Compassion did not ask me to write this. My experience with them compelled me to. If it's true that the best form of marketing is having a product worth talking about, then Compassion International is a marketing genius. What they do is worth talking about.
To date, our family sponsors two little girls in San Pedro Sula, Honduras (Project HO313) - Genesis and Kimberly. We have had the opportunity to visit Genesis in person on several occasions. We've sat and talked with her and her mother in the single-room home they share with the family. We've even had the pleasure of taking her to get ice cream for the very first time! Since then I've traveled with Compassion nearly a dozen times, either helping to coordinate pastor vision trips, taking a team from our church to visit our Honduras project, or simply doing a sponsor visit while passing through different cities around the world.
This is the experience from which I am compelled to write. The list could go on, but here's 10 reasons why I love Compassion International.
1) They keep it all about Jesus.
Compassion has had several opportunities to drop "in Jesus' name" from their vision statement, but chose not to. In doing so they also chose to forfeit hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars in donation funds they would have otherwise been eligible for had they not been so overtly Christ centered. They have stayed true to their mission of rescuing children from poverty in Jesus' name - and trusted that God would provide all the resources they would need to fulfill that mission. For that, I am grateful.
2) They platform the local church.
I've visited at least a dozen Compassion project sites hosted by local churches in some of the most impoverished areas of different countries. Every time I have visited a project I have not seen a Compassion sign, billboard or banner hanging anywhere. I've only seen the church name prominently displayed and pointed to as the true beacon of light in that community. In many ways Compassion silently supports and empowers the local Church. For Compassion, it's not about Compassion. It's bigger than them.
3) They hire top notch people.
Whether it's the person in Colorado Springs who answers my sponsorship related question or the church relations team I spend a week traveling with overseas, people who work for Compassion love Jesus, are passionately committed to helping children and bend over backwards to make sure you are served well while under their care. I've watched as trip leaders have interacted with children at projects and I can just tell - they love Jesus and serving these kids - and they love sharing that experience with people like me.
4) They coordinate travel safely and efficiently.
I've never felt unsafe while traveling with Compassion. I've also never felt unsure as to what to expect and whether or not things would be organized professionally. Compassion goes out of their way to ensure that your traveling experience with them is not a distraction to the reason why you are traveling with them in the first place. They coordinate flights, hotels, drivers, translators, restaurants - everything! They are safe, efficient, flexible and very professional.
5) They invest in pastors.
Compassion not only does an incredible job at serving and supporting the churches that host their projects around the world, they do the same here in the states. The Church Relations team makes themselves available to churches, pastors and ministry leaders around the country that often times goes beyond the scope of the church and Compassion relationship and naturally evolves into a friendship. They genuinely care about your welfare and the welfare of your church. They are there for you, no strings attached.
6) They put their money where their mouth is.
This is easily one of the things I cherish most about Compassion. Their by-laws require that at least 80% of all revenue, including child sponsorship donations, directly benefit children - and they consistently go beyond that. This past fiscal year they achieved 83.7%. This means that only 16.3% of every dollar went to operational expenses. We love knowing that the lives of Genesis and Kimberly are being directly impacted through our sponsorship every month. We have great donor confidence in Compassion's stewardship.
7) They keep things indigenous.
Compassion is very intentional about bolstering and empowering the local economy, ministry and industry efforts of the countries they operate in. Every country office is staffed and run by native people to the country in which they serve. They use local churches, construction workers, farmers, teachers and products in order to invest in the livelihood of the communities they serve in. As well, they train college students through a leadership program to become vital assets to their home country after graduation.
8) They engage holistically in kids' lives.
Compassion has three main efforts through which they serve the spiritual, educational, social and medical needs of children: 1) The Child Survival Program benefits infants and mothers; 2) The Child Sponsorship Program serves children 3-18 year olds; 3) The Leadership Development Program works to equip and mobilize college-aged students as they enter adulthood. By caring for the whole child from infancy to adulthood, Compassion is effectively raising up the next generation of Jesus-loving world leaders.
9) They are consistent.
I've been in three different countries with Compassion, and will travel to my fourth this summer. I've found two things to be true no matter where we are in the world together: 1) The sights, smells and sounds of poverty are universal, and 2) The programs, values and benefits of Compassion are consistent. Whether it's the slums of Nairobi or the huts of Lima, the work to rescue children out of poverty does not change. It's a sign of good leadership when the values of an organization are demonstrated no matter where you are.
10) They have impacted our family eternally.
Pictures of Genesis and Kimberly hang on our refrigerator next to letters and pictures they have sent us. These girls are part of our family. We pray for them often with our daughters, and despite the miles that separate us, make sure their worlds are never too far removed from ours. They are a continual reminder to us of the multi-cultural nature of the Kingdom of God and how it is much bigger than the cul-de-sac subdivision street we live on. We know, because of the work of Compassion in their lives, we will spend eternity with them. For that, we are grateful.
I by no means claim Compassion to be a perfect organization. I'm certain they would say the same of themselves. Just like any organization led by imperfect humans they have no doubt made their mistakes, upset some employees or dropped the ball with some sponsors. However, by and large Compassion is an organization that has a deep love for Jesus and an unwavering commitment to rescuing children out of poverty in His name. For that I love and am proud to be associated with them.
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