I was thinking back to childhood and trying to remember what giving—to missions, specifically—look liked. Only two things would come to mind.
One, I remember seeing commercials about the poor, starving children in Africa. They were a generic group of people parents called upon when you wouldn’t eat your dinner. “There are starving kids in Africa and you can’t eat your food!” In order to help these kids, you had to dial an 800 number to give, much like you would to order just about anything else at that time.
Two, I remember filling random jars, baskets and what nots at church full of change for the missionaries. Missionaries were a faceless and likely nameless group of heroic people that traveled across the world to generic places far away. We didn’t know who these people were but we were very happy they were going to help the poor starving African children who we rarely helped because we didn’t want to call the 800 number.
Fast forward some years and the landscape of giving to missions has radically changed.
Now, thanks to the Internet, I can rattle off names of organizations that are going into all parts of the world helping in all sorts of ways. I know the names of many missionaries. I know what they look like, I know their families, I know their stories. I’ve seen faces and know names of people in need. I’ve seen videos of their houses and their communities. I’ve even watched live feeds from all over the world from short-term missionaries. I’ve read and listened to story after story of all sorts of peoples in all sorts of parts of the world with all sorts of needs.
It’s overwhelming, to be honest.
But the good news is another key element has changed.
While our information about missions has skyrocketed, the difficulty of giving has plummeted. With just a few clicks of a button you can make a difference. You don’t have to scramble to write down an 800 number, you don’t have to wonder where your money is going, you don’t have to take the time to make a phone call, you don’t have to talk to a stranger, you don’t have to wonder where your money went. I don’t have to convince you that online giving is fantastic but isn’t it crazy to think about that just 10 or 15 years ago that wasn’t the norm?
The hard part now is deciding which link to click. I know, I get it.
As you decide this Christmas season, might I humbly suggest once again that you consider giving to Compassion? If there is one organization that has given me a glimpse into the need across the world along with the solutions they’re providing, it is Compassion. I love the work they do, I trust them and I know that all our clicking and giving will not be in vain.