Dear Compassion Sponsor

Thank you for your further interest in Compassion! Our prayer is that through our experience, you are able to catch a glimpse of the awesome work that God is doing through Compassion's ministry.

In early 2010, our church began a partnership...

More to come soon...

Thank You To Our Supporters!

Doug Allord has wonderfully pieced together some of the memories from the trip into a nice 20-minute recap. Our prayer is that this can help you catch a little piece of the joy of what God is doing in East India.

Home, safe and sound

Exhausted and craving the comforts of home, we got back into Plover around noon today.  It's great to be back with our families and back on American soil.  Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Videos from India!

Compassion project kids playing on the playground


Dancing with the children and staff during the final day's celebrations

Day 12: Bloated on an Airplane

Our final day in India began with the 10 of us worshipping in the courtyard of the BMS center.


We encouraged each other from the Word, sang worship songs, and prayed together.  It was a great time of fellowship.  We specifically prayed for the change that God has encouraged us toward - change to be bolder, have more faith, pray more, and love more.

Our motto on this trip has been "Just the way we like it."  Brian encouraged us from Romans 12 that the Christian life should be

  1. Lived on the alter.  We should always have a "that's just the way I like it" attitude.  
  2. Lived on assignment.  India was/is just a small piece of our assignment, and now we go back to the rest of our day-to-day assignment to live for Jesus.
Then, our Compassion East India staff took us to a department store to do some shopping.  Everyone got something to take home to remind us of India.


As a final celebration, the Compassion staff took us to Ivory Kitchen restaurant for an amazing Indian buffet lunch.  We have seen the poverty of India, now we got a chance to taste the amazing opulence of India.




We ate and ate and ate.  And now we get on an airplane to Delhi, and then at 1:30 am, get on our airplane from Delhi to Chicago.  We all miss Wisconsin - we miss our families and homes.  We miss the snow... er... maybe not.

We thank God for all of you who have been praying for us.  Praise God for the 16 decisions that were made for Christ this week, the amazing relationships that have been formed, and the fact that none of our team members got sick at all.  God is so good; his mercies are new every morning.

Our trip may be over, but this amazing journey has only begun...

Day 11: Slow Drive - Long Life

We left early in the morning to begin our drive back to Siliguri.  The driving is crazy here compared to the US - kind of like a 4-hour game of "chicken" - but we're used to it now.  We love the decorations on the trucks that we pass - here's one of them:


We took a different route this time, and passed the border of Bangladesh, and saw lots of tea gardens.


Then in Siliguri, we took a 1-hour flight to Kolkata, then a 1-hour bus ride back to BMS, where we turned in for the night.

Day 10: "The Dust of India has settled on our hearts"

Our final day with our partner church in Sumuktola, India, was a very emotional one from start to finish.  We started by chasing down a flower shop near our hotel in Alipurduar to buy boquets to present to the female staff at the project.  Praise the Lord we brough Samata, our Compassion India staff member, with us.  A florist in West Bengal is not like a florist in Stevens Point!  Samata negotiated and worked out the details of 20 beautiful boquets - for the equivalence of $2 US each.

We then drove to the church, and had a "debriefing" with Pastors Rajiv, Pravir, and three other local pastors.  We exchanged blessings and thanks for a week well spent.  And then we engaged in an amazingly powerful time of prayer.  In the US, we always pray one at a time - but why?  Then we worry about if what we are saying will sound good, and the prayers are really for God, not for us.  So all the Indians prayed for all the Americans for a time, in Bengali.  Despite us not understanding a word they were saying, we understood in our spirits the love and care that they have for us.  And then we were able to do the same for them.  It was an amazing time, and there wasn't a dry eye in the whole place.

Next, Rajiv treated us to Chicken shish-ka-bob - Indian style!  No propane grills here - just charcoal in some bricks.  It was amazing!


The children began arriving, and we got a chance to play with them in the playground again, while they cleaned up from lunch.


Then, the children were ushered in and seated, so the farewell program could begin.  We were seated as guests of honor, and presented with gifts of beautiful handmade Indian blankets and shawls!  We presented their workers with flowers and T-shirts.


And then Brian presented Pastors Rajiv and Pravir with Packers World Champion t-shirts!


And then began the program, prepared by the children.  Each group of children sang and danced several traditional dances from their heritages.  The children were nervous, but were so proud to be able to perform for us! 



