Carrying God's Burden

Carrying God's Burden

By: Gary Nowinski, contributing writer   |   Posted: August 08, 2006

Compassion Child Advocate talks about God's desire for Christians to help the helpless
Working with the Advocates Network, Mark Pellingra estimates that he has helped find sponsors for more than 300 children.

Ask Mark Pellingra why you should sponsor a child through Compassion and he'll show you a child's photo and ask, "Do you think it would be worth $38 a month to see this little treasure in heaven, smiling at you in eternity?"

It's questions like this that make Mark such an effective Compassion Child Advocate.

From One to Many

Mark began his relationship with Compassion after experiencing an "aha" moment while on a mission trip to Mexico. There Mark saw desperate inequalities created by poverty. Thousands of people were struggling without clean water or sanitation, and children who had dropped out of school were working as street vendors. Yet across the border were shiny new buildings and custom-built homes. Such disparity made Mark angry. But then a missionary offered him a way to turn anger into action  by sponsoring a child through Compassion.

After returning from the trip, Mark sponsored Shinu Rekhu from India. It wasn't long before Mark and his wife, Yvonne, sponsored another child (they now sponsor 11 children). Still, Mark felt he needed to do more.

"I began to sense God drawing me to become more active with the ministry of Compassion. When I saw the (Advocates) Network opportunity, I applied," he says.

Six years ago, Mark began his volunteer efforts for Compassion by staffing tables at speaking or music events and by placing displays in public places. He then actively sought presentation opportunities at churches, youth groups and mission conferences. A few years after Mark began volunteering as a Compassion Advocate, he was asked to become an Area Coordinator.

"For me, one of the highlights of being an Advocates Network Area Coordinator is helping to develop an advocate team in our area," Mark says. "Together we are a group of people who understand God's heart for the poor and are committed to supporting each other as well as the ministry."

Why Child Advocacy?

Mark says that sponsorship and child advocacy have helped him gain a much more balanced Christian worldview.

"God has given both me and my wife a tremendous passion for helping the poor, especially the most helpless  children. I have come to believe that's why God has burdened us with a burning passion to help the Church, the family of God, understand God's heart and mandate to help impoverished children in Jesus' name."