In preparation for our upcoming mission trip to serve orphans in Thailand, I assigned the team this book to read.
Dr. Wess Stafford is the president of the world’s largest to poor and oppressed children across the globe – Compassion Internationl. In this book Dr. Stafford not only makes a compelling case for God’s heart for children in general, but for the poorest of the poor. In so doing, he recounts his life growing up in the middle of Liberia, Africa.
For the first seven chapters, Wess leads the reader to believe that though he lived an isolated life with a small African tribe while his parents served as missionaries there, he loved every minute of his childhood. However, in chapters eight and nine, Wess recounts the very painful experiences he and his fellow classmates had at the missionary kids boarding school each year, hundreds of miles away from his family. Here he recounts nearly every type of abuse imaginable (physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual).
I found myself getting very angry as I read these chapters. Actually, rage might better describe my thoughts – even my heartbeat. For years these abuses went on… most of which absolutely wrecked the lives of the students that attended the school.
By God’s grace and mercy, Wess has been able to grow and heal from these dark experiences. In fact, God has used those experiences, along with his other first hand experiences with he world’s poor (four years in Haiti for example), to shape Wess into a courages leader, and visionary for children everywhere.
There was one negative aspect throughout this book. Though Dr. Stafford has a compelling history and a passionate drive to reach children, the writing does lack some substance, clarity and style. In terms of substance, he does not do a good job of grounding his points in the Biblical text. In regards to style, the book lacks clarity and creativity.
The book is decent… more than this though, I would reccommend you check out http://www.compassion.com/ – Perhaps God will stir your heart to invest in eternity through the ministry of Compassion International.