Well, this time last week I was on my way to the Compassion conference. I’ve been pretty quiet about it, so as you can probably tell, I wasn’t keen. There were 120 of us there, and in an effort to be informal, they sat us at round tables (about 4 or 5 people at each). They put me on a table at the front with the worship-leader and 3 of the speakers. I felt a bit like the odd one out, and people only seemed to talk to the group they were sitting with.
In the morning a pastor from a church in Northampton talked about how he wanted his church to sponsor a child for every child in their congregation. About 90 children go there and they’ve got 76 Compassion-kids so far, so they’re well on the way to their goal. In the afternoon, a lady called Damaris (a few years younger than me) spoke. She once lived in Kenya and was sponsored herself through Compassion. We watched a few DVDs of sponsors and their children (one featured our worship-leader on a trip to Uganda; he was obviously moved by it), and that was our day.
The first conference I went to was up north, and it might be my imagination, but I think they’re less reserved up there. I seemed to meet and chat to more new people, and they seemed to cram more into the day. The DVDs weren’t just about sponsors and their children; there were videos like this one with facts about poverty, which would have caught anyone’s attention, sponsors or not. The main speaker (instead of putting the focus on what he was doing) concentrated more on God and His miracles in Haiti – so interesting eighteen months after the earthquake in Port-Au-Prince.
So do I regret going last week? Well, no, because I did come away with something. As the pastor from Northampton encouraged us to stand up for those in need (I.E. our sponsored children) and get on our knees for them in prayer, he said: “We’ve got a girl in our church who’s ill with cancer. She’s got weeks to live. We’re praying for her that God would heal” … He said that as they were praying, someone had a picture. “The picture he had was like a web of strings, and every time we pray, one string snaps in half.”
I don’t know who your thoughts were with as you read that. Family? Friends? Sponsored children? But whoever you’re standing in prayer for, isn’t it good to be reminded that something’s happening every time we pray, even though we may not see it now?
If you’ve got something on your heart and would like someone to pray with you, please let me know in the comments.