We then were pulled into an amazing dance of fellowship and worship to the Lord.  Dance is a whole worship experience that our American culture has completely missed out on.  The entire day was amazing, but the 15 minutes of ten Americans struggling to keep up with the dance led by our Indian brothers and sisters, and the children, was the absolute height of the day.  For those few minutes, it felt like heaven.  When people from every race, people, tribe, and nation can worship and praise the Lord Jesus Christ in one voice, one love, and one heart.



It was so difficult to say goodbye, but we had to get back to our hotel.  Through many tears, we wished our brothers and sisters a farewell.  The tears we shed were bittersweet - sweet because of the new friendships we had made, but sad because we knew that we might never see some of these wonderful people this side of heaven again.  We left a little piece of all of us at the Duars center, and a little piece of the Duars center will come home with us.  Brian said it best:

"The dust of India has settled on our hearts."

Day 9: Women's Ministry

This morning we walked through the areas outside the church for about an hour on a prayer walk.  Pastors Brian, Rajiv, and Pravir encouraged us with things that we could pray for as we walked silently through the villages.  We continue to get the stares that we have become accustomed to, but a quick "Namashkar" (Hello) always breaks down the curiosity and gets us a smile.

We prayed for freedom from the spiritual bondage of the religions and idols of this country, we prayed for release from the stronghold of poverty on the area, we prayed for release from the diseases that plague the people.  We prayed that the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ would increase and multiply the believers in Somuktala.

When we got back to Duars, the men built a badminton court in the play yard, while the Woodlands women met with the ladies from the community.  About 100 ladies showed up to hear Jane, Jane, Sarah, Sara, and Dara speak about their experience as a daughter of the King.  They shared their own personal testimonies, some principles from Proverbs 31, and some songs.  Then, the ladies shared a dance together.


All the ladies sandals on the steps of the church

All the women that attended this morning's meeting

After lunch, the remainder of the team got to go meet their sponsored children.  This was very special to us.  The families always welcome us warmly into our homes, and we pray that through the translator we are still able to communicate the love we share for them and their children, and encourage them in the great job they are doing parenting.  The impact of Compassion is far-reaching, beyond just the children in the project, and into their families.  When asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, one of the older sisters of a sponsored child shared that her goal was to be able to sponsor a child herself.  Wow.

We got to participate in the Compassion project again this afternoon.  The new thing today was they began the monthly distribution of hygiene supplies.  Each child received some laundry soap, bar soap, hair oil, and toothpaste.  What we were amazed at was Compassion's precise method of having each child sign for receiving the items - to make sure that every supply is accounted for.  You can be assured - every dollar - every penny - that we send to Compassion is well spent.


On our way back to our hotel tonight, one of the cars got a flat tire.  We watched as the drivers changed the tire in about 5 minutes flat.  Please pray for the three young men that have been driving us around all week.  We intend to give them a Bengali New Testament tomorrow or Saturday.  They have slowly warmed up to what we've been doing, and at least one of them was listening intently when we were doing the "street evangelism" yesterday.  Pray that their hearts would be softened and ready to hear the gospel.

Thank you so much for your prayers.  We know that they are working.  No one has gotten sick, God has stretched our faith to new boundaries, we have made amazing relationships despite the cultural differences.  It's amazing how the bond of brotherhood/sisterhood in Jesus Christ creates a relationship with people half-way around the world.

Day 8: The Rainy Season

Wednesday started out by splitting into two groups and doing "street evangelism" with the pastors.  Even after several explanations from Pastors Rajiv and Pravir, we still weren't exactly clear what this would look like.  Several in our group were to share their story - their testimonies - and include the Four Spiritual Laws into their story.  We've been OK doing children's ministry, but it was a stretch of faith for many of us to get in front of that many adults and speak.

Well, it turned out that some of the members of the church had simply invited their neighbors over to their house to come hear what the Americans had to say.  One group had about 50 people, the other had about 100 people.  We sang them some songs in English, and then preached, shared our testimonies, and sang some more.  Then the pastors gave an invitation to the people who came.  At one of the groups, 8 individuals made first-time decisions to follow Christ!

In the afternoon, we led the opening ceremony at the project by doing a "trust fall."  Andrew stood on top of a chair, on top of a table, and the group caught him.  But it was with much pomp and circumstance, and the children loved it.  I think they will always have this image of trust burned into their memories.

