International (MNN) — A 66-year-old child development ministry just passed a major milestone. Spokesman Tim Glenn says two million kids have now been registered with Compassion International.
“It took us 56 years to get to the point of one million children in our program, and then only 11 years to hit two million,” he explains.
“God’s heart for children in poverty, His movement for children in poverty is accelerating and we’re getting to be part of it.”
In a press release issued Friday, Compassion announced a celebration of the occasion in its 12 global funding offices and 25 program country offices. “This is really a celebration of our supporters and the work our church partners are doing,” Compassion President and CEO Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado said in the release.
“The staff and thousands of volunteers at the local church level are the ones who are providing life-changing care for these children. And our supporters around the world enable them to do so. This is a celebration of their commitment.”
As part of Compassion’s program, a child living in poverty gets support in four areas critical to development: spiritual, physical, social, and economic.
Specific benefits can include food, educational assistance (i.e. tutors, school uniforms, textbooks, and supplies), medical checkups, health and hygiene education, and more depending on the need. When a child is linked to a sponsor, their lives are further enriched through prayers and letters. Occasionally, a sponsor will even visit their child.
Glenn says Compassion’s program operates through local churches, which puts the Good News of Jesus front-and-center. “We have over 7,000 church partners now in 25 countries,” he states.
“Every one of those churches is a Gospel-teaching church, and our program is centered on teaching the Gospel of Jesus.”
So, what’s on the horizon for Compassion?
“We are looking to be an innovative and progressive organization that’s looking forward, moving forward, and expanding our reach and our movement,” says Glenn.
“There are one billion children in the world living in poverty. Yes, we’re excited about reaching two million of them, but – in the grand scheme of things – it’s a drop in the bucket. God has called us to do more and we want to answer that call.”