In 2008 I was sitting in a small prop plane looking out over the majestic snow capped mountains of Nepal. I had just left our children’s home in Bhaktapur, Nepal. Since 2006 the Lord had been dealing with me to start a compassion arm of our ministry. It began at the Bhakatpur Children’s Home where we had been supporting fourteen children. I wept at the realization that these children have a future and a hope. How many more could have that same hope?
To that point, our ministry focused on church planting but Rick and I heard the call to serve the poor. My dream is to help meet the practical and physical needs of those who cannot help themselves. We formed CompassionAsia as a funding organization that works with our church-planting partners to develop a ministry of compassion. ChurchAsia has been laying the foundation through local church planting, but through CompassionAsia, we can strengthen the church by finding a need and filling that need. These two ministries work hand in hand.
My desire is to develop humanitarian outreach in the areas where we are planting churches. My heart is to help the young ones who are the future of these developing countries, and equip our pastors and leaders to provide for their families.
Dream His Dreams
Bhaktapur Children’s Home began in 2001 when four little boys who needed a home were brought to David Sagar’s church. David took those little ones into his own home and shortly after that he partnered with us to secure financial support for these children. For three years, we supported the children out of our own resources. The number of children quickly grew to eight, then twelve. It was then that we realized there was a legitimate compassion ministry being birthed. We asked for sponsors for the children and were overwhelmed by the immediate positive response. So far, we have been able to rescue fifteen children from the streets of Nepal.
Many of these children come from single-parent homes, with their families being too poor to care for them or provide an education. Some of the children are true orphans with no families to look after them. Some were found in piles of garbage looking for food. Some were found on the streets sniffing glue to ward off the hunger pangs. One little girl was rescued from a possible life of prostitution.
At Bhaktapur Children’s Home not only do they receive material care like food and clothes, they also receive the care and love of a mother and father. They are able to get a quality education and opportunity for a better life. Most of them come from Hindu backgrounds, but they are now serving God in their local church.
For details and individual profiles visit children's home
Can you imagine an entire school classroom that is a sandbox? Or how about having a wading pool in class to play in or cool off? These are just some of the innovative ways that KB & Sushila Basel are teaching the children who attend Sophia English School. KB is one of our lead pastors in Nepalgunj, Nepal, and he used his background in education to start the school in 2004. He has developed a curriculum that encourages learning through play, much like some of the Montessori schools in the U.S. The school teaches children from pre-school up to grade eight. They have been so successful that the local community has taken notice. Doctors, attorneys and government officials have been enrolling their own children at Sophia School instead of the state run public schools.
The school has been an integral part of our church network in West Nepal and is able to meet a real need of our village pastors to have a place to send their children for a quality education. Many times, the village pastors have migrated to the city in order for their children to receive an education. Now they have the option of sending their kids to Sophia School in Nepalgunj, and they can remain in their village to lead their church.
For details visit sophia school
Little food, inadequate clothing, harsh living conditions, no sight, no hope. These are the conditions we found fifteen children living a hostel for blind kids in Jumla, Nepal. We began to work with Pastor KB Basel of Gan Nepal to care for them in April of 2009, and we have seen dramatic improvements in their living conditions, health, and emotional well-being.
Just about all of the children have families, but they are so poor that caring for a blind child is an extra burden on them. We were more than glad to begin caring for them. The change we have seen in their lives has been worth every penny and every minute we have spent. The smiles on their faces now tell a different story of hope for their lives.
For details visit the blind children
In 2002 we opened our first children’s home in Nepal with four abandoned children. I remember an uneasiness in taking on the responsibility of four dependents – knowing that this would be a long-term commitment. We have never regretted that decision. Those four children grew quickly to fourteen, and as I saw the extraordinary changes our faith decision made in their lives, I began to dream of the possibilities of expanding that work.
I started to dream of a Children’s Village where children would live in cottages in families of ten or twelve to a home with a house parent to care for them. I dreamed of abandoned children being able to grow up as a family of brothers and sisters with a mother who would continue to be their mother for the rest of their lives. They would have the opportunity to grow up in a home where they could return and visit and reminisce, even as adults. I dreamed of a walled compound that would enclose ten to fifteen such cottages, with gardens, a school and a play area in the center. I dreamed of a place of love and family and nurturing.
The dream is now becoming a reality!
