Last night we had the privilege of hearing from Wess Stafford. Is that name familiar to you? Many of you may have received letters from him in your mailbox or maybe you've seen him in videos. Many of you sponsor children as a result of Wess's work. He is the former President of Compassion International. He's got degrees and books and a radio show and all sorts of other accolades that could be attributed to him.
Our favorite thing about him? He loves the Lord his God with all of His heart and soul and mind and strength. He has lived his life unto Him...allowing the Lord to use him in INCREDIBLE ways.
OH! His life story (the bits and pieces we heard of it) is beautiful - heartwrenching and devastating and incredible and lovely - an act of worship to our God. Here's a link to his bio if you want to learn a little about him: wess stafford's bio. You can use our friend Google if you want to learn lots more about him and his life/work.
Our favorite line from his bio? "...They have two daughters, Jenny and Katie — the two children in the world for whom Wess is the greatest advocate of all."
Why? Because we know his daughter, Katie. She's the Kindergarten teacher here on the ship....
Wess Stafford didn't come to the Africa Mercy as a celebrity or a big-name speaker. He came to visit his daughter...and he graciously agreed to share a word with our Crew while he was here. God used him in our lives and in the lives of so many here...and we are very grateful.
Here are a few of the thoughts/quotes that were posted on Facebook or shared in conversations:
Still mulling over last night's talk by Wes Stafford at our community meeting. What you do matters. If God's given you strength, use it to help the weak. If God's given you courage, use it to help the afraid. - Elza
Tonight Wes Stafford, the former president of Compassion International spoke to us at our community meeting. What an inspiring message and heart filled stories of his childhood. More nights like that and I'll never leave this place! - Deb
"It is a privilege and an honor to stand in a room full of heroes." Thank you, sir, for walking straight into the heart of our story and inviting us into yours. -- Krissy
Wes Stafford-Wow!! Best sermon I have heard in years!!! He had the room captivated with tears flowing freely from so many. He called us his heroes but what he has done with his life is nothing short of unbelievable. If you haven't heard his story, then check it out! - Jodie
"HR should have been at the back of the room with forms...we all would have extended after hearing Wes Stafford speak." -- Steph
So thankful for Wes Stafford-recently retired president of Compassion International-sharing his heart tonight with the crew of the Africa Mercy! Thanks for sharing your story and reminding us why we do what we do! May we seek to learn from the Africans just as you did growing up! - Shea
"I hope as He wipes the tears from my eyes He realizes that He also needs to wipe the sweat from my brow, because I lived the life I was called to." This, and so much more from Dr. Stafford tonight at community meeting. I don't know that I've ever been simultaneously so encouraged and challenged by hearing someone tell their story. - Ali
Here are the 3 main things that stood out to me (in addition to his overall humble and genuine heart and the stories of his childhood in the Ivory Coast):
- it takes courage to be joyful....it takes courage to be hopeful.
- if God made you strong, it's not for you - it's to be shared with those who are not so strong
- selfishness is unacceptable behavior
And this was in an email this morning -- it's in regards to something entirely different but just as beautiful as the community meeting -- it fits and we wanted to share it: "I never tire of God’s surprises and the way he works through people to show His love and concern for everything we do." - Tom V.
God certainly does work through people to show His love and concern for us....He worked through Dr. Stafford last night...He is working through doctors and nurses at this very moment as surgeries and recoveries are happening 4 decks below our cabin. He works through so many of you as you pray and give and encourage us. He is at work...and we're grateful to be a part of His work.
Surely there will be more to come.