In December of 2009, Audra and I attended a concert at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. It was Andrew Peterson's “Behold the Lamb of God" performance, in he which he and several other artists sing the story of Jesus from the Old Testament through to the New Testament. The music was beautiful and inspiring, and it helped us in a small way to deal with our grief. Two weeks before we had buried our little girl, Melody Hope. She had been stillborn at 22 weeks because of a genetic condition.
At the concert, they had displays talking about the work of Compassion International. We learned about the Child Survival Programs that Compassion oversees. These programs provide prenatal care for pregnant women, assistance during delivery, and support after babies are born. We did not lose our daughter because of lack of medical care, but many families around the world do. Audra and I decided to support the Los Asises Child Survival Program in the Dominican Republic, an island nation in the Caribbean. We have been doing that ever since.
We knew about Compassion's child sponsorship program, but we never got around to joining that program until another tragedy struck our family. In 2012 we lost our son Avery, and in 2014 we decided to sponsor three children through Compassion, in honor of our three children in heaven—Melody, Avery, and Glory, whom we lost in an early miscarriage. We are not able to see our three children grow up on earth, but we are able to share some of our resources and show our love to three children in other countries.
As of this writing, we have been sponsoring Allan, Francisca, and Nirupama for about a year. Allan is 8 years old. He lives in Honduras, Central America. Francisca is 10. She lives in Ghana, Africa. Nirupama is 11 and lives in the country of India. She shares a birthday with our son Henry (July 25).
These three children are among the 1.5 million children in Compassion programs in 26 countries around the world. We make a monthly contribution of $38 per month per child. This money goes to support the services that Compassion provides. Compassion staff work with local churches to provide education, health care, and food, where necessary. The Compassion program is designed to serve children and the community over the long term in Jesus' name.
We have a personal connection with these three children. We exchange letters with them and get updates about them. We recently got letters from church leaders who work with them personally. We can even make arrangements to visit them in person.
Compassion consistently ranks high among all charities for its financial integrity and accountability. Wess Stafford served as President of Compassion for 19 years. His book Too Small to Ignore, about the importance of children and how we can help them, is one of the most meaningful books I have ever read.
Helping the poor is one of the most Christ-honoring things we can do. Too many Christians spend way too much time arguing with each other, complaining about the world around us, and wishing things were different. Compassion is one way that we can make a real difference and show the world what following Jesus is really about.
With $38 a month, you can make a difference in the life of a real child who has real needs. That is the cost of one tank of gas, one family meal at a restaurant--$1.27 per day. If you choose to sponsor a child with Compassion, I am confident that you will not regret it. It will be a blessing to you, and a blessing to the child you get to know.