We at One Twenty Seven believe that it is important to be aware of what is going on around us when thinking seriously about the charge of ministering to orphans and widows. This task is big and demands a lot of time, but by consolidating efforts this can be attainable. Even for someone in college. This is why we are beginning our “Spotlight” series. This is a way of highlighting different organizations around the world that are already active in their ministry to the poor and oppressed. In doing this we hope to show young people in their early 20’s how they can get involved.
Personally, I can’t think of a better organization to first spotlight than Compassion International.
Compassion has been around since 1958 and has been making a positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of children over the years. I love how their name perfectly describes their mission statement. In their own words “compassion means ‘to suffer with’ and is an emotional response of sympathy. But it’s not just a feeling. The feeling is combined with a desire to help.” This is exactly what Compassion has been doing for impoverished children around the world ever since Rev. Everett Swanson first helped a South Korean orphanage. You can read more about their story under their “about us” tag on the website.
“Our ministry is focused on the individual child and his or her development. We are unashamedly and singularly focused on developing children.”
Compassion’s primary focus is on holistic child development. By examining the “what we do” tag on their site Compassion explain this: “holistic child development means we begin, in some cases, with prenatal care and go all the way through leadership development for qualified young adults. It means we take a long-term approach to what we do and go beyond simple involvement in the lives of the children and families we serve.”
One of the biggest things Compassion is known for is sponsoring children. Anyone can sponsor a child through a monetary donation. Along with holiday gifts, sponsors can also write and receive letters from their child.
Growing up, I can barely remember a time without Compassion International in my life. My parents thought that it would be good for me to have a child from another country about my age that I could write to, so we sponsored a little boy from Ethiopia named Teshome. I remember vividly sitting at the kitchen table and writing letters to Teshome. My sister had sponsor girl to named Louisa from Brazil.
We prayed as a family for our sponsored children at every meal as well as at bedtime. This was practice for me in showing love for others, and I believe crucial to my upbringing.
So how can someone in college help Compassion? Donating is one way. But what if you don’t have the money to spare? (College can be expensive. Also living.) Well, one way is through being informed and sharing it with others. Even if you are not sponsoring a child you can still keep updated on what Compassion is doing through their blog. However one of the most practical ways is through prayer. Compassion even has a really cool prayer calendar where you can find specific ways to pray for the workers of compassion and the children who are in need.
Compassion has loads of information, personal stories, and stats about poverty on their website, and we at One Twenty Seven strongly encourage you to check them out. You can also check out their facebook and follow them on twitter as well as on instagram. (@compassion)