I Was a Christian Sponge in a Tub of Living Water

I’m a cynic. And I’m a contrarian. When the pop-culture collective is doing something, I usually don’t want any part of it. By staying aloof, I nourish my emotionally wounded soul on a diet rich in the fat of condescension. That’s how I feed my deflated sense of self. That’s how I roll.

Although I’m not always a cynical contrarian, it is often my default viewpoint, and this can be a stumbling block for a social media marketer — cynical contrarians don’t tend to mesh well with marketing objectives. Maybe this is a good thing for you.

In my opinion, most marketing is about numbers. Getting more of something. And by that narrow, cynical definition the One Act video is pure marketing.

But, in my opinion the One Act video transcends the castor oil taste manipulative marketing often leaves me with. And I think that’s because the “one act” this video refers to happened to change my life. I am not a sponsored child, never was, but the act of sponsoring a child took me down a path I never would’ve imagined.

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Always About Jesus

Compassion International CEO Wess Stafford talks about the history of Compassion’s marketing message and why it will always be about Jesus.

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A New Season, A New Position

I love this time of year. There is something about November to New Year’s Eve that is simply magical.  Everything about the smell of the air, the smell of the kitchen, and the smell of grandma’s perfume intoxicates my senses and consumes my soul. And oh yeah, I get to celebrate my birthday!

Like I said, I really, really like this time of year.

But, for all of its constants and familiarities, this time of year also brings about change. I’m getting better at accepting it . . . but I still don’t like it. 

Change means that things that you have always known to be, things that are comfortable because of their consistency, suddenly become different. As in, they are no longer the same. Big and small, professional or personal, things evolve. 

For example, my job.

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The Low Down . . . Down Low

Alright folks, it’s time for an update; the scoop, this dish, the latest happenings. A little FYI, if you will. Forgive me; my coffee is stronger than normal this morning. 

Since we met last, progression on the program has been both productive and sluggish.

Productive in that meetings are set, conversations have been had, and a “plan of action” has been made so that strategic and tactical steps can be taken. 

In the same way, it seems as though little has been accomplished because those all important meetings are not scheduled until later this month to the availability of personnel who have extensive traveling schedules. Unfortunately, patience is not a virtue I possess. 

The conversations, though, have provided the encouragement and affirmation I have needed. Let’s start with the most exciting one.

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Social Media Marketing

Hi. I’m your Compassion internet communications specialist. I specialize in being especially excited about web stuff.

Do I have fun on occasion? You bet. Is most of it work? Always, and did I mention that saving kids from poverty is my commitment? No? Well, there you go.

Recently I was sent by Compassion to the Forrester’s Consumer Forum which is a think-tank of an organization in the marketing industry.

Forrester speaks precisely about ways companies can target trends and future ideas for getting a product or organization into the eyes of the public through social media.

Some serious marketing research takes place. Seriously.

I was there to learn from the experts about social networking techniques for the internet.

Now I see those wheels turning. Compassion’s trying to be trendy? Compassion looks at the future of the marketing industry? Compassion sees a child as a product?

Well, sort of.

What I discovered in the forum is that huge corporations are dishing out millions if not billions to give their products a pleasing experience that you can relate to.

A pleasing experience with toothpaste? A pleasing experience with credit cards?

How about the experience of sponsoring a child?

I am proud to say that Compassion is doing exactly what it should, from a social media perspective, to help children in poverty.

We are giving the world a true experience of a child sponsorship.

Through churches, through word of mouth, through the internet, through this blog and through our social networks such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter,

Compassion is changing lives.

Yes, the world is changing and we at Compassion are changing with it, and that’s a good move, right? That’s a healthy choice you can agree with, right?

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Unbelievable

This past weekend was pretty amazing. Getting a quick trip home, full of family and friends, was just what the doctor ordered. Although, work was on my mind … especially Friday.

Curtis Fletcher informed me before I left on Thursday that he would be attending the entire cabinet meeting as a representative for Rick Davis and would be presenting the proposal on my behalf. Curtis also said he wouldn’t be able to let me know how the presentation went until the meeting was completely over. Needless to say, I was a bit restless from noon to three when he finally called.

“Hello?”

“So, do you want the good news or the bad news?”

“Bad news first.”

“Everyone was there except for a woman that we need for a unanimous decision.”

I stared at myself blankly in the mirror, and cocked my head to one side. Not bad, I thought. I had prepared myself for the worst.

