Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Compassion: Changing the Story

Does child sponsorship really make a difference?

You've probably heard of the concept, but maybe you've wondered: is it really a wise use of your money, really a good way to help the poor?

Some researchers asked that question a couple of years ago and found that no one had ever investigated the impact of child sponsorship. They approached many organizations, asking for cooperation, and Compassion International was the only one who said, "Sure, we'll throw our records wide open to you. Check out what we're doing."

These independent researchers spent two years collecting data on more than 10,000 people in six countries. They interviewed adults who had been sponsored through Compassion as children. And they were blown away by what they discovered. One said:
"You could beat this data senseless, and it was incapable of showing anything other than extremely large and statistically significant impacts on educational outcomes for sponsored children."
Compassion-sponsored children were far more likely to complete their education, far more likely to have stable jobs, far more likely to become leaders in their communities and churches.

But these adults who had been sponsored had something more than education and good jobs and community success: They had hope.

This news didn’t surprise the president of Compassion. Dr. Wess Stafford said:
“…individual child development is the most strategic long-term solution to poverty that exists. …There are so many great ministries tackling various aspects of poverty…I love that Christians put in fresh-water wells or build houses or work on income generation. Compassion does some of those very things, too. But fighting poverty is bigger than repairing the externals. The worst thing about poverty is what it destroys. Poverty is an internal assault on self-worth, growth, and hope. But that’s where Compassion does its best work—deep inside the heart, inside the potential of individual children.” 
Millions of children are living in extreme poverty around the world—but we, as followers of Jesus, can reach out to individual children, one by one, and help to change their stories.

We must help the poor. Not out of guilt or duty, but because our God calls Himself the defender of the fatherless, the rescuer of the needy. The reality is, WE are needy, and we have been loved and redeemed by Jesus, who gave up His life to bring us to God. And if we belong to Him, He calls us to imitate His justice and mercy.

In Psalm 82:3, God says, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 

If we have been rescued, we have the privilege of extending God’s rescuing love to the poor. By making some small sacrifices, we can imitate our generous God, sharing the blessings He has poured out on us and inviting desperate children into His story.

Would you be willing to sponsor a child? Compassion recently sent me 15 packets for children who need sponsors. And seven generous families from my church signed up to change their stories! I still have seven children left—some of whom have already been waiting as long as 10 months.

Sponsorship costs $38 a month—an investment of about $1.25 a day. That’s less than what we might pay for a Coke or a cup of coffee. It's probably less than your monthly phone or internet bill. But it can provide opportunities for your sponsored child that most of the world’s poorest children never see.

When you sign up for sponsorship, Compassion links you to an individual child who needs your help. You receive his or her photo and personal story, and you can build a relationship through letters and prayers.

If you’d like to sponsor one of these precious children, leave a comment below, or contact me directly by email: amykannel[at]hotmail[dot]com. 

I’ve been a sponsor with Compassion for over 13 years, and the more I learn, the more I am impressed with this ministry. I've also read countless blog posts from real people who started out skeptical, went overseas for a firsthand look at Compassion's work, and came away 100% sold on what Compassion is doing. For more information, check out:

Ayar, Betelhem, Vadavalasa, Collins, Eric, Maite, and Sneha would love to have the Christmas gift of a new sponsor to provide educational opportunities, health care, hope, and tangible evidence of Jesus’ love. Could you be the one to offer them such a priceless gift?

Many other children besides these seven are waiting for sponsors. Visit Compassion's website if you'd like to select a child who's been waiting the longest (some have been waiting more than 400 days), a child from a specific country, or a child with the same age or birthday as your own child.

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

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