People living under the international poverty line go to extreme measures to earn a living. Often they have few to no safety nets — figuratively or literally. Meet four people in Asia who do extreme jobs to feed their families. Though their occupations are harsh, they can teach us the dignity of work and the beauty of sacrificing to care for your loved ones.Continue Reading ›
Read the stories of just a few people whose lives have been transformed, thanks to the support of their sponsors. Be inspired and encouraged that you are coming alongside young people just like these as they work to craft a future of purpose.Continue Reading ›
Several weeks ago, Compassion internally released a book communicating its brand, its mission and its character to employees worldwide. I eagerly flipped through the pages, as I always do, looking for photography by my co-workers.
On the second page was our mission statement, “Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name,” and a picture of Roselyn.
I remember the first time I read about Roselyn. It was my first month on the job.in the Philippines had written a story about her in September 2007:
10 questions? Yes. You asked ’em.
10 answers? Yes … kind of. They’re just not all in this post.
Here we go. 10 Questions With Dennis Tumusiime, a tours and visits specialist with Compassion Uganda.
1. Do the families that Compassion works with have a pretty good understanding about what the program entails, and are they open to their children being evangelized? Is there a balance between being so desperate that they feel they must enroll their children and thus expose them to the gospel in order for them to be educated and fed? (Kalaya G)
I’d say that 80 percent of the communities where child development centers are located have an understanding [at least partially] of our program components. There have been instances where children are denied the benefits of the programs by their parents because the parents have different beliefs and norms, but like you said, they are compelled to enroll the children because of lack of supplies to the children’s needs.
2. What are the qualifications for the project workers to work at the child development centers? (Kayla)
Each position, be it health, finance, or sponsor donor ministry has a professional element that an aspiring candidate should have. But Compassion also has a holistic approach to the work we do, and the same idea applies to the workers in the child development centers; they should be holistically qualified –- not just academically qualified. The applicant’s spiritual status matters, and it is paramount.
Recently, we gave you the chance to ask Edwin Estioko, our Field Communication Specialist in the Philippines all your burning questions about himself, the Philippines and Compassion in the Philippines. Here are his answers …
1. Can you tell about the time when you first decided to work for Compassion? (Catherine)
Before Compassion I was production manager for OMF Literature (the biggest Christian publisher in the Philippines) and a writer of children’s books. I grew up at church serving and teaching little children; playing with them and just enjoying their company. When I saw the ad for a Communications Specialist for Compassion International in the Philippines, I was literally drawn in. Feeling a strong sense of peace and confidence that the Lord was calling me to this beautiful ministry for children, I applied for the post and on the same week filed for resignation from OMF despite not knowing for sure whether Compassion would hire me or not. Thank God they did.
2. What goals do you hope to accomplish in your area? (Jason)
I hope that through the photographs I take and stories I write about Filipino children I could reach as many readers as I can around the world so that more and more people would stand up for children and advocate for them, so that more and more could see that thousands of children and families here in the Philippines truly lack opportunities for a better life (or simply for a livable minimum) despite the fact that they are hard working and full of faith.
What drives me is Proverbs 31:8, “to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
3. What have been the toughest times of your life, and what have you learned from these trials? (Juli Jarvis)
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in the country where your sponsored child lives? What it’s like to work for Compassion? What gets the people going who do this work each day? If so, now’s your chance to “Ask the Field!”
Ask your burning questions of our staff from around the world about their country, their work — whatever you want to know. I’ll choose 10 of your questions for them to answer. (Being the protective mother bear that I am, I’ll make sure to choose culturally appropriate questions. What’s polite dinner conversation in the U.S. may not be appropriate in their country, so keep this in mind as you ask.)
I’d like to introduce to you Dennis Tumusiime and Edwin Estioko.
Dennis is a native of Uganda and works as a tours and visits specialist for Compassion International Uganda. (Did you know that Compassion doesn’t send a bunch of Americans over to other countries to minister to the children, but works through natives of that country so they can culturally contextualize the ministry? That’s pretty cool.) Anyway, Dennis has been working for two years with Compassion to coordinate and plan visits from sponsors and donors to Uganda. (So, if you visit Uganda, you’ll probably get to see that smiling face!) Coordinating all these trips means he’s quite an adventurous man.
Edwin Estioko began working for Compassion six years ago and is originally from Quezon City, Philippines. He is Compassion’s Field Communication Specialist in the Philippines and writes stories about and takes pictures of the ministry that is happening through Compassion International Philippines. He is married with no kids, so he and his wife can easily consider all the Compassion children as their own.
Dennis and Edwin are excited to answer your questions, so ask away!
Tell me if you can relate to this: When I first started sponsoring my Compassion child, I clung so tightly to that one picture I had of him — my one lifeline into his world. OK, so I knew from his bio that he helps his mom wash dishes and loves art, but I would hold that little picture in my hands and examine every detail, trying to glean whatever information I could.
I can’t get this photo out of my head. In my job each day, I look at tons of photos from the field, but some stick with me.
Edwin Estioko, our Communication Specialist living in the Philippines, took this picture of the Camilo family. A family of eight who share this little home together. What you’re seeing is their whole home. There’s not a sitting room hiding just at the edge of this photo. That’s it. Those little children sleep lined up by each other like sardines each night.
When I was a little kid I had a nickname: Heater Legs. At night, my legs would reach roughly 375 degrees and, allegedly, flail wildly all night. My sisters would fight over who had to sleep next to Heater Legs on vacation, ‘cause it wasn’t gonna be a fun night.
I wonder if one of these cute little kids is a Heater Legs. Or a Snorer. Or a Bed Hog … umm, I guess that would be a Ground Hog in this case. And yet despite this sleeping situation, here they lie smiling. Some days this family only eats bananas. Some days they don’t eat at all. And yet when Edwin asked them to show him how they sleep, they rushed to their places, laughing and pushing each other playfully. They don’t mind it because they keep each other warm.
It reminds me of something Paul Henri, our communications specialist in Burkina Faso, said to me. Paul Henri just recently started working for Compassion; he goes out to the projects to get those great stories about how children are affected by Compassion’s ministry. And this is what he had to say about the kids he gets to meet: “Something great that I have learned from children I interview is their happiness despite poverty. They seem not to be affected by poverty. When I talk to them, I usually see a large smile on their faces. This makes me remember Jesus, who was sleeping in the stern of the boat while a storm was raging.”
These children in the Philippines and Paul Henri in Burkina Faso sure give me perspective. It’s hard to keep up my attitude of grumbling when I remember those little faces lined up on the floor. Faces that reflect joy despite the storm they’re in.
It’s not that we don’t have real problems here, too. We might be facing unemployment or divorce or infertility or cancer. Our problems are real and hard. But what I’m learning from the field is that I can’t wait for life to be perfect to live in Christ’s joy. I sometimes think that if only this one thing happened, I’d be happy. But I can’t wait to have joy and peace until my storms have passed.
Oh, for the day I can become like a child — to live each day with a kid’s playful smile on my face. To have Jesus’ peace and joy today, despite my worries, just like those cute little kids in the Philippines.