“And the good news?” I asked with eyes closed.

“They love it and want to do it. Now. They fully approve and are ready to put the proposal into motion.”

I couldn’t bring myself to respond right away. I was shocked, overjoyed, and overwhelmed at the news.

“Oh my word… Thank you… I… huh, oh my goodness… Really? This is amazing. I mean, it’s unbelievable.” I continued to hem and haw, stammer, and fumble over what to say.

“We’ll have some meetings when you get back to start putting together a plan of action for Phase I. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”

I hung up my phone and, with the help of a close friend, did what any girl would do in my case… jumped up and down and squealed at decibels only dogs can hear.

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Scheduling Schisms

Another week, another update, another way that God is taking things into His hands.

After a number of revisions, I presented the business case to Rick Davis, the head of the marketing department. Remember him? His approval and support is crucial . . . and we have it.

The meeting went well; questions had answers, investment costs were justified, and the next steps head forward. Forward to another conference room in front of the child sponsorship program cabinet.

This process may seem as though it’s being drawn out, but in fact, I’m encouraged. I’m at the final step — a presentation to the decision makers from throughout the company who determine how resources are allocated in regards to our country staff and the child sponsorship program.

There’s a glitch though.

The presentation is October 10 at noon. And on October 10 at noon I will be back in Texas helping my friend stay calm and sane before she walks the aisle of matrimony the next morning.

Ironic? Possibly. But probably not. The Lord apparently has something else in mind.

Believe it or not, I’m not upset that I can’t present — I don’t have the right to be that selfish. The creation of the campaign and the progress I have made thus far have all been outside of my own ability or direction anyway. No reason to claim it now. If anything, getting to see it unfold, to witness God move how He wants, when He wants, is more fun.

Knowing that its success is wholly dependent on the Lord’s will and allowance assures me that I can rest confidently in the project’s achievement. No matter when that may be.

In other news, I heard back from HR about the position that I applied for. They gave it to another girl they felt was better qualified. It is an awesome answer to prayers. Let me tell you why.

Thursday, the day before, I was talking with Curtis Fletcher, and I told him that I had applied for the job. He looked at me and asked, “Do you really want that job?”

“Yes.” I replied. “I think I could do it, and I think it would be a good learning experience.”

Apparently I am not very convincing because he looked at me and repeated his question and sure enough I had a different answer. “Sure . . . maybe. I don’t know.”

Friday morning, as I sat in my car in the parking lot, I prayed that the Lord would make it apparent what He would have me to do. I asked Him to speak loud and clear, and to tell me in some form or fashion if I were to accept the position if it was offered.

I know myself pretty well, and I knew that if I were offered the position, even if it wasn’t what I wanted, I would accept out of fear of security and longevity here at Compassion.

I got out of my car, made my way to my office, and answered a phone call about an hour later. “We have given the position to someone else.”

Pretty clear, wouldn’t you say? I’m grateful I didn’t have to come to that conclusion on my own, either. I’m terribly indecisive.

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From Glory to Glory

I have been making my way through the New Testament and am currently in 2 Corinthians. I love Paul. He’s blunt without being brutal and encouraging even when he has no physical reason to be encouraged. He’s real, open, honest, and a little crazy.

I was reading through chapter three this morning and came across something that gave me a hope and excitement about the future that I have really been praying for.

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Still Here

I hardly know where to start. Perhaps I should begin with the presentation.

On August 14 I gave a presentation for “the proposal” I worked on during my internship. By the grace of God, it was received very well. Various department heads were there, including the marketing director himself, and they all liked the idea. A lot. In fact, they liked it so much, the first question was “What are our next steps?”

I was speechless.

My supervisor, Chris Giovagnoni, filled in my silence. “Uhhh …”

Good call Chris. Way to cover.

Shortly after the presentation, I debriefed with Chris. What he then told me only led to yet another level of amazement and surprise.

How would you feel about working with us for another six weeks? You’d be doing different stuff since you completed your internship project, but you’d still be involved with the ‘next step’ discussions. And we’d buy you some time, free of the ‘what do I do now’ question, as Human Resources considers all the candidates for the positions you’ve applied for.”

“Uhhh, yes.”

Let me paint a picture for you.

The night before, I was lying on my back on the floor of my room in tears as I spoke with my mom about my doubt and fears for the future.

“What if I am not supposed to be in Colorado or with Compassion at all?” I sobbed.

