A Christian ministry that helps poverty-stricken children around the world is observing a milestone – 500,000 children being helped and shown the love of God worldwide.

 

Compassion International (compassion.com) is a Christian ministry based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that serves children by matching them with sponsors who commit to a monthly financial gift to help meet their sponsored child's basic needs. Using sponsor and donor resources, Compassion partners with 2,500 church-based organizations in 22 developing countries to provide education, health care, supplemental nutrition, vocational training, and biblical instruction to children in Asia, Africa, Middle America and South America.

 

Compassion International staffers and guests are in Guatemala this week meeting with seven-year-old Irma Lopez Chox, the 500,000th child to be sponsored by the ministry. Sponsors are encouraged to come see first-hand how children like Irma are showered with the love of God through interaction with caring project workers.

 

Compassion's Mary Ann Stromvitski is leading visitors this week on a tour of the ministry's Guatemala projects. Among the visitors are Stephen and Amanda Henry, a Pennsylvania couple who won the grand prize in the "Guatemala Mission Adventure" contest co-sponsored recently by American Family Radio (afr.net) and Compassion International.

 

Compassion serves 21,000 children in Guatemala alone. Stromvitski explains that visiting a project is a heartwarming experience. "At the projects you're going to see children in all kinds of different activities -- playing, singing, doing art and school projects, and it will just be a great time of sharing," she says.

 

The Compassion spokeswoman believes Americans and other westerners can learn a lot from poor Christians in developing nations about relying completely on the Lord.

 

"What I see wherever I travel in the world for Compassion is that people are so dependent on God. In fact, I think we get too comfortable as Christians in the western world -- we're not nearly as dependent as we need to be. These folks get up in the morning and go to bed at night thinking about their relationship and their walk with God," Stromvitski says.

 

Many Compassion sponsors who have visited projects can attest to the life-changing spiritual effects. Christian recording artist Geoff Moore has partnered with the ministry for 18 years and, with his family, currently sponsors children in Guatemala and Ecuador. He highly recommends getting involved with Compassion International, and advises all who can visit a project site to do so.

 

"Before every trip I'm a little hesitant to go. But every time, the Lord meets me -- in all those places, in all the children, in all the workers at the projects, all the parents. Traveling with Compassion has become an integral part of my faith journey," Moore says, adding, "God has used it to continually make me aware of my need for Him."