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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Uganda












Please join me in helping 30 children get sponsored through Compassion International by the end of February.

Read the incredible stories of what kind of a difference your $32 a month makes as the Uganda bloggers tell their stories of hope.

Curious how it works? Shaun answered some of the common questions on his blog:

Does all of my $32 go to my sponsored child every month?
A minimum of 80% goes toward meeting the physical, metal, social, economic, educational and spiritual needs of your sponsored child. That’s high by comparison. The actual percentage right now is 83.8.

Am I the only one sponsoring my child or does my money go into a fund or something that takes care of lots of kids? How’s that work?
Your money sponsors your child. Only your child.

How on earth does 80% of $32 make the difference you say it does? How? You can’t be shooting straight.
I am, I swear. A little goes a long way in the third world, you know? Consider this. I made a “family gift” to my sponsored child in El Salvador one time. A family gift isn’t something I had to do but I wanted to give that money for Compassion folks to use if there was a need not covered by my regular sponsor dollars. I just wanted to do more, something for the whole family, if they needed it.

Anyway, you know what they did with my $20 gift? They put a while new roof on their house. A roof! For $20! I put a roof on my house for $4000. A little goes a long way.

So I’ve heard you say Compassion International works through local churches and pastors. OK, well, what’s in it for them? Are they making some cash off the deal or what?
These people are the most generous folks I’ve ever met - they put me to shame. They give to Compassion and kids much more than they get. Compassion keeps it’s relief percentage (80% of your $32 a month) so high partly because Compassion doesn’t have to build buildings. The Compassion “projects” I talk about are church buildings - Sunday school classrooms, sanctuaries, etc.

The church uses existing facilities to care for kids, and church members and other Christian locals to do most of the work along side Compassion staff - also local. These church members are trained in social work and child care and everything need to do their jobs with excellence. And they’re held VERY accountable by Compassion staff right there in their country.

I guess, from what I’ve heard from pastors, what church get most out of the deal is growth. Numerical growth because as kids make commitments to Christ their families follow, and also who doesn’t want to check out a church that feeds and educates their kid? But the church pastors have also consistently told me working with Compassion grows their congregation spiritually. It puts the poor, the folks Jesus commanded us sacrifice for, at the core of their church. You show up for Sunday school and your classroom still has math problems on it from the fifth grade class that met there all week. That sort of exposure to the work of Compassion breeds compassion in the hearts of church attenders. It changes the church.

But no, no pastor is getting rich off of Compassion. I’ve seen where a couple of them live so believe me they’re not milking Compassion for a condo and a Mercedes. This is a partnership between Compassion International, sponsors like you, and local churches - everybody pitches in.

Why work through churches? Why not work through corporations, institutions, government, somebody bigger and richer and better? Is this the best way to help kids in poverty?
Compassion International is not about helping kids in poverty. That’s what they do but not what they’re about. They’re about raising an impoverished into a mature, healthy, independent Christian adult.

Meeting ALL of a child’s needs - inside and out - I believe is the best way to free children from poverty forever. That’s the goal. Now, that’s important to understand because it is the foundation that affects every other decision Compassion makes, everything about how they operate.

For instance, governments and institutions and what-not can do a great deal to feed and clothe kids. They can educate kids. They can teach nutrition and could even teach parents a trade. But they can’t cure the biggest poverty a kid can know: spiritual poverty. Only Christ has the cure for that. Only Christ offers that kind of wealth and hope. So Compassion works through the church.

And besides, while its great when anyone helps folks in need, Jesus didn’t command anyone to help these kids in the third world except the Church. That’s you, me and the local congregation in Uganda. It’s our job, not Uncle Sam’s.


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