What Are You Going to Do? tells an inspiring true story. In the early 1950s, war scattered hundreds of thousands of orphans across South Korea. Many Koreans sacrificed everything to help. When Everett Swanson arrived to preach to troops on the front lines, he stumbled upon starving orphans. The plight of these children broke his heart. He faced the question: "What are you going to do?"
Authors Matt Bronleewe and Eric Wilson tell how Swanson's answer to those six little words led to the organization known today as Compassion International. Seventy years later, Compassion International sponsors over two million children all over the world, providing meals, education, vocational training, Bibles, letters of support, and more.
We are often faced with the same question, "What am I going to do?" And, like Swanson, we feel inadequate, afraid, or ill-equipped. Readers will see how small faithful choices can lead to larger ones—and in so doing, change the world for generations to come. Everyone—young and old—should be acquainted with this amazing story of faith, courage, and compassion.
"I've had the privilege of traveling with Compassion and know firsthand the tremendous work they do, but I didn't know the amazing story of their founder, Everett Swanson. How incredible to read about one man taking a bold step, his vision for children in need, and the result that is this marvelous organization. This is a must-read for anyone looking for an inspiring story of faith and encouragement."
—Michael W. Smith, Grammy Award–winning Christian artist; bestselling author; actor
"'What are you going to do?' Wow! These simple but powerful words heard by Everett Swanson have transformed so many lives around the world. I have had the honor to partner with Compassion for over thirty years. I have traveled and seen the incredible work that began with those powerful words. The church is the community, and this story shows how Everett embodied that in his work and vision. As I sit and think about these words and the work of Compassion, how fantastic at this point in life to know the most important thing is to invest in the people coming along behind us, and this story is a read that inspires just that."
—Amy Grant, Grammy Award–winning singer and songwriter
"When God asks you a question, you should seriously consider your answer. Everett Swanson's world was rocked when he came face-to-face with one of the harshest realities of war: orphaned children left to fend for themselves in the streets and back alleys. But his biggest shock came when God asked him, 'What are you going to do?' Swanson's response is shared in this courageous journey of a brokenhearted pastor whose compassion, sacrifice, and faithfulness against impossible challenges sparked one of the largest and most respected child ministries in the world, Compassion International. That response has literally transformed the lives of millions of children over the last seven decades. But beware, you will be challenged to answer that same question: 'What are you going to do?'"
—Wess Stafford, President Emeritus, Compassion International; author of Too Small to Ignore and Just a Minute
"Most have heard of the amazing work that Compassion is doing all across the globe, but few know the riveting true story of its founder, Everett Swanson. During the height of the Korean War, on a fateful winter day in war-torn Seoul, Everett encountered a street orphan who would not only change the trajectory of his own life, but also the millions of children who would come to experience the life-saving love and support of this wonderful organization. This story will captivate you, surprise you, and dare you to be a better human."
—Brent McCorkle, writer/director of Jesus Revolution and I Can Only Imagine
"This book is a testimony to how God leads Compassion through Pastor Swanson, and God's endless love and mercy in Korea. I was delighted by how other powerful and moving Korean stories are woven into Pastor Swanson's story."
—Justin Suh, head of Compassion Korea
"On the pages that follow, you'll read how a small, dusty, Illinois farm and the war-torn streets of South Korea, more than six thousand miles away, shaped a man's heart in a way that would change the lives of millions over the next several decades. Reverend Everett Swanson unexpectedly became a world-changer. And I'm so glad his story is finally being told. His life serves as a testimony of what can happen when God calls and an obedient heart answers. You will be challenged as you read. You will be inspired. But most of all, I pray you will be moved—moved with compassion to make a difference in the lives of others."
—Santiago "Jimmy" Mellado, president and CEO, Compassion International
"I set this book down asking myself if I was living the risk that godly obedience requires. When the voice of the Holy Spirit tugged, Everett Swanson pulled on his muddied Midwestern farm boots and followed. I think we need more Swansons who look into the empty eyes of the forgotten and marginalized, then wrestle with the question, 'What am I going to do?' If you are ready to put a mirror to your faith and a challenge to your heart, grab a cup of coffee and dive into this immersive story of grit, heartache, and hope."
—Tim Johnson, Freedom Pastor, Crosspointe Church, Tyler, TX
"When I was a young believer, I read so many biographies of the Christian 'greats' that I eventually became discouraged, thinking I could never do such things. So, I wasn't initially thrilled at the prospect of reading this story about Everett Swanson, despite my great respect for the work of Compassion International. I am so glad I did. Here is the story of a man, an ordinary guy, who simply did his best to follow Jesus and share God's love. And look what has happened! Consider the tremendous good that has come to the world, not because of a superstar minister or incredible personality. Rather, it's because of someone simply saying 'yes' to the opportunities that presented themselves, ultimately just saying 'yes' to God. You know what? That's something I can do. That's something anyone can do. This book has given me fresh hope and vision for doing that very same thing for as long as I live."
—Joshua Wymore, missionary with Ireland and Beyond
"This wonderful book is a testament to the indomitable spirit of Christian mission—from humble beginnings to monumental global impact. Yet, it doesn't shy away from revealing the sacrifices that big dreams demand, both from the founder of Compassion International and his loved ones. Far from a rose-tinted perspective, this is a raw and genuine portrayal of commitment in the face of overwhelming odds. Personally, we so loved reading the history of an organization we've respected and supported for 35+ years. Clearly, it's a story of calling, of the overwhelming weight of possibilities, and of the gradual unveiling of life's grand designs. But most importantly, it's a story about answering that all-important question, What Are You Going to Do? with the broken world you face daily. That's the question we are newly inspired to answer through our life together."
—Andi Ashworth & Charlie Peacock, coauthors of Why Everything That Doesn't Matter, Matters So Much
"Our family began supporting Compassion over thirty years ago. Though we have had the privilege of visiting our sponsored children in India and Rwanda, I knew nothing about Compassion's history except that they began in Korea after the war. I opened What Are You Going to Do? with excitement and remained gripped until the last page. It's not only an inspiring story, but the authors present the material in a way that I'm sure will leave each reader challenged as well as touched."
—Judith Galblum Pex, author of Walk the Land, A People Tall and Smooth, and To Belong
"This is the true story Everett Swanson, founder of Compassion International, vividly told as only Wilson and Bronleewe can. From humble farm to war-torn Korea to the genesis of Compassion International, What Are You Going to Do? speaks to Swanson's faith and calling to lessen the suffering of others, and his incredible legacy that has served millions of children. Inspirational, evocative, and important, it will leave readers asking: 'What Am I Going to Do?'"
—Tosca Lee, New York Times bestselling author
"Surprising, inspiring, motivating—here's the untold, uplifting account of the origin of Compassion International. You'll emerge encouraged and challenged by this story of serving Jesus by serving those in need. Take it to heart and share it with others!"
—Lee Strobel, bestselling author, founder of the Center for Evangelism and Applied Apologetics at Colorado Christian University
"This is a story that needs to be told. As a Compassion advocate for over twenty years, I cannot recommend this book enough. I dare you to read Everett's story and try to walk away unchanged. This book will leave you challenged by the echoing reverberation of one simple question in wake of a life well lived: 'Now, what am I going to do?'"
—Mike Donehey, lead singer of Tenth Avenue North
"The story of Compassion is an inspiring account of God weaving His plans through the faithful life of Everett Swanson. Told from the unique vantage point of Matt Bronleewe and Eric Wilson, this is a book well worth becoming a priority read for any Christian."
—Keith & Kristyn Getty, artists and hymnwriters