The World’s Most Powerful Weapon

“Society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces.  If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”  ―Victor Hugo

30 million African kids are missing primary school because of conflict and poverty, according to UNICEF, though they say the numbers are probably a lot higher.

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As West and Central Africa struggle with extreme poverty and civil wars, according to Sarah DiLorenzo of the Associated Press, Burkina Faso has made extremely good progress of getting kids into school and keeping them enrolled. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/30-million-african-kids-missing-primary-school-24175665#.U6CNZLbIiXU.twitter

I can testify to the truth of Burkina Faso’s progress first hand, having visited many schools and Compassion International projects where sponsored children are not only guaranteed an education but also mentored and additionally educated through their local Compassion project.

When you go on a Compassion trip to see the impact of sponsorship, people usually want to observe and interact with the very young children, because of their energy and innocence, but I would recommend you take the time to visit and interact with the older children who have been in the program for years.

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Just recently I was in Burkina Faso and got to spend an afternoon with sponsored children from the ages of 13 to 18. It was very inspiring. You could see the impact education has had on them.

These students have such an advantage when it comes to navigating the world of jobs, careers and providing for themselves and their families and ultimately breaking the cycle of extreme poverty.

I love that Compassion has every sponsored child put together a career path which includes an education plan that will compliment and enhance their future vocation.

As we sat in classrooms, we asked students what they wanted to do as a career and every student had a plan. Doctor, nurse, teacher, policeman or woman, lawyer, farmer, business person, veterinarian, pastor were just some of the occupations these children from very extreme poverty backgrounds were shouting out to us.

What sent chills down my spine as the students were sharing was, because of Compassion, these students know Jesus and so as they lift themselves and their families and communities out of physical poverty, they will also be the influencers to introduce their communities to God’s grace.

Because they know the teachings of Christ, they won’t bury their talents, but will offer their education and their blessings to those around them, especially “the least of these.”

My wife and I have three sponsored children from Burkina Faso. Larissa, Lionel and Issouf.

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Larissa, 13,  looks like a beauty queen, but wants to be a police woman. Don’t mess with her!

Lionel, 15,  is an amazing soccer player, but has cut back on his play to focus on his studies as he wants to go to medical school.

Issouf, 15, who is the oldest in his family, has decided to stay in school to become a policeman, when it would be very easy for him to drop out to get a job right now to support his single mom.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Nelson Mandela

Compassion’s impact and effectiveness is staggering.

Independent studies have found that sponsored children were up to 40% more likely to finish secondary school than non-sponsored children, they were up to 80% more likely to complete a university education than non-sponsored children, they were up to 75% more likely to become community leaders as adults than non-sponsored children and they were up to 70% more likely to become church leaders as adults than non-sponsored children. http://www.compassion.com/news-releases/first-ever-independent-study-on-child-sponsorship-finds-strong-impacts-from-compassion-internationals-program.htm

I’ve been to Burkina Faso three times now and I see how those statistics are true, but I also know that spiritual, physical, emotional, social and academic education doesn’t just accidentally happen. It happens INTENTIONALLY, and that is what Compassion International is deeply committed to and that is why I am deeply committed to them! http://www.compassion.com/

Photos by Kenneth Jordan http://www.kennethjordanphotography.com/#!theland/c1q5b

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