Compassion's History - 1950s

History of Compassion International in the 1950s.

Compassion in the 1950s

Compassion in the 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 21st century


Evangelist Everett Swanson travels to South Korea during the Korean War to preach the gospel to the troops in the Republic of Korea army.

In 1952, he returns and sees the horrible conditions in which many orphaned and abandoned children live — and die.

Rev. Swanson is challenged by a missionary friend: "You have seen the tremendous needs and unparalleled opportunities of this land. What do you intend to do about it?"

The Rev. Everett Swanson kneels next to a Korean War orphan.

Two checks are presented to Rev. Swanson ($50 and $1,000) upon his return to America to help the orphans of Korea. "This was conclusive proof to me that God was in it," Swanson said.

Miriam Swanson, Everett's wife, and family friends, Dr. Gus and Helen Hemwall, encourage, support and work with Rev. Swanson in his efforts to help Korean orphans. Dr. Hemwall provides medical supplies and significant financial resources as Everett launches his overseas ministry.


Rev. Swanson begins to incorporate his experience in Korea into his revival meetings. Christians donate funds to purchase rice and fuel for the Korean children.


Special sponsorship programs are developed so that individuals, families or churches can help support orphans for a few dollars a month.

Sponsorship money provides Biblical lessons, food, clothing, shelter and medical aid on a regular basis for the children of Korea.

The Rev. Everett Swanson holds a bunch of mittens.


A nonprofit corporation, the Everett Swanson Evangelistic Association (ESEA), is launched in the basement of the Swanson's Chicago home. The ESEA handles the funds and attends to the day-to-day business of ministering to orphans in South Korea.

The board of directors consists of:

  • Rev. Everett Swanson, president
  • Mrs. Miriam Swanson, vice president
  • Gus A. Hemwall, M.D., secretary and treasurer

Compassion in the 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 21st century

The Heart of Compassion Beats Stronger Than Ever

Our history begins with one man’s act of compassion in 1952, an act that blossomed into a ministry helping more than 1.7 million babies, children and young adults.

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