Sometimes, people are confused on what I do. On who we are. “So…what do you DO?”, I’m asked. “Work at Breathe Partners”, I say. Then they hear Compassion Corp tossed around as a description – “Which is….?”. And of course, it’s a question if we are an offset of Compassion International because of the name. Then – we are in Haiti, and so then there’s the Haitian organization ORLA (Oganizasyon Respire Lavi Ayiti) that leads Haitian Initiatives. Enter a third question mark in people’s minds as they have a simple conversation with me.
“So that is what? And you are who? And y’all do things how?”
People never say it with bad intentions or negative emphasis – it’s just that we don’t fit in the box of small talk that our worldviews are used to. And that’s what I love about us as we continue to grow into who we were meant to be as an organization. I am not defined by Breathe Partners. Compassion Corp is not the sum of who I am because I lead within it. Initiatives in Haiti are not first “a part of ORLA”, and THEN talked about as the body of Christ living out spiritual and physical sides of the cross.
Instead, we are making it hard for people to understand who we are because we are not fitting into a box – as we don’t exist to be an organization, but a missional community that is partnering and moving and creating and learning and implementing to breathe life. We are connecting with organizations meant to change the narrative for vulnerable women and offering to help with ESL classes while also learning how to best implement ESL in a community so we can be good neighbors in Bercy. We haven’t started a dozen business as a result of our belief in sustainability and empowerment, instead we are customers to a half dozen empowering business and buying local from dozens of merchants. Breathe Partners is our vehicle but like breath it strives to be unseen as we partner. Compassion Corp is how we equip young leaders to be on mission – and not everyone knows the program’s name, but they do know the names of our students and see how they are living on mission in real time.
And then what’s beautiful is that we aren’t so much about organizational alignment and job descriptions in – but instead we are more like moving parts of the Body of Christ – we are not simply team members of an NGO but we are disciples and leaders becoming more of who we are.
So forgive me for making things confusing, but I’m excited that we are. Because this sounds a lot like shaking up culture to me, for the purpose of redemption and a little bit of our true home on earth.