“What if my time here is done? Where will I go now? How am I supposed to know what to do?”

God was in control and His timing was perfect … yet again. He made it clear where He wanted me and what He wanted me to be doing the next day, the day of the internship graduation.

Would I have been better off knowing I would be staying days or even weeks before? Not necessarily.

The only thing that would have changed would have been my desperate dependence on Him. I would have begun to take over control of the next steps and, if memory serves me right, I typically screw things up.

So what seemed to be hard and uncomfortable test of faith was actually the Lord’s way of saving me from myself in the long run. It has painted for me a more real and tangible picture of His grace.

So here I sit; in my same cube at my same desk, happy as a lark.

*Furrowed brow*

What is a lark and why is it happy?

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Doing a New Thing

It is officially my last Tuesday in the office, and I am … speechless. Where did the last six weeks go?

Despite the fact that there are only three days left in this work week, it feels as though there is two weeks worth of work to be done. I will be putting the finishing touches on the proposal today and will be presenting it to the marketing “big-wigs” on Thursday.

The presentation is weighing heavily on my mind for a number of different reasons. For starters, it will be the first, and potentially only, chance that I have in front of such an influential audience here at Compassion.

Secondly, I simply want to do well. This project is close to my heart and I want to do it justice. I don’t just want to sell it. I want to inspire my audience to feel as passionately about it as I do and see the vision that I have for it. I don’t want them to merely associate this proposal with “the intern’s project,” but instead I want them to think that “this is where Compassion could go; this is what Compassion should do.”

While there are other matters that seem to float aimlessly around in my thoughts, the most important and imperative at the moment is the question of my immediate future. I have applied for several positions here at Compassion,

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It’s Happening

For those who have been following along these last few weeks, you know that I have been trying to come up with a new viral marketing campaign.

As of about a week ago, I think I have finally got my hands around something solid. Now, the fun and creative part is over and the nitty-gritty, detail heavy part is looming.

In all honesty, it’s wearing me out. I’m not a detail-oriented person. I like to look at the big picture. And it’s in the details that I get lost, feel inadequate, and am ready to toss it to the wind or pass it off to someone else. After all, I’m just the intern.

But I read something yesterday that revitalized my efforts and has given me a hope about the future of this project.

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Creation Revelation

I went camping for the first time this weekend. Turns out … I’m not made for it. There are aspects of it that I enjoyed immensely, such as setting up the tent (which I am proud to say didn’t take us very long), making a fire and cooking dinner over it (and by dinner I mean S’mores), and, of course, hiking.

My friends and I camped at “The Crags,” which lies directly behind Pike’s Peak. Words simply don’t do justice to the splendor and majesty of God’s creation. It is breathtaking and awe-inspiring. And that’s what got me thinking. Everyone needs to feel this small so they can see just how big He is.

As you know, I’ve spent the last several weeks brainstorming about how to capture Gen Y and move them to action. They need only to be given the right opportunity to go out into the world; because once they are there they can make a difference.

And now, an idea has been born!

  • It’s about giving young adults the opportunity to completely participate in what Compassion is doing around the world.
  • It’s about getting intimate with extreme poverty.

I can attest to the growing pains in my own soul, to see and experience God in a big yet intimate way. For whatever reason, there lies within me the idea that He is where I have yet to go: out there. Among people groups and areas of the world that our society says are off limits; dangerous.

I also know that my feelings are shared by many of my peers. There is an overarching sense of duty that we feel we must fulfill, a holy war we must wage. My generation is on the horizon, and we are ready to fight; we need only to be equipped with the proper armor and the opportune time.

There are still countless bases to be covered, details to be ironed out, and logistics to be overcome. But, driving the progression of it all is an extreme excitement about the possibility of taking my generation on a journey that will change our lives and the lives of those with whom we share the story.

I know that I am more moved and inspired by sitting down with someone over a cup of coffee and hearing about what the Lord is doing in that person’s life than watching yet another commercial that exploits pictures of children in poverty in order to tap into the pity that lies in wait within our souls. At the end of the day, pity fades. We forget about them, not because we mean to, but because we haven’t heard their story.

I think that as this idea takes shape and people who participate come back to share what they encountered, listeners would see in a new light the work that needs to be done.

The bottom line is this: God will accomplish His will in some form of fashion, using whichever generation will make itself available. My question is simply this: Why not us? Why not now?

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