The Prodigal Is Now a Pastor

German moved completely away from God, but God did not draw away from him. One day, when German was 19, things dramatically changed.

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What Are Sponsored Teens Saying?

Teens at the Calvary Foursquare Student Center are grateful for their center and for the staff’s care. Especially since they live in rough communities where teen pregnancy, violent gangs and drug abuse are rampant.

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God Responds to a Suicidal Woman’s Distress

The most devastating words Sandra remembers ever saying were, “If it wasn’t for the Child Survival Program, I would have killed myself.”

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Junior’s Story: Hope in the Midst of Danger

Junior was 5 years old when he joined Compassion’s program. Now 17, he faces many pressures and dangers within his community of Portoviejo, Ecuador.

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The Trouble with Carnival is…

Seen from afar, Carnival in Brazil is truly beautiful, and it’s possible to understand why tourists from around the world come. But if you look closer, you will see another scenario.

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Admitting Failure

Just as we in the developed world can’t guarantee how our children are going to “come out,” we can’t control how a child in the developing world will “come out.” We need to be free to admit “failure,” because that’s how we learn.

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Potential in the Most Unlikely of Places

Certainly Tales has already achieved more than most in his little corner of the world. He’s been a role model to his mother. Maybe this same strength his mother saw will be enough to propel him out of the vicious cycle of life he’s currently living in.

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A Safe Harbor From Drugs and Violence

drugs and violence Recife is a beautiful city in northeastern Brazil. Known as the “Brazilian Venice,” it was founded in 1537 by the Portuguese and was greatly influenced by the Jews and Dutch. The Atlantic Ocean bathes its beautiful beaches, and the temperature can exceed 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Foreigners and Brazilians go to Recife to travel and to rest. But hidden behind the great avenues and beautiful places is another Recife: the Recife of violence and drugs, with broken families because of the troubles that drugs bring together; the Recife of gunfire that scares children and kills innocents.

“I still have no emotional structure to even listen to fireworks,” says Adriana, director of Centro de Desenvolvimento Integral Vida 1, which lost an employee to murder last year, a victim of a gang war. “There was so much shooting, so much shooting!”

The employee’s name was Alexandre, and he was killed as he was leaving the center to exchange a crate of soda. A drug dealer suddenly grabbed Alexandre and to protect himself from gunfire coming from another drug dealer. It was urban warfare, and an innocent died.

Inside the center, the children could hear the shooting and were scared and started crying. They lay on the floor in fear after the gunfire began.

“It was a terrible time. It was difficult to explain to the children that God was in control. We lost a friend. Alexandre was loved by the children.”

If losing a beloved teacher is traumatic, imagine when a child sees his mother being arrested by the police?

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A Chance to Survive

Hello Compassion Blog readers.

Sorry I haven’t contributed much lately. I’m still here and still handling crisis communications, in case you were wondering. There is something that has been on my mind that I feel compelled to share with you.

I’m gonna step outside my comfort zone for a minute to share this with you. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I was diagnosed with it when I was 15, so I’ve had it for half my life, but you’d probably never know it if you met me. I don’t talk about it much. Most people I interact with on a regular basis don’t even know. In the past 10 years, the medical research and pharmaceutical industries have come a long way in treating the disease, and this has allowed me to live to a virtually pain-free, symptom-free life.

But here’s the thing. I have a normal life simply because I happen to have been born in the United States. I have access to powerful drugs. I have insurance to cover the (outrageously high) cost of them. Certainly I am grateful for this, but lately I’ve been thinking about what my life would be like if I were born into poverty in a developing country. What if I was from rural Rwanda? Or a slum in the Philippines? Or a poor community in Nicaragua?

I’d more than likely be totally crippled by now. At 30 years old.

This thought really freaks me out, to be honest with you. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not be able to stand up straight, to walk, or to grip things. To live in constant, life-altering pain. I feel guilty for being happy I was born here. I don’t have to try to live with this disease without the help of drugs. I am not crippled. I assume it’s similar in a way to the guilt a person feels when they survive a car accident where the other passengers died . . . the ugly injustice of it. I understand that God’s ways are higher than our ways, but I struggle to understand why He chooses for some — why He chose ME — to be born into affluence and why He chooses some to be born into poverty. It’s not fair.

Nowhere is this injustice more evident than in the fight against HIV and AIDS. December 1 was World AIDS Day, and Brianne told you about our AIDS Initiative. The amazing thing about this program is that it literally restores justice to an unjust world. Without access to antiretroviral drugs, those battling AIDS in poverty-stricken countries fight an unwinnable war. By providing the antiretroviral therapy, Compassion allows children with death sentences another chance at life. A chance that, had they been born here, they would have had simply by virtue of their nationality.

If anyone is in the position to get this, it’s Godfrey. He understands that he is alive today because Compassion is fighting the injustice of HIV and AIDS in Uganda. His life is his testimony.

Compassion’s AIDS Initiative is more than just drugs. It’s nutritional support. It’s the critical laboratory testing. It’s psychosocial support. It’s treatment of opportunistic infections. It’s transportation assistance. It’s income generation. It’s housing repair. It’s all the opportunities that a person suffering from HIV here in the U.S. would have.

The AIDS Initiative essentially levels the playing field to give every victim of HIV — no matter where they were born — an equal chance to survive this devastating disease.

Give someone a chance to survive by supporting the AIDS Initiative today.

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How Drug Running Affects a Community

Like in any place where drug smuggling is done, a strong clandestine support structure is needed. A list of packers, sellers, messengers, gunmen, guards, lawyers, policemen, drug-storage-home owners and front men are supposedly kept on payrolls, and the financial benefits are still enough to make the capos richer. Gualey is no exception.

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