Three NFL players traveled to El Salvador recently with Compassion International to visit poverty-stricken children, including the children they sponsor through the organization.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman (and his wife Linde) and Jaguars linebacker Russell Allen (and his wife Ali) were accompanied by Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Craig Terrill (and his wife Rachel) on the trip. They met with their sponsored children, Jonathan (10), Natalie (7) and Katherine (9), respectively.
“A lot of times here in the States I am recognized as a NFL player, and many think that gives me great value,” said Kampman. “While I love the game, it is through the eyes of these Compassion children that I can see a greater value and importance for my life beyond the football field and the potential we each have to help a child.”
The players also met with a 13-year-old boy named Rudy who is sponsored by Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson was unable to make the trip.
“Rudy didn’t care about the T-shirts and sports paraphernalia we brought him – which was surprising for someone who has probably never received his own, brand-new shirt,” said Allen. “The entire time we spent with him, he gripped the photo of Jordy and asked repeatedly, ‘you really know my sponsor?’”
Compassion International sponsors provide educational opportunities, health care, nutritional supplements, food and water, meals and spiritual support.
According to the organization’s website, the typical school year in El Salvador runs from January through November. Education is compulsory from ages 7 through 12, but schools in rural areas are inadequate in number, size and qualified staff.
Compassion works with more than 34,200 children in more than 150 child development centers. The organization partners with churches to help them provide Salvadoran children with the opportunity to rise above their circumstances and become all God has created them to be.