One Million Changed Lives

Ali Anderson, one of our ambassadors to the future,* shared this prayer at our 1 millionth child celebration last Friday. We thought we’d share it with you, along with another video from the celebration.

“For nothing is impossible with God.” – Luke 1:37 (NIV)

Most Holy King,

We stand before You right now in complete awe. In awe of who You are, of what You have done, and what You are doing.

group of men and women gathered in a church

Thank you for being so visibly present in the circumstances of today. We are so humbled by Your greatness and by Your presence in our lives. You are the Creator of the heavens, the orchestrator of the orbits, and the breath of life. (more…)

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Lifted Up

Jang Mi-Ran is the world’s strongest woman. Able to snatch, clean, and jerk better than anyone else in the business, this South Korean woman can lift 718.7 pounds . . . leaving her competition in the dust.

woman holding a craftBut Jang is made of more than just muscle. This weightlifter has a heart for the small, the weak, the poor, and she is using her fame to help children in desperate situations.

Jang Mi-Ran is a long-time Compassion friend, but today she is the face of sponsorship for the 1 million children we help.

Fellow Blewussi Kpodo was one of the world’s most vulnerable children, but now he is in the hands of the strongest. She says, “It really is my honor . . . This moment makes me forget every difficult moment of my life I went through.”

Though Jang did not grow up in extreme poverty, she knows what it means to struggle, and she understands the power that God has to rescue.

“I was a girl who was very depressed because of my appearance. However, the factor [my appearance] that I thought the weakest became the factor that I think the strongest.”

Jang is able to stand up to weightlifting giants from around the globe with confidence, but she was not always so courageous. In fact, she was once the wallflower.

“It is miracle that I am standing right here and speak in front of the people because I was the timid girl who didn’t like to be in front of the people. It’s all because God is with me.”

woman wearing gold medal and holding rosesShe has broken world records and is laden with gold medals, but Jang is humble. And despite the adoration she receives from her fans and the media, she is tentative to embrace their praise.

“Recently I had difficult time because people started to think me as a superwoman who is doing well in everything only through the image that shown through media. In fact, there are more things that I am not good at than things that I am good at.”

Whether good, bad, Olympian or amateur, Jang is making a difference in this world by speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves. Her life is an encouragement to children everywhere to find their identity, strength, and hope in God.

“I have strong faith that God would never leave me alone.” And she will be able to encourage her sponsored children to believe that same message. “I believe that God can do impossible things when I pray.”

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From One Child to 1 Million Children

Watch One Child and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

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One Child, Each Child, Every Child Is Special

As you know, we recently announced our millionth sponsored child. Now, I won’t tell you a lot of random facts about 1 million.

Like how long it would take you to count to 1 million (14 days).

Or how much 1 million dollar bills weigh (2,204 pounds).

Because as important as 1 million is, and as huge of a milestone as 1 million sponsored children is, it’s really just about one child.

And a few weeks ago, I got to meet that one child — Fellow Blewussi Kpodo. He lives in a dusty community just outside of Lomé, Togo.

Fellow’s whole family had come out for our meeting. His father stood proudly, his arm on the shoulder of his oldest son. Fellow’s two older sisters darted in and out of the house, covering their faces and giggling at the sight of my pale skin. His younger brother made himself at home in my lap.

All the while, Fellow watched the commotion with his solemn brown eyes.

I stared at his eyes when he wasn’t looking. Fringed with dark eyelashes, I wondered at what they had seen.

They had watched his father battered by grief when Fellow’s mother died five years ago.

They had filled with tears when the headmaster sent him home from school because he didn’t have his school fees — again.

They had stung with smoke as he bent over the small fire he prepared every evening for his sisters to cook cassava and dried fish for dinner.

And now, those same eyes sought out mine.

“He has a question for you,” explained the interpreter. I nodded. “He wants to know if you know his sponsor.”

I grinned at Fellow, and for the first time a smile reached his eyes.

“I don’t know her,” I explained. “But I know that you are very special to her.”

And in that moment, everything else faded away. Fellow wasn’t one of a million children. He was just one.

One child.

One sponsor.

One more step toward changing the world.

group of people with child smiling

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.” – Pablo Casals

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Our 1 Millionth Child

It is my great privilege to introduce you to Fellow Blewussi Kpodo, our 1 millionth sponsored child! Fellow is 8 years old and lives in Togo with his father, two older sisters and one younger brother. And he now has a very bright future! 🙂

And who better to stand alongside this precious little one than the world’s strongest woman? Fellow’s sponsor is Jang Mi-Ran, a long-time Compassion supporter and Olympic gold medalist weight lifter from Korea.

smiling boyfemale weight lifter

So, the strongest woman in the world is now sponsoring one of the most vulnerable children in the world!

