You remember the sweet film that centered on Nick, a smooth operator desperate to date a woman with two children. Seizing an opportunity to win her over, he volunteers himself to a job he is not educated in: transporting young children. Well, you know the end of the story. During the long and bumpy ride, the children repeatedly hem and haw asking the formidable, “Are we there yet?”
That is how I see each of us as Advocates trying to move and advance the cause of children: moving them from deprivation, exclusion, and vulnerability, and into a place of protection, inclusion, and provision. In essence, HOPE. Unlike Nick, the character in this movie, we must educate ourselves and enter the school of Learning, not for learning sake, but for children’s sake. It may appear lofty, but Compassion affords each Advocate in our community of voices opportunities to understand needs, programmatic efforts and outcomes, in order to champion the lives of children throughout unstable global change.
As a Trainer, I know I haven’t arrived. I struggle with the same glowering impatience of a child. “Am I there yet?” The answer simply is no. Not while scores of children are orphaned with no access to water, and not while child hunger still exists. The battle must be fought, and there is much to learn on how to fight it.
By virtue of global trends and how we govern and advance the mission of Compassion, it is incumbent upon us to learn and educate ourselves for our churches and communities. International Advocacy has emerged important actors in identifying transnational problems, and our ability to articulate those problems is critical to releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ Name.
Each of the children we minister to depend on our capability to tell their story, and to tell it in a compelling and thought-provoking way that arouses the spirit, intellect, and emotions of those who are not yet sponsors. We must continue to learn in order to be movers and shakers of the kingdom, in order to tell their story with fresh courage and humility, and in order to attain advocacy effectiveness.
In the book, Who is this Man? John Ortberg describes Jesus as a man “who spent most of his adult life as a blue-collar worker, crafting benches and tables. Then one day the carpenter left his shop and began to teach.” I believe Jesus cares deeply and passionately about his children around the world, and ultimately we must rest and learn from Him, our primary source of knowledge.
I challenge you as an Advocate who may be struggling with the same arduous question, “Aren’t we there yet?” The children we minister to around the world depend on you. We don’t know the end of their story, but let’s keep pressing on learning and educating ourselves so that when we tell it, we become the change agent, living word and deed, releasing children from poverty, one child at a time, in Jesus’ Name.