''Compassion'' Ministering to the Poorest West African Children

( [email protected] ) Sep 12, 2004 07:56 PM EDT

This summer the U.S.-based ministry, Compassion International has begun partnering with 300 to 400 local pastors from across the country in an effort to improve the lives of children there.

Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. Many of the residents barely earn a living in the weather-prone agriculture sector. According to the 2004 CIA World Factbook, the annual income per capita in Burkina Faso is $1,100.

After many years of invitations to churches in region, Burkina Faso became the sixth African nation that Compassion International has supported. The work is carried out in conjunction with the local church partners.

The ministry approaches the poverty of the nation from a holistic perspective, seeking to satisfy various necessities such as health care, supplemental nutrition, educational opportunities and spiritual training.

The CEO of Compassion International, Dr. Wess Stafford takes on support efforts without denominational boundaries. “I told them, ‘you guys may not be able to agree on how to do the Lord’s Supper, or how to baptize, or when the Lord is coming for us, but you surely can agree that children matter right?”

The ministry seeks to unite various Christian groups to put faith into action and help the pressing needs of children. “One of the things Compassion often does is, in places where the church kind of works in independent little silos, denominations not talking to each other, we bring them together,” Stafford says.

Though the ministry supports around 168,000 children around the world, the CEO insists that each child is treated preciously. He says, “Compassion works with one child at a time to make a difference.”

The "Compassion" project seeks to unite donors with individual children through sponsorship programs. The cost is approximately $28 per month. To find out more, visit www.compassion.com