Celebrating the Holidays with Compassion

True Confessions of an Advocate Engagement Director

By: Greg Birgy, Advocate Engagement Director, USA

No, you won’t find any salacious Hollywood or Washington D.C. caliber scandal here, but what I’m about to confess is scandalous nonetheless, and is of far greater importance than anything that hits the big screen or our news media, at least in my humble opinion. I suspect it may be a whole lot more relevant to you as a Compassion Child Advocate as well, so please, indulge me and read on.

Last month I traveled more than I have in a long time. One work trip took me half way around the world to a conference in Bangkok, Thailand. I met countless people in airplanes, airports, hotels, shuttles, restaurants, and at a conference focused on child evangelism. Another trip took me “home” to Michigan to spend time with my family while my Dad received cancer treatment (which went very well; his prognosis is great!). Again, I encountered lots of people and visited a lot of extended family while in the area.

I had more opportunities to speak to individuals and groups about Compassion in that one month span than I had in perhaps the entire year prior. I DID speak to a lot of people about Compassion’s ministry and God’s heart for children in poverty…but I wasn’t very proactive about those opportunities. I didn’t have a single child packet in my possession the entire month! (Therein lies the scandal, if you’ve been scanning the page for it.)

There was a time in my ministry as a child advocate that I wouldn’t be caught anywhere without a child packet within ready reach. I spent HOURS with flight delays and even a canceled flight getting to know the people sharing my plight—and they got to hear about the plight of children in need, but I didn’t get to introduce them to any specific children that they might have been moved to take with them on the spot because I didn’t have any with me.

Likewise, I was so focused on the needs of my family as I made this rather unplanned trip home, that I didn’t do any of my usual preparation. My parents’ church allows me to present Compassion nearly every time I am in the area, but I didn’t make any phone calls in order to set that up. My sister’s church adopted Compassion as the beneficiary of its missions offering for Vacation Bible School last summer…it could have been an open door for me to schedule a Compassion Sunday presentation as a follow-up this Fall while I was in the area, but I wasn’t thinking about that opportunity when I made my travel plans. How is it that the Advocate Engagement Director of Compassion could lose such ripe opportunities simply because I didn’t have Compassion in the front of my mind as I made arrangements to visit my family?

Sometimes opportunities should be obvious, others we stumble into unexpectedly. All opportunities can be fruitful if we simply take some simple steps to be at the ready regardless of circumstance. I’m not going to let the holiday season pass without ordering some child packets and some Compassion Gift Catalogs to keep in my car. That way, wherever life takes me and whatever opportunities arise, I’ll have the essential tools to make the most of every opportunity. Will you join me and place your order today so that you can be prepared for the opportunities God will place in your path on the journey of your daily life? For years I’ve told advocates that your ministry with Compassion doesn’t have to compete for your time with the other things on your calendar; rather, your ministry as a child advocate can complement what you are already doing. You just have to be mindful to bring Compassion with you wherever your day takes you.

I’m praying that those opportunities to change the lives of children by introducing them to a new sponsor will be abundant for all of us as we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year!