Kids at Play

two children playing at the beach

The real fun of Instagram is seeing the photos that our friends share with us. Here are three of our favorites with the theme kids at play.

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Experience the Beauty of the Philippines

Shaun Groves with group of Filipino children

As you know the Compassion Bloggers were in the Philippines earlier this month getting introduced to our ministry in very personal way. Here’s a little of what it what was like for them.

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baby sitting on purple couch


These babies are beneficiaries of our Child Survival Program.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.” —Jeremiah 1:5, NIV

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Earthquake Pictures From Haiti

UPDATE: Jan. 30, 2010 – The first eight photos are new.

Earthquake pictures from Haiti taken by our staff and contractors. As we receive more pictures, we will upload them to our Haiti Earthquake set on Flickr, which automatically updates this slideshow.

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Josh Durias on Children in Poverty

We’d like to introduce you to Josh Durias and his photography.

Josh was born and raised in Seattle. He’s a father of two, and a husband to one.

We’re plagiarizing here … jes so ya know.

He’s a son of Philippine immigrants and grew up with his mother and father, sister, brother, grandmother, grandfather, two aunts, four uncles and five cousins (among other houseguests) in the 18 years he spent at home.

He enjoys people. And likes to laugh … even courtesy laughs … ha ha. 🙂

We met Josh through this blog. He sent us an e-mail with some photos he took on a Compassion trip. They are stunning. See for yourself.

We also asked him to share a little bit about the trip to help put the photos in context. We hope you enjoy Josh’s perspective on children in poverty.

Gearing up for my Compassion trip to Ecuador, I told my wife, “Ya know? In some ways I might have more in common with the Compassion kids than with the folks I’m traveling with.”

She needed a bit more convincing.

I reminded her that my cousin was a Compassion child in the Philippines, my mother grew up in a poor farming community in Zamboanga, and many of my family members are still living in situations like the ones I’ll see on the trip.

“Wow,” she replied. “I hope people can see that in your photos.”

With that, my challenge was set: Tell the stories of these kids as if they were my own family.

Back in June, I traveled with a group of donors to Quito, Ecuador. The first stop was Bernabe Student Center for a Child Survival Program (CSP) presentation. This was the same center where I met Edison and Paula.

Edison and his family opened up their home for us to see what typical living arrangements look like in this area of Quito.

After lunch with the family, the highlight of the day was Edison’s birthday cake. No, it wasn’t his birthday, but for Edison’s first five birthdays his family didn’t have the funds for a birthday cake. So on that day, Compassion sponsored Edison’s very first birthday cake!

We encouraged him to “go for it,” but Edison wanted us to slice the cake up for everyone to enjoy.

When we returned to the center, a little girl named Paula waited anxiously for one of the families on the trip – her sponsor family. She was shy, but excited about the meeting. Her sponsor family greeted her with open arms and grins from ear to ear, but what really broke the ice were the gifts.

The family unveiled (among other things) a “Dora the Explorer” blanket. Paula loved Dora.

From that point on hugs, smiles and tears of joy were shared by everyone in the room. To think, this is just the start of years of support.

The last center we visited (Jesus Rey de Reyes Student Center) was located in Otavalo. Here we met Jessica and her family and spent much of the afternoon doing typical tasks around their home.

A few of the members on the trip tried their hand at picking corn. Others worked the wool that the family used in weaving belts that were sold at the market. Some of the most brilliant colors and intricate weaving I’ve ever seen!

On the flight home, I realized how thankful I am. I am thankful for an organization like Compassion whose sole purpose is to release children from poverty.

I am thankful that kids like Edison, Paula, Jessica and my cousin can be given hope in places where there may be no hope. And I am thankful that I, the son of a poor farmer’s daughter, get to share the story of kids growing up in his own mother’s shoes and sharing them through photography.

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Looking for Food

Luz is going to the farmers market today. She is taking her 3-year-old daughter, Vanesa, with her, to search for food. Thousands of mothers for many years have come here daily to find food for their families.

  • Join Luz and Vanesa as they look for food by clicking on the image below to a view a slideshow of their search.
  • Select “Show Info” in the upper right hand corner of the slideshow to read each photo’s caption.

