Ok … it’s confession time, ya’ll. I am skeptical and borderline cynical a good deal of the time ~ especially when it comes to large non-profit organizations. My family gives to needs all the time, but our funds are generally given to projects, missionaries, and people that we know and trust. We give to places we KNOW are “good ground” and where we feel certain the money is spent where they say it will be spent. (I believe being a good steward of your finances is essential.)
Typically we don’t give to large organizations even if they present a good reason to do so. Case in point – Compassion International.
I’ve known about Compassion, in some form or another, since my early Christian days. I’ve always been moved by their compelling imagery and heart-wrenching stories of need, but never enough to sponsor. That’s where my cynicism kicked in. I didn’t trust that my money would actually get where they said it would. That my hard-earned cash would not benefit some needy child in a faraway land but would instead pad the pockets of some well-to-do corporate fat cats.
I felt certain that the stories were elaborated on or contrived altogether in an attempt to prey upon the inherent generosity of Americans. I hoped that it was not the case but never was able to prove it one way or the other so I refrained from giving.
(Now, before you go sending hate mail, please keep reading)
I must commend Compassion on their latest series of PR genius! Have you heard of the Compassion Bloggers? If not, let me introduce you to what I believe is the most brilliant and strategic move on behalf of Compassion.
The concept is simple: take normal, everyday Christian bloggers and place them in the middle of Compassion projects around the globe. Provide internet access and let them blog, tweet, and twitpic their way through foreign lands. All the while presenting doubting Thomases like myself with a real face on the needs while reinforcing the authenticity of Compassion’s programs. Now … I still can’t say for sure because I’ve not personally seen Compassion in action, but I will confess this has stripped me of my cynicism where this organization is concerned.
My favorite part of this?? The fact that I already ‘knew’ some of these bloggers because I already followed their blog. They aren’t, from what I can tell, on Compassion’s payroll and aren’t benefiting from these trips – except to help spread the word about what Compassion is doing.
So … are you ready to see them in action?
I first learned of the Compassion Bloggers prior to their India trip. Pastor Pete Wilson and Anne Jackson, both from Nashville, went along on this trip. I followed their adventure closely and learned that Compassion was more than fancy celebrities hawking hope-deprived faces on the TV screen. It was folks, real folks, folks I ‘knew’, seeing for themselves the work of one company and then allowing us to peer over their collective shoulders as they tagged along with Compassion.
Since then, there have been other teams that ventured to El Salvador and most recently to Kenya.
Some of the posts that caught my attention are listed below. Most deal with the Mathare Slum – a huge slum in Kenya where Compassion ministers to children. I urge you to read through them and then further explore the blogs linked at the bottom of this post. I should warn you though, before you proceed, please grab some tissues or at least read this where free-flowing tears won’t get you fired.
Next is a post from We are THAT Family. I’ve been following her blog for awhile for other reasons, but was thrilled that she was part of Compassion Bloggers for the Kenya trip as well.
Read her post about Mathare here and then the rest of her Kenya posts here, but please, please read about Makena and Ephantus –her sponsored children – and the day she spent with them.
The other bloggers are new to me. Here are some highlights:
- Great pictures of a Masai village were on MckMama’s blog (look through all her posts about Kenya – the images are amazingly beautiful)
- Her husband’s post about Mathare Slum
- More amazing photography at This is Reverb. Read all his Kenya posts here: http://www.thisisreverb.com/category/compassion-kenya-2010
- Kent Shaffer writes for Church Relevance and has some great videos, photos, etc. Check them all out here: http://churchrelevance.com/tag/compassion-international/
Last but not least, look at the photos from Keely Marie Scott – the official photographer for the group. Here is her set from the Mathare Slum:
Here are all her shots for Compassion: http://www.keelymariescott.com/category/compassion-international/
I’m moved by these stories and pictures of a place I may never see and people I may never know. God knows them and walks among them daily. Compassion is making a difference, of this I am certain.