We found out that a girl who works in the Compassion office loves and listens to American Christian radio online. The problem is she had never heard of the Wally show. I had to do something about that.
Today we went to the Compassion regional office and met some amazing people. These people work tirelessly to ensure kids get not only the help they need physically, but also spiritually as well. They are making a difference for Jesus in a culture that is over 90% Buddhist. Many parents come to faith in Christ because their kids get sponsored and between Compassion and the sponsors teaching the kids about Jesus whole families are changed. That is why letters from you are so important and mean so much to these kids. The words you speak stay with them for a lifetime.
We met a woman named Ko who was a sponsored child and she now works for Compassion helping others. This is one time a vicious cycle is a good thing. She still has the picture of her sponsors form 30 years ago on her desk. I asked her if there was anything her sponsor said or did that really made a difference in her life. She told me the fact that someone who did not know her would show her such love and tell her about Jesus inspired her to live the rest of her life serving God. That is a sentiment that is echoed throughout the lives of most of the compassion kids.
This kind of change does not happen easily. There are over 30 thousand Compassion kids in this region alone. Compassion workers process over 15 thousand letters between children and their sponsors every month. Why go to all that trouble? Isn’t it enough just to send a check? While the check is great and gives the kids the physical things they need, the contact is where you get a chance to give the hope of a future to a child. Compassion takes this so seriously they even encourage you to, if you can afford it, visit your sponsored child. You can check their website Compassion.com for trips they have planned or they can help facilitate a trip just for you.
One of the oddest stops of the day was at a Buddhist temple. At this Buddhist temple people must buy certain offerings outside and then place them in the temple to get a blessing back. To me it was reminiscent of the story in the Bible where Jesus flipped over the tables of the money changers in the temple because they were profiting off of God and misrepresenting Him to people. It is the same thing that made Jesus mad then and sadly, we still do it today.
One bizarre thing that happens is people, (tourists like us) are welcome to come in and walk around and take pictures while people pray. As I thought about why that would never happen in our churches it hit me. Perhaps this is a fundamental difference between Buddhism and Christianity. One is about ritual and one is about relationship. The Buddhists are worried about bringing the right gift when all Jesus asks for is that we come, just as we are, and offer ourselves to him.
The most disturbing discovery of the day was that for many kids in the slums a padlock is their babysitter when parents have to work at night. The slums are not a safe place for kids left alone so when parents who are vendors in the local market go to work at night they are forced to lock their children in their houses from the outside.
To help, Compassion has instituted an after school program that at least minimizes some of the time kids will have to spend alone. They help the kids with their homework and give them a safe place to stay at least for part of the night. As a parent I can’t even fathom having to lock my child in the house to protect them from the danger that surrounds them. That is a choice no parent should have to make.
So, thank you so much for caring for kids who can’t care for themselves by sponsoring one of our At Risk Kids.