Monday, January 31, 2011

Compassion's Holistic Approach to Child Development

Compassion International believes in focusing on the whole child and every developmental aspect of the child's life: social, educational, spiritual, environmental, health and economic.  It was easy to see this approach at work when we visited the homes and child development centers in Mexico City.


A doctor from the community volunteers his time to care for the
 children's medical needs

Each child at the project has his own toothbrush. For many this is the only
place they have to brush their teeth

Compassion Motto: "Releasing Children from Poverty in Jesus' Name"

When flooding destroyed many of this family's belongings,
 Compassion helped replace them

Children receive a hot, nutritious meal when they come to the project.



Often children living in poverty also live with the effects of a polluted environment. 
Here, children draw a picture depicting the causes and effects of pollution.

Sponsored kids LOVE corresponding with their sponsors.  The letters they receive are treasured. Here, kids are holding up flags representing the nation where their sponsor is from.

Kids living in poverty are often stigmatized and rejected by their peers.  
Others may join gangs or turn to drugs, alcohol, or other unhealthy
behaviors for acceptance. Teens in the Compassion program are accepted by
their friends and teachers at the project and taught about their true identity in
Christ as children of God.

Compassion has started Futbol (soccer) teams at program sites 
across Mexico. The teams have uniforms and travel to compete against other
Compassion teams. They are getting ready for the finals!

 Kids at this project site learn computing skills in a computer lab donated by an area business.

Detailed information is kept about each child.  Each folder here 
represents one of the children in this program.  One area that is tracked is
the child's progress in school.  


Compassion realizes that without Jesus, the hope they 
offer children living in poverty would be incomplete.  This 
little girl is singing during the praise and worship time offered
each day at the program.

These kids are learning about the Holy Communion.


 Bible study time!  Today this class is reading from the book of Mark.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two VERY Long Days!

Let me apologize in advance for the brevity of this entry.  It's been a long couple of days and I'm pooped!  Yesterday was a full day of travel, followed by a trip with the team to the Folkloric Ballet.  It was a loud,  exuberant, beautiful  show filled with music and dance reflecting Mexico's long and colorful history.
The Beautiful Dancers of the Folkloric Ballet

Today was our first full day here and our itinerary was intense.  We started the day early with a visit to Compassion International's Mexico Office.  I really enjoyed getting to meet this hard-working staff that do their jobs with such joy and dedication.  We had a conference with several of the principal staff members who gave us an overview of how Compassion International works and what it takes to serve over  20,000 children in Mexico.

After the visit to the office, we traveled to the "Children With a Future" (Infancia con Futuro) Student Center in an area of Mexico City called Neza.  This area is comprised mostly of homes and neighborhoods that were constructed by "squatters" on areas of the city landfill that are no longer in use. 

A City Street in Neza
 This is one of the poorest of the poor areas in Mexico City and living here is hard.  It makes people hard.  But, in the midst of this strife, is a light being shined by Compassion International and the staff and volunteers at this project.  They provide the children with hot, nutritional meals, medical attention, values education and bible study.  More than anything, they provide the children and their families hope for a brighter future.
The YUMMY hot meal we shared with the kids at the center today

The Doctor and Nutritionist who volunteer their time to keep the kids at the project healthy.
We also had the opportunity to visit the home of a family who have two Compassion International sponsored children who attend the project.  The family lives with four other families in a multi-family structure which is comprised of a courtyard/garden area, several small rooms (one for each family) and one bathroom which is shared by all four families.  The family we met is made up of a father, mother and three children who share a 10' x 10' single room home.  We gathered around the small dining table while the mother explained how through her children's participation in the Compassion International program, not only had her family had several physical needs met, but they have also become stronger Christians and a stronger family as well.  She said the children are behaving better at home, performing better at school, growing in their faith and, for the first time, setting goals for their future.  She and her husband are so thankful that their children have been blessed with this program.

This family is very thankful for their children's sponsors
This evening we ate dinner with 2 young men and a young woman who all grew up being sponsored at a Compassion International project.  Johnathon, the boy I spoke with most, is now working almost full time managing an internet cafe in order to pay is tuition to the University, where he is Majoring in Computer Engineering.  There is no doubt that this young man has a bright future.  How cool that his sponsor, a woman from California, can know that she had a part in it!

Tomorrow promises to be another long day as we travel to Puebla to visit another Child Development Center.  I'll keep you posted!

Monday, January 24, 2011

WANTED: People on their Knees!

As I write this, I'm less than two days away from my trip with Compassion International to Mexico City to check out the work they are doing in this mega-city south of our border.  I've done most of what I need to do to get ready.  I've shopped for the things I will need to bring, arranged child care for the kids, tied up lots of loose ends at work and gotten the necessary immunizations.  All that's left to do is the packing.  And the praying.

I've learned from past trips the real importance of being "prayed up" before, during and even after a trip like this.  Would you join me in this as a partner in prayer? Whether you're able to say a quick prayer for me and for the trip right now as you are reading this, or if you are willing to pray regularly over the course of the next week or so, keeping the following specific needs in mind, I would sure appreciate it!  I know the rest of the team will as well.

Here are some specific prayer points, of course all of these are contingent upon God's will and his glory!
  • Preparation--please pray for me and the rest of the team as we make our final trip preparations
  • Travel--pray that we have no problems getting to (and from) flight delays or cancellations.
  • Safety--pray that we will be supernaturally protected at all times from all forms of personal harm.
  • Health--pray against health problems that could hinder our ministry.
  • Weather--Right now, the forecast looks spectacular!  I'm praying it stays that way
  • Relationships--We're a very diverse group! Pray for a spirit of respect and love among our team leaders and members. 
  • Ministry--Pray that we will be a blessing to those we come in contact with and that we are blessed in return.  Pray that God will open our eyes to all of the things He wants us to see while we are there.  Pray that any walls we have built will be torn down and that our hearts will be broken.   Pray that God will give each of us direction to go along with our drive as we head back home, hopefully with a passion to support and promote the ministry of Compassion International.
I think that's everything! If I think of anything else, I'll add it to the list.   Thank you so much for your prayer support and please check back often for the latest blog entries from Mexico!