’t even know I was coming. Surprise may have been the understatement of the year! Yes, you are right, it was a life changing experience. Our letters have become more frequent and just a little more personnel, but I understand his letters a lot better now that I’ve witnessed his shy personality.
I’ve always loved kids and for a while I thought I wanted to teach. Discovered that was not for me and I floundered for a while.
Now I’m in school to get my library degree and I’m finding that my passion is education, literacy, and opportunities for ALL, particularly those in rural and underdeveloped areas.
I’m not sure what I’m going to DO with this passion yet as I’m just discovering it and am still only in my first semester of grad school, but I know I’ve always, even from childhood, had a heart for India, particularly those in poverty there.
So maybe I’ll end up doing something there or working with a library or organization here that partners with libraries and such there.
Three of my sponsored kids (well 1 is a correspondence only child but the other two are fully sponsored) are in India, but the more I learn about some of the other countries the rest of my sponsored children are in, the more those countries grow in my heart too! So who knows, maybe I’ll end up working for an international library or something.
But now that I know my passion and know what makes me happy and gives me a sense of doing something to better the world, I don’t want to stop pursuing it!
Thanks so much for telling me about that organization! I’ll have to check it out!
I will pray that God shows you that way, as well! Even a small step is a great step!
Steve, I could not access the photos above but I was wondering how your children reacted to your visit and how has it changed the way you relate to each other now. It must have been “life-changing” for you to go to Ethiopia and actually meet them. Are they quite young or older children? Does Compassion have any video of the Ethiopian 2008 tour that you know of? @Steve Williams –
@Barbara M. –
Here is a link to some of the pictures I took. IMG3552 is me and my sponsored child.
Steve, Thank you so much for your comments! It does offer a good picture of what their lives must be like. No mailmen, no mailboxes and then suddently…….mail from someone that they don’t even know! I think I have just been expecting too much. I will just continue to focus on writing and praying and encouraging. Again, thank you for your comments. Where could one go online to see your photos? I think there are many of us with children in Ethiopia that would be very interested. @Steve Williams –
@Barbara M. –
I loved Ethiopia. The mountain, lake and desert landscapes and scenery were amazing. The cities were crowded and exciting, the country was remote and peaceful. All of the Compassion children and families were unbelievably friendly, humble, loving and giving. Despite their poverty, they were content and happy. It’s hard to explain, but I was shown that when you have nothing but true faith in God, you have everything. An Ethiopian Sunday morning church service was amazing – hundreds of people packed wall-to-wall in a non-air conditioned building for over 3 hours (the lucky ones had small hard pews, others stood around inside, outside and in an adjacent room) and all happy to be there!
I’ve been asked by others about “fill in the blank” type letters that seem a little impersonal. My friends get letters from their newly sponsored children that seem to not answer their questions and not talk about the items they’ve sent them. I’m sure there are many reasons why letters received seem lacking, but I for one am glad Compassion’s priorities are on presenting the gospel and providing for the child’s immediate needs first. Keep in mind, most of these children are not used to communicating by letter – I saw no private mailboxes or mailmen in Ethiopia. It may take a while for the children to open up and understand why or even believe that someone on the other side of the world loves and cares for them (especially young or newly sponsored children). Some children are just very shy and don’t say much. I just encourage sponsors to stick with it and keep writing. Building a strong relationship through letters and between two very different cultures takes time, but it is so important and will be worth it to both of you.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to hijack this thread. I’m not sure how to do it, but I would be glad to tell you more about the 2008 Compassion Ethiopia Tour and share my photos from the trip.
Steve, I am wondering what your impression of Ethiopia was. Four of my children are from that country. It is the country from which I receive most of my “fill in the blank” letters. Anything you can share would be of great interest to me and others too I am sure. Thank you! @Steve Williams
I am passionate about Compassion children, particularly the ones from Ethiopia. I visited the country last year and two of my sponsored children are from there. Also, I really enjoy riding and touring on my motorcycle, but passionate may too strong a word for that.
Concerning your passion… are you aware of Sam Childer’s organization that rescues children from the Sudan/Uganda conflicts? Check out AngelsOfEastAfrica.org and his new book called “Another Man’s Army”.
I have a passion for the Bolivian Compassion children. That they would come to know Christ as their Saviour first of all, then that they would love God with all of their heart, soul, and mind and be committed to making disciples.
Thank you so much for these words Katy. I am one that knows I need to step it up but I just haven’t found THE way. I pray God shows me how.
My passion is to be best friends with the author of delectable blogs such as this.
Thank you for talking about Invisible Children. I didn’t know many other people had seen the documentary. 🙂
I am passionate about running, swimming, and riding my bicycle. But the reason I am passionate about them is b/c I love swimming in the ocean with dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, octopuses, eels, snakes and some crazy fish. I love riding my bicycle fast and through especially jungle mountainous terrain while being sprayed with AMAZINGLY clear ocean water. I love running b/c it feels good and once I run enough it feels better even though it is hard. I am not sure 100% how I will use all of my passions to help the children I sponsor with Compassion. But today I am headed up to Breckenridge for the SW Regional Advocate’s Conference and in June I hope to dunk a basketball with 2 hands for Angelo in the Philippines. So I guess my passion is mainly athletic and CREATION oriented. I will use my athletic passion to dunk a basketball for Angelo when I visit in June like I promised and if I am outside then that checks my love of CREATION box!!! 😉 Maybe another way to say Compassion is CompACTION. I have never been to Africa, but I tend to like more ocean, more humidity, more foliage, etc. I might try to visit Bushiri in Tanzania next year but I need to get a job first!!! So that will be one of my next steps with CompACTION.
I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”
I believe my passion is the children Compassion is trying to help – the millions of children who have to go to bed hungry every night, or don’t know what clean water tastes like, or don’t know that there is a God that loves them more than words can describe.
I’ve been reading through Hope Lives these past few weeks by Amber (I’m really sorry, but I can’t remember how to spell your last name :p), and the other day, the reading was about one of her friends who has found his purpose in life in helping children around the world. I firmly believe that’s what my purpose in life is, and God has been revealing this to me a little more every day.
What am I going to do to take my passion to the next step? Well, whatever God wants me to do. I can definitely see myself traveling the world and helping these children in any way possible. I’ll be done my undergrad in two years, and I have no idea where I’m going to be after that. I used to say “Ok God, here’s my plans, you make your plans around mine”. Now, it’s more like, “Ok God, I don’t know where I’m going to be in two years. You tell me.”
There’s an Anberlin (awesome band) song that really captures how I want to live as I pursue my passion for children living in poverty. It’s called “Burn out Brighter (Northern Lights)” if you want to hear the whole thing, but these few lines really catch my attention:
I wanna live inspired
I wanna die for something
Higher than myself
Live and die for anyone else
The more I live I see
This life’s not about me”