I am in the process of becoming a Compassion Advocate. Compassion International is one of the world's largest child-focused relief organizations, sponsoring hundreds of thousands of children all over the globe. An advocate is a volunteer who works to generate new sponsorships of impoverished children and raise awareness in their region.
As part of the training process, CI sent me a book written by their president and CEO, Wes Stafford. I have long known about and admired Compassion's work (my parents sponsor 2 Compassion children, while Jonathan has one and so do Nick and I), but this book really blew me away and changed some of my views on children.
It's called, "Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most." Drawing largely on his experiences as an MK in the Ivory Coast, Stafford discusses why children's ministries should be on the forefront of the church's minds, budgets, efforts and hearts. I've always been a big supporter of children (nearly all of my volunteer work and many jobs have centered on them), but this book really makes you think about why we do what we do.
I nearly cried in so many places I lost count, and for those of you who know me well, that's saying something. Stafford went to a horrific boarding school and suffered many, many abuses along with his classmates at the hands of people who were supposed to love and care for them in the place of their missionary parents. That's the gist of his personal childhood story, but that's not the point of the book. His suffering really catapulted him onto a lifelong path of advocating for children, and he boldly encourages all Christians to follow him in what I thought was a very thought-provoking, non-salesman way.
TSTI isn't an advertisement for CI at all; rather, it is all about the children and why they should be put first in EVERY aspect of life. I'm going to have all my Sunday School workers read it together. I highly encourage you to get yourselves a copy! And then let me know what you think.