On April 11, 2005, Pastor John White and his wife should have been
celebrating their 19th wedding anniversary. Instead, Pastor White
suffered a heart attack and died, leaving behind his church, his wife,
and his five teenage children. Almost one year later, a popular ABC
program displayed the kind of compassion to which every one of us,
especially Christians, should aspire.
Pastor White and his family served a small Oklahoma town about an hour
north of Tulsa. After John’s death, a new pastor was assigned to
Bluestern Baptist Church and his widow and children had to move out of
the parsonage. The incoming pastor and the Whites’ friends rallied to
provide enough money to buy some land and two trailers (one actually a
modular office) for the family to live in.
While the efforts were noble, it simply was not enough. Neither trailer
had heat, a working kitchen, carpet, door locks or electricity. The
children had to spend cold nights with friends just to stay warm. Danna,
now a widow, remained faithful to her life’s calling by continuing to
work as a missionary to help needy families, even though hers had become
among the neediest.
Then the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came knocking on
the Whites’ dilapidated door. They sent the family on a much-needed
vacation to Florida. While they were gone, contractors and an army of
volunteers built a dream home for the family. The Whites were, of
course, overwhelmed by the blessing.
Giving with such compassion tends to blow people away.
I see this routinely through the work of LIFE Outreach International as
we give people a new life. I see the excitement in orphans’ eyes when we
build them a home. I see the relief in children’s faces when we give
them fresh, clean water to drink. And I see it in satisfied expressions
when a hungry child eats for the first time in several days.
Just like the hundreds who participated in blessing the White family,
our viewers and supporters enjoy being a part of large-scale blessings.
Not only do they enjoy making a difference, they are actually excited
about doing it, just like the participants and viewers of Extreme
Makeover. They don’t want to just sit at home and watch the television
networks do good works, they want to get involved and do it themselves.
This is compassion with passion. This is what it takes to change
people’s lives. (Contrast this with impersonal bureaucracies of
government welfare and emergency relief and you see why it often fails.
Without caring people to carry out the task, the results tend toward
abuse and failure. Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath are a prime
I applaud ABC and the producers of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition just
as I applaud every supporter of LIFE. They are changing our world one
life at a time.
Author: James Robison
Word Count: 480
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
Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net
Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for
complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.