Caroline with photos of the children she currently sponsors.
Caroline Spangler was in the sixth grade when she "adopted" her first child. She had heard about Compassion International (CI) for several years at camp at Pleasant City Church in Shelby, and she says she felt that God laid it on her heart to help.
But $38 each month (the cost to sponsor a child) is a lot for a 13-year-old girl who has to rely on babysitting and other such odd jobs to raise the money. Spangler's parents made it clear that choosing to sponsor this child was her responsibility, not theirs, and so the young teen worked hard to make it happen.
"There wasn't a lot of money left over for clothes or other stuff for myself, but that was OK," says Spangler. "It was definitely worth it."
So "worth it" that six years later, Spangler, who is now a college student, has added three more children to her CI sponsor list. Her efforts even inspired each of her younger twin brothers to also adopt a CI child to support.
CI is the world's largest Christian child development organization. CI's child sponsorship program works "to tackle global poverty one child at a time, serving more than 1.8 million children in 25 of the world's poorest countries," according to the organization's website, Compassion.com.
If you find Spangler's example inspirational or if you want to know more about CI and its work, then Pleasant City Church has just such an opportunity. November 16-19, 2018, the church will be hosting "The Compassion Experience," an interactive program for all ages that allows visitors to step into the life of a child who has been helped by CI.
"This experience will bring you as close to another country and culture as you can get without a passport," says Scott Limerick, regional director for CI. "In the span of 20 minutes, the sights and sounds of a developing-world community will come alive as you journey from hardship to hope in this totally immersive experience."
Limerick says that the free program allows visitors to see a child's story transformed through the support of CI and the child's relationship with a sponsor.
"Our desire as a church is to give families an opportunity to experience and understand life in a developing country," says Jonathan Glisson, associate pastor at Pleasant City Church. "We want families to be able to use this as a teaching moment for their children to appreciate what they have here in America - although this lesson learned needs to be refreshed with us as adults as well."
Glisson goes on to add that the goal of the program is not to make people feel guilty, but thankful.
"We want to see people's outlooks and perspectives change, and we hope that this experience might cause them to even ask the question: 'What can I do to make a difference in a child's life?'"
Program times for The Compassion Experience at Pleasant City Church are Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, and Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. each day; Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, from 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; and Monday, Nov. 19, 2018, from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Admission is free and walk-ins are welcome, but reservations can also be made by clicking on the link on the church's website,
www.PleasantCityChurch.com or by calling 704-487-6415. Pleasant City Church is located at 1146 County Home Rd., Shelby.
By April Hoyle Shauf, Special to Community First Media