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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I’m Not Happy Today, Please Forgive My Bluntness

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I’ve got one life, one chance, one opportunity

The world says, “Eat, drink and be merry”

One life, one chance, one opportunity

The church says, “Retreat, judge and be petty”

#Justice

 

One life, one chance, one possibility

Yet people are more concerned about their standing

Comfortable lives, self-absorbed priority

While history records, 60 million girls missing

#PreciousInHisSight #HalftheSky

 

Violated lives, the numbers are stunning

World’s exploiting children, sex for money

Church still talking about feelings and ethics

Yet 1 in 3 children under 5 do not officially exist

#everynewborn #birthregistration

 

Ego, insecurity, fame, it’s all the same

Christians with opinions, yet not in the game

Every 1.5 minutes, a woman dies from baby labor

And 18,000 children under 5 die every day

#savinglives

 

I’m not happy today, please forgive my bluntness

Too many meetings, addressing the superfluous

Too many feel good, please like me, teachings

While 80% of girls from Niger are married before 18

#endchildmarriagenow

 

Whose phone is the smartest, 1st world problems

While epidemic rages, rampant female genital mutilations

The rich become richer, the poor become statistics

Tell congress to end the back log of 400,000 untested rape kits

#endthebacklog #NoFGM

 

Girls forced to give birth too young, fistula’s the effect

They become untouchables and husbands and families reject

It comes down to justice, the prophets loudly declared

It comes down to “What’s so scary about smart girls?”

#BringBackOurGirls #fistula

What Will Be Said?

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WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

A generation blinded by wealth where poverty cannot be seen.

A generation who talks about feeding the hungry while paying for Weight Watchers because they can’t stop eating.

A generation that believes in sheltering the homeless, as long as they’re not near their over bloated homes.

A generation that worries about their growing status and expanding pleasures while children are worried about empty bellies and fragile futures.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

A generation that is more globally aware than any other generation yet is obsessed with celebrity reality shows and stock market results.

A generation that is technologically brilliant yet socially stunted.

A generation that knows things ARE getting better but is afraid to finish the job.

A generation that is torn between self-indulgence and self-righteousness.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

There is enough food for everyone.

Churches have more roofs than there are homeless.

Most diseases that kill are preventable.

The lack of education is fixable.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We prayed for the poor while building bigger barns.

We preached for justice while closing our eyes.

We fought sex trafficking while watching pornography.

We judged the homosexual while worshipping our idols.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We ignored building God’s kingdom while building our own.

We gossiped of our brothers and sisters while singing songs to our Creator.

We multi-tasked and networked while sitting alone.

We opened our mouths to poverty while closing our wallets to solution.

BUT WHAT COULD BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We tithed, creating a mass of wealth that stunned the world and ended extreme poverty.

We adopted the orphan, ending the foster system as we know it.

We supported organizations like International Justice Mission, declaring that the end of slavery would happen on our watch.

We sponsored children around the world ensuring them an education, antiviral HIV drugs and an introduction to faith.

WHAT SHOULD BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We decided that the gates of hell would not prevail and good would win over evil.

We decided that the most important part of a church service is what happens once we leave the parking lot.

We decided that it doesn’t profit to gain the whole world but lose our soul.

We decided that God is close to broken hearts and crushed spirits.

WHAT DO I HOPE WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

We shunned consumerism and found joy in minimalism.

We ignored the American dream and pursued God’s pleasure.

We simplified our lives so that others could simply live.

We preached always and occasionally spoke words.

WHAT WILL BE SAID OF OUR GENERATION?

“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”
―Bono

Hope for Haiti

My wife and I recently went to Haiti and were able to spend a day with our child Ruth that we have sponsored through Compassion International.

What a beautiful day. What a beautiful Girl.

In a country that has seen so much pain and loss, Ruth is a face of hope and a face of the future.

Sponsoring her through Compassion assists her in educational, physical, nutritional, social and spiritual development.

Because of Compassion she has advantages that many children in Haiti do not have.

After meeting Ruth, I left Haiti with much more hope for their future.

Ruth told me she loved to write poems. I told her that I to love to write poems.

