Tag Archives: Poverty

Of Shoe Shiners & Saints

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There are countless reasons I could give for why I love working at Compassion International. If you asked my everyday for a year, I am confident I could give you a different answer.

It’s not just the work that we do, releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name, that brings satisfaction.  Honestly, there are some days that if feels more impossible than probable.  The issue of poverty is huge, and when push comes to shove, we have a long way to go.  But those days are growing fewer as the Church begins to awaken to the call of Isaiah 58.

It’s working alongside faithful followers of Christ.  It’s the church, being the church, that is perhaps the biggest blessing and greatest comfort in carrying my seemingly small day-to-day responsibilities. In the grand scheme of the Compassion totem pole, I’m somewhere very close to the bottom.  And yet, I know that the light load I am able to carry, must in fact be carried so I am grateful to play my part. Everyone from our CEO and President to the crew that translates child letters to the team that processes every check that comes in, touches the life of a child simply because they showed up for work.

But this is still not even what I count the greatest benefit.

It’s hearing God tell His story.  It’s seeing Christ in the smile of every child that survived another year and every sponsor that decided having cable wasn’t a justifiable excuse for not sponsoring a child.

It’s seeing the King and Creator of the universe manifest Himself in the most unlikely, humble, and easy-to-miss places. In mud huts covered with thatched leaves in Ethiopia, eating nothing but bread. In cardboard shanties along sewage-ridden streets in Kenya, drinking dirty water. In the cold and desolate mountain communities of Bolivia, herding lamas.  In the most rural and indigenous forests of Ecuador, hunting with a bow and arrow.

In a small town in South Korea, shining shoes.

It’s the stories.  And this, is just one of dozens that we see and hear about every week.

It’s the stories of ordinary people with ordinary lives, doing the most extraordinary things, because we serve an extraordinary God.

Every week I come to work, I pray that He writes an extraordinary story through my ordinary life.

I pray that you invite Him to do the same.

Gifts of Compassion

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News flash– I work for Compassion International.  You may have heard of it if you have read this blog more than once.

‘Nother news flash– It’s Christmas time. That blessed time of year when you gather together with loved ones and give gifts out of obligation love. But I pray that you’ll remember that the reason to celebrate and give gifts has nothing to do with how naughty or nice you were. I hope that you’ll remember that it actually has nothing to do with any of us at all. 

Christmas has everything to do with Jesus and what He gave to us. Salvation from death. Restoration from sin and shame. And complete redemption from where we’ve been and what we’ve done. 

For the believer, this anointed time of year has everything to do with being the recipients of divine intervention.

Don’t get me wrong. I like presents as much as the next person. The thing is, material gifts so often dilute the immaterial gift of eternal life. And they really, really dilute “need vs want.”

If you live in the United States, chances are what you’ll receive this year is what you want, not necessarily what you need. 

For the vast majority of humanity on earth though, receiving what they need on a daily basis is a toss-up.  Sometimes they’ll eat.  Sometimes they won’t. Sometimes they’ll survive malaria.  Sometimes they won’t. What is a sure promise, for those living in poverty, is that Jesus came for them too.

So what if we, the church, the body, the bride, stepped up to the plate like the church before us.

In Acts 4 we get a glimpse of what the church is supposed to be. Beginning in verse 34, it says,

There was no needy among them, for as many were owners of lands and houses sold them and brought the proceeds to the apostles feet to be distributed to each as they needed.

I have an idea of how we can start looking a little more like this; giving of what we have to others who don’t.  And it starts with Compassion.

This year at Compassion, we’re proud to introduce a gift catalogue. Here, you can buy different supplies that meet real material needs for those who need them most.  And with the various price points, everyone can buy something!

For under $25, you can purchase mosquito nets for children that are vulnerable or prone to malaria. Or you can buy soccer balls for stellar athletes in the making.  You could also buy a chicken for a family that will allow them to not only eat daily through the production of eggs, but the ability to start a small business. For $25, you could provide life saving vaccinations to young, at risk children.

For under $50, you can purchase educational supplies for children in school; you could provide mothers of babies with the nutritional supplies through kits; or you could purchase a goat, a common source of milk, meat, and income for many rural families.

