Thursday, September 06, 2012


"This is Emanuel.  He lives in South America." 

And so began my introduction to Compassion International as a 6th grader sitting in Sunday School, meeting a child that our class would sponsor.  Our task was to bring in a little money each week so that over the month we could collectively accumulate the $30 or so it would take to continue to sponsor this little boy.  It made a 12 year old girl in Baton Rouge feel like she was part of something bigger.  Something important.  

We've all seen the commercials on TV.  Pictures of starving children, foraging for food in a landfill, barely clothed, the American announcer appealing to our emotion and common sense.  "All it takes is ", and you fill in the blank.  A dollar a day, Two dollars a day.  I've heard more than my share of cynicism about these programs.  "That money doesn't really go to the kids they show on TV, you know that right?"  "The CEO's of those 'charities' are getting a fat paycheck and the children are getting the crumbs of what you send."  The tenor of all of the cynical commentary is the same; we don't know where the money is going and so you're not really helping the ones you think you're helping.  

I hate to admit that I don't really remember what happened to Emanuel.  I moved on to other Sunday School teachers, and honestly, I left Emanuel in that old classroom.  In college I volunteered with the youth program at church and to my surprise, Compassion was still around.  I'm not sure if it should have surprised me, like I said, I still saw all of the commercials about children starving in third world countries, but seeing the organization that started it all for me was inspiring and made me think.  

It would be years before I actually committed to sponsor a child through Compassion.  Was it the cynicism, the selfishness, or the laziness that kept me from it earlier?  Probably all of the above and more.  But even at the age of 12 when sponsoring a child on my own was no where near the realm of my imagination, my interest was piqued.   Even before Compassion got my money, they had a bit of my heart.  

So, what I'm asking you do to today is venture a bit of your heart and click on over here to Compassion's sponsorship page.  And pray.  Not necessarily that God will lead YOU to sponsor one of them - but that would be wonderful - pray for them by name, for their families, teachers, pastors, friends.  You may not be in a place where sponsoring one of these children is possible or a desire of yours right now - and there's no judgment here in that - but perhaps you could pray that someone else who is in the right place financially and spiritually would click on that page too.  

Grace & peace.

PS:  if you're interested in defeating a little of that cynicism about organizations like Compassion, here's their information on how they spend the donated funds.  

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