Compassion International is coming back to the country where it started. A children outreach program that started in 1952 by Pastor Everett Swanson served 35 children in Korea that were orphaned by the Korean War. This program eventually became Compassion International, a worldwide child development program that serves more than half a million children. Now South Korea will take a different role, not receiving aid but providing aid to children in other developing countries.
While Compassion Ministry was serving Korean children for 40 years, they brought opportunities for better education, health, skills training, and the gospel to children in need. Then in 1993 the ministry stopped because South Korea had become much more stable in economics along with its growth in Christian communities.
Now South Korea has become a partner country with Compassion International. The citizens will have the opportunity to join with the international Christian ministry in providing assistance to children in need in developing countries around the world.
Today South Korea is one of ten countries with individual sponsors providing support to Compassion children in other parts of the world.
"As Compassion opens its new office in Seoul, we're entering a country that is very different from what is was 51 years ago when Rev. Swanson began his work," said Ed Anderson, CFO and senior vice president of Compassion. "Now South Korea will repeat this blessing to others around the world."
Compassion International president Dr. Wess Stafford says for ten years Christians in South Korea have wanted the ministry to com back they could take part in reaching out to children in need in other nations. He says these Christians are anxious to help make a difference not only for the sake of poor children, but also for the sake of their own privileged grandchildren.
According to Stafford, many South Koreans are saying that "Grandpa fought the war, and daddy rebuilt the nation, and what we are now most concerned about is the grandchildren."
The CEO of Compassion in Korea says South Korean Christians want their own younger generations who are growing in a developed country to learn to have thankful heart and to benefit from this partnership by reaching other children in poor countries. He says these young people "have grown up in a developed country and they've become self-centered. We need Compassion to come back in order for our grandchildren to learn how to reach out to others."
Stafford notes that South Korea's Church has expanded greatly involving in many good works by promoting gospel through the world. It has become the second (only to the US) in sending out missionaries.
"Korea has sent many missionaries into the world, sharing the gospel with countless people," said Stafford, "Now South Koreans will be reaching out to poor children beyond their borders through Compassion."
Dr. Justin Suh, executive director of Compassion South Korea, said the organization would work to build relationships across denominational lines, one church at a time.
"Our partnership represents an opportunity to give back to God what He has done for this nation — as we were helped, we will now help many others," Suh said. "With God's blessing, the Compassion worldwide family will keep the ripple effect going, stirring hearts and changing lives in Jesus' name."
Compassion South Korea joins nine other partner countries: Australia, Canada, France, Holland, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Sponsors in these countries provide support for children in 21 developing countries around the world.