For under $100, you  help get Compassion beneficiaries start small business through bakeries and beauty school training.  Or, you can help provide clean water for a lifetime to an entire family by purchasing a water filtration system.

Gifts above $100 can purchase anything from cows, to computers, sanitation facilities, to life saving surgeries through our Medical Assistance Fund.

Please prayerfully consider giving the gift of compassion and hope this Christmas season.

  “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

It’s Not Them… It’s Us

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Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of Charity Water, spoke at Catalyst in October. A former party planner, and NYC nightlife guru, paid to be seen drinking Vodka and wearing Rolex watches, you would think Scott would be the last person to care of people living in poverty.

Burn out, fed up, and “spiritually bankrupt,” Scott went on a 5 month trip to Africa as a photographer in conjunction with Mercy Ships.  Separated from all comforts familiar to him and removed from any sense normalcy, he encountered poverty for the first time. 

As he shared the rest of his story, he posed this simple question to himself: “How did I go so long without knowing? Why did I never know before?”

“It’s not because I didn’t care about the poor. It’s not because I was belligerently trying to ignore the need,” he said. “I just hadn’t been told the right story. I hadn’t been exposed to the entire truth.”

It’s been well over a month now since the Catalyst Conference and I have not been able to get his words out of my head.

 I just hadn’t been told the right story. I hadn’t been exposed to the entire truth.

I can not help but think that so many people who have come to Christ, either later in life or without any testimony by another believer, might make the same statement.

Non-profit organizations are popping up all over the place these days.  Being charitable, concerned about “global justice issues,” food shortages, dirty water, sex-trafficking, and the like are suddenly trendy.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am grateful for the activism, acknowledgement and generosity of so many because it truly is making an incredible difference and impacting millions of lives all over the world. 

I just have one question: Do we see friends, family members, and strangers in elevators as living souls? Do we care if they know Jesus? Do we feel compelled to help them hear, see, and understand the truth and power of His Gospel?

If I looked at people in my life through the lens of eternity, would I be as motivated to share with them the good news as the millions of young adults that are so eager to bring clean water to people in poverty?

Is a soul’s destination not as critical? Is not as urgent?

 I do not think I believe that people who don’t know Christ and His salvation have truly rejected Him.

I think, perhaps, they haven’t been told the entire story.

I think, maybe, they haven’t been given the whole truth.

And if that’s the one thing we know for certain, it should be the one thing we never fail to give out.

Compassion Bloggers in Guatemala: Day 2

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First, listen.

Second, See.

The Wall Says it All 

How to Make Your Life an Endless Celebration

Someone to Love

What All Kids and Mamas Have in Common

Hola from Guatemala!

Third: Act

Sponsoring a child. Change a life, empower a heart, equip a mind, and enable a body to change the world.  It takes one child, in one community, in one country, to change one generation. And you can start the chain reaction.

Happy Birthday… to Me & Jesus

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Since when do birthdays have to be once a year?

Exactly two years ago I did something pretty stupid. I moved to Colorado Springs– a city with a population of roughly 500,000 people… and I didn’t know a single one of ’em.

Exactly two years ago, I moved to a city I had never been to, in a state that I only visited once a year for my family’s Christmas vacation.

Exactly two years ago, I graduated from college with  a degree in Business Marketing and no job in which to use my mad marketing skills.

Exactly two years ago, God divinely intervened into my pathetic and boring life and stirred things up a bit.  Two years ago, God picked me up and set me down in a foreign land.

Exactly two years ago, God told me about poverty and those who live in it.

Two years ago, God broke my heart and opened my eyes to where His heart is and what His eyes see and what He wants me to do about.

Two years ago, God showed my Compassion. And then He showed me how to have compassion.

Now, two years later, I’m working at Compassion International trying to figure out how to do life like Christ wants me to; trying to see what love looks like; and finally discovering day by day, how much of me I don’t need and how much of Him I really want.

Two years ago, I celebrated the birth of a new heart, unveiled eyes, and a changed life. 

Two years ago, I learned how much I don’t need and how little is needed for those that have nothing.

Two years ago, I was set free from me.

Here’s to two more years– may God continue to wreck this heart.