Sunday, February 03, 2008

February is Compassion Month

–noun, a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
We could all stand to be more compassionate towards our fellow human beings. There is a lot of misfortune and suffering we could be alleviating if we all just gave a little bit of our time/money/love.

This is the basic purpose of Compassion International. Anyone heard of them? (raise your hand!) Their mission statement is "releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name". No matter your religious background I think we'd all agree that a child in poverty is one of the saddest things there is. Compassion is trying to improve children's health, education, and well being in some of the poorest countries around the world.

And they're asking YOU to help.

Their sponsorship program costs $32 a month and if I'm not mistaken the entire cost goes to the programs that help children. Overhead costs are covered by donations intended for that purpose and overall they spend more than 80% of their budget directly on the children. (That's really high for a charity in case you were wondering).

The best part about all this is you can choose a child from any country the work in, boy or girl, and an age range. You are that child's individual sponsor and that child is depending on you. You can write letters and send small gifts and you will receive letters in return as well as an annual picture.

I have been a sponsor since I was in high school. My first boy graduated 2 years ago and is off on his own now, with an education!!! My second boy just started the 8th grade. Both of them were from South America so I could communicate with them in Spanish (an added bonus for me!)

As I sat down to write this post I remembered I was going to get the mail... and guess what I got today?!! (well, technically it's not yesterday...) A letter from my boy! His name is Nelson and he lives in Columbia (in a slum). Like I said he just entered the 8th grade and he's in a shoe-making apprenticeship (through Compassion). He writes,
May the grace of the most high God be over you daily. My family is well as God has cared for us and filled us with good health...
I want you to know that God, in his grace, has permitted me to do well in my studies. He has also allowed me to excel more and more each day in my favorite subject, math. Next year I will be in the 8th grade, something new, but I trust in God, that He will help me to do well.
In the (Compassion Project) I am in the shoe-making class and have learned a lot...
I ask that you remember me in your prayers. Thank you for your support.
With love,
I learned from Compassion's country website (for Columbia) that Nelson lives in a high plains area and that most people there are unemployed. If they are so lucky to be able to earn money (typically as a street vendor) the average wage is $62 per month. Nelson's parents have 3 children. I'm sure that money doesn't go far and I'm excited that he will have other options available to him as he grows up because of the education and care he is getting from Compassion. Whole families benefit when a child is signed up because often parenting/other skills classes are offered and younger children are enrolled at the proper time.

Won't you consider sponsoring a child and building a life long friendship? There are so many children who could use this opportunity. Who knows, you might just have a budding scientist or leader for world peace writing you letters!

Compassion - it keeps the world turning.


  1. You wrote an excellent post!

  2. Thanks for sharing Nelson!

  3. That's awesome about the boys you sponsor!

    We just chose a boy this month after reading all the blogs about the trip to Uganda. I am so excited to get to know him and have the chance to help!


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