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Compassion International, India


I can’t wait to tell you more.

But tonight, I am so emotional I don’t think I could do it justice.

Let’s just say it was an amazing day.

And once I have a chance to process this…

I will be happy to tell you all about it.

In the meantime, click here to sponsor a child.

That is, if you really believe it will make a difference…

Please pray for our safe travels tomorrow evening…we have been filled to the brim with the Lord’s goodness. I will be forever changed by this, and rarely have I found myself so honored to be a part of something like Compassion.

I will leave you with a quick video my roomie Anne filmed-the woman speaking is named Jaiashree, and she is the one who has been with us all week, inspiring us with her faithfulness in the midst of such desperate conditions.


Compassion International, India

I Have Been Ridiculed and Lied To.

In the event that you are following Melissa’s writing, you will know that Pete had a hard day yesterday. He was having some, ummm, digestive issues and pretty much passed out on one of our home visits. Which would be really sad to me had it not been for the fact that a few nights earlier, he had reveled in the fact that he could pump out a post in approximately two and a half minutes. He spent the remainder of the 5 hours in the conference room mocking me and Melissa for taking so long.

In fact (and feel free to contact him directly if you would like to address this), he told me that if I didn’t “write posts that were 50,000 words long,” it wouldn’t take me so long. I shot him a dirty look and listened to him tap what I refer to as his “Teen Wolf” fingernails on the table while saying, “Seriously. Do y’all think India makes our fingernails grow faster? I mean this is crazy!”

Melissa and I continued to work like good students while Mr. Wilson flashed his dimples and sang “Tally-Ho” for the 400th consecutive time.

Not that insulting me and then getting violently ill were related.

But it is possible.

And as if that wasn’t enough, Shaun Groves had given this whole spiel about how “Compassion is making a difference….” and “Compassion is saving lives…”

He led me to believe that an organization could transform an impoverished community simply by relying on the body of Christ to support the cause. He tricked me into leaving my family, traveling for 20 hours, and riding a rickshaw which will heretofore be referred to as the “deathtrap on wheels.”

Well, today we visited the poorest Compassion project we have been to so far, and I began to realize how ridiculous the whole premise of this trip has been.

It’s absurd, actually.

Because this is where these people live.

We sat in a HOME smaller than a twin sized mattress.

We watched people bathe in the streets, and saw countless prostitutes (some of them were children) as we wandered around the city that Mother Theresa called “hell on earth.”

And Compassion thinks it can come in and make a difference in this? For $32 a month?

And not only are they going to provide an education for these children, but they are going to teach them about Jesus? And bring joy to them by being the hands and feet of the church?

Maybe in some of the other places, but not here.

And as you will see from the following pictures, Compassion isn’t really making that big of an impact.

The kids in the program look just like the others.

They don’t have any sense of hope or purpose.

There isn’t a shred of joy to be found on their faces.

They are starving, suffering, and desperate like the rest of the people they sleep close to on the streets.

You didn’t really think that they would learn about the Lord when you sent that check, did you? I’m afraid I will have to expose the reality to you. To them, He is nothing but a faraway God who has forsaken them.

Not Someone to be trusted.

Not Someone to be worshipped.

In fact, this whole thing is just one big scam.

Although, there was 11 year old boy on crutches who makes his way to the project every day after he has led his Hindu family in Christian prayer. He also hung several pictures of the Lord around their home, right alongside the idols, in order to teach his parents about the God Whom he loves. The same God he prayed to when his brother was ill, and shortly after, had a miraculous healing. His parents now attend church.

And then there was another girl (who lived in the 24 square foot house, and slept on the floor, which we refer to as a sidewalk) who told us that she had joy in her heart because that is what Jesus wants us to have and she desires to be like Him. Then she proudly waved her hand around the tiny space that was barely tall enough for her to stand in and asked, “How do you like my home?” as if she were in a palace. Then, she told us how desperately she wanted a picture of her sponsor so she could show it to all the kids around and tell them who was helping her. She walked with us through filthy streets and held hands with Keely, and at one point she began to cry. When asked what was wrong, she explained that nothing was wrong, she was crying tears of happiness because she was so excited to meet real sponsors.

And I guess it would add to the drama of the tale if we had met the director of the program, who described the unlikely way that the church was established in the first place. He had come to know the Lord through a missionary, was put through school by an anonymous donor, and decided to spend the rest of his life as a pastor in service to the poor. With no money to his name, he made an offer on a property with the prayer, “Lord, if you give me this property, I will put a roof on it and make it a house of God.”

A short time later, the landowner explained that several others had made much better offers-one who wanted to build a cinema and others who had great plans and extensive budgets. To his surprise, the landowner finished by telling him that they had chosen to give it to him instead of the others.

Which would be great if they actually had the money to follow through on their offer. I imagine that at this point in the story, an unknown American missionary could die and donate the money they needed to build the church.

But of course, if that had happened, it probably would have been in newspapers.

And I bet a great screenwriter could introduce a heroine as well. Let’s just say for the sake of argument that the pastor (and now current director) was trying to figure out how in the world he was going to get kids in this place, in a culture where less that 1% of the people are Christians.

I have an idea.

Let’s have Mother Theresa play with kids every day near the church under a massive tree. Then, we’ll let it pour down rain while she searches for a place to provide shelter for them. She will knock on the door of the church and speak to the man we were with today, asking him to help her with the children.

And they stayed.

Now THAT would be a good story.

And it could only be written by one Author.

So before you decide to sponsor a child, think long and hard about where your money is going.

I am in complete awe.

And I have decided that Pete may have a point, and I am a better storyteller because of it.

