This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another. If anyone of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:16-18 TNIV).

I got up early this morning! Not to go do my usual preaching stint at two services, but to board a plane that will take me from Abilene, Texas to Dallas Fort Worth to Chicago O'Hair; then somewhere between Chicago and Brussels, Belgium, Monday will dawn. From Brussels, we fly to Nairobi and from Nairobi we fly to Kampala, Uganda, where, Lord willing, we arrive late Monday evening; but that's tomorrow's business. (For a graphic view of the trip, take a look at my blog on the Uganda trip.)

Hopefully by mid-afternoon today, I've met most of the other bloggers and Internet folks headed out on this important trip. We're going for one simple reason: there are thousands of children whose lives and eternal futures can be changed for the better. If we can draw enough attention to the issue to get folks to sponsor children monthly through Compassion, the difference can be greater than we can imagine over several generations. My wife, Donna, and I sponsor a little boy named Estarlin and a little girl I hope to meet in Uganda, named Doreen. We believe in this possibility, personally!

Heartlight has long partnered with Compassion because we believe in the mission and because Compassion has a great track record for doing three things: 1) they make sure the vast majority of the money contributed goes directly to help children; 2) they encourage a healthy connection between the sponsor child without dangerous entanglements; and, 3) these children are given the opportunity to learn about Jesus.

Is the trip long?
Yes, it is a very arduous journey and we are taking it in a short amount of time.

Is the trip dangerous?
Yes, to some extent it is. But, we've taken our shots and we're going to try to be responsible and smart about what we do. Yet any trip like this carries some inherent dangers. Nonetheless, we believe the need is crucial and that our going will help hundreds of thousands of people know of a simple, practical way they can help make a forever-difference in the life of a child for just a little more than a dollar a day.

Are you guys getting paid to go?
No. Compassion is flying us over and putting us up for the nights we're there, but we paid for all of our immunizations and will pay our own expenses above those basic costs. We are going at significant expense to ourselves because we believe in the mission. We sponsor children with Compassion because we want to make a difference in their lives!

Do you guys know each other?
A few folks know each other, others of us have read each others' blogs or articles; but for the most part, we come from different walks of life, have different skill-sets and are part of different circles of people. But, we all love Jesus, and in the name of Jesus, we want to help children in poverty have a future. (Take a look at the varied characters that make up our band of Compassion travelers!)

Please make this your prayer, too!
Will it really make a difference?
Well, so far, before we took off, we believe something near 100 children will have been sponsored because of the trip. However, we're hoping to add at least 500 more monthly sponsors as a result of this trip. In many ways, however, those we reach through our blogs, articles, teaching, and relationships will determine how beneficial the trip will be to the children we are so much trying to help.

Is there really that great of a need to sponsor kids?
Please, please, I know there has been a bunch of publicity about a few Movie and TV stars who have done things with children in Africa. Other groups are working on water wells and other humanitarian efforts in parts of Africa. We would in no way detract from these efforts. But please, if you doubt the need, please follow along with the trip through the blogs and articles this week. Ask for a packet of information about a boy or girl and discover how a small investment can reap such a big reward in the life of a child. (If you need more information on the needs and standard of living in Uganda, please check out the info page.)

Is there a way I can help or be a part of this effort?
Yes! Here are several ways you can help, but keep checking the blogs and I'm sure you can think of others:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and human beings, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time (1 Timothy 2:1-6).