After the announcement in chapel on September 27 that Eastern had raised over three thousand dollars for the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, students were presented with another challenge.
Laurie Polich of Compassion International gave a compelling message intended to get Eastern students to help the poor.
Polich spoke on behalf of Compassion International, a Christian organization that provides food, clothing, shelter and a Christian education to children in impoverished countries.
However, her message had a greater meaning than just a call to pick a child and sign up to sponsor him or her after chapel.
Her message was that, in order to make a difference, we need to be humbled and become servants of others, acknowledging the power of every simple action we take.
“We serve a big God, and all it takes is a heart that says ‘I want to do something,'” Polich said.
Quoting the words of Jesus in Matthew 16:24, Polich said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”
Polich advised students to live the Christian life, “one day at a time, one beat a time and one person at a time. We can’t control how many days we have or what is going to happen in those days, but we can control how we will live those days.”
Taking a story from World War II, Polich illustrated the importance of even the smallest deeds.
When a British airplane encountered enemy German planes, it was struck by gunfire, and the British pilot prepared for his plane to explode.
For whatever reason, the British pilot was able to regain control of his plane and fly it back to Britain. Mechanics discovered five bullets lodged in the tank of the plane. Four of the bullets were empty of gunpowder. The fifth bullet held a note. It read: “We are Polish POWs, forced to make bullets in factories. When guards do not look, we do not fill with powder. It’s not much, but it’s the best we can do.”
Polich said of this story, “When you start helping people, you may not realize it, but that’s what you were made for. You are more happy than ever when you get to give your life away.”
As one way that we can make a difference, Polich said that through Compassion, and thirty-two dollars a month, it’s possible to feed, clothe and educate a child in a Christian school.
For students at Eastern, that would mean giving up roughly one dollar a day, or, together with another person, fifty cents a day. Best of all, as a sponsor, students have the opportunity of writing to their sponsored children, Polich said.
Polich sponsors two children herself through Compassion. She shared with students her own personal stories of having met her sponsored children face to face.
“These kids,” Polich said, “when they found out we were from Compassion, they would go running into their huts (the size of our bathrooms), and they would go to their small little pile of papers and they pulled out these papers and waved them in our faces saying, ‘Do you know Bob from Iowa? Do you know John from South Dakota?'”
Polich finished by saying: “To these kids, their Johns and their Bobs are their heroes. You can be one child’s hero.”
For more information on how to sponsor a child, visit www.compassion.com