Compassion International is a nonprofit organization who is an advocate for children’s needs, spiritually, economically, socially and physically. The organization began assisting orphans that were victims of the Korean War with food, shelter, education, Christian training and health care in 1952. At the time founder Rev. Everett Swanson was moved to help 35 children orphaned in South Korea. Now their global ministry has changed the lives of 1.2 million children. Compassion International’s website says that Swanson was inspired by Matthew 15:32 when Jesus had compassion on those that had been with him for 3 days and hadn’t eaten, which led him to feed thousands of people with a few pieces of fish and seven loaves of bread. It was this kind of compassion that Swanson felt inspired to duplicate.
Their mission statement is in response to the Great Commission and communicates that they desire to “release [children] from their poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.” They accomplish this through four programs. One is the Child Sponsorship Program that supports individual children through a single sponsor. Compassion International encourages sponsors to offer “monthly gifts, prayer and letter writing” to their sponsored child, so they feel a relationship and investment in the life of their child. The current $38 per month sponsorship fee pays for the church-based child development center that offers the child ongoing Christian training, education, health care treatment and training, development of confidence and social skills, as well as key life skills and vocational programs.
Another program is the Child Survival Program that focuses on the infant mortality rate and child development the first five years in impoverished areas by providing food and family planning and also educating primary caregivers on breast-feeding, immunization, adequate nutrition, signs of healthy child growth, Oral Rehydration Therapy (which restores lost fluids due to diarrhea), and literacy.
“Release [children] from their poverty and enable them to become responsible and fulfilled Christian adults.”
Additionally the Leadership Development Program provides young adults that are apart of Compassion International’s sponsorship program with “the opportunity to get an undergraduate degree and develop and enhance Christian leadership skills and abilities, all while promoting and modeling world citizenship.”
Lastly, their program titled Complementary Interventions or meeting critical needs, works with children’s more immediate needs, such as health and medical emergencies, exploitation, providing safe water, and natural disasters.
Each of these four programs help an immense need and are hugely important. For those who are compassionate, which we’re all called to be, there is no lack of opportunities to become involved. As it says in Psalm 86:15, “But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Compassion and grace should be something we too express. Perhaps you are doing so right now, in your own community, but you could also be expressing that same love to a child across an ocean, one who is at first a stranger, but later becomes a friend. For more information about the four core programs you can become invovled in with Compassion International, please visit www.compassion.com