Andrew was happy to receive new shoes from his sponsors, who themselves once were sponsored children.
On June 24, 2006, Compassion International launched its very first Alumni Association. The place was Manila, Philippines, and Dr. Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International, was the guest speaker on that historic night.
Dr. Stafford challenged, "Remember this & no matter how high God lets you climb, never forget to be grateful and never forget to reach back and bring others along with you. One by one as we do that, we can change this entire globe."
Since then, the Compassion Philippines Alumni Association, including Compassion graduate Joyce, has helped to release thousands of poor children in the Philippines from poverty. Joyce is now a training coordinator for the Delegation of the European Commission in the Philippines, and she is an officer in the alumni association.
The association's purpose is to challenge all alumni to give back by pooling together resources for sponsorship, to encourage the Philippine Church to reach out to the poor, and to assist fellow alumni in job placement and career opportunities.
So Joyce and other officers in the Alumni Association now sponsor a shy little boy named Andrew. Alumna Keewani is in charge of writing to Andrew. "Whenever we send a letter to Andrew," she says, "I can imagine what's going on at the other side of the correspondence. I was Andrew before."
"We sent him gifts. We gave him a new pair of rubber shoes," Keewani reveals excitedly. "Joyce cried when we bought that gift for Andrew because she remembered that she never owned new shoes when she was growing up."
Compassion Philippines: Creating a Legacy
Compassion Philippines has created something special in its Alumni Association. And for many, joining the association isn't just about belonging to another club or group.
"The Alumni Association of Compassion is important because it serves as a memorial stone for me from being helpless, uncertain about my future to finding my worth ... and having a dream for the next generation," says Joyce. "I believe this is God's calling to us alumni."
"The reason why it was easy to catch the vision of sponsoring a child is because of what we received from our own sponsors," says alumnus Bobby, now a successful businessman and proud father of two. "Compassion helped us, and by our own way we now hope to pass on the blessings to others."
Two of the alumni officers, Keewani and Michelle, have gone overseas to talk about Andrew and Compassion's sponsorship.
In 2006, Keewani was invited as special guest to attend the opening of Compassion Australia's new building. There her dream came true as she personally met her former Australian sponsor. "He is like my second father. When I was young I would call him Daddy," Keewani says.
In 2008, Michelle toured several states in America to give her testimony of being a sponsored child. She ended all her talks by telling stories about Andrew and her hopes for him.
Keewani and other officers have recently traveled the Philippines to encourage formerly sponsored children to bond together to help children in need. To date, their efforts have resulted in seven sponsorships. The association has also launched a nationwide project that will challenge the Philippine Church to care for poor children through sponsorship and advocacy. They call it Project Andrew.
What did you like about this story?