We’ve come to the end of another incredible year at Compassion International and we thought we’d take a moment to highlight some of our favorite and most popular blog posts of 2015. And as an added treat, we’ve added a little “story behind the story” of our top 10 to give you a peek behind the curtain of how some of these pieces were developed.
When social media manager for Honest Tea, International Justice Mission advocate and friend-of-the-blog Austin Graff submitted an idea to write about fair trade, we knew we had something on our hands. The 1-2 punch of a trendy and important topic from someone who intimately knows the industry made for a knockout of an educational story.
This story was created by another friend of the blog, and frequent contributor, Katy Causey. Katy did a great job at comparing and contrasting her own pregnancy with that of her friend Helen in New Zealand and Rita in Togo. And I love the way motherhood brings mankind in close proximity like nothing else.
This infographic is near to our hearts. Not only does it give an endearing look into the lives and hearts of the children we serve but it stresses the importance of letter writing. If there’s one drum we can’t beat on enough, it’s this: WRITE TO THE KIDS YOU SPONSOR! It is the one element that makes being a sponsor unique: getting to correspond with the child you’ve chosen to invest in. Plus, the adorable illustrations by Luke Flowers are just perfect.
Wow. This was a tough story. Often times, children in developing countries with special needs are looked upon as something “other.” In Joseph’s case, his culture was telling his family that his condition was caused by a river god. When in fact, he had hydrocephalus which is the buildup of too much fluid in the brain. If untreated, it is usually fatal. But thank God for Joseph’s brave family for not listening to their community and the intervention of Compassion staff who saw Joseph for who he really was, a child of God.
This is a post I’m very proud of. As I was driving home from work one night, I stopped at a red light. Directly to my left was a man holding a cardboard sign asking for money. Instinctively, I looked the other way and avoided eye contact. As I drove off, I was convicted and reminded of a quote I had heard a few days before from Pastor Eugene Cho: “Compassion begins by looking someone in the eyes.” I wondered why am I so quick to avert my eyes when I see someone in need and I asked Jen to explore this topic. She did an amazing job.
“Step Into My Shoes” is one of the newest programs offered by Compassion. I think it solves the problem many parents – including myself – face of how do we talk about poverty to our children in a way that’s honest and honoring. In addition to sponsoring a child, “Step Into My Shoes” is the easiest way to introduce your family to a hurting world outside your own and give you the power to do something about it.
Quick confession: this year, we decided to focus our attention toward the African continent. Compassion works primarily in 3 distinct global regions – Africa, Asia, and Central and South America. We launched a 3-year cycle of content strategy that would focus on one of those regions. 2015 was dedicated to Africa and Amber’s piece about African stereotypes set the perfect tone for the rest of the year.
We never really discussed this on the blog but the team that runs it – Eryn Carman and me – started working at Compassion in mid-2014. Within the first year, we both had traveled to countries where Compassion served (Brazil and the Dominican Republic respectively). Upon our return, we both felt this thankfulness for Compassion’s work but also this “ick” about how travel to predominantly poor countries is treated. We couldn’t quite put our finger on it until we read this piece by Sidney. A light bulb went off in our heads and we knew we had to share his perspective – which many of you strongly identified with.
One topic that the Compassion blog hadn’t addressed in some time was of how technology is used in developing countries. Since technology has changed so rapidly, and become easily accessible for so many people in the world, we thought we could shed some light on it. Susan Sayler wrote this piece. She works in our customer service area and the issue of technology in the developing world is one many people email, call or tweet about fairly regularly. This is a wonderfully informative piece that will no doubt continue to resonate with many of us as technology continues to morph and change over the next few years.
The story about Grace was our most popular post of 2015. This is shocking to me as it was just published on December 3. In only a matter of a few days, Grace’s story surpassed every other story we told on the blog this year. But when you read it (which was originally published by our friends at Compassion Australia), and recognize the love that came from Grace’s mother, Flora, it’s not shocking at all to understand why this post became such a hit. It’s not just another story of a teen with special needs, it has everything: triumph over tragedy, hope over adversity, grace over brokenness. It’s absolutely perfect.