Words just can’t convey what we are experiencing.

It is with utmost gratitude that I thank those of you who have chosen to make a difference here; it has been one of the most incredible days of my life.

Today I decided that I can’t be afraid to fly any more. I can’t stand the thought of leaving all of this behind forever. Thank you, Compassion. You have helped me see God in ways I never dreamed I would.

And He is worthy of all praise…


P.S. Pete’s doing much better today. In fact, his self-esteem received a much-needed boost when he came across a door that he had to crouch to enter…. :)

You deserved that, smartypants.

Compassion International, India

Remember the Part…

About you coming on a ride with us?

I had to post this because there is no other way to get a sense for the feeling of riding down bumpy roads in a rickshaw. We’re about to heard out for the day to the slums of Calcutta, and I will be back to tell you all about it later, but for now, check out Keely’s video from yesterday.

(And ladies, just a heads up. If you ever do this, make sure you have, ahem, proper undergarments:) )

It was crazy!!!!! Enjoy :)

And thanks so much for all of your kind words and encouragement-you have NO idea how much your comments give me strength.

Okay, ready? Jump on board!!!! (thanks for the video, Keely-you are a BRAVE woman!)

See you soon~

Compassion International, India

Child Survival Program

Yesterday we went on a home visit and met with the mother of one of the children who is sponsored by Compassion. As we asked her questions about her family life and how they have been impacted by her daughter’s sponsorship, someone asked her how many children she had. She answered gently, and it was a longer answer than it should have been. We looked to the translator and he explained that she had one but that she was expecting. Someone asked when she was due and the translator’s face changed.

“Oh, I am sorry,” he replied. “She isn’t expecting; she said that she had a six month old baby that expired.”


I asked the translator to tell her that my daughter died last year, and as he spoke to her, she looked me in the eye and bowed her head briefly. I don’t know Bengali and she doesn’t know English, but there wasn’t a language barrier.

One of the things I love the most about Compassion is their dedication to serving the poorest of the poor from before they are born until adulthood. Today we visited what is called a “Child Survival Program,” and their purpose is to serve babies (starting when the mother is pregnant) up until the age when they are eligible for child sponsorship at age 5 or 6. It was the most amazing thing to meet with the mothers in the program today. Not only are they taught how to take care of themselves while they are pregnant, they are also educated about taking care of their babies, and have “facilitators” that come to their homes several times a month to check in on them. The facilitators weigh the babies and measure them, teach mothers the fundamentals of infant care and nutrition etc. As the babies get a bit older, they teach them how to play and interact with their kids in an age appropriate way, and all of the children’s milestones are recorded at the center.

The mothers told us that they really had no idea how to care for their infants, and repeatedly told us how much they had learned from the program.

Again, every child.

Every kilogram.

Every milestone.

Compassion is based on loving children as individuals, and to get to see that today was incredible.

I looked over several of the wall charts, and as I did, I thought about the way I have doubted organizations like this in the past because how in the world could they keep up with thousands and thousands of children?

And hanging on the wall in impeccable ink handwriting was the undeniable evidence.

It was so beautiful to see the way they care for these babies, and as a result, the way families are impacted.

As part of the Indian culture, women don’t have the rights that we take for granted in the States. They explained that they only eat leftovers after the family has finished a meal, and because they are so insecure about their own identity, they don’t know how to respond when they are spoken to. We asked if their husbands were resistant to them coming to the program, and they explained that they were initially against it, but once they saw the way their wives and children flourished, they gave their blessing.

So, in addition to receiving pregnancy care, the babies receive all of their vaccinations and health care, but that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. The women are encouraged to find their identity through various trades, such as sewing and making baby formula. I sat in awe as I watched them gather as a community in order to learn how to better care for their families while their fingers were busy with work. Several of them stood and gave their testimonies and it was so powerful to imagine that about a year ago, these women wouldn’t even be able to answer a question asked of them. And the beauty of it is that the women go home and teach their neighbors what they are learning, which opens the door for them to develop a skill.

I had no idea that this program existed until this trip, and I cannot tell you what an honor it was to sit among these precious women and hear their stories. Even before children are able to be sponsored, they are under the wing of Compassion, and to see the joy they radiate is difficult to articulate.

We were out in what looked like a jungle, and it had a really different feeling than that other projects we have visited so far. It was so remote and isolated that we had to drive for about an hour and a half by bus and then take a rickshaw for another half hour to get there. Here are a couple photos to give you an idea of what we saw.

Today was one of my favorite days, and it helped me to appreciate the way Compassion dedicates itself to sharing the love of Christ with babies before their mothers have even met them.

I love this organization, and I am completely humbled to have this opportunity, because I have been able to see it’s extensive reach firsthand, and I have loved on children that may not have survived without the help of Compassion.

Before we left, I gave the director of the center a bag of clothes and shoes that Nicol and Greg gave me before I left. They bought several outfits that they wanted me to share with children who would be close to Audrey and Luke’s age. I couldn’t help but wonder who would be wearing the shoes and dresses in a few days.

There is a brokenness in me that can’t be filled, so I won’t say that handing the bag was the easiest thing I’ve ever done, because it was symbolic of something I don’t have.

I will say though, as much as it hurt, there was a sense of redemption in knowing that my loss was being used in such a tangible way. I saw glimpses of her in the faces of children who have a chance to thrive, and it felt like fresh air.

I needed that today.

There are still plenty of kids left to sponsor here, and I’m praying that if you are one of those that the Lord has urged to do so, you will be inspired by our stories so you know that you are making a difference.

Thanks for taking this ride with us. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds…

Blessings and love,