Upload your photos to our Flickr group. Show us how you see poverty.

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The Poverty of ME

Last week, I was in Mexico. On a sponsor tour. And I saw the deepest, darkest poverty of my life.

But I didn’t have to travel to ME, the abbreviation we use when referring to Mexico, to see it. I only had to look at me.

I was in Mexico for the wrong reason. I didn’t go for the children, to become a stronger, more passionate voice for them. To serve them better. To serve you better. I went because I like to travel. I went for me.

There certainly are solid business reasons for me to have gone on the trip, but I didn’t get out of my own way long enough to realize them. I hate that.

How do I redeem the opportunity God gave me and that I squandered? (more…)

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Focusing on the Leadership Development Program

I’ll start by saying this: It’s very hard to explain impact a Compassion trip can have on a person.

For most of my life, the only thing I knew about poverty was the Sally Struthers commercials. You know, those spots from the ’80s with all the slow-motion shots of children crying. I have been given the opportunity to go with a video production crew to various countries to film the work of Compassion. In some way, I expected to see this Sally Struthers image. I was totally wrong.

I’m a sound engineer for Student Life. We produce large camps, conferences and a variety of additional resources for churches. About the time I started working there, Student Life had just partnered with Compassion. Since then we’ve always had a Compassion presentation at our events, and work to educate our attendees about what sponsoring a child means.

Last year we were sent to Uganda to interview students from Compassion’s Leadership Development Program* (LDP). Our hope was that some of the students would travel with our camp teams throughout the summer and lead the Compassion presentation from stage. What better way to show the work of Compassion than to put living proof of that work on stage?

Before this trip I had already been on one Compassion video shoot, but it was a 48-hour whirlwind trip to Guatemala. It was a fast turnaround, and we were only able to see a few children. Our video focused on one child’s experience meeting her sponsor. I could see the impact Compassion was having on a single child, but what would the finished product look like? All I knew going into the Uganda trip was that LDP students had grown up through the Compassion child sponsorship program, graduated, and were then sponsored through college. These students were the cream of the crop.

smiling manWe arrived in Kampala and tried to get some rest. The next morning we had our first LDP student interview. His name was James.

This was initially a typical setup for our team. We had done hundreds of interviews. What I did not know was that my life and perspective of Compassion would be changed forever by the testimony of this man.

James was more educated, well spoken and passionate about his relationship with God than I could say I have ever been. He described his childhood –- one that was riddled with loss of parents and siblings, leaving him alone to live with an aunt. He spoke of being malnourished and without hope. Then he said all that changed when he joined Compassion.

I could have probably predicted most of his interview to this point. We had asked most of the questions, and it was the picture of so many nonprofit companies and others who serve those less fortunate than most Americans. He was a child in poverty who was given a chance. It was his answer to our last question that stopped us all cold. (more…)

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With God All Things Are Possible

Hey! I have new photos of Amisi. I was so blessed to meet him on my trip to Uganda last month.

Amisi coloring
He’s such an ambitious child! As soon as I gave him his new coloring book, he was on a serious mission to get every page colored.

Amisi eating ice cream
I bought him some ice cream, but he wasn’t crazy about it at first. He’d never tasted anything so cold. Once it melted though, he became a fan.

I was told the outfit he’s wearing, along with his shoes and socks, were purchased through the Christmas Gift Program.

Amisi and Robyn
Amisi is so full of life and joy. It’s hopeful to know he’s receiving health care, food and educational opportunities. And most important — he’s learning about God’s love. To be just a small part of this is such a blessing. Even though he’s only 5 years old, I pray he remembers my visit through the years and knows that I adore him.

During my visit, I also gave him a banner that says, “With God, all things are possible.” As he grows up, I hope he clings to this message. I can’t wait to see how God works in his life. He may be living in a poverty-stricken African village now, but with God, the possibilities for his life are endless.

Have you visited your child? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and tell me!

And if you have any photos, add them to our Flickr group. Be sure to include brief descriptions and I’ll share some of them here in a few days!

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