USA (MNN) — It’s been a difficult week at the headquarters of Compassion International. On March 1st, both a press release and blog post announced the ministry’s plans to withdraw from India after the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs refused to reverse its decision to block Compassion from sending funds to its two country offices and 589 church partners. Social media feeds have been filled with concerned posts and pleas for prayer from sponsors and ambassadors, and Director of Communications Tim Glenn and his team have fielded questions about what happens next for both the churches and the 127 in-country staffers.
But Glenn, like his Compassion team members around the world, sees a story of hope in the midst of the devastating news, and it’s what he wants people to remember when they think of the more than 250,000 children served in India over the past 48 years.
No One Else’s Name
Glenn takes a deep breath and then speaks, the resolve of six decades of ministry resonating in every word. “As an organization, we want all of those who know us, who have supported us, who have walked alongside us throughout this and throughout the 48 years we’ve worked in India and the 60-plus years of our organization’s history to know that we have stood steadfast and strong on one thing — and that is on Christ. Though winds change and popularity changes and even organizations and ministry may change, there is one thing we have not wavered from — nor will we — and that is that we are called to release children in the name of Jesus. No one else’s name, no other reason or other cause. That is our calling, and that is what we have stood by and will stand by. No government or principality or power can push us off of that rock. That’s our bedrock and our foundation.
So at the end of the day, if Compassion leaves India, we can know this. One, Compassion did not waver from her foundation. Two, the impact that we’ve had over the past 48 years — the more than 250,000 children who have come through our program there, the 147,000 children in our program currently — the impact we’ve had for them will be more than we’ll ever understand this side of Heaven. This is life-changing, eternity-changing, community-changing, nation-changing. These local churches we’ve empowered and equipped over these years will continue to do their work and their ministry. These children whose lives we’ve touched — you don’t just plant that seed and walk away and it withers. It grows. It will strengthen. And we will see the impact maybe in eternity, maybe in Heaven, but we won’t see it all here on earth. There will be an everlasting, eternal impact from what we have done and what our sponsors and supporters have done in India for the past 48 years.”
God’s Work Continues
The hope Glenn has is strengthened by what he has witnessed in India and around the world. “Compassion plays its part in equipping those churches, but the churches play their role too. And so do the children, and so do their families and the volunteers and the staff. And so do our sponsors and supporters. We all play our role. But it’s God doing the work. It’s God doing the change. He’s using us as instruments for that, but if an instrument falls or falters or is no longer allowed to be used, that doesn’t mean God’s work stops.”
Stewarding well their remaining time in India is paramount for Compassion. That includes equipping the 127 employees to find their next job. “We’ve gone out of our way to help employees with resume-building, setting up interviews, preparing for different careers. We don’t want to contribute to even more poverty or more economic turmoil inside India, and especially not for our family members.”
Glenn says Compassion’s supporters have been instrumental in providing encouragement and in actively advocating for the ministry in India. “You know, the support has been overwhelming. We’ve gotten a lot of positive response to this, people praying for the organization, people praying for the children of India, praying for the situation, that it would be resolved. I think our donors, our sponsors, our supporters are a lot more savvy than we even realize sometimes, and they understand the importance of something like this, and they are engaged. That’s why so many of them wrote their congressperson, that’s why so many of them engaged in social media, and that’s why so many of them today are encouraging Compassion to not give up — to hang in there, and to let us know they are praying for us.”
Pray for the Unseen Things
Compassion’s challenges in India are a reminder to everyone about the reality of ministry, Glenn says, and he offers road-tested wisdom on how to pray.
“Somebody said to me years ago that there are three things in the world that you don’t want to see how they’re made. One is politics, one is sausage, and one is ministry — and all for different reasons. But when you are supporting a ministry, you have no idea the things they are encountering along the way. We don’t always tell people about the dangers of doing ministry or the hurdles we have to overcome to do ministry in some of the countries where we work. So when you’re supporting a ministry like Compassion or any organization that’s working on a global scale, remember to pray for those unseen and unmentioned things, because it’s those things that can cripple a ministry, and it’s those things that can keep a ministry from being able to continue doing its work. With Compassion, there were things going on in that country that even we weren’t aware of in their own internal workings in their government that were allowed to fester to the point where they hindered our ability to do ministry. So when you pray for an organization like Compassion or pray for your church or pray for anyone who does ministry, include those prayers for the things that you don’t know and they don’t know, the things that go on behind the scenes that Satan uses to try to trip up anyone who is doing work in Jesus’ name.”
To be part of Compassion’s Christ-centered work for children around the world, visit their website at Compassion.com.