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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Wess Stafford: Leveraging Your Past #tls09

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These are some of my notes from the third part of the fifth session of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit.

  • I'm a victim of a broken heart from poverty; a broken spirit from abuse.
  • The pain I've experienced is the catalyst for leadership  integrity, passion, leadership.
  • They're not going to care what you know, until they know why you care.
  • Because of my pain I'm useful somehow in the kingdom of God.
Wess told an incredible story of his abuse as a child in a boarding school in Africa along with many other children.  It was a horrendous story in which he experienced an average of 17 beatings a week, along with 50 other students.  This was a Christian boarding school for missionary kids.  This is not the first time I've heard stories like this from MK's.
"The very people who should have been protecting us were our attackers."
Wess spoke about how a little poor African village was the bosom of his restoration.  He learned compassion from the poor in Africa who loved him, and learned terror at the hands of Christian leaders at his boarding school.
At a moment facing the torture of one of his torturors, he felt a great courage to not be shamed or give in to the horrid delight of his torturor:  "I knew that this was his Waterloo, and this was my Masada."  "At that moment I received my call to protect children from that time on."
Poverty and abuse speak the same language to a children, and word is "Give up."  I see Satan using the same weapons he tried to use on me on other children around the world.
What's your cause?  What do you lead?  Does it move you to tears?  Can it move you to tears?  Tears of sorrow at the need and tears of joy at the victories.  What is it that moves you passionately?
Forgiveness:
  • If you don't forgive people, you are letting them live rent-free in your heart.
  • "You took yesterday; you cannot have tomorrow."
  • "Forgiveness will not necessarily mean you will forgive.  But you will not forget what you will not forgive."

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