Three Questions with Shaun Groves

             Stolen directly from

I’ve been reading  Shaun Groves’ blog for awhile now. He’s a songwriter so I think maybe that’s one of the reason I like his posts:  I love words and I like to see what those creative types can do with them. I also appreciate his honesty. Shaun wrote a series of posts about his experience with depression that resonated deeply with me. In fact, I blogged about it and that post has a link to the series he wrote if you’re interested in reading them. But I think the reason I keep reading Shaun’s blog is because his passion for what he does is contagious and he makes me want to live my life more deliberately.

Shaun travels in support of Compassion International, “a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults” (taken from their website). What makes them different from a lot of other similar organizations is Compassion’s focus on ministering to children in partnership with the local churches in the countries they serve.

In one of his blog posts this summer, Shaun gave his readers an opportunity to email him any three questions in exchange for help spreading the word about his new album Third World Symphony.  So I channeled my inner Barbara Walters and sent him three questions. I was going to say they were my best three questions, but as soon as I pushed “send,” I thought of four even better questions, but he said only three, and I’m a rule follower. (Although, I think you’ll be impressed with how I was able to multilayer my questions so that they became questions within questions. It’s a skill.)  Without further ado on my part, here’s my interview with Shaun Groves.

AMY:  You are wildly passionate about your work with Compassion. I remember in one of your blog posts you told us when we blog for a good cause we should give stories, not stats, so what’s your story? Was there a particular child or country that led you to make Compassion your life’s work?

SHAUN:  My whole life, I now see, led me to this partnership with Compassion International. The short version though, the turning point for me, was a trip in 2005 to El Salvador to meet a little girl named Yanci that my family sponsors through Compassion International. Meeting Yanci, spending the day with her, put a face on the poverty statistics and hearing her story convinced me that Compassion International’s methods work. They partner with local churches in 26 of the world’s poorest countries to meet the physical and spiritual needs of more than 1.2 million children–children like Yanci. These church partners really do release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Seeing, for me, was believing.

AMY:  This is your first studio album in five years. I know some musicians and their connection with their craft is a powerful pull. Their music is a big part of who they are. But your passion for your work with Compassion has led you down a more non-traditional music career path. How has Compassion changed your music career goals and desires? Or do you still see yourself as a musician first?

SHAUN:  I don’t know what I am, Amy!! I know that when I speak or sing or write on behalf of Compassion International’s children, people in the first world respond generously so that more than 20,000 children have received sponsors. So I offer my few skills and my time and money to God and my friends and Compassion and say yes to however they want to put me to work. Friends at Compassion asked me to please not stop making music–so I began praying for songs and, well, I think God has answered. I have no idea if I’ll record again. I have no idea what is next. I have no plan for the future.

AMY:  I understand  your family is in the process of adopting a child/children from Ethiopia. I hate to use the word “trend,” but it seems like more and more Christian families are adopting children from other countries. Why do you think there’s been a sudden increase and what do you say to those who believe we should make life better for children in their own cultures and not take them away from their homes?

SHAUN:  Very tricky, Amy. Three questions with one question mark. Genius.

We were planning to adopt as many as four siblings from Ethiopia, yes. We had six months to a year left in that process when plans changed. Our agency called needing to place a little boy from another country in a home immediately. We took in this four-year-old and are now fostering to adopt him. And this is second best. We know that.

Assuming his mom and dad loved him deeply–and I believe they did–best would be a life with them, with access to health care and education and proper nutrition. But his mom and dad, like so many in the developing world, were not able to provide for even his most basic needs. So they gave him life by giving him to us.

This has changed how I view the ministry of Compassion International completely. It is, truly, orphan prevention. Through the local church we can provide nutrition, medical care, vocational training, education, and so much more so that boys and girls can remain in their culture with mom and dad.

But when moms and dads don’t receive the support they need to care for their children, and when moms and dads, die, adoption is one way to care for the orphans. I’m no expert on the orphan crisis, so I cannot appraise other options that exist, but I know there are some, and likely, the solution to the orphan crisis is multi-faceted and complex. Adoption is not likely THE solution–there are far too many orphans for it to be.


Tomorrow I’ll tell you a little more about Shaun’s new album, Third World Symphony. If you leave a comment on this post and/or tomorrow’s, I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win one of two copies of the new CD. The two winners will have the choice of either receiving the CD in the mail or as an iTunes gift.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m not the Pioneer Woman so your chances of winning a CD here or a lot better than they’re ever going to be of winning one of those Le Creuset French ovens or Kitchen Aid mixers (but I leave a comment every. single. time. anyway). If you leave a comment today and tomorrow, well, that’s two chances. I’ll draw the names Sunday night and announce the winners on Monday.  So start talking! Here are a few questions to get you started in case you can’t think of anything to say? Answer as many or as few as you want. Have you ever been on a mission trip? If you could go on a mission trip to any country, where would you go and why?  Do any of you have any personal experience with Compassion? Okay, that’s enough. You’re on your own from here.


