Sa-Rang Community Church, located in Anaheim, CA, celebrated its 27th anniversary on April 19 as 'Compassion Sunday,' during which representatives from Compassion International were invited, and congregants were encouraged to participate in sponsoring a child in a third world country. On Sunday alone, 1,137 children were adopted into sponsorship.
998 people from the Korean-speaking congregation, and 139 people from the English-speaking congregation started new sponsorships. In the Korean services, actor In-Pyo Cha--who is also well-known for his and his wife's active service in Compassion--was invited and shared his testimony. In the English services, a Kenyan native who had received sponsorship through Compassion was invited and shared his experiences and testimony. He eventually received a scholarship from Compassion to go on to college in Colorado, and is currently studying to receive a Ph.D. in physics.
One individual shared on Sunday that his mother was a recipient of Compassion sponsorship, and that he wanted to repay what he and his family was able to receive by also sponsoring a child.
"We want to give back to others the blessings that our church has received over the years," said Chang-Soo Noh, the senior pastor of Sa-Rang. "Our church has been focusing on raising up the next generation, but we want to raise up not only our own children, but also the children in other countries who are oppressed, outcast, or faced with difficult circumstances."
"We want to participate in one-to-one sponsorship not only to ensure that these children aren't starving, but to provide an opportunity for their holistic care and education, and in hopes that their lives would be transformed," Noh added.
Compassion International, a non-profit organization that is currently helping some 1.35 million children all over the world, was launched in 1952 during the Korean War by Rev. Everett Swanson who felt the need to help orphaned children during the war. Since then, some 100,000 Korean children were saved through Compassion over 41 years, and Korea established its own Compassion headquarters in November of 2003, moving on from being "a country that received aid," to "a country that offers aid."