Afterwards, when the children split up into their classes, each team member taught one of the classes for an hour.  We had each prepared our own object lesson or bible story that we shared, and then we led them through making a Salvation bracelet that they got to take home!

As we were teaching, the rain began to fall.  It's interesting, because February is the dry season; but in the summer, it can rain solid for many days in a row.  It was interesting to see how well the staff took it in stride, and we were able to laugh with them as we served dinner to the children in the pouring rain.  Everyone pitched in, even the older children, to server the younger children, all packed into the covered classrooms.  It was a wonderful, bonding experience, and just a taste of what they have to do in the rainy season.  They always make sure that the children get a meal, even if the weather doesn't allow them to do anything else.


Everyone has finally gotten fully adjusted to the time and the food.  We miss home, we miss our families, but we love the new friends we have made.  We know the staff and some of the children by name now, and share smiles with them every day.

Day 7: Serving Duars

Tuesday we spent serving the project through painting, and building.  The program is expanding to be able to help more children, and they need more classroom space!  So we had to learn quickly the art of Indian brick-laying, and helped create the new rooms.  We also worked on painting some parts of the newly-created playground.


Pastors Rajiv and Pravir make sure our wall is plumb.
Sara and Jane paint the gate to the playground.
Doug also opened the Compassion program this afternoon, with a great song he wrote himself last night when he couldn't sleep.  He patiently taught the children to sing the song in English.


We've already made so many friends here, and we feel so welcome and so blessed to be able to witness, and be part of, this miracle that God is doing here in India.  We miss the comforts (and cheeseburgers) of home, we miss our families, and we miss the quiet streets of Stevens Point.  But we are continuing to be blown away by all that God is doing here.


Please pray for our team, as we are doing some community evangelism tomorrow, where several team members are preaching and giving testimonies in the communities (with a translator, of course).  We are also opening the compassion program, and doing the teaching in all of the classrooms.  A lot to get ready for!  There is so much spiritual darkness in the villages here - so many idols everywhere we look.  Please pray that God would demolish the strongholds in these people, and open their heart to the gospel as we share the good news tomorrow.

Day 6: Duars Child Development Center - A Portrait of Love

We spent Monday at the Duars Child Development Center, observing the staff, and assisting as much as possible with the programs.  Miracles are happening here - hundreds of children flock each day to the center, as the highlight of their day, because this place is filled with love.  And because of the hundreds of children that hear the gospel here, hundreds of families are hearing the gospel when those children go back to their homes.  Here's a small glimpse of what we've been able to be a part of:

Monday started out with several of the team members being able to go to their sponsored child's home and visit their families!  This was an amazing time of being able to meet them, share love with them, and encourage them.  Children gathered and giggled as we gave the gifts that we had brought for them.  Parents stood tall as they felt the love of these people from around the world.

Andrew and Sarah meeting Sajina's family

As we've written before, the staff here has treated us as honored guests, so we have been recipient of the most amazing Indian feasts for lunch.  One thing is for sure - we have eaten good on this trip!

Next, we began the 3-hour task of preparing dinner for the 350 children that would be coming.  This included cutting up vegetables, peeling boiled eggs, and stirring huge cauldrons on a fire.



The children begin arriving around 2:00 (the program doesn't start until 3:00), all dressed in their center uniforms.  The older children grab water and spread it on the dirt courtyard to help keep the dust down during the day's program.  We got out the frisbees we had brought, and they were an immediate hit with all the children.

The program starts promptly at 3:00, and all the children line up very orderly in straight lines, by age group, each evenly spaced apart.  They say prayers and sing songs together in a large group.


Then, they each split into separate classes, some in "classrooms" (cement-floor rooms, with tin walls and roof), and some on tarps in the dirt courtyard.  Instructors teach them songs (In Bengali or English), reading, writing, drawing, math, and/or geography.  Several team members got to help teach new songs in English!


The last part of the program is dinner.  We had the privilege of serving the children.  We were touched by the hearts with which the older children go through the line with two plates, and go serve the younger children.  When all have been served, only then do the older children eat.  And wow, do they eat!  And eat and eat and eat!  Being that it may be the only meal they get in a day, they eat two - or three - large plates full of rice, vegetables, eggs, a sweet (dessert), and hot milk.


Our faces hurt from smiling.  Our minds spun from a love overdose.  This small, humble center in North-East, rural India, is an amazing place.

Day5: Off to Samuktola!