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15 responses to “Three Questions with Shaun Groves

  1. Jen

    Never. Never have I been on a mission trip. My folks didn’t roll like that I guess and since adulthood I’ve had litlle kid and haven’t wanted to leave the country. I fully support a husband who does my traveling for me. But that was then. Now, I can’t wait for God to give me the go ahead! I want to go to Africa most but that’s just me, not God. 🙂

    • whimzie

      I want you to get to go Africa, too! And that’s just me because I don’t know what God has planned for you. I went to South Africa on a college mission trip in 1990 and it completely changed my life. I want to go back and I want everyone I know to get to go with me so they can fall in love with Africa, too. I’m going to need a big plane.

  2. I have not been on a mission trip but I very much would like to. I would LOVE to go with the Compassion bloggers as a matter of fact. I’m truly open to going anywhere the need is but if I could choose I would like to go to Ethiopia. We sponsor a child there.

    Love your questions for Shaun. I am hoping he might indulge me on my blog :o)


  3. Never been on a mission trip, but I really want to go!! We served as “senders” for 10 years for very dear friends and saw some incredible things via their experiences. Assuming I’d be going on STM…hmmm. Uganda to work with Abby Tracey or Belize to work with some of the kids there. Or Haiti to work with some of the orgs that assist moms-to-be. Cause you know, when I grow up, I want to be a traveling midwife. 😉

    • whimzie

      I did not know that’s what you wanted to be when you grow up but I think you’d be a fabulous traveling midwife! Of course, secretly, I hope you never grow up. Who would I play with? 🙂

  4. It’s funny…today, I just got back from a trip to Homeland Security to be fingerprinted as one more hoop to pass through before becoming a mom for the 3rd time. Our little person may or may not be born, and will be an Ethiopian citizen before she becomes an American.

    I have to say, for me, being a adoptive parent is far more sacrificial than I thought it would be, and, as much as I loved gestating and giving birth (and was so grateful to be able to do so, despite the bedrest and complications), at that point, those kids were all about me. My husband and I decided that it was time to be parents, so we had babies. Obviously, God’s hand was upon us, or we’d have never received the gifts that we have in our two children. But, we sure seemed to have so much more control than we do now.

    With adopting from Ethiopia, we have to realize that we MAY or MAY NOT get a baby or child. It may or may not happen within a year. We may or may not have a child with extreme baggage, in addition to their expected malnourishment.

    BUT…As with Shaun (and to a much lesser extent–I’m a beginner, here)…I’m learning not to have plans. I’m learning that agape is sacrificial, to the point where I’m willing to invest all of this time, lack.of.control., and love into a child who may not materialize for us–or who could be delayed in materializing. I’m praying for our little one, and I’m praying that this offering of our lives is an aromatic one to the Father.

    Great interview. Sorry for the post-long comment. xxxooo

    • whimzie

      I thought of you when I asked that question.

      I know yours isn’t my journey, but I feel so honored to even get to observe it from afar (too far…how am I ever going to be the favorite aunt from so far away?!).

      Love you, friend.

  5. I went on my first mission trip to Guyana this summer. I don’t even have words to describe all the things the Lord did in my heart. I haven’t even blogged about the trip yet, because HOW do you do that? How do you put into words something so amazing? If I could go anywhere in the world? Wow!!! Maybe Uganda??? I say that b/c I have an opportunity to go next May, to disciple young teenage girls (which is where my heart is). Yes, we have a Compassion child. . . Jay Ju. I would also really love to go to Thailand to visit him. Great, great post!!!

    • whimzie

      Michele! Hey! So good to see your sweet face pop up in my comments!

      Guyana? Wow! Can’t wait to read your stories….when you find the words.

  6. Betty Boop

    I have never been on a mission trip and now feel I may be getting too old to do so but I’m not too old to sponsor a child. Thanks to your post, I am going to get in touch with Compassion and find me a child to love. And that “age” thingy, wait till you hit your 60’s, you will need a medical dictionary for all your ailments!

  7. O have been on mission to Ukraine several times and cannot wait to go to Honduras next.
    God bless,

  8. "me"

    While attending a Michael W. Smith concert, my heart was pulled immediately towards the Compassion table in the foyer of the church. My sweet husband kept steering me, literally, towards the auditorium. A goal-oriented and practical man had in his mind: we were here to hear a concert, we needed to find a good seat, and nobody told me anything about adopting a child! I loved the concert, of course, but I kept asking the Lord what I should do about adopting a child. Even though I knew I may never meet that child, to me it meant a lifetime commitment. I remembered how excited and nervous I was when they started handing out cards. I almost became frantic when they kept missing me. Was “my” child going to the wrong person? I finally just prayed, “You will give me the right child, if it’s meant to be.”. I finally got my card. There was my answer. My child had the same birthday of that same goal-oriented and practical man that was sitting beside me. My husband smiled as he wrote out our first support check for “our” new child.

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