Last year I chose to devote more time and energy into my advocacy with Compassion. I dreamed of helping to provide an experience for Compassion advocates, sponsors, and their families that would allow for fellowship, training, and encouragement. My original idea was to organize and develop what I would call "Camp Compassion," a weekend retreat at Twin Rocks Friends Camp. With inspiration from my years as a camp director, a heart for the poor, and a desire to put "hands and feet" to my child advocacy, I made a call to Compassion. Immediately I was affirmed and encouraged to pursue the dream. Calls to Twin Rocks provided more open doors and confirmation that what I proposed was possible.
As the momentum was building, so was my work schedule and a reality check. Planning and preparing for a three day retreat on the Oregon coast in six months or even in the following year wasn't going to happen.
God wasn't done. After a road trip to Colorado Springs in July for a national Advocates Gathering at the Compassion headquarters, Rick, my advocate manager, proposed a regional gathering at my church, right here, in Newberg. He would help me plan and prepare an event with people coming from across the NW region to speak, present, and train. Even though Camp Compassion was on hold, this was doable.
Back in September we scheduled the regional Gathering for the first weekend in February. February seemed so far away. I quickly put together a schedule based on all my dreams and made some initial contacts with local advocates.
At exactly the moment I felt God leading me to new levels of faith, trust, and contentment, an unexpected hurt consumed most of my energy and thoughts. Doubt and fear crept into my advocacy. The darkness blurred my vision. I searched for signs of Light. Glimmers appeared.
Webster's dictionary defines compassion as a, "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." The word compassion also serves as a definition for Christ. Jesus is aware, alive, and active. Compassion glowed and is lighting my way through what continues to be a shadowy season for our family.
In 22 days I'll see Compassion advocates, sponsors, and speakers gathered at Newberg Friends Church. We will experience the joy of worshiping together. I expect to cry and be inspired as I listen to the stories of a young woman from Peru who grew up in poverty and found hope in Jesus Christ through the ministry of Compassion. I will laugh, wonder, and learn during training sessions. It's time to dream again.