Monday, May 01, 2006

Compassion

“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
Children are the most vulnerable people in the world—
and God is passionate about them.

Yesterday, along with churches all across America, we observed Compassion Sunday. I want to take a few minutes on my blog as well to focus on the millions of children around the world who live in extreme poverty—unable to attend school, constantly exposed to hunger and disease, and all too often neglected or abused. Most of all, they lack hope.

The numbers can be overwhelming—you might not know where to begin or whether anything you could do would actually make a difference. But what if you knew one of those children by name? What if you had a vital connection that allowed you a unique opportunity to help that child?

"Poverty, an overwhelming global tragedy, occurs one life at a time. It destroys lives one at a time. And it is defeated one life at a time." (Wess Stafford, Too Small to Ignore) You can't change the whole world. But you can change the world for one child.

Jesus held children so close to His heart that He said in Mark 9:37, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.” When we reach out to children living in poverty, we reach out to our Lord Himself.

For the past 50 years, Compassion International has been reaching out to needy children around the world. Through sponsorship, Compassion links you to an individual child who needs your help. You receive his or her photo and personal story, and can build a relationship with that child through letters and prayers.

Sponsorship costs $32 a month—an investment of about a dollar a day. That’s less than what most of us pay for a Coke or a cup of coffee--or for other luxuries like movies and internet. But it can provide opportunities for your sponsored child that most of the world’s poorest children never see, including:
  • school fees and uniforms
  • tutoring, literacy programs and career training
  • health care and hygiene education
  • supplemental food and nutrition information
  • love, personal attention and guided recreation

And most importantly, they’ll learn about Jesus and receive regular Bible training. Each child will have a chance to hear and respond to the gospel of hope and salvation through Jesus Christ.

I've had the privilege of sponsoring an Indonesian girl named Leni for the past six years. She’s ten years old now, and it’s been a joy for me to watch her grow. I get so excited when I see a letter from her in our mailbox. What a blessing it is to read things like, “thanks for the prayer, care and help that you have given to me—I’ll never forget your kindness. You are in my heart.” Or “On Friday, the project arranged a prayer concert. We prayed for Indonesia and churches. It’s the first time for me to attend it—I can pray and praise the Lord.”

I believe in the ministry of Compassion. They see children as Jesus did. They realize that though children are the littlest in society, often overlooked or dismissed as “our future,” children are important to Jesus today. I’ve been inspired and humbled by my involvement in this vital ministry. I pray that through my letters and support, Leni is experiencing God’s love in a tangible way. And I get excited when I think about how God can use her to make an impact on her world, for His glory.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU:
Scripture leaves no doubt that we are called to live out our faith by caring for those in need. Sponsoring a child through Compassion is a simple yet powerful way to impact a child’s life for the Kingdom of God. What are you waiting for? Head on over to Compassion International's website and sign up to sponsor a child today!

Did your church celebrate Compassion Sunday?
Do you sponsor a Compassion child?
Tell me about it in the comments section!

3 comments:

Kathryn said...

Thanks for this Mrs. Amy Kannell! Love you girl!

kate chinlund said...

Chad and I sponsor a little boy named Edwin from El Salvador. He will be 8 years old on July 5th. Like you, we LOVE hearing from him. After receiving pictures we sent him of ourselves and our dog, he sent us a picture of of his little sister... it melted my heart! I really hope to be able to meet him someday. Compassion is an amazing organization, way to promote it Ames!

SistaSmiff said...

Mr. Smiff's band, The Grascals, are new, I don't know if spokespeople is the right word, but, they are involved with that and we have our own boy we sponsor in Thailand.