Monday, September 3, 2012

So What is Compassion International?

To put it simply, Compassion International is a Christ-centered organization that works to release children from extreme spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults in Jesus's name.
So what does that mean?

Compassion International is a Christ-centered organization...
At its core, Compassion International is an organization that believes in a loving, healing, saving God. Every employee of Compassion is a Christian and has the same fundamental core beliefs. Each Compassion project is affiliated with a local church, and every child that is enrolled in a Compassion project has the opportunity to hear to gospel and accept Jesus into their life.

...that works to release children...
Compassion has three major programs (the Child Survival Program, the Child Sponsorship Program, and the Leadership Development Program) and each focuses on children. I will discuss each program in more depth a little later but the CSP serves children from prenatal-4, the Sponsorship Program serves children from 3-17, and the LDP serves young adults as they go to college.

...from extreme spiritual...
Spiritual poverty is basically not knowing about or understanding God (or whatever religion you believe in). Many people that live in impoverished conditions never have the opportunity to hear the gospel or learn of the saving messages of Jesus Christ. They are denied an opportunity to learn about and love God and develop a relationship with Him.

Economic poverty is what most people think of when they think of poverty, basically having an extreme lack of money. The families that Compassion helps live on less than $100 per month. Imagine that. Most working adults in the US can make at least that much per day. Obviously an extreme lack of money limits an individual and a family in substantial ways.
Social poverty is the inability to have strong meaningful relationships with others. Those that live in extreme poverty often do not feel that they can trust their neighbors or people in their community so they only interact with their immediate family or the people they live with. People may not attempt to form lasting relationships because you don't know if you will be there tomorrow, let alone the other person. Stressed parents can't always give their children adequate attention which can lead to a wealth of problems for the child.

...and physical poverty...
Physical poverty prevents a person from living their life to the fullest due to poor nutrition, poor health, lack of medical care, lack of education, and other physical problems. Many children living in extreme poverty are lucky if they get one meal a day and do not have access to clean drinking water. Bugs and other parasites threaten them daily and without proper care they are likely to become sick or even die.

...and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults...
Compassion wants to change the story of these kids and allow them to grow up to be role-models and change-makers in their own community. Jesus's name.
And Compassion does all of this in Jesus's name.

So how does Compassion do it?
Compassion works in 26 countries throughout the world in some of the poorest communities in the world. The countries are:
Africa - Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda
Central America - Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico
South America - Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru
Asia - Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand

Compassion has three main programs:

1. The Child Survival Program
This program works with expectant mothers, new mothers, and at-risk infants and toddlers. Donations to this program cover prenatal care, nutritious food and supplements, ongoing health care, infant survival training for mothers, spiritual guidance and education, the loving support of a local church.
Support for this service comes from pure donations from people. You can donate any time, whenever you want, how much you want. Donating once does not mean you have to donate again. There is no specific support to a specific mother or baby, donations help the center you choose.

2. The Child Sponsorship Program
 This is the largest program within Compassion. Sponsoring a child means you choose (or are paired with) a needy child living in extreme poverty in another country. Your sponsorship ($38 per month) pays for everything the child will need including school, medical care, classes on a wide range of topics, a loving place to grow and develop, and an opportunity to learn about Jesus.
You are encouraged to exchange letters, send photos, offer encouragement as your child grows and develops, pray for and love this special child.
Sponsorship goes until the child graduates from school (usually 17 or 18 but some countries extend it to 21).

3. The Leadership Development Program
Students that excel in the sponsorship program can continue into the LDP. These students have the opportunity to go to college, earn a degree, and return to the communities they grew up in to make positive changes there. This program is similar to the sponsorship program in that you choose a student to support. The commitment is much greater (about $300 per month depending on the student and location) but you have the satisfaction of watching a young leader grow and develop.

In addition to these funds, Compassion helps fulfill critical needs in communities and helps with disaster relief, malaria, and AIDS. These are all funds that can be donated to at any time, any amount, with no commitment to donate again.

This is a lot of information but it's somewhat of an overview so if you have further questions or would like to know more, please visit Compassion's website: or ask in the comments.

Love & Peace

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