Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Compassion Sunday Tales

For those of you unaware, Compassion Sunday is an annual event in which sponsors and advocates go into their churches (with the prior consent of their Pastors of course) and share stories about Compassion, with the goal of seeing more hearts moved toward sponsorship.

I've been a sponsor since 2006, but I'd never really pursued the idea of Compassion Sunday. People in my church knew about my advocacy and were free to ask any questions, but I just left it at that.

In April 2013 I went to the Philippines on a week-long group advocates tour. When I came back I prayed for opportunities to share my experiences with others. Hardly a week later I got a call from Compassion. St John's Lutheran Church in Portland (Victoria) wanted someone to do a Compassion Sunday presentation in May, but all the Victorian Compassion staff were already busy that day. Would I be interested in going down and sharing some of my experiences?

Obviously I didn't have to think too hard about the answer to that question, so I immediately said yes. What was amazing about this was that Portland was the little town I had lived in in 2008, 2009 and 2012, and I had taught at the Lutheran school, so I was going back to familiar territory.

Having visited 31 of my sponsored kids in 12 countries I had a wealth of stories to share, so I managed to put together a relatively cohesive message and travelled down to my former hometown Portland. I shared at the two morning services, to a combined total of about 60 people and despite many of them already sponsoring kids, 5 more were sponsored that day.

I was just amazed that God used me and my story to change the lives of 5 more little people.

As you may know, in 2014 I am now living in the Philippines, volunteering at an orphanage. God provided sponsors for all my Compassion kids, but my connection with Compassion has not disappeared. At the start of August I was contacted by friends from Victoria who were wanting to do a "long-distance interview" with me for their church's Compassion Sunday. It was a 5-minute spot for their kids talk segment, and I was to be interviewed by their daughter "Ruby Rose."

My friend told me it was a success; got lots of laughs and challenged people too. 10 kids were sponsored on the day, with a few more people taking information home to consider sponsorship. Even just to play a small part in that was amazing. 

Every child who is sponsored is another life changed and transformed. It is humbling to be part of. Here is my 2013 talk at St Johns (two parts) and my 2014 interview at Glen Waverly Anglican Church. Enjoy!

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