Wess Speaks (Part VI)

We recently gave you the opportunity ask our president, Wess, any questions you like. We’re publishing his transcribed answers one day at a time. Well, today is special. You get two.

Read the previous posts.

  • If you didn’t work in the ministry field, what other career path would you have chosen? (Amy)

At one time I fully thought I was going to go into journalism. I have a master’s degree in international broadcasting, and I would have enjoyed going into journalism with a heart to do good – to have been a television anchor or a radio personality that honored heroes. The closest I ever come to using that part of my formal schooling is when I do the radio program, Speak Up With Compassion. But that’s about the only thing I can imagine myself doing.

I also could have happily gone back to the mission field where I grew up, but I guess that would be “work in the ministry field” so that won’t work for this question. It’s just hard for me to not think that way.

  • What would you say is your “best blessing” that you have had or experienced with this ministry? (Chuck Guth)

I don’t even know where to begin. God has had his hand on Compassion’s ministry for 56 years and I’ve seen 31 of those years. I’ve been able to shepherd this organization for 15 of those years.

I’m overwhelmed by the blessings on the place. I rejoice that there are 4,500 churches across the world that have been able to be salt and light in the midst of really poverty-stricken communities. And I really get a kick out of the fact that we add two churches — with 200 or 300 children each — every day of the year. I get up in the morning and get a cup of coffee, light a fire in the fireplace, and I pray for those two churches wherever they are in the world. I think Lord, I don’t know where they are but let them get off to a good start. Let them be a blessing to their community.

My greatest joy is that this year over 150,000 of Compassion’s little children will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. That doesn’t happen just because of Compassion … that happens because of the churches where these children are being blessed. It’s at the knee of their pastor or in the Sunday School class under the mango tree. That’s 477 children every day! (But who’s counting?)

The blessings are absolutely overwhelming. Maybe people don’t know this, but this is a 56-year-old organization that has doubled in size in the last four years. That’s amazing! This year’s budget is 54 million dollars bigger than last year’s budget, and that’s in this economy where “nothing” is going right. Amazing! God has chosen to bless us in spite of the circumstances in which we try to work.

7 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Mike Stephens March 28, 2009

    It is great to know and see that God is building HIS Kingdom!!! What a privilege to be a part of it!!!

  2. Mark Yeadon June 25, 2008

    Prairie Rose,

    I’m glad your question asked for an “estimate” of the number of children that make commitments to Christ while in our program because that is a hard number to pinpoint exactly. We do receive news on a quarterly basis from our local church partners about the number of children who have made new decisions to follow the Lord, but that “data” isn’t really tied to a percentage of those who complete the Compassion program. The number that Wess stated of 150,000 children giving their lives to Christ this coming year, was based on an average of 37,500 children per quarter , which is right in line with the kind of numbers that our church partners have been reporting to us.

    However, I have a feeling that may be a fairly conservative number, since asking and responding to that question is optional for our church partners and our children. Christianity is a minority religion in many of the countries where Compassion works. Therefore, we attempt to be as culturally sensitive as possible regarding the type of spiritual records that our church partners elect to keep and share with us. Another reason that this number may not fully represent all the little hearts around the world that are being transformed is due to the rapid rate of continued growth throughout Compassion’s ministry. Our averages for a lot of “statistics” are hard to maintain when the base numbers grow so quickly. (Not that we’re complaining about that… It’s amazing to watch how God is moving throughout the world!) So, the miraculous number of children giving their lives to Christ is really very dynamic and hard to pinpoint. But it is so encouraging to have even an estimate of the lives that are being transformed by God’s saving grace… 150,000 per year…thank you Lord!!

    Mark Yeadon
    Senior Vice President of International Program

  3. Kees Boer June 2, 2008

    Wow, I didn’t know that, and I was a journalist that interviewed Wess. He’s extremely gracious!!!

    One thing that excites me too is that for every child that is sponsored about 30 people get reached. That is 30-million people, that’s more people than are in many countries in the world.


  4. Amy June 2, 2008

    Thanks for answering my question, Wess! I’m sure you would have made a good journalist, but you are definitely blessing others in a much greater capacity through your involvement with Compassion.

    I’m really enjoying this series!

  5. Prairie Rose June 2, 2008

    In relation to this, how many children accept Jesus by the time they’ve left Compassion’s program? i.e., out of all the sponsored children, what’s the estimated percentage of how many graduate the program as believers?

  6. Vicki Small June 2, 2008

    Hmm–how ’bout a t-shirt that says, (front) “I’m changing the world…” (back) “one child at a time / 477 children a day / 150,000 a year”? Except that, by next year, those numbers would be wrong. So we’d need an asterisk and a small note at the bottom, or something.

    Wess, when your ten answers have all been published, here, I hope you’ll still “drop in,” as often as you can, to inform us and lift our hearts. And I hope that, from time to time, in some way, we are able to encourage you.

  7. Compassion dave June 2, 2008

    “My greatest joy is that this year over 150,000 of Compassion’s little children will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.”

    Little candles being lit for Jesus–all around the world. One day there will not be one dark corner on this planet! What a blessing it is to be on God’s team.

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