The New Compassion Movement


Irish rock singer Bono is leading a worldwide movement to relieve human suffering through DATA.

A rock star and a rich couple have been selected as Time Magazine's "Persons of the Year." They join a long line of Presidents, Popes and a few unsavory dictators, but their contribution to this world could be one of the most remarkable ever.

Paul Hewson, better known as U2's lead singer "Bono," joins Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda as the current leaders of global humanitarian aid. With the pop singer's visibility and charisma, the business giant's demand for detail and accountability, and the woman's compassion for the suffering, the three have teamed up to redefine the entire world's view of poverty, hunger and disease.

Over fifteen years ago, I traveled to parts of southern Africa and witnessed firsthand the horrible suffering of hundreds of thousands of people. I was broken by the frail, dying bodies of children and shocked by the mass graves. Though the scale of the tragedy was overwhelming, I knew that I had to do something anything to help alleviate the suffering. I saw one child that I knew I could help, then another, and another.

I returned to the United States determined to help as many people as I could and that began a transformation in the life of my family and my ministry. In addition to preaching the Gospel, we began demonstrating the Gospel by "visiting widows and orphans in their distress" and encouraging others to join us. Last year we experienced the greatest organizational growth we've ever seen, which means we are helping more people than ever before. Because I did my part, many other people have participated and the results have been phenomenal more people fed, more fresh water wells dug, more medical supplies given, and more lives saved.

I believe the world has turned the corner in dealing with conditions that kill things like abject poverty, natural disaster, disease and starvation. Bono helped convince world governments to cancel the debt of the poorest countries, freeing up billions of dollars to be spent on medicine, food and infrastructure. Microsoft has led a new movement of corporate giving and involvement to eradicate disease. The Bush Administration has tripled aid to Africa over the last four years. Americans set records last year in response to the tsunami in the Indian Ocean and the hurricanes in the Gulf.

People are doing their part.

Yet every minute of every day, a woman dies of complications during pregnancy, two African children die of malaria, three people die of tuberculosis, and nine people contract AIDS.

The only response to such massive suffering is massive compassion. Progress is in motion, but it must continue to build. Along with the aid, we must also deal with corrupt governments and unseat disreputable power brokers and demand strict accountability.

"These are more than baby steps," Time Magazine quotes Bono as saying, "but to get them to be strides we need more than applause or hisses from me. We need a movement."

This movement has been alive for decades, but the need has always overwhelmed the response. Finally, the attention of the world has been better focused on the solutions. British Prime Minister Tony Blair renewed focus on the poorer nations and the people who have suffered. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell identified the world's greatest crisis as the lack of clean drinking water, then took steps to educate those affected and eradicate polluted water sources. Yet it will take even more than Bill Gates, Bono and Bush to solve all of the world's problems. It will take the businessman in Baltimore, the housewife in Houston and the student in Seattle. It will take you and me.

None of us can save the world on our own, but we can each do something. One person can easily save the life of one other person. Apathy will fail; action will succeed. We will be amazed at the results if we will all do our part. Those who do so will discover what I have often shared: To experience life fully, express life freely.

Author: James Robison

Word Count: 675

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, an international humanitarian aid ministry; host of the television program, Life Today; and author of The Absolutes.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at

Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.



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