Over 19 years ago I first became an advocate for Compassion International (back then we were called volunteers). The Advocate Network has come a long way in the past 19 years. I remember being much more limited in how we could share the message of sponsorship, limited to displays, presentations and working concerts.
Nowadays you see advocates organizing runs, using social media and blogs, and basically advocating in whatever way best suits them. I've seen an evolution in my own advocacy efforts as well.
This past weekend I lived out my advocacy dream and held an amazing Compassion Sunday at my church. I don't even know how many Compassion Sunday presentations I've done over the years. At least 10, and every single one has been different. I've moved around quite a bit the past 19 years and have attended many different churches. Each has their own approach to missions and what they allow to be presented during a church service.
I've always dreamed of being given complete control of a service and my current church (hopefully my forever church), has done just that the past couple years. Both this year and last we've been given the green light to go ahead and do our thing. Truly an advocate's dream.
My husband (not an official advocate, but amazingly supportive) led worship, shared about our trip to Thailand and preached. Our friend and fellow Compassion sponsor did communion. I wrote up lessons for the children's classes and created huge displays in the hallway and foyer. In the evening our friend and formerly sponsored child from Uganda came to speak.
Friends...this did not happen the first or second or tenth year of my advocacy. I kept praying and dreaming and praying some more. If you have ever been discouraged about what your church allows you to do, don't give up hope. Keep praying and dreaming.
When it comes to advocacy, often we think in terms of finding new sponsors for children who are waiting. That is definitely one aspect of advocacy, but let's not limit ourselves to just that. I've come up with three main aspects of advocacy, and I'll be talking about each one this week.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming an advocate, you can read more about the Advocate Network on Compassion's website (HERE). I'd also be happy to try to answer any questions you might have. I have made beautiful connections with other advocates and feel like they are an extension of my "Compassion family".