Day 6:

(Day 5 will have to be posted later - sorry!)  suffice it to say Day 5 was filled morning to night with all kinds of travel... air and land... and the land travel was characterized by one of our team as a "300 mile roller coaster'.  A very apt description.  think of an old unused logging road with potholes that would make Buzz Aldrin jealous ;)

Yep.  rough.  and it was a full 4 hours...

Anyway on to today:

To say that today was powerful and life changing for every member of our team would be a vast overstatement.

We traveled to EI-187, our Church 2 Church partner and the Compassion Project site.

We were greeted by a flowing stream of children wanting to greet us with "hello", "good morning", and "Nomoshkar" - the local greeting.  Tears flowed freely and our hearts were incredibly touched by the unconditional love shown us by the kids and the adults.

We then joined the church for worship.  Again, it may sound like an overstatement to say it was a piece, or glimpse of heaven, but also very, very true. One of the young men shared how he had come to Christ from a Hindu background, in a village with strong demon oppression.  only the prayers of visiting pastors drove the demons away and he (and his family) now believe in Jesus. They honored us all publicly during the service and by the end both a group of men and a group of women were dancing to praise songs of Jesus. We're hoping to post video at some point, but just to be here and experience the strong, heartfelt adoration of Jesus by our Indian brothers and sisters was more moving than words can articulate.

Part of our team then split off the main service to teach Sunday School, which again ... powerful.  Jane W, Sara H, Rob M and a few others taught the kids lessons as well as teaching them "Jesus Loves Me This I Know' for the first time they had ever heard it.  They caught on very quickly.

After this the church held a dedication ceremony for the new playground Woodlands helped build.  Pastor Brian cut the ribbon and the children got their first opportunity to play on the playground.  Pastor Brian described it best as "pure unadulterated joy."  We had so much fun playing with the kids on the slides, merry go rounds, swings, teeter totters and monkey bars.



Next we shared a wonderful Indian lunch which was soooo good and we got to know the pastors better.

After lunch our team sang, "Here I Am to Worship" for them and then Pastor Rajib shared stories of how God is moving among them, including some truly miraculous stories.  Real miracles - not just cool stories.  genuine miracles.

Next we were part of their jr/sr high time.  These kids are from the village and not necessarily part of the church. I (Doug) shared "Glory to God Forever" with them and then Paul Otto shared an out-of-the-park message that had us all moved deeply.  We then taught these students the chorus to "Rescuer' and sang together of our God Who is 'mighty and strong to save.'

  After this time several of us shared our stories of how we came to faith in Christ and the time ended with Pastor Rajib and Pastor Praveer giving an invitation for the kids to place their trust in Christ.  Six responded for the first time.  Six children of India, now six brand new children of God! What an awesome God we serve!!!!

Next we "took tea" and we then surprised to meet our sponsored children well ahead of when we thought we would be able to.  This was a very deeply moving experience and we are very excited to continue the ministry we are here for!



Please continue to pray for us for the work ahead.  We miss soft beds, hot showers and real burgers... scratch that last part - we are all in love with Indian food now.  Yes, even Jane W and Dara H.
We miss aspects of home, but this is 'just the way we like it.'

For the team,
Doug

Day 4: Off to our project!

The enthusiasm and warm hospitality of the Compassion staff here has simply increased our enthusiasm for getting to the church and Compassion project.

Our Compassion host, Marty, shared with us that if a child receives just one letter from their sponsor each year, their academic performance improves 12%. The letters we write our sponsored children do really get there, and are very important.

Everyone is healthy and got a pretty good night of sleep last night.

Were off to catch our flight. Don't know when well be able to write again. Were back in Kolkata next Saturday, so it might not be until then.

Thank you for your prayers!

Day 3: Meeting Compassion East India

This morning Doug led us in a great time of worship, and Brian encouraged us with some things to remember for the week. God has blessed our team with amazing unity so far - pray that it continues for the next two weeks!

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This morning we set out to see the Compassion East India office and meet the people that work there. On the way, we got a much better view of the city of Kolkata. Abject poverty sits next to modern buildings and businesses, and bamboo scaffolding surrounds modern buildings for painting or cleaning.

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Pastor Henry, from the East India office, spoke to us about the strategies Compassion uses to reach children and their families here in India. Compassion has only been in East India for 8 years, but has already grown to helping nearly 50,000 children! We were all inspired as we listened to the staff's enthusiasm about the work that they do. For them, this isn't just a job - it's a calling.

