Venezuela Economic Crisis: How “The Poor” Are the Rescuers

Thousands of Venezuelans have poured into Cúcuta, Colombia, fleeing socioeconomic and political crisis. And it’s the poor communities of this city giving vital help. Read the inspiring stories of these rescuers, providing hope and compassion despite their own deep poverty.

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Thailand Cave Rescue: Parents of Rescued Compassion-Sponsored Student Say “Thank You”

The 12-boy soccer team and their coach that were rescued from the flooded cave in Thailand have headed home from the hospital! Learn more about Compassion-sponsored student Adun and hear from his parents as we continue to pray for their recovery.

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Why Compassion Doesn’t Work in Unstable Conflict Zones

In 1954, Everett Swanson’s relief work developed sponsorship programs which provided help for the children of post-war Korea. Those efforts have evolved into a global, program-based, holistic child development model. These days, you are less likely to find Compassion in the midst of a conflict zone but instead working at the heart of more stable communities. Here are three reasons why.

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One Year After the Devastating Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

After Hurricane Matthew struck, supporters around the world responded, giving more than $2 million to help those whose homes and livelihoods were smashed. Here’s the amazing work that was done and families’ lives that were changed with those funds.

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Ecuador Earthquake Relief Efforts: Churches United

Compassion Ecuador staff and church partners are still working tirelessly to assess the full extent of the situation and damage of the April 16 earthquake. The immediate and long term needs are still great.

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Ecuador Earthquake: What You Can Do

Over 13,000 Compassion-assisted Children live within a 30-mile radius of the epicenter of the devastating earthquake that struck Ecuador on Saturday night. The Compassion Ecuador staff and the staff of our local church partners are mobilizing to assess the needs of the children, families and communities we serve.

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How To Pray With Kids About Crisis

We know Jesus’ call to love our neighbor isn’t only for adults, but how do we include kids in praying for children in crisis? Most children in late preschool to elementary years are concrete thinkers so, when you invite them to pray, start with two things they know they themselves need.

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Was My Sponsored Child Affected by That Crisis?

In a perfect world, here’s how the process would work:

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Marikina Foursquare Student Center After Typhoon Ketsana

ketsana Typhoon Ketsana, which struck the Philippines on September 26, damaged more than 1,500 homes of Compassion-assisted children and families, and nearly 20 student centers were affected by the storm.*

Ketsana hit the Philippines on a Saturday, the day when registered children gather at the student centers. But on September 26 not many arrived at Marikina Foursquare Student Center. Ketsana was already pounding hard.

However, some children did come.

Bernadette, the center director, fed them and instructed them to go home immediately. And as she planned to visit the homes of other children to give them some food because the floodwaters were rising fast, she was called by her own family. Her home was flooded too.

“What I have learned from this is not to look back on the possessions I lost, but rather focus on saving myself and my loved ones. On that day, I couldn’t attend to the needs of the children since my own home was in disarray.”

In the following days Bernadette reports that none of the children from her student center were hurt, although all of their homes were flooded, damaged in some way or destroyed completely.

The student center and its surrounding communities were completely submerged under water. And five days after the typhoon, homes and communities were still flooded, muddied, stinky and a mess.

Mirasol, a mother at the church, says,

“It is still a nightmare for me. I still vividly recall images of people being swept away by the water. I couldn’t sleep thinking that I was not able to help them as they were crying, as they were swept away towards the river. My child was crying the loudest, ‘Mother, Mother, the water is so high already!’”

Two of Mirasol’s children, Maribel and Dominic, are registered at the student center. They are safe but their home is still under water.

Miguel, another child from the student center, says he was so afraid because he got separated from his father when his father took his mother to safety first, but could not come back for Miguel and his younger brother because of the dangerously strong current.

Miguel and his brother were rescued by a neighbor, also a Compassion parent, as the boys jumped from roof to roof. They were reunited with their parents the next day at the church, but their tiny home was washed away completely.

Miguel’s father confesses,

“I pounded on my heart in anguish, crying. I was thinking of my boys all the time. I didn’t know what to do. I tried to look for them several times. I even waded back and forth in the water calling out for my sons.”

But despite the situation he and his family now find themselves in, Miguel’s father says,

“I won’t complain because I still have what truly matters.”

His family.


When natural disasters strike, Compassion’s Disaster Relief Fund provides sponsored children and their families with food, clothing and basic supplies to help rebuild their lives. Learn more about the Disaster Relief Fund.

