Bayside Church Compassion Sunday

My friend Lindsay invited me to go with her to volunteer at a Compassion International event up in Roseville a couple of Sundays ago.  Leaving the house around 6:30am, we made the two hour drive up to Bayside Church for their Compassion Sunday.

When we first arrived at Bayside Church, I was struck by how big the campus was.  They offer 5 worships services (2 on Saturday and 3 on Sunday), and I believe their sanctuary can seat about 2,500 people.  That’s a lot of people (x 5 services)!  Christian musician Lincoln Brewster (I love his music!) is on staff as their Worship Arts Pastor and they also host the annual Thrive Conference, a 3-day ministry event for pastors, ministry leaders, staffers and lay volunteers.  As a lay volunteer, I might just have to check out this conference next year.  🙂

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Toward the end of each service, the Pastor (it was a guest preacher from another church) shared about Compassion’s ministry and invited the congregation to consider sponsoring a child.  Hundreds of people felt the call to become a Compassion Sponsor for the first time or they decided to sponsor more kids in addition to the one(s) they already had. Lindsay and I helped pass out t-shirts to people who signed up that day.  It was their thank you gift.  Over 900 kids were sponsored over the course of the weekend.  Isn’t that just amazing?!  Praise God!  =)

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In-between services, we got the opportunity to visit the Compassion Experience that the church was hosting on their campus for the week.  My family visited the Compassion Experience when they were in San Jose and we heard Brinda’s story.  More details about that experience on my blog here.  There are three stories to choose from and this time, I experienced Reuben’s story.

IMG_5535 IMG_5537The last room you walk into is filled with child information packets.  Here they give you the opportunity to sign up with Compassion if you want to.  We got to meet a special guest who flew in from India for the event.  It was Brinda!  She works for Compassion now.  What a blessing it was to meet her!IMG_5533Though the day was long and my legs & feet were tired/sore from standing, it was a very blessed time for me.  I had fun serving with my friend and enjoyed our chats during the drive there and back.  I was very much touched by the hearts of those who became sponsors or added more kids that day, because I knew that their sponsorship was going to change a child’s life.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” ~Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)

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If you’re wondering if I am a Compassion Sponsor…I am not.  But, we do sponsor children through World Vision, which is another Christian humanitarian organization. I’ll need to write an update about our WV kids soon.  =)

Change The Story: The Compassion Experience

A couple of weeks ago, we drove down to San Jose for The Compassion Experience at Church on the Hill.

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From their Facebook page:

AboutExperience first hand the life of a child living in poverty at this immersive event. Learn+be inspired+make a difference.

DescriptionVisitors to The Compassion Experience step into the life of a child who has suffered under crippling weight of poverty. But the journey does not end there. In the span of less than 30 minutes, they will travel with that child from hardship to hope. And in the midst of hope, they will watch that child’s story transformed through the support of Compassion and the child’s life-giving relationship with a sponsor.

The Compassion Experience is a life-changing experience that challenges your views of poverty, transforms your understanding of the world, and moves you to be the change for a child in desperate poverty!

There were three stories/experiences to choose from. Since we had the kids with us, we chose the more kid-friendly experience.  After we received ipods and headphones from the volunteers, we began our tour.  IMG_8793IMG_8791

As we went from room to room, we were given glimpses of that child’s life…of how she experienced poverty (heartbreaking!) to being a sponsored child through Compassion (praise the Lord!).  At the end of the tour, people were given an opportunity to sponsor a child.

Since we had time, Jason and Micah walked through another child’s story.  Rebekah and I stayed outside and hung out with the volunteers.  They played with her and gave her goldfish.  She even helped one of the volunteers greet people as they came in.IMG_8795

Micah didn’t understand exactly what was going on, but I know he will remember this experience.  When he’s a little older, we’ll bring this up again and have a deeper conversation about poverty and how we can help people.

Bracelets made by children living in Africa.  These were free to take home.IMG_8796

Quotes hung around the room.IMG_8787IMG_8789IMG_8792IMG_8788IMG_8790

If the tour is coming to a city near you, I would highly recommend going to it.IMG_8797

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” ~Proverbs 31:8-9 (NIV)