Anne Field of St. Cuthbert and her Compassion child Reyna in Guatemala.

Have you ever been really passionate about something? I have and am. My passion is for Compassion Canada and their ministry. It is a Christian child sponsorship charity with a mission to release children from spiritual and physical poverty in the name of Jesus. Jesus was very plain in His instructions to us to look after the poor and vulnerable, especially the children.

So how did I get involved with Compassion? It started at an evangelism weekend with Tony Compolo five years ago, with a challenge from him to sponsor a Compassion child. I accepted the challenge and I had the privilege of meeting this little boy, Jeral, in Lima, Peru, last year.

What an exciting and emotional day that was. Imagine how I felt when, after I had given him my gifts, Jeral and his father produced a box in which had saved every letter, card and photograph that I had sent to him. What better proof is there that the letters that you write to your sponsored children are very special to them? They let them know that they are loved and give them hope for the future.

When I returned from Peru, Compassion asked me if I would become an advocate for them, which I did. Since December I have been giving talks and presentations to churches and church groups about Compassion.

So how is Compassion different from other child-sponsorship groups? It is Christ centred. Christ is at the centre of its ministry and it is doubling its sponsorships every four years. It is church based. Every project is based in a protestant church, and it is child focused. Each child has only one sponsor with whom they can build up a relationship through prayer and letters, and they are treated as individuals and with respect.

I have just returned from an advocate tour in Guatemala where I visited the head office and several child projects. It was an amazing experience and gave me a deeper understanding of the ministry of Compassion.

To see the smiles on the faces of the children in the projects, the love for and dedication to the children of the project staff and to witness first hand the poverty of the children's homes was very emotional and humbling. The couple with ten children who had trouble feeding the family, the grandfather caring for his two grand-children who broke down when he told us of the difficulty that he had providing enough food for them on the $3 per day that he made from selling his hand woven baskets. The mother who asked us to pray for her as her husband had jealous rages and would not let her out, the wife trying to support her children by baking 400 buns per day only to have her alcoholic husband take the money for drink, this after he had sold all their furniture. In contrast, the love and security that is given to the children at the projects gives them hope and confidence.

We met the staff in the projects, usually around twenty people for projects of 400 children. They included a director, teachers, spiritual leaders, a nurse and an accountant. The financial integrity of Compassion is beyond reproach. I saw the children's files and everything is carefully documented and audits are performed regularly at both the national and local level.

We also had the privilege of meeting three young adults who had advanced through the Compassion program and were now being sponsored at university. They would become Christian leaders in their field of study and were an inspiration to all of us.

The highlight of the tour was meeting my sponsored little girl, Reyna, and her father. They travelled from their village for many hours to meet me. She was delightful and full of fun. I was very humbled when she said that she wanted to be like me when she grew up.

Could you or your church get passionate about releasing a child from poverty? Why not give me a call at 604-538-3365 or email me at and learn how you can make a difference in the life of a child.

Anne Field is a parishioner at St. Cuthbert's, Delta.