I just returned from India. My mother, sister, and I traveled with Compassion International on a Sponsor Tour to visit our sponsored child of twelve years. Mano and I are one day apart in age, and have been pen pals since we were four years old. Our traveling group had 27 Americans traveling to see their sponsored children.
The sponsors spent a Fun Day with their sponsored children, translator, and parent at an amusement park. When we met Mano, I was nervous and didn’t know what to say. It worked out fine, and we especially had fun jumping over the waves at the beach. Mano had never seen the ocean before and was looking forward to being in the water. We ate lunch, gave gifts, and prayed together. The park had old county fair rides that were rusty and rickety, and we were wondering if they would collapse on us, but we were fine and had a great day.
In addition to our group meeting our sponsored children, we visited Compassion centers and projects and visited homes of sponsored children near Chennai, Bangalore, and Dehli.
As we saw small homes with minimal electricity and saw dirty and cramped slums, we also saw smiling children, joyful faces, hopeful mothers and amazing and selfless Compassion staff members.
The children stuck in poverty deal with dangerous diseases, poor quality schools, parental alcoholism, malnutrition, crime, and tiny homes. However, Compassions International is truly fulfilling their mission, “releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”
To accomplish their noble mission, Compassion partners with existing churches that have programs for children. The children attend the church, called a project or center, two hours every day, except Sunday, in addition to school. Compassion provides the children with a nourishing daily meal, medical exams and checkups, Bible study, mentors, tutors, and a sponsor. Sponsors donate a monthly amount to provide for their sponsored child, and become pen pals with their sponsored child. The relationship of sponsor to child is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty. Three of the project directors that we met had been sponsored children in Compassion programs. They were so benefited and transformed, they wanted to give that gift to other children. Through all of their work, Compassion is Christ-centered, child-focused, and Church-based.
Compassion has three programs, the Child Survival Program (CSP) to aid mothers in raising and nurturing their newborns, the Child Development Sponsorship Program (CDSP) to carry children through their schooling to help them become “fulfilled Christian adults”, and the Leadership Development Program (LDP) to guide promising students through university and leadership training, equipping them to transform their countries. We had dinner with LDP students who shared their stories.
Currently Compassion works in Asia, Africa, South America, and Central America. Canada, the US, France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and Korea are the current donor countries.
Korea was formerly a country that Compassion worked in, but because of Compassion’s work, Korea was so benefited that now they are the second largest donor country.
Many in our group sponsored more children during the trip, and got to meet their parents and see their homes. Our family added a little girl, Ankita.
There are many children who are waiting for a sponsor just like you. Currently over 1.3 million children are sponsored, but Compassion’s goal is to have 4 million children sponsored by 2020. You can be part of this. You too can change a child’s life and help break the cycle of poverty.
Just as Matthew West says in his song “Do something”, “people living in poverty, children sold into slavery, the thought disgusted me, So, I shook my fist at Heaven, said, ‘God, why don’t You do something?’ He said, ‘I did, I created you.’ If not us, then who. If not me and you. Right now, it’s time for us to do something.” You can make a change in a child’s life now. Do not look for someone else to do it.