Monday, October 17, 2011

With Love, From Ghana: Raising A Leader

He had waited so long, this young boy...

Time and time again, he rejoiced as his friends were chosen by sponsors from far away countries. Meanwhile, he couldn't help but wonder when his turn would come, and who would choose him, this boy who struggled academically. Once he had a sponsor, would his sponsor cancel the sponsorship as he'd seen happen time and time again at the Compassion center?

Then, on the 444th day of waiting, his prayers were answered. God had chosen a sponsor for this boy, He had told this sponsor this boy's name, then commanded her to search the world over for him. She knew when she saw his name, which means "Born on Saturday, God has heard!", that he was the one.

She now can't imagine life without her Ato Sam...

As sponsors, we are called to be spiritual leaders in the lives of these precious treasures, but time and time again, I see these children being the leaders in our lives, inspiring us, challenging us and stretching our perspective.

Ato Sam used to struggle quite a bit in school, and often shared the challenges he faced and how difficult it has been to further his studies in light of the lack of educational resources in his community. There are no books in his school... no books... although he now has more books than anyone in his village, simply because I send him a book with almost every letter.

Knowing how much he has struggled, we received his latest news with such joy!!

On July 15th, 2011, Ato Sam was presented an award for having risen to second best student in his grade. Long before this award was presented, I could see the confidence building in this young man, and the leadership characteristics emerge. At the tender age of 11, he shows considerate concern for his community, and wants to see more children enrolled in school and provided with the resources to succeed in their studies. (More details on this to follow shortly!)

He dedicated this award to me, but it is God who has provided everything he needed, including an encouraging sponsor.

What a joy it was to respond to his letter...

"To the excellent award winning scholar, Ato Sam!!

The news of your award brought us all such joy, Ato Sam, we are SO proud of your great success in your studies! In many ways, Ato Sam, you remind me of the beloved Joseph of the Bible, whose life was anointed and whom God used to lead his community and nation to prosper through times of famine and great need.

Never underestimate your potential as a follower of Christ! Although Joseph faced many difficult challenges and situations, it is his faith, his lack of anger, his wisdom and his beautiful heart that set him apart and greatly honored God. He had God’s favour upon his life, like you do. Have you read this story in your Bible? It is found beginning in Genesis 37. Did you know that this is one of my favourite stories from the Old Testament, as well as Jillian’s favourite? What did you think of Joseph’s life?

I have always been very proud of each and every one in your family, including you, but I am especially excited about this award because through it, God has given me a beautiful glimpse of how God is shaping your future, even though I had seen it for many months now. You, Ato Sam, are being shaped into a leader for your community, for your nation, for God’s kingdom. I do not know if you knew this, but there are 4 main areas of ministry at Compassion. Sponsorship is the most known ministry at Compassion, but there is also Child Survival Program (CSP), Complimentary Intervention (CI), and Leadership Development Program (LDP).

The Leadership Development Program LDP is very special… here is how Compassion describes it on their information materials:

“The nations are crying out for good leaders – men and women equipped to lead their countries out of the despair of poverty and into a future of promise and purpose.

The Leadership Development Program gives students with exceptional academic ability and leadership potential the opportunity to do exactly that. Students receive a university education, participate in leadership training and are discipled in the Christian faith through their active involvement in local church.

As doctors, lawyers, pastors and business people, these young leaders – and passionate followers of Jesus Christ – are equipped to change the course of their nations and help bring an end to poverty.”

What this means is that when you graduate from school and are ready for university, if you are a Compassion child who qualifies on the following… you too can apply for the Compassion Leadership Development Program when you are older.

  • Demonstrate strong evidence of Christian character and testify to God's leading in his or her life
  • Contribute significantly in secondary school, church, Compassion development center and community
  • Maintain outstanding academic performance, along with extracurricular activities
  • Be endorsed and recommended by both school and church
  • Contribute to school and community needs
  • Graduate from secondary school
  • Graduate from Compassion's sponsorship program

If you are accepted in this most amazing program, you will transfer from the Sponsorship program to the LDP program, which means that you will be sponsored and supported through Compassion while you attend university.

Our beloved friend and brother in Christ, Ebenezer Mensah, can surely offer you more information on this, especially on the requirements which need to be met in order to qualify. Talk this over with him, and encourage your Compassion brothers and sisters in doing their best so that they too, can work hard for this potential opportunity. Not all who apply are awarded with an LDP sponsorship – it is very special and rare – but I believe in you, Ato Sam, I know that God can give you all that you need to achieve this special honor. Shall we pray for this to come to pass Amen?! Yes, we will. You may want to share this information with your mother and your father, so that they can pray for this opportunity.

I want to celebrate your great success in school by praising God for His blessings upon your life, and by sending you a visual reminder of all that He is preparing you for. With this letter, I am including the Compassion International Leadership Principles picture. It includes all the characteristics of great Christian leaders, as well as scriptures that I want you to memorize and keep in your heart so that these scriptures will become like a lamp in your heart – those Words from God will light the path ahead of you, son.

Let this scholastic award that you have received give glory to God for all that He continues to do for you and through your life… He has provided all that you needed to succeed, as He promised He would. God is great!!

With all our love and congratulations on this excellent news! Please share our love and prayers with your entire family, and tell them that they are in our hearts.


It has been proven that children whose sponsors write regularly see a marked improvement in their studies and grades... proof once again that our letters have weight in these children's lives, and that sponsorship isn't simply about the monthly financial support.

Please... write to your sponsored child. Don't know where to start? A simple note to say "I love you. I believe in you. I am praying for God to continue to provide all that you need to achieve much success. I am proud of you. You are special to me." It doesn't have to be complex, eloquent, and long... it just has to be written and sent! It will make a world of difference in the life of your sponsored child, his family, his community... and in yours.

If you don't yet have an Ato Sam in your life, will you consider sponsoring one? Click on the "Sponsorship" Photo Link on the header at the top of this page, and find the child who has been waiting for you.

I have four child packs here in my hands, if you are interested in knowing more, simply let me know!

6 year old boy from Burkina Faso

7 year old boy from Mexico

3 year old girl from Haiti (too beautiful for words!)

3 year old girl from Brazil