Written by Alyssa Esparaz

Maybe it’s just me, but even as the world nearly ground to a halt this year, it felt like things were still happening at a million miles a minute.

Many days, my mind raced more than it rested. Keeping up with the news, social media, and the real-life opinions, emotions, and experiences of others seemed unattainable in 2020.

Staying hopeful and rooted in love in an increasingly cynical and divided world seems like an impossible task most days.

But that’s not how I want to remember 2020.

See, the story we risk missing is one to which I had the privilege of a front-row seat: the global Church has risen together to love our neighbours in the face of needs unlike anything we’ve seen in generations.

Did you know the United Nations estimates that this year, because of the COVID-19 crisis, 71 million people will be pushed back into extreme poverty?

This is the first increase in global poverty rates since 1998. For some of us, that’s the first time in our lifetimes.

It’s a sobering reality that should cause us to pause and reflect. In this moment in history, who do we want to be?

What we saw at Compassion was the Church rising to the occasion with generosity and love.

Here are just a few examples:

  • An infamously tough and territorial gang in El Salvador allowed one of Compassion’s local church partners access into their neighbourhood to provide water to vulnerable families, because of the church’s positive reputation in the community.
  • In Brazil, Compassion centres provided medical supplies to under-resourced local hospitals, ensuring those who have COVID-19 can receive lifesaving medical care.
  • Migrant families in Thailand fell into even greater vulnerability due to the pandemic, but Compassion’s local church partners are there with them every step of the way to love and protect them despite their lack of status in the country.
  • Food insecurity spiked globally, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where a locust crisis was already devastating local agriculture. But when the pandemic hit, our local church partners’ first priority was delivering food packages to vulnerable families like the one headed by Abiyot, a single mother in Ethiopia.

All of this was made possible by the generosity of sponsors and supporters around the world. Many started or continued to give, support, and pray during a time when they themselves were experiencing suffering and difficulty. Compassion supporters have enabled local churches to distribute millions of food packages and hygiene kits to children and families living in poverty around the world.

Though 2020 was difficult, let’s not forget how the Church united to rise as one for the world’s most vulnerable.

It’s a beautiful picture of who the Church can be in this world of need.

But we’re not done. The COVID-19 crisis has set us back years in the fight against poverty, but we won’t stop rising. Our efforts to end poverty are more important than ever.

Will you join this movement to continue rising together to meet the desperate needs of children living in poverty? Give real gifts for real life at Compassion.