Words by Alyssa Ezparaz
Recognizing the power of connection in a broken world
Friendship—it can be a minefield. Like any relationship, it can cause hurt and pain. But friendship is also one of the most powerful tools we have as Jesus followers.
I regularly see the power of cross-cultural friendship in the relationships built between children and their Compassion sponsors. While the direct care that children receive from their local church is central to the Compassion program, the love they receive from someone on the other side of the world can be that extra encouragement and motivation when life gets tough.
It got me thinking—can friendship change the world? So much of Jesus’ ministry was built on simple friendship (see John 15:15)—and the beautiful discipleship opportunities that flowed from it. What could that look like for us?
Here are three ways friendship in your life can change the world:
1. Befriend someone different than you.
We could end so much conflict if we took the time to intentionally seek out friends who are different than us. It takes effort and might be a little awkward or uncomfortable at times—but good things often require us to step outside our comfort zone! Genuinely seek out relationships with people who disagree with you on certain issues. Seek out friends who are new to Canada. Try to learn a new language from a native speaker. Befriend someone much older or much younger than you.
2. Rally your friends and link arms to increase your impact.
You share everything with your friends—why not share your favourite cause with them? Whether you need help running a fundraiser or event, or simply want to get people around you as passionate as you are about an issue or organization, your friends would probably love to learn about something you care so much about. Host a movie screening themed around a specific issue, or celebrate your birthday by raising funds and awareness for your favourite organization!
It can be easy to feel alone and helpless when fighting things like poverty and injustice. By linking arms with friends, you can pool your efforts and resources to multiply your impact! A great example of this is the many teens who choose to sponsor a Compassion child together—splitting the amount 50-50, or a third or quarter each. Alone, they might not have the resources to sponsor a child yet, but together they are able to change the world of a child!
3. Build a friendship with a child in poverty.
Sponsoring with Compassion isn’t just about a monthly transaction—it’s an amazing way to befriend and learn from someone who lives in a totally different context than you. It’s about discipleship, both in your own life and in the life of the child you sponsor.
For Maria in Peru, the friendship she had with her sponsors through letter writing was the encouragement she needed when her parents separated. For Sienna and Praise—two girls from opposite sides of the world—the deep friendship they built through letters was evident when they had the opportunity to meet in person and make lasting memories together. It might seem old fashioned to make friends through letters, but Sienna and Praise show us otherwise! Sponsorship is so much more than a transaction, it’s about a relationship more powerful than poverty.
In a world that is fractured and broken, let’s be the kind of people who build beautiful connections—like Jesus did!
To become a Compassion sponsor, visit www.compassion.ca/sponsor-a-child.
This series is about youth who strive to make this generation one of compassion. They are responding to the brokenness in the world by taking action with Compassion Canada. We hope these stories inspire and encourage you.