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Then we got to see the staff's offices, and see where they process sponsor letters. Even if a sponsor doesn't write their child, this staff makes sure each of the 50,000 child receives a letter every other month. Talk about an enormous task! Talk about enormous love!

Then we headed out to lunch and to visit Mother Theresa's home. We saw more of the city... And the Compassion staff at all times were there to guide us and make sure we felt safe.

Days 1 and 2: In the Air

We met early at church to say farewell to our families and head to O'Hare. Bill Whalen graciously agreed to drive us all in a 15-passenger van to Chicago. Once there, we met up with 5 individuals from a church in Racine and a member of the Compassion staff that would accompany us on the whole trip.

We boarded our Air India 777 - which holds close to 400 people - and settled in for our 14 hour flight. Luckily, the plane was only half full, so we got to spread out a little. We left nearly on time, and soon got our first taste of India (literaly) with a delicious spicy dinner.

We passed the time reading, talking, and watching movies onboard. But soon we were drifting off to sleep - some better than others. To help get our internal clocks adjusted, they woke us up at 3:30 am (central time) to feed us breakfast - again a very impressive meal for airplane food!

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And then we landed in Delhi, and the adventure began. Our fearless leader led us through customs and we got our visas stamped. But soon we found out that was the wrong thing to do, and we weren't supposed to go through customs until we got to Kolkata. So then we stood around for an hour while they tried to "cancel" our visa stamps. It was one of the many chances we will a get on this trip to trust that God is in control - seeing someone walk away with all your passports and disappear for any amount of time is always a little scary.

But soon we were back to where we were supposed to be, and on our flight to Kolkata. Once we got there, around 11 pm, the Compassion India staff were waiting with a bus to take us on an hour ride through the streets of Kolkata. Wow, what a different world it is here. The streets were still packed with Taxis and cars, and a constant honking of horns. But soon we checked in to the BMS retreat center, thankful for an actual bed, and exhausted after a long two days of travel.

We made it!

After hours of flights, and a small snafu in the Delhi airport, we got into Kolkata around 11pm last night, and then took a 45 min bus ride to the BMS Retreat Center, and got a few hours of sleep. Just ate breakfast and getting ready to go visit the Compassion office!

Updated Prayer Requests

Our trip is almost here - we leave on Wednesday! Please continue to pray while we are gone. Below, you’ll find some specifics on what we think we’ll be doing each day on the trip, so that you can be praying for the opportunities we’ll have.

DateWhat We're DoingPlease Pray…
Wed - Thur
2/9 - 2/10
Fly to Kolkata, IndiaTravel mercies; sleep
Fri, 2/11Orientation
Visit Mother Teresa’s home
Open minds as we learn more about the culture
Sat, 2/12Fly, drive to AlipurduarStrong stomachs and no motion sickness
Sun, 2/13Teach Sunday School at Church
Lead worship and teach at youth service
Courage and boldness as we began teaching and meeting with the church
Mon, 2/14Meet with our sponsored children
Help with household chores
Help with the Compassion program
That we can communicate love even with the language barrier
Tue, 2/15Construct Classroom
Help with the Compassion program
Good teamwork; that we can connect with the children
Wed, 2/16Community evangelism
Lead special games, crafts, and
object lessons
Boldness and leading
That God uses the crafts and object lesson to impact the children.
Thur, 2/17Badminton court construction and
tournament with children
Special women’s ministry
Fun time playing with the children
Cultural sensitivity
Fri, 2/18Closing ceremony with church and
Compassion staff
That we can humbly give encouragement to the pastors and staff
Sat, 2/19Drive, fly back to KolkataTravel mercies
Sun, 2/20Attend church service in Kolkata
Fly home
That we would not leave unchanged

Woodlands India Video

This video was shot last year as Woodlands was exploring the C2C partnership.

Sponsor a Compassion Child

Sponsor a child online through Compassion's Christian child sponsorship ministry. Search for a child by age, gender, country, birthday, special needs and more.
To find out more about Compassion's work, and/or sponsor a child, click on the banner to the right. Your tax-deductible donation of just $38 per month connects your child with a loving, church-based program that provides:

  • Educational opportunities
  • Critical health care
  • Safe and healthy recreation
  • Social development
  • Opportunities to know Christ and grow in faith
You can start sponsoring a child today.

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