Compassion Togo Registers Its First Child

Story by Delanyo Tenge, Compassion Togo program communications manager, and Barb Liggett, Global Strategy Office intern

September 17, 2008 was the day the staff of Compassion Togo (CIT) had prepared fervently for, and the excitement had reached its peak. As Compassion’s newest country, the staff began registering children in Compassion Togo’s first child development center.

At MESA (Ministères Evangeliques pour le Salut des Armes), the partner church for Togo’s first Compassion children, Pastor Happy and his entire congregation are enthusiastically helping CIT become deeply rooted in Togo.

“We want to equip the local churches so they can minister to their community holistically and win them to Christ. We want to help the church turn their community into a place of hope for the future,” says CIT Country Director Mawuna Lawson.

The first child registered in Togo was David. The second was his sister, Gracia. When asked what he hopes to be when he grows up, the quiet David whispers “a carpenter.”

Even though it was the first registration, errors and omissions were few. CIT has set a goal to register more than 2,000 children the first year. There are currently 10 partner churches and six staff members in the county. Compassion Togo faces a steep road, but the hard work already done and the passion displayed in the ministry make it clear that much should be expected from the new Compassion country.

Another pastor shares his joy,

“We have been asking God how better we can help our children grow up and become good Christians and responsible adults, occupying good positions in our country; it has always been a burden on our heart. So when CIT came, we knew they were God sent, we didn’t need to ask how, when or why they came, all we needed to do was to thank God and to embrace the task he had laid ahead for us to do together with CIT.”


Photo by Delanyo Tenge

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Returning Grace

Story by Barb Liggett, Global Strategy Office Intern

When those with nothing are given enough, they will give back to those who have nothing. This is a foundational belief of Compassion as an organization, and nowhere does it resonate deeper than in South Korea, which is unique as a partner country because of its former status as Compassion’s original field country.

Compassion South Korea CEO Justin Suh articulates that, “As Koreans who got help from the outside world in the past, it is time for us to give to the other side of the world.”

Not only do they give back to the world, but they have a few lessons to teach about engaging communities in the fight against poverty.

This June marked Compassion South Korea’s third annual photo exhibition. The purpose of this year’s exhibit was to thank sponsors and donors for their commitment to the ministry. An array of pictures was displayed highlighting the impact a one-on-one relationship with a sponsor has on a child living in poverty.

Compassion South Korea staff explained that their photographer, Hur-ho, from South Korea’s advocacy network Friends of Compassion, “captured the ordinary lives of the sponsors in a positive light,” demonstrating that sponsorship is for anyone that believes in the importance of children, not just for the elite and religious few.

The photo exhibition was not only a creative and original way to promote Compassion but also succeeded incredibly in gaining public support, resulting in 1,400 new sponsorships! It occurred at an opportune time, just days after Compassion South Korea was featured in a documentary by the National Broadcasting Channel that raised 4,000 additional sponsorships.

Given these numbers, it is no surprise that Compassion South Korea grew in sponsorship by 74.7 percent in the last fiscal year.

Events like this add to the astronomical growth that South Korea has been experiencing. Justin Suh expressed about the photo exhibition that “We would like to thank the Lord for the blessings,” he said. “The staff of Compassion South Korea was busy, yet we were grateful for being able to experience the miracle that God has made possible.”

The Korean office continually demonstrates a driven attitude and strong work ethic which allows them to impact more children around the world each day. Another explanation for Compassion South Korea’s tremendous growth brings us back to its history.

The apostle Paul speaks of their attitude in 1 Corinthians 1.28-29, “He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things — and the things that are not — to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (NIV)

South Korea received God’s grace and love through Compassion years ago, and the last thing they are doing now is boasting. The effort Compassion South Korea put into the photo exhibition and the extent to which God blessed it reiterate Paul’s words and Compassion’s belief that when grace is extended and received, it is returned in kind.

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Running for Children

Just crossing the finish line of Colorado’s U.S. Trail National Championship June 29 in Steamboat Springs was quite a feat on its own. Winning an age-group division in this 12-kilometer race was even more of an accomplishment. But what really qualifies Tim Smith as a champion is succeeding in all this with a symbol plastered across his chest to represent the millions of impoverished children around the world.

Tim is a Mail Services Specialist at the Global Ministry Center (GMC) in Colorado. As he says, he is “deeply passionate about and committed to our work … to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”

tim-smithTim is a prolific runner and runs as passionately as he works. He approaches both his job and his races with fervor because in his mind these two worlds are not isolated.

The U.S. Trail National Championship was the 10th race he competed in since March 2007 while wearing his jersey and representing Compassion — clearly Tim utilizes running as an opportunity to speak up for children living in the bondage of poverty.

How many eyes saw his Compassion jersey as he warmed up, raced and recovered?

How many individuals wondered about Compassion or for the first time considered the harsh reality of poverty that affects so many today?

Neither Tim nor anyone else may ever know the results of his choice to race in that jersey. All Tim can stand on is that we are all called to “seek justice,” “encourage the oppressed,” and “defend the cause of the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17) in every area of life. The results are not our responsibility.

Tim’s grass-roots advocacy captures the core of Compassion’s desire: to break hearts for the poor in a way that permeates who we are and causes us constantly to remember the voiceless.

Not only that, but as Tim explains, “I wear the Compassion shirt because my desire is to honor Compassion and the ministry. … I use the shirt as a platform upon which I can witness to other athletes that I come in contact with.”

Not only could his jersey cause people to consider the poor, but it presents an opportunity for Tim to share with other runners the purpose Christ has given his life. Wearing a Compassion shirt is a simple act, but God uses nonglamorous obedience to further His kingdom.

Story by Barb Liggett, Global Strategy Office Intern

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