Ask Jimmy: Leadership Development, Gifts and Prayer

A few weeks ago, we asked you on Facebook, “If you could ask Compassion president Santiago “Jimmy” Mellado one question, what would it be?” The awesome questions we got from you have been compiled into the “Ask Jimmmy” blog series over the last few weeks.

In today’s final installment, Jimmy answers your questions about the changes with our Leadership Development Program and how to best meet the needs of the child you sponsor.

Ask Jimmy Part 3 Leadership Development

Is LDP now known as history or is it still there?

There are exciting changes taking place around the Leadership Development Program (LDP). After nearly 20 years of providing opportunities for university education and leadership development, Compassion is developing a new approach to youth development that will provide a wider range of locally customizable opportunities that will be available to all Compassion youth.

While a path toward a university education will still be available, we are envisioning new options for the development of technical/vocational skills, pastoral training, or the pursuit of entrepreneurial activities … all while emphasizing leadership development for every young person in the Compassion program. We will continue to stand by the students who are already enrolled in the current format of the Leadership Development Program through their graduation.

However, it’s our prayer that the new approach of providing every student access to the most appropriate developmental opportunities possible will help multiple times more young people pursue their dreams and become all God has called them to be. Many of the details to this new approach are still under development, but we expect the transition to be complete by midyear of 2017.

What is the greatest need (other than funding) for most of the children and families if people were able to send bibles, clothing etc. as well?

As you probably know, delivery and customs systems complicate our ability to deliver large physical packages internationally to our children who often live in very rural locations. But a special monetary gift is a wonderful way to bless your child and to let him or her know that you care and are thinking of them.

Because needs vary from country to country and from child to child, we rely on our local child development center staff, who know your child personally, to determine the best use of special gifts. Depending on the size of the gift provided, your child may receive clothes, a special toy, or perhaps even a chicken, goat or cow to benefit the whole family. It’s always fun to learn the unique shape our financial gifts take once they reach our children!

How would you suggest we as sponsors make sure our kids know they’re loved, beyond writing letters & sending gifts?

The fact that you’ve chosen to be your child’s sponsor in and of itself speaks volumes to your child about the faith you have in him or her and the hope that God has for their future. Thank you for that!

In addition to writing letters and sending gifts – both of which are excellent ways to connect personally with your child – please don’t underestimate the power of your prayers. I sincerely believe that one of the most loving things we can do for our sponsored children is to regularly lift them to their Heavenly Father, who loves them far more than we can ever hope or imagine.


Have a question you’d like to ask? Leave it in the comments below and maybe we’ll publish it in the next series.

Check out the entire “Ask Jimmy” blog series!

2 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Avatar
    Denise Luepschen November 4, 2015

    My children are all in Spanish-speaking countries. Do you know what version of the Bible they are learning from (Reina Valera vs. Nueva Version Internacional)? In my letters I’d like to include verses that are similar to verses in the Bibles Compassion gives them. Also, at what age do they receive a Bible from Compassion?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan November 5, 2015

      Hi Denise! Each child in our program is ensured to receive a bible within the first year of their time in our program. They receive a bible that is appropriate for their age. So younger children might receive a bible that is picture based and then as they get older they will receive a more mature bible. They are selected locally and there is no global requirement regarding translation and bible version, so each country handles this differently. Because of this, I don’t know what version of bible your children use, but you’re certainly welcome to ask them! However, know that when you send scriptures, our translators will be sure to translate them for you and they’ll be so encouraged to receive this from you and be fed God’s word!

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