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Wess Speaks (Part II)

We recently gave you the opportunity ask our president [3], Wess Stafford, any questions you like. We’re publishing his transcribed answers one day at a time. Here’s the background skinny [4].


It has been tough to go back and forth between these two worlds. My wife Donna and I determined we would give our lives in ministry to the poor but we promised each other that it would never come at the expense of our own children. That was a commitment that we made –- we would work very hard on behalf of the children of the world but not at the expense of our own. And so I have worked far harder at my role as father than I have even as Compassion’s president.

God gave me two daughters, Jenny and Katie. When my children were young and I was traveling, they knew that I would always rather be home with them more than with anybody else, no matter where I was in the world. So I sent postcards. (It was before e-mail.) I would call my children the last minute before I climbed on a plane to leave America and the first minute I was back.

In the evenings when I was home, I never missed a chance to put my daughters to bed. I thought bedtime was about the most teachable, precious moment I had. I taught my girls hymns every night. I told them a story every night of growing up in Africa. I was determined not to leave my girls behind. I didn’t want them to resent the poor. I didn’t want them to resent Compassion. I wanted them to know that this was their ministry, too.

I prayed with my daughters. One of the reasons they love Compassion is because it’s been a part of their lives since they were 2 and 3 years old. From the time my little girls could lisp a prayer, they prayed for the children that we sponsored.

I honored their mother. I spoke so well of their mother –- about what a hero she was –- doing so much in the house, which allowed me to travel overseas and not worry about my own home. Every three years I took them somewhere with me to see the work. Haiti, Brazil, Ecuador, Africa … I built it into their lives. The best proof is that they now sponsor kids with their own money.

In my book Too Small To Ignore [8] there is a whole chapter on how we blended those two worlds. (By the way, all of the royalties from the book go straight to Compassion.)