Last week was crazy. At 3:30am, at Heathrow airport I met the group I’d be spending time in Uganda with for the next few days as part of the Compassion vision trip organised for church leaders. By 10:00am Friday morning I would be back at Heathrow, having been on a life changing visit to Kampala and back in just four days. You may know of Compassion as the child sponsor charity that we talk about at RBC. Twenty-five children across the world are sponsored through people at RBC and for this reason I was invited on this short trip to see some Compassion projects first hand.
After a gruelling day of travel and some fun and games getting my visa, we walked out into the African heat of Entebbe airport ready for a few hours’ sleep before our visit began.
Each day we were taken to diverse projects around Kampala where we saw different aspects of how Compassion work. We saw churches on the edge of slums where families now have hope because their children are part of Compassion projects. We saw local churches fully engaged and integrated as centres for their communities providing education for the children and teaching job and life skills to the parents. We saw children taking pride in learning to read and write but also about the importance of hygiene and even lessons being given about the dangers of STD’s! We heard from Compassion graduates who now work or volunteer with Compassion projects, giving back some of the goodness they have received.
But there’s a couple of incidents that I think will always stay with me. We sat in one woman’s home to hear how the projects were helping her family. I call it a home, but we’d probably condemn our shed if it were in such poor condition; dirt floor, holes in the corrugated steel roof, no water or electricity and one bed to sleep three or four people. The mother explained how her son had been taught to wash his hands before eating, and he had told his friends, who told their friends and so on. Now all the children in their community wash their hands before eating and there’s been less cases of sickness.
Another moment was the night after hearing four Compassion graduates share the horror story of growing up in poverty and the hope that had saved them. These four had now finished education and had good jobs. ‘Sarah’ heard people commenting she must be rich because she was so clever and always looked so smart, but she grew up living next to an open sewer in a shack like the many we visited. The next morning as we sat in a church and played with the young kids and there I realised that these young children in 20 years’ time will also be telling the stories of how they were rescued from poverty by a stranger in the West spending £25 a month.
I’ll just say it, having seen some of the projects with my own eyes I think every household should sponsor a child through Compassion. It only costs £25 a month, which for many people is a very small amount (approximately two large Costa lattes a week), yet the investment profoundly changes lives and communities. Currently twenty-five children are supported by RBC related people, which isn’t that many for a church our size. So, if you don’t yet sponsor a child, why not have a look at the Compassion website and see how you could be part of the story of lifting a family out of poverty. https://www.compassionuk.org
See you on Sunday