What do you think of when you think of the word poverty?
Dictionary.com defines poverty as “little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.” Poverty is so much more than this. Poverty is more than a lack of basic necessities.
Now that we’ve defined what poverty is, let’s talk about what we can do about it. We want to introduce you to a ministry close to our hearts, that is releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name! Compassion International was started by American evangelist Rev. Everett Swanson in 1952 as a way to help Korean War orphans, and has since grown to releasing over 1.2 million children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty in 26 countries around the world. Compassion enables the children they support to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.
“Releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name” is not a slogan. For Compassion, it is their God-given mission. Learn more about the ministry of Compassion International by going here.
There are 4 things that make Compassion’s ministry distinct.
Jesus Christ is at the center of everything that Compassion does. God’s Word gives us multiple mandates to care for the poor, and children are very close to the heart of God.
Every child registered in Compassion’s child Development sponsorship program has the opportunity to hear the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ, and each child is given the opportunity to know and build a relationship with their creator. Each child is given a Bible, and these children take home what they learn in the Compassion program about Jesus and share the love of Christ with their families.
Compassion believes in a holistic approach to individual child development. Each child registered in Compassion’s child development sponsorship program receives regular medical checkups and access to education through tutoring, school supplies, tuition assistance or uniforms. Children are taught social skills, health and hygiene practices and vocational training. Children are also given access to nutritious food while at the Compassion project. Each child is taught about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and given the opportunity to know and build a relationship with him. Children are also linked to a sponsor who has a one-on-one relationship with that child. As a sponsor, you have the unique opportunity to build a life-changing relationship with your sponsored child. By exchanging letters with your sponsored child, you have the ability to speak life into what otherwise may be a dark and desolate situation. You are able to plant seeds of hope in your sponsored child’s heart, and through your words of encouragement your child will know that both you and Jesus care about and love him/her very much. You may be the one person who tells your sponsored child “I love you.” As the sponsor of a Compassion child, you are the hands and feet of Jesus. For just over $1.00 a day, you can release a child from poverty!
Compassion International partners with the local church in your sponsored child’s community to provide culturally relevant age-specific ministry and care for each child involved in their program. A Compassion project, student center or child development center refers to the local church in that child’s community. The Christian adults in this church care very deeply for your sponsored child, and they want to see your sponsored child succeed. The church staff and volunteers make sure your sponsored child receives individual attention and that your child hears and knows of the love of Jesus Christ. Each church partner is carefully selected by Compassion through a strategic process. Learn more about how Compassion partners with the local church and the church partner’s role and responsibilities.
Compassion is committed to Biblical and financial integrity in everything they do. At least 80 percent of your $38.00 per month tax-deductible donation goes directly to care for your sponsored child, and Compassion acts in true honesty and humility with each aspect of their ministry. Learn more about Compassion’s commitment to financial integrity.
Along with child sponsorship, Compassion International has 3 other major programs that we’d like to tell you about.
• 90 percent of child deaths worldwide occur within the first year of life.
• In developing countries, one in every six infants is not immunized against tuberculosis.
• Only 55 percent of the world’s infants are fully immunized against hepatitis B.
• Only 69 percent of newborns are protected against tetanus.
• Approximately 37 percent of deaths among children under 5 — 9.7 million worldwide in 2006 — occur in the first month of life.
• Each day, about 1,000 children worldwide become infected with HIV, the vast majority of them newborns.
• Although about 33 percent of HIV-positive pregnant women receive drug therapies to prevent the transmission of HIV to their infants, only 11 percent of HIV-positive women in sub-Saharan Africa who need antiretrovirals had access.
• Nearly 15 percent of babies in developing countries are born with a low birth weight compared with only 7 percent of babies in industrialized countries.
• In Sub-Saharan Africa 55 percent of children under 5 have never been registered; worldwide nearly 50 million children each year are not registered and begin life with no identity.
• Every day 1,500 women die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth that could have been prevented. Each day 10,000 newborns die within a month of birth, and daily the same number of babies are also born dead.
• Nearly 30 percent of women worldwide give birth before age 18.
• Some 200 million women who wish to space or limit their childbearing lack access to contraception.
Reading these statistics above, you may be thinking that this is a hopeless situation. There is hope for these mothers and infants. Compassion’s Child Survival Program provides pregnant mothers in poverty with prenatal care, and when their baby is born these mothers are taught how to properly care for their new little one. Along with basic child care skills, these mothers are taught income-generating skills, budgeting skills and about the love of Jesus Christ. Just as with the child sponsorship program, the Child Survival Program is run by the local church.
After graduating from Compassion’s Child Development Sponsorship Program, some young people have the opportunity to attend college and grow in Christian leadership and discipleship through Compassion’s Leadership Development Program. These young people are overcoming their circumstances to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, social workers, teachers, pastors and more. Through the Leadership Development Program, these young people are realizing the dreams that God has placed in their hearts, and they are learning to be all that God has created them to be. They are receiving training in Christian leadership and discipleship and being mentored by a Christian in their community.
Compassion’s core programs highlighted above are wide-reaching. However, they can not possibly meet every single need associated with a child’s healthy development. This is why Compassion has created their Complementary Interventions program to assist in meeting these needs when necessary. The CIV covers:
• HIV and AIDS Initiative
• Medical Assistance
• Malaria Intervention
• Curriculum Development
• Health & Parenting Skills
• Education & School Fees
• Assistance for Highly Vulnerable Children
• Disaster Relief
• Providing Clean Water
• Income Generation
• Infrastructure Development (repairs or rebuilding of homes or Compassion church partner buildings)
Compassion International is making a global impact in the Kingdom of God. From before a child’s birth until university education, many children’s lives have been changed forever. These children have been released from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty. These young people are now making a difference and changing their world. Will you join them? Will you join us? Will you make an eternal difference in someone’s world today?