The keynote message had just finished wrapping up, and hundreds of women spilled into the venue hall.
Aly Chase was in her usual place, standing alongside the Compassion booth, speaking to hundreds of curious women about child sponsorship. A young woman, with tears on her cheeks, picked up a packet and looked Aly square in the eyes.
“I want to sponsor this child. I want to sponsor him because his birthday is the same day as my miscarriage. The same exact day, month and year.”
Both women cried. And hugged. And smiled. God was there. He had placed the packet on the table, spoken into this woman’s heart and led her feet to that table. This was providence, grace and hope hanging in a moment.
This is what advocacy looks like.
It happens every single day in a million different ways. And this is Aly’s story of how she became a Compassion Advocate.
THE DECISION TO SPONSOR A CHILD
As a single, 30-something teacher living in Spokane, Washington, Aly attended a Rock & Worship RoadShow in 2013. With the music fading out from headliner MercyMe’s set, lead singer Bart Millard set his guitar aside and began sharing a sacred and beautiful story. A story about impoverished children and hope and the potential of lives.
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It was his story about sponsoring a child through Compassion.
As he spoke, pictures of a beautiful smiling boy were projected behind him. Bart said that sponsoring this boy had forever changed his life. He said he felt called to speak hope and encouragement to the boy on the screen. To tell this young man that God loved him and had created him for a purpose.
And Bart wanted everyone at the concert to experience that same feeling.
Aly’s hand shot into the air as volunteers passed sponsorship packets through the crowd. She was handed a picture of a beautiful girl from Bangladesh. Her name was Bithi.
It was love at first sight. Aly sponsored her very first child.
GETTING INVOLVED WITH COMPASSION
Two short years later, Aly got married and moved to Nashville. Having grown close to Bithi, she found herself wanting to help more children like her little girl from Bangladesh.
Her opportunity came in the form of an email. Our advocacy team was searching for volunteers who could spend a few hours on a Saturday to staff a sponsorship booth at a local conference.
Aly signed up.
At the event, she met Allen Hinkle. A volunteer coordinator, he spoke to the conference attendees about God’s heart for the poor and his experience sponsoring a child. To Aly, it was the additional validation she needed to get more involved.
She was hooked.
Aly became a frequent volunteer at events throughout Nashville, speaking to many groups of people about her experience sponsoring a child.
INVITING OTHERS TO SPEAK OUT
Today, Aly is the Volunteer Coordinator for Nashville and West Tennessee. Talking to her on the phone, you hear the authenticity in her voice. This is a humble woman passionate about connecting others to child sponsorship.
“The word advocate means ‘to speak out on someone’s behalf.’ That can be anything really, and it’s something that everyone can do,” says Aly. “Advocacy is about being a bridge – about connecting people to a bigger story. Inviting them to see that they can really do something to end extreme poverty.”
Advocacy is big and small. It’s hundreds of people and it’s a single voice. It’s big roles and small conversations. It’s both difficult and simple, all at once. But always, always, it’s about connecting people to the opportunity to do something extraordinary. To love a child they haven’t met.
For Aly, that means being a volunteer coordinator. And it means being open to the everyday small opportunities to talk about sponsorship to people she meets each day – like hugging a woman who’s sponsoring a child who shares the birthday of her miscarriage.
For others, it might be as simple as helping out at an event or sharing a message on Facebook.
This is what advocacy looks like.
And you can do it, too.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SPREAD THE WORD?
You can do one small thing right now to advocate for children in need. Visit our Hope Rising page to share sponsorship with your friends!