This series shares stories about youth discovering our role in God’s story and taking action through the ministry of Compassion Canada. God’s story is one of redemption for the brokenness in our world! May these stories inspire you to think about your role and encourage you along your journey.
Emanuelle carefully opens a large binder to reveal dozens of photos, drawings and letters from her youth group’s Compassion children. From the confident way she speaks about each child’s story, one would never guess that this 14-year-old from Toronto was once incredibly shy.
“I was a shy kid and I didn’t want to approach people because I didn’t know them,” she recalls.
When Emanuelle’s youth leader asked her to take responsibility for the youth group’s Compassion child sponsorship, the idea felt well out of her comfort zone. However, she was inspired during one of the youth group’s Bible studies to accept the responsibility.
“We talked about how Jesus calls us to do specific things for His kingdom. I asked God if there were any specific things that He has called me to do,” she says.
“He’s blessed me with a lot of ways to serve Him, and one of them is Compassion.”
Emanuelle now leads her youth group at Friends of Jesus Christ Canada church in sponsoring Emmalyn from the Philippines and Joan from Honduras. She collects money from her peers for the sponsorship and is responsible for ensuring that the group regularly writes letters to Emmalyn and Joan.
She calls it a blessing to see her peers giving back, and says that Compassion child sponsorship gets the youth involved in what’s happening not only in their church, but all over the world.
“We’re told to go and make disciples, and through Compassion there’s opportunities to do that – to encourage children to follow Christ at a young age.”
What is particularly special about the group’s efforts is that most of them are from the Philippines, and many grew up seeing or experiencing poverty similar to what their Filipino Compassion child, Emmalyn, might experience on a daily basis.
Emanuelle moved to Canada from the Philippines when she was 8-years-old. Her family wasn’t always able to have food on the table, so she can identify with Emmalyn from personal experience.
“When I heard she was from the Philippines, I saw it as an opportunity to give a child something that I didn’t have,” Emanuelle says. The group’s generosity is impacting a child who is just like them in many ways.
It takes practice and it is a learning process, but Emanuelle strives to be obedient to the callings God has for her life, even when that means stepping out of her comfort zone.
“I learned that it’s not yourself that you’re showing to the world, it’s Christ, because Christ lives in you. So you don’t have to be afraid.”