If you’re like me, you are welcoming 2017 with open arms. Forget you, 2016. You were hard! Bring it in for a hug, 2017. I will be walking boldly away from a year where our world faced hurt, hate and heartache. But if you’re really like me, you also don’t want to head into the new year without looking back and seeing, really seeing and celebrating, the joy amongst the trials.
What happened in 2016 – in the world, the Compassion world, your world?
For the last Totally Worth It of 2016, I and my Compassion friends around the world curated some noteworthy happenings and stories for us to reflect upon and rejoice over from this year.
Quotes Totally Worth Quoting
Looking back and looking forward, we know that there will always be hardships and tragedy, but we get to make a choice about how we embrace them. We will choose joy.
News Totally Worth Knowing from 2016
Feel the earth move under our feet, the sky’s tumbling down.
Nature, you fickle, complex thing. From El Nino to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, to the earthquake in Ecuador, the drought in Ethiopia and the Zika virus. Natural disasters and complex weather conditions in developing countries have left many of the most vulnerable communities in even greater need.
Why This Is Worth It: We’re not a disaster-relief organization but disaster preparedness is woven into our programs. However, no amount of preparation can save communities from events like Hurricane Matthew. That’s why Complementary Intervention proposals are written and funded to help the emergency needs and rebuilding efforts of our local church partners.
You helped us send millions of dollars to our partners who were affected this year by these devastating events! Because of you and our local church partners serving as hubs for resources to their communities, the ongoing rebuilding of child development centers and protection of these children and their communities will continue on into 2017.
Love your neighbor … or even your neighbor’s neighbor.
Not since World War II has the world had to deal with so many refugees. The number of displaced people driven from their homes due to violent conflict now stands at 65 million. A large portion, about 11 million, of these refugees come from Syria.
Why This Is Worth It: Half of the world’s refugees are children, a record number according to a report by the U.N. Refugee Agency. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda are among the world’s top 10 host nations for refugees. We also serve children who are refugees in Colombia and Thailand.
It ain’t all bad.
Maybe some of us got wrapped up this year in the whirlwind of politics – what with the history-making U.S. presidential election and Brexit. Maybe some of us got wrapped up this year wandering our neighborhood aimlessly looking for tiny little animated creatures called Pokémon.
While a portion of our physical and emotional attention was taken up by these things, there were some pretty amazing happenings around the world in the field of health and mortality worth our attention too.
- There are no more measles in the Americas.
- There is no more malaria in Sri Lanka.
- Almost 50 percent more babies get to know the love of their biological mothers.
- A USB Stick was invented that can test for HIV/AIDS in less than 30 minutes.
History made women, women made history.
In some of the countries in which we serve, women’s rights and gender equality are continuing battles. But the women from around the world that showed up with their game faces to participate in the 2016 Rio Olympics reminded us why we continue to teach the girls in our program their value in society. Women like Simone Biles, Sakshi Malik, Sara Ahmed and Oksana Chusovitina showed the world that their hard work and determination could make history.
It’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.
Humanity lost quite a few culture-shapers and history-makers this year: Muhammad Ali, John Glenn, Nancy Reagan, Fidel Castro … the list is long. But closest to our hearts are the children and families lost in devastating events like Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.
We mourn for you. We grieve with your loved ones. We remember you.
Art Totally Worth Embracing
Skilled with the brushes, skilled with the words. Twelve-year-old Hector from Mexico, the artist of this mesmerizing angel, inspires us to choose joy as we leave 2016 behind and look toward the new year:
“As the past was sad and so, I need to leave it. To be able to have my future. My future will be colorful and plentiful,” Hector says.
Partners Totally Worth Partnering With in 2016
We have strategic partners of all kinds but in 2016 we saw community transformation happen through partnering with global church-planting organization, Stadia.
— Stadia (@stadia) November 23, 2016
Our nearly 7,000 local church partners couldn’t do what they do without our partnership with you. You sponsored children, you wrote millions of letters encouraging the children you sponsor (Did you hear that? MILLIONS!), you rocked some pretty sweet T-shirts when you volunteered at events, and you got past your fear of public speaking by hosting a Compassion Sunday at your church.
And this year through Act for Compassion, our online fundraising platform, you made a pretty awesome difference in the world.
We loved seeing people from all across the U.S. take up a cause close to their hearts. Like Tammie and her family testing out a Compassion water filtration system to help provide clean water to children and families who don’t have access to safe drinking water. That’s some seriously dank and dirty water they used!
Compassion Stories Totally Worth Reading from 2016
Our global partners in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom in conjunction with our Field Communications Specialists told some pretty fun and remarkable stories this year.
13 Adorably Cute Baby Smiles
If you want a little joy from this year, look no further.
When a Child Goes Missing
On his way back home from the Compassion center, 9-year-old Washika was kidnapped. Two months went by before he was seen again.
The Kids Trading Bottles – For Wells
The kids in this family in Canada spend every morning studying their Bibles and every night at the Beer Store.
Just the Thirteen of Us
Parents of nine in Haiti get a quadruple surprise!
Trips That Were Totally Worth Taking in 2016
Speaking of joyful moments this year … You shared all over the interwebs – Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, your blogs – about your pilgrimages to where we work. You told your fun and heartfelt stories of meeting the child you sponsor, the staff and the church communities.
Gebben Miles took his visit to the whole next level when he and the kids and staff at this Compassion center in Ecuador nailed the mannequin challenge!
Prayers Totally Worth Praying
This year has brought us some difficult news regarding our work in India. We thank you for speaking up as advocates for the impoverished children and their communities there. As we seek a resolution with the Indian government to continue our program, will you pray for the children, their families, their communities and our local partners who serve them? Pray for a quick resolution so we can continue to provide holistic development to 145,000 babies, children and young adults.