For details, visit the children's village
When the tsunami struck Sri Lanka in December of 2004, we discovered the amazing power of a local church in action. As contributions poured in from around the world, we were able to immediately mobilize a team from our church in Colombo and begin helping disaster victims. The Colombo church was able to absorb the administrative duties of distributing and overseeing the rebuilding project with the funds we sent them. With a staff and facility in place, we had no need to set up an office or hire an administrative team, and with the volunteer manpower of our church members we were able to immediately move into action. Since our staff salaries were already met by the church, 100% of the funds donated went directly to the needs of the devastated communities. Within six months we had built or repaired over 130 homes with the $150,000 dollars that was given to us through our donors. Though this is a small amount compared to the millions that were pledged by western nations, the speed at which we were able to move attracted the interest of the speaker of the Sri Lankan House of Parliament. Rick and Pastor Dishan had the privilege of meeting with him and sharing the love of Christ.
We now have strong, self-supporting congregations in Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and through these local churches we have the capability to respond immediately to disaster needs. Our pastors and their staffs are capable, experienced, sacrificial and trustworthy. Though we are small, compared to the large government aid organizations, we are lean, mobile and efficient.
We believe that the local church represents the most efficient, the most compassionate and the most trustworthy vehicle to responsibly care for the needs of those who find themselves on the brink of survival due to natural disasters. We are so proud of our young leaders in Sri Lanka who ministered without prejudice to Buddhist, Hindu and Moslem disaster victims. They truly modeled the love of Christ to hurting communities.
Completed Disaster Relief Projects:
2004 Sri Lanka Tsunami
2006 Pakistan Earthquake
2008 Orissa, India Persecution
2010 Colombo, Sri Lanka Flood
2010 Islamabad, Pakistan Flood
2012 Dang, Nepal Flood
A particularly heart-rending practice has evolved out of the extreme poverty of the Nepali villages. Unscrupulous men from the large cities of India travel into the rural villages of Nepal and offer employment to young, uneducated village girls. The families are told that the girls will have access to education as well as employment opportunities in India. The men offer them jobs to work as house servants. The families are given small sums of money, usually fifty to one hundred dollars, and the girls are taken to Bombay or Delhi where they are forced into child prostitution. There are Christian organizations in India that are helping to rescue some of these exploited girls, but to our knowledge there is no facility to rehabilitate and relocate them back in their homeland. We are determined to fill that need.
A lot is being said about rescuing young girls and boys after they’ve been led into human trafficking. Pastor K B Basel and his wife Sushilla work hard on the Nepal-India border to prevent these young ones from ever being trafficked. Their staff is always on the lookout for anyone who seems out of place and at-risk. They have been able to avert many from being abused and sold into the sex-slave trade industry.
Most of our pastors are farmers. They are capable men who are eager to learn but have little education. We have been amazed at how well they have done with some small investment projects we did with them as an experiment. A one thousand dollar investment has proven sufficient to generate enough income to support a pastor's family.
Twenty percent of the people of Nepal live in extreme poverty. Formally called the untouchables, they are now classified as Dalits. They are landless, uneducated, and many times, in debt to landowners due to unfair loan practices. Unless we give them a legitimate trade they will never break the cycle of extreme poverty that has been in place for thousands of years.
Compassion is a deep human emotion brought on by another person’s suffering. It is more than feeling sorrow. It’s more than sharing or understanding the pain someone is going through. Compassion means to care for someone–to care so deeply that you do something to change their condition.
Jesus had Compassion for Healing in Mark 1:40-42 when a leper came to Him, begging to be made clean, the Lord was moved with compassion and healed him.
Jesus had Compassion for Deliverance in Mark 5:18, when he cast out the evil spirits in the man who lived among the tombs. The Lord told the man to tell his friends how he had compassion on him.
Jesus had Compassion for Spiritual Need in Mark 6:34, when he saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. He taught them how to live. He attended to their spiritual needs.
Jesus had Compassion for Emotional Need in Luke 7:11-13, when he raised the widow’s son back to life. He was moved to compassion for her and told her, “Do not weep.”
Jesus had Compassion for Physical Need in Mark 8:1-2, when he fed the multitude because they were hungry. Jesus met their basic physical needs.
Compassion is not easy; it will cost you to have Compassion. It requires something of you: to think about the needs of others, and invest your time, effort, and resources to help them. Compassion is a deep emotion that moves you to action.