So You Want to Advocate for Children?

In my first couple of years as a volunteer Child Advocate, I strongly encouraged a couple of enthusiastic sponsors to join the Advocate Network.

woman embracing two girls

In fact, on my first sponsor tour I think I made a royal nuisance of myself, when I talked too much and, in some instances, a little too loudly about volunteering: why I did it, how I felt about it, and so on.

I wanted to add to our number, any way I could. I even succeeded with one friend.

A year later, he submitted his resignation from the Network. When we talked, he said,

“I just don’t have the passion and the calling that you have.”

It was then that I learned to back off and let God do the prompting and allow other people to respond, or not. On my second sponsor tour, when two or three different sponsors asked me about joining the Network, my response was very low-key.

Subsequently, joining the Network became much easier than it had been, bringing an overwhelming response from sponsors. As one applicant told me,

“It seems like a good thing to do.”

But within a year or two many of them were also gone because, while advocating for children through Compassion certainly is “a good thing to do,” God does not call everyone to the same ministry.

Today I would say this to sponsors interested in joining the Network: pray about it — a lot.

Be sure God is calling you to intentional advocacy, and that it is not just “a good thing to do.” Sponsors can do many advocacy-related activities, from running a Compassion Sunday, to working the table at an event, talking to friends and family, and so on, all without joining the Network.

So, why bother to join? Oh, my . . . I have friends all over the country whom I met at national conferences and, later, at a leadership conference. I was even able to attend the Global Advocates Conference in the Dominican Republic.

woman embracing a girl

Every conference has provided more inspiration, more training and more sharing than I would ever have received, had I not joined the Network. In part because I can no longer travel as I did for a few years, I may have to wait for heaven to see most of my friends, again, but I treasure them and our few times together in my heart and in my life.

Wanting to do good is noble and worthy, but it is not enough to keep us going, if we’re on the wrong path. Jeremiah 29:11 shares God’s message for Israel, and I believe it is true for us, today:

“For I know the plans I have for you . . . to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

God has plans for each of us, and they don’t all look the same.

We do best when we pray, wait for and follow God’s plans for us, rather than jumping into what seems like the right thing to do.

“There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” –Prov. 14:12, NLT

Taking a path that is not God’s choice for us may not lead to physical death, but what about the death of a vision? Of great anticipation? Of hope, as we wait for another ministry opportunity to come along?

I stand in awe of some of the ministries to which God calls some people — ministries to which I am not called!

So much of the time I have felt like a failure in advocacy. I realized a few years ago that I was in a position of seed-planter, more than reaper, and I don’t like that. I’d really like to do more reaping, please!

But for all the feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, resentment, judgment and failure, the call of God remains on my life and has expanded into related areas, outside of Compassion. It’s about serving where we’re called, and that requires prayer — and a willingness to wait.

Thankfully, it hasn’t been all failure and frustration. A pastor told me during the Global Leadership Summit that when he thinks about Compassion, he thinks of me. He assured me that I have, indeed, greatly increased awareness of Compassion in Tucson, that I have had “a real impact.”

woman and girl posing for photo

I needed to hear that, although I would still prefer to see more of the fruits of that impact.

When I do have an opportunity to present Compassion’s ministry and see people respond positively, I experience that special joy in knowing that those who respond are making a great difference for the children they choose to sponsor. And that is a very good thing to do.

6 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Denisse Arisleida Sánchez Benítez November 13, 2022

    Hi Vicki, I’m Arisleida from R.D.
    I remember that you were my sponsor for many years at Compassion.

    I would like to know what has become of your life after so many years without communication.

    I have nice memories of you, you were always very good to me 🙏🏻

    I am very grateful to God for having met you.

    I hope you are well 🙏🏻

    1. Grace November 14, 2022

      Hi Arisleida! Thank you for reaching out to us about your previous sponsor. We are so encouraged to hear that they had a positive impact on your life. 💙 We would be happy to see if we are able to help you. Can you please send us an email at [email protected] with more information about your sponsor? Thanks so much!

  2. Scott Adams January 12, 2018

    It’s interesting that you talked about how going to the conferences would help you stay motivated in the program. I have been thinking about becoming a child advocate. I can see how it would be nice to go to conferences when available because it could help me learn new things about the program.

  3. Maggie Fasig February 26, 2015

    I am a new sponsor and correspondent. What is an Advocate?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan February 27, 2015

      Hi Maggie! We know that a lot of our sponsor’s are incredibly passionate about the mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Advocates are dedicated sponsors that want to share that passion with others. We want to help equip others to speak up on behalf of these children to your friends, family, and community. To read more about the advocate network, visit: To learn about different ways to get involved with Compassion, please follow

  4. Sandy November 15, 2013

    Thank you VIcki for sharing this. I can really relate to your thoughts and your words are encouragement when I start feeling my efforts are not “enough.” I must remain obedient & willing to keep planting seeds, and let God do His reaping work! 🙂

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