This week, we are featuring a guest post from Crosswalker Jen Vawter. The Vawter family recently went on a trip to Nicaragua to visit two of the children they sponsor through Compassion International. This Sunday is “Compassion Sunday” and the Vawter family has taken lead in preparing and organizing this ministry to children in need. So we have asked Jen to share her experiences with Compassion and her trip to visit their sponsored children. The Vawters will also be sharing more about the experience this Sunday.
From the Community: to the World
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy — Proverbs 31:8-9
I first heard about Compassion International at a Michael W Smith concert while in high school. Since I was in love with MWS at the time (oh yes I was!), I flocked to the Compassion table to sponsor a child as soon as he suggested to do so in the concert. Although my initial motives were sketchy, I have continued as a sponsor and child advocate for Compassion for about 20 years. The original little girl that I sponsored has long since graduated from the program, along with a few others. Currently our family sponsors three children in two different countries. Why do we keep doing it? Because it works!
Compassion International is the world’s leading authority in holistic child development through sponsorship. Holistic child development means they begin, in some cases, with prenatal care and go all the way through leadership development for qualified young adults. It means they take a long-term approach to what they do and go beyond simple involvement in the lives of the children and families they serve. All of their child development programs provide opportunities that encourage healthy development in four areas — spiritual, physical, social and economic/educational. Children in Compassion centers are fed, loved, taught about Jesus, and guided by teachers to fill in the gaps that may exists from government sponsored schools. These centers are not independent entities in the community, they are housed by the local church – providing employment and outreach opportunities.
Sponsorship is what keeps these centers operating. Often, Compassion centers will also serve a large number of children that do not yet have sponsors. There are such huge needs in many communities to help kids, the churches can not turn them away. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” But it is sponsorship that really makes an impact on the children. Knowing that someone far away loves them enough to sponsor them means so much. Kids treasure the letters and pictures that their sponsors send. This encouragement gives them hope and helps them take one more step up, out of poverty.
Sponsored kids are 27-40% more likely to finish secondary education. They are 50-80% more likely to graduate from college. They are 40-70% more likely to grow into church leaders. *Data taken from a 2008 study by Dr.Bruce Wydick, Professor of Economics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco
We witnessed all of this first hand in January when our family traveled to Nicaragua to meet Makelyin and Carlos. We saw the letters they had saved from us. Their teachers told us how excited the kids were to meet us. Their parents cried out of gratitude for our sponsorship, love and prayers.
If you are already a sponsor of a child through Compassion International or another organization – THANK YOU! Please know that your sponsorship really is changing a life.
If you are not a sponsor yet, now is a great time to start! Come and see me at the Compassion table on Sunday to ask questions and select a child in need. Or you can start today by going to https://www.compassion.com/ Together we can release children from poverty, in Jesus name!
– Jen Vawter