International (MNN) — This Sunday, April 18, is Compassion Sunday. What does this mean, you ask? It's Compassion International's one-day event in 1065 churches across the United States, aimed to inform congregations about Compassion's work with some of the world's poorest children.
Kathy Redmond of Compassion is anticipating the event: "It's just really a great moment when the Church body decides to stand up and do what's biblically mandated, which is to help the poor and needy, and to speak out for the orphans and the widows and those who are oppressed."
Around 10 percent of Compassion's sponsorships come from this annual event. In addition to the more than 1000 churches participating on this day, another 600 or so share similar information throughout the year.
Sponsorship serves a two-fold purpose, says Redmond. First, each sponsor forms a personal relationship with their child or children. For many of these children, it is through this relationship that they first hear they are loved–by a person and by God.
"These are kids that will hear the Gospel, and many for the first time will receive a sponsor letter and hear that they're loved," Redmond says.
The second purpose of sponsorship is to see the church step up and fight against poverty, Redmond explains.
Recently, several countries in which Compassion works have entered their rainy seasons, including Thailand, Brazil, Ecuador and Indonesia, where flooding has already taken place. Redmond said floods lead to waterborne diseases such as cholera and malaria, crippling impoverished communities even more.
In the past three months, all eyes have been turned to Haiti, but she said, "We still need to realize we have all of these other countries to take care of while we're still helping to rebuild Haiti."
Compassion Sunday may sound like just another way for an organization to ask for money, says Redmond. And she understands that churches have recently been assailed by pleas for support. However, "No matter what our economy is, no matter what kind of recession we're in, Americans still need to count their blessings," she said. "We certainly live much better than much of the world."
To sponsor a child costs just $38 each month; this provides for all their needs. Compare this number to the amount you spend on your own children, and it's amazing how far your sponsorship can go.