*Editor’s note: In the wake of a disaster we contact each sponsor who has a child affected by that disaster. We do so once we receive details from the country office about the child. If your child was affected by either Typhoon Ketsana or Typhoon Parma, you will be contacted when we receive information about your child.

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Why We Should Care About Honduras

Honduras crisis This is the byline on a recent op-ed piece in The Miami Herald:
“Edouard Lassegue is the Vice President of the Latin America and Caribbean Region at Compassion International, the world’s largest Christian child development organization.”

And this is why Edouard says we should care about what is happening in Honduras:

Poverty in Central American countries is the foundation for all other social justice issues. Honduras maintains an unemployment rate of 28 percent, and two-thirds of its citizens live below the poverty line. The instability the country is currently experiencing is not rooted in politics — it is social. It is hopelessness and destitution.

When Central American economies fail to produce opportunities and jobs — and if governments cannot protect citizens — populist demagogues promising reform but continuing the status quo are elected.

Where poverty flourishes, crime and corruption flourish. This is what we are currently witnessing in Honduras.

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Redemption Needed

Remember when I told you about my new job? I’ve been doing it for several months now and so I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty good grip on things. Well … as good a grip as one can have on a job that depends entirely on world events. And oh my word, the world has been eventful lately, hasn’t it?

One of the first things I do each day when I get to work is open up six world news websites. I browse each site for headlines about our 24 field countries to get an idea of what kind of crises I might be reporting that week.

When I’m reading through the headlines, I sometimes get the surreal feeling that I’m getting a tiny glimpse into God’s view of this world. For a few moments, my perspective shifts from my self-centered, ego-centric worldview to one where we are simply a severely broken and hurting creation in desperate need of redemption.

Right now in the United States, we are practically smothered with political ads and news reports about the faltering economy, but really these “issues” pale in comparison to what’s going on in the rest of the world.

Besides the global food crisis (which you’ve probably heard about by now) here’s an idea of what our staff and children on the other side of the globe are currently facing:

  • Thailand and Bolivia are both dealing with political unrest and violent protests of the current government.
  • Haiti and the Dominican Republic are struggling to recover from four successive hurricanes.
  • The Philippines has faced violent political conflict.
  • Burkina Faso has recently had heavy rains and flooding throughout the country.
  • Bangladesh is dealing with continual flooding.

I’m sure there will be more bullet points to add tomorrow. It’s difficult to read the same kinds of headlines day after day, reporting over and over the non-stop fighting, corruption and scandal happening in every corner of the globe. But more than depressing me, it makes me angry. I know who is ultimately responsible for the evil in this world, and I hate him. But I also know it will end someday, and I know how it will end.

And this is what keeps me going.

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Comfortably Numb

Have you ever repeated a word over and over in your head so many times that it eventually loses its meaning and starts to sound like nonsense? It happened to me the other day with the word “lemon.”

I said lemon so many times that it started to sound like a word I made up. Or like a word from a foreign language. After a while, the word “lemon” was meaningless — it no longer represented a tangy, yellow fruit. It was just a funny sounding nonsense word running through my head.

I think Satan likes to use a similar technique to get us to stop caring about the hurting people of the world.

Whenever we make an emotional connection to someone in need, we are motivated to act. So by getting us to feel disconnected from a certain group of hurting people, he gets us to stop acting on behalf of those who need help. One of the ways he does this is through what’s been called “compassion burnout” or “compassion fatigue.”

When a major crisis happens, the news media often reports it so quickly and intensely that for a time, it’s pretty much impossible to get away from it.

Remember watching TV the week after September 11, 2001? No matter where I looked, I couldn’t escape the horrific images. Those first few days, I couldn’t watch the news without crying. But after a while, I had heard the same stories reported so many times that they no longer affected me the way they did at first. I got used to the horror. I got numb.

Were any of you in this same boat with me? Maybe for you it was the coverage from Hurricane Katrina. Or the Asian tsumani. Or the earthquake in China. Or the Global Food Crisis. The list seems endless, doesn’t it?

This article, recently posted on urbana.org, addesses the idea of compassion burnout.

What do you do when you’ve heard something so many times that you get fatigued … you’re tired of helping, tired of giving, tired of caring?

How do you keep from getting overwhelmed with the desperate needs of the poor or numb to their pleas for help? How do you not get discouraged by the never-ending necessity for compassion?

The article includes several good suggestions for preventing burnout.

But what I’d love to know is how you deal with this on a personal level. Are there things we can do in bringing the needs of the poor to your attention that will help create the emotional connection and keep our stories from getting stale?


UPDATE: Aug. 25, 2011 – The article is no longer available on urbana.org.

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