On this week’s show I’m excited to get to chat with president and CEO of Compassion International, Dr. Wess Stafford. The second half of the show is going to be just as exciting as we chat with television executive Joe Kissack who has recently authored the gripping book The Fourth Fisherman.
More about Wess: Dr. Wesley K. Stafford—Wess—is president and CEO of Compassion International, the world’s largest Christian child development organization that releases children from poverty. Stafford joined Compassion more than 34 years ago and became president in 1993. Under his leadership, the number of children being served by Compassion has increased exponentially from 180,000 children in 1993 to more than 1 million children in 26 of the world’s poorest countries today. Stafford is an advocate for children around the world living in poverty. Through his books, Just A Minute (Jan. 1, 2012, Moody Publishers), Too Small to Ignore: Why the Least of These Matters Most (WaterBrook Press, 2007) and his daily radio feature Speak Up With Compassion, broadcast on nearly 800 radio outlets in the U.S., Stafford continues to challenge people to join Compassion in releasing children from poverty. Stafford’s passion to help children was born of his own childhood experiences growing up in Africa. The son of missionaries, he heard his friends in the Ivory Coast share their hopes and dreams for the future only to watch several of these friends die as victims of poverty. Stafford maintains one strong belief—God’s children are priceless resources. While he earned degrees from Biola University, Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College, as well as a Ph.D. from Michigan State, Stafford often says, “Everything I need to know to lead a multi-national organization, I learned from the poor while growing up in an African village.” Stafford resides with his wife, Donna, near Colorado Springs, Colo. They are the parents of two daughters, Jenny and Katie.
More about Just a Minute: How long does it take to make a difference in the life of a child?
For good or for ill, individual moments in a young person’s life can make all the difference in their future. It may be something said or done by an adult who hardly thinks about it: a hug, a compliment, an intriguing question, a sincere applause. But in that moment, the child discovers who they are, what is important to them, why they matter, and sometimes even what their destiny will be. Most of us want to help encourage and build into this next generation, most of us see the need all around, but we just have no idea where to begin.
Now, with this book, you know where to begin and you know that it only takes Just a Minute. Follow along as Dr. Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International, shares stories and experiences to introduce you to the difference you can actually make anywhere on the spectrum of child development. From helping meet physical needs to breaking down emotional barriers and from discovering latent talents to equipping with spiritual insights, these stories are a catalyst for action.
You don’t have to be a teacher, a parent, a pastor, or a doctor to make a difference in the life of a child. You only have to be willing!
More about Joe: Joe Kissack is a television executive who has spent years around some of the most popular and valuable TV shows in history. In his 15 years at Columbia Tri-‐Star Television and Sony Pictures, Kissack negotiatied the syndication rights of Seinfeld, Walker Texas Ranger, Married with Children and dozens of other TV shows and thousands of
feature films for the major Hollywood studio. He seemed to have the perfect life, yet he felt empty and couldn’t escape his “never good enough” childhood mantra that drove him towards success, fast cars and self-‐ medication.
When Kissack hears of three poor fishermen rescued in a tiny boat after drifting 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean for nearly a year, he drops everything and follows a call that few will ever hear. What none of them could see is that their lives would collide, turn everything including his marriage upside down, and their lives would never be the same.
More about The Fourth Fisherman:
It was the subject of headlines around the world: Three Mexican fishermen in a small open boat without any supplies, drifting for more than nine months and 5,500 miles across the Pacific Ocean. Through blistering sun and threatening storms, they battle starvation, dehydration, hopelessness, and death. Their lifelines? An unwavering faith and a tattered Bible.
Thousands of miles away, Joe Kissack, a successful Hollywood executive, personified the American dream. He enjoyed the trappings of the good life: a mini mansion, sports cars, and more. He had it made. Yet the intense pressure of his driven and high-powered career sends him into a downward spiral, driving him deep into suicidal depression, insidious addictions, and alienation from his family. His lifelines? A friend and a Bible on the table between them.
Thoughtfully told with candor and humor, Kissack weaves together the incredible true voyage of fishermen adrift in the sea and his own life’s journey as a man lost in the world. It is a story that will buoy your spirit and renew your hope and faith.