I wanted to see that it was legit. No…I needed to see that it was legit.
The trip kicked off with tragedy. As I sat in the Miami airport, CNN broadcasted the story of how three officers were shot and killed in Louisiana. Three more were wounded. On the plane, I sat next to a gay man from Florida who was still in pain over the shootings in Orlando. It seems like we receive reports of evil, corruption, and loss every day. Where is the hope of the world? Where are the people of integrity, compassion, and kindness? Where is love and hope triumphing over hatred and poverty?
Lord, please show me that Compassion International is actually doing the work they claim to be doing for the poor. Please, God, show me this organization is for real.
We’ve been supporting Compassion children for the past fifteen years. Seven months ago, I got invited to go on a Compassion Vision Trip to Bolivia. Last week, I joined Wes Stafford (the recently retired President and C.E.O. of Compassion) and twelve other pastors, artists, and authors on a 5-day tour of Bolivia and the various Compassion projects in this South American country. I also got to spend seven hours with our family’s Compassion child, Deymar.
It is legit.
Compassion is the real deal. Our prayers, letters, and $38/month is, without question, helping change Deymar’s life. What’s more, everything we’ve been told about our child is 100% true. I read his file. I saw his grades. I saw his medical charts and immunization history. I even read his mother’s death certificate. Deymar’s life and Compassion’s work was laid bare before me. I saw it all, and Deymar’s situation is everything that Compassion told us it was. That alone made me cry. Finally, something is as it was presented. Finally, people are telling the truth. Finally, something large is still something pure and full of heart. This organization is doing everything they told us they were doing.
Compassion, partnering with a local church in Deymar’s area, has provided immunizations, health services, education, and nutritious food to Deymar and his grandmother (his mother died 3-years ago, and his father chose to never be in the picture). Most importantly, our family, through Compassion and the local church, are helping to provide HOPE… and here’s how hope changes everything: poverty is, in part, a problem of the mind—when children spend enough time around people who have given up…they give up. They stop hoping. They stop reaching. They stop dreaming. They stop thinking, “Perhaps my situation could be different.” And that symptom of hopelessness and poverty is the saddest symptom of all.
However, when children are around people who care for them, people who have optimism, people who tell them that God loves them, people who show them the love of God by serving them food and teaching them truth, these children begin to dream… to hope… to carry optimism. And then, all of a sudden, HOPE is born. Hope sprouts like a bright red rose growing in the middle of the sun-scorched desert. Compassion is caring for 1.8 million roses around the world, and these roses will survive because nothing can kill the hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus, through His church, is destroying hopelessness and poverty. Compassion International is in the middle of this work.
Deymar lives without many of the luxuries that we have in the west, but he is not living without the basics of life, and he is not living without living examples of integrity, compassion, kindness, love, or hope. He’s not living without joy. He smiled more, and more beautifully, than most of the children that I’ve ever known in the states. He’s a happy, hopeful kid. And I feel like our family’s prayers, letters, and financial contribution has helped make this happen. It is all legit.
It’s not wrong to live in the West. It’s not wrong to have enough. However, it is wrong to know about those who need something that we can offer, and yet refuse to offer it. We have to enter into the suffering of those who suffer. We have to feel their needs so deeply that we we long to meet their needs as if they were our own. Compassion International is doing just this through the local church in these home countries. Compassion is for real. I saw it firsthand. I’m not making this stuff up. If you’re not supporting a child through Compassion International… today is the day to start: Compassion International.