I told her that I would write a poem for her if she would write a poem for me.

She said that it was a deal.

I would like to share with you the poem I wrote and will send to Ruth.

When Ruth sends the poem she wrote for me, I will share it with you also.

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RUTH: meaning “compassionate friend”

There is a girl down in Haiti, her name is Ruth
She is 10 years old, and she knows the truth
There is a God who loves her, He is living inside
She loves Psalm 100, she has it memorized

She loves to write poems, she loves to sing songs
She loves to dance to music, her faith is so strong
God has made her beauty, He has made her mind
He has made her with dreams and a smile so kind

She lives in Port-au-Prince, the earthquake was scary
The ground shook, but God’s strength was there to carry
Ruth’s eyes gleam with joy, her words full of charm
Her love for life comes from living safe in God’s arms

Her personality is charming, maybe even mischievous
I love to hear her laugh, it is a sound quite contagious
Her heart is full, overflowing with energy
Her heart is full of Jesus, He is strength for her journey

I pray for Ruth daily, I pray this gift she will get
That God has great plans for her, and how He will not forget
He has given her talents, dreams and salvation
And a hope and a future that cannot be taken

Meeting Ruth was one of the best days of my life
It was a day we will always remember, just ask my wife
I heard a voice of an angel, a dancer full of grace
She prayed with deep reverence, such a beautiful face

Our visit was too short, though I am blessed for the chance
Next time I will sing with her, maybe even join in the dance
Can’t wait to see your future, can’t wait to see what you’ll do
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper and not to harm you”

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Psalm 100
1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is He who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Releasing Children From Poverty, In Jesus Name

I am taking a team from my church to Haiti this week.

Please pray for us.

We will be joining Compassion International as we look at the work they are doing through child sponsorship, early child and mother development, leadership development, safe water and the rebuilding of schools and hospitals after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

For those of us who have sponsored children in Haiti, we will be able to meet them and give them gifts. Our sponsored daughter in Haiti is named Ruth.

Our church sponsors hundreds of children through Compassion, many of them in Haiti, and we have invested in a Child Survival Program where mothers get prenatal care and education and new mothers and babies get the medicines and nutrition they need to develop healthy young bodies and minds.

Check out my blog daily, as I will try to write some new posts about our trip while we are there, but if time or the internet do not cooperate, I will definitely be writing about the trip once we get home.

Here are some sobering Haiti statistics:

*Gross national income per capita is US$660, about half the total for Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Americas.

*78% of Haitians are poor (less than US$2 a day), and more than half (54%) live in extreme poverty (less than US$1 a day).

*Over two-thirds of the labor force do not have formal jobs.

*Half of children under 5 are malnourished.

*80 out of 1,000 Haitian children never see their first birthday.

*50% of primary school age children are not enrolled in school.

*One-third of girls over six never go to school.

Pray for Haiti and the work our church and Compassion are doing there.

I will write as often as I can. God Bless.

Water=Life

THE BAD NEWS

4,100 children will die today from water related diseases.

Nearly one billion do not have access to clean water.

3.5 million people die each year from water related diseases. That is equal to the entire city of Los Angeles.

Dirty water kills more people through disease than any war kills people through guns.

Water-related diseases such as cholera and typhoid are easily preventable.

When children are suffering from diarrhea, it stops them from going to school thus stunting their physical, emotional and educational growth.

An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day.

THE GOOD NEWS

You can give an at-risk child and family safe water for a lifetime!

Compassion International’s, “Water of Life”, a water filter system, provides safe water for life (over 1 million gallons) for a child and their family.

When families receive this system, they will also be educated on the importance of hygiene, washing hands and sanitation.

There is also support for improving community water and sanitation.

For $55, you are providing safe drinking water for a lifetime and protecting an entire family from water related diseases, giving them a future, allowing them to reach their full God given potential.

My dad’s men’s small group that meets for breakfast every Thursday has bought 17 filter systems.

My churches Celebrate Recovery program has bought over 40 filter systems.

In August, we are introducing this to our entire church. I will give you an update on how it goes.

Watch the video.

Go to compassion.com (click on “meeting critical needs”