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One Million Children Sponsored

I am overwhelmed with gratitude as I write this. Today, as we do every day, we have the privilege of acting as a bridge between caring sponsors and children in need.

However, this particular day we have a sponsorship that is very special in that it represents a milestone for our ministry. Compassion is currently serving 1 million sponsored children! One million!!

I wish we could all be together today to celebrate this joyous moment. What a day it is!

Thank you sponsors! Thank you for your love of children. Thank you for your faithfulness to God’s call on your lives.

I love you, and I love serving the Lord with you through this amazing ministry!

Updated at 4:30 p.m. MDT

“Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.” – Habakkuk 1:5 (NIV)

Watch One Million Children and subscribe to Compassion YouTube for more stories.

Tune into Fox and Friends tomorrow (May 21) at 6:50 a.m. EDT to “meet” our 1 millionth child and his sponsor.

The newly sponsored child lives with his father outside Togo’s capital city of Lomé. Togo, a country whose population is seriously affected by the devastation of AIDS, is the most recent country to join the growing list of nations where Compassion works.

The child’s sponsor is from South Korea, the country in which Compassion began its mission 57 years earlier. The sponsor is most recently noted for a gold medal she won at last year’s Beijing Olympics.

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Something to Get Excited About

Meet Jeffry. He lives in Nicaragua. He is our one millionth registered child.

small boy standingA registered child is different than a sponsored child in that the registered child doesn’t have a sponsor . . . yet. Once the registered child gets a sponsor, that child is a sponsored child. Makes sense, right?

The registered children are the ones whose pictures you see on the sponsor a child page at and in the child packets at concerts and other events, such as Compassion Sunday.

The registered children are the children who are waiting to be chosen by a sponsor and who the Unsponsored Children’s Fund assists until that sponsor comes along.

The Unsponsored Children’s Fund bridges the gap between registration and sponsorship. It allows the registered child to have all the same benefits as the sponsored child.

We don’t have one million children waiting for sponsors. Jeffry is the one millionth child concurrently registered. More than 850,000 of those children already have sponsors. And since Compassion began in 1952, nearly two million children have been part of our programs.

That’s a little context for this post that Mark Hanlon, Compassion’s senior vice president of sponsor and donor development, submitted from Nicaragua yesterday.

It was like so many other Compassion child home visits I’d done before (and in my 28 years at Compassion, I’ve done a few!), but this one seemed to hold a bit of extra anticipation and excitement for me.

I happened to be in Nicaragua two weeks after we had registered our millionth child for the very first time. It turns out that this millionth child is a little 3-year-old boy in Nicaragua.

The office staff there was so excited, and they set up a home visit for me to meet little Jeffry.

It was kind of strange because Jeffry had no idea what a historic milestone he is in the history of Compassion.

In fact, when I got there with several of the Compassion Nicaragua staff and some of the center staff, he was totally overwhelmed. Too much attention by too many grown-ups all at once – and he did what many normal little 3-year olds do – he covered up his eyes with his hands (a la “see no evil”) and pretended we weren’t there!

When his grandmother (who is his caregiver since his mother now lives in the U.S. and couldn’t take him with her) tried to get him to take his hands away from his face, he ran away crying.

That was OK. We shifted our focus to the grandmother and asked her questions about the impact of having Jeffry registered in the program at the church.

She talked about the hope and a future she had for Jeffry to get through high-school and maybe even go to university.

She expressed concern over his health and the health of her husband who has diabetes.

She talked about the challenges of supporting a household of 17 adults and children in her dirt floor, cinder block structure in the heart of economically challenged Managua.

Her husband (the diabetic) and her three sons work hard as day laborers – when there is work – and they have terrible difficulty in making ends meet. She wanted better for her little grandson, Jeffry.

Then it struck me that this visit indeed was like most other visits I’d done. Parents (and grandparents) worldwide want the same thing for their children – a better future than what they have.

Mark Hanlon and Jeffry

It didn’t matter one bit to Jeffry or his grandmother that he is Compassion’s millionth child. What did matter is that they now have some hope.

And now, I really was excited to be there! Not because I got to meet the millionth child in his home, but because I got to see something that Compassion gets to be a part of with the local church every day. Releasing a motherless child, living in extreme poverty, living with 16 other people, from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Now that’s something to get excited about!

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