A few summers ago, I had the incredible opportunity to travel overseas to Uganda on a mission trip with my church. Our team partnered with an amazing group of Ugandans from Saints Gate Church to do ministry.

This church was no ordinary church. They were located in the heart of a large slum in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. People living in this slum are faced with extremely difficult living conditions. As our team walked through the community to minister to the people, we were all blown away by what we saw.

Families were living in tiny shacks. Children were running around without shirts or pants. Mothers were cooking food while flies swarmed. Open sewage ditches ran all throughout the area. The people were suffering from hunger, contaminated water, disease, among many other things. They desperately needed hope… to know the God who sees their needs, feels their pain, and loves them very much.

There was one little girl in particular that has forever impacted my life. She was about 5 years old when I saw her walking around her community with the other children. Upon seeing our team, she came running over and grabbed my hand. She held onto me everywhere we went.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened next…

As we were walking visit another family, we had to walk across a bridge flimsy piece of wood over an open sewage ditch. This ditch was full of contaminated water that I would have never even come close to. But then, this little girl jumped down into the ditch, grabbed a dirty plastic water bottle, fill it with sewage water, and drank the bottle down. She then jumped right back up to walk with me again. I was shocked… but this was all she knew.

I stopped, bent down, and looked straight into her eyes. As I stared at this little girl, I thought about how much God loves her. About His incredible plan for her life and His longing to rescue her from her suffering.

Motivated by the pain of moments like this and by the love of God for His people, our team returned home with a new message to speak. We knew that God brought us to meet these people to entrust us to be their voice. We told their story to groups of young people. One by one, they caught the vision and sacrificed to raise the funds needed to provide clean water to those Kampala slums. By the grace and power of our great God, a brand new water station now stands in the middle of this community, providing the people access to clean water every day. Not only are some of their physical needs being met, but Saints Gate Church is using the water station as a platform to talk to everyone who partakes about the Living Water, Jesus Christ.

God’s heart is so close to this little girl, and to millions of others just like her around the world. He sees their potential. He desires to meet their greatest needs and He has chosen to use His followers to carry out that mission. God is calling us to identify with the suffering of our brothers and sisters and to spend ourselves in their behalf-to meet their needs and bring them hope.

That is what compassion is all about.