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Book Review – Too Small to Ignore

Many of us, at some time, have grouped together over coffee and cake with a worn out copy of ‘the book of the month’.  An opportunity to explore the contents, relate to the characters and express our favourite chapters; a group we call ‘book club’.

Our book club here at Compassion UK is no different. My name is Anna Trevelyan, I work in our Sponsor Donor Relations department, and I also coordinate the book club. Recently, the club read through Wess Stafford’s first book, Too Small to Ignore, and here is our review:

We meet up every other month, eager to hear each other’s opinions of the latest book.  I for one am always surprised and intrigued by the conversations that emerge from such novels and biographies.

The latest book that we have finished is close to our hearts here at Compassion and, as a book club, we couldn’t wait to share this with our fellow Compassion blog buddies.

The book includes stories of Wess’s childhood in the poverty stricken nation of the Ivory Coast. From the adventures that he shared with his friends in the village to the challenges that he and many children experienced.  As you read this book you understand why Wess is so passionate about championing the rights of children worldwide.  With life stories and scriptures, he has really captured the essence of how precious children are and how we have an important role to play in their lives. 

The stories that have shaped this book are a wonderful and real inspiration of God’s love for all of us, especially children.  Page after page leaves me wanting to do more for this great cause, but it’s like we say here at Compassion: ‘Change the world one child at a time’. 

We have children all around us, maybe children of our own; sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and the children of our friends.  It’s the loving words we say and the caring actions we take that can have a real positive impact on a child.  This has made me think more about the affect that my letters have on my sponsored children, how the words that they read or hear can be such a comfort.  When I write these letters I always want them to know how much they are loved and that God has a plan for them.  I pray that this is having an impact on their lives and that they will always remember that they are loved. 

Another chapter gives us a powerful example of how God has used children, both today and in the Bible.  We are reminded of Miriam, Samuel and David, who God used for His plan.  We see how they had trusted him with their servant hearts and did what needed to be done.  Wess has written:

“In fact, a walk through the Scriptures shows several times when the perfect tool needed in the hands of almighty God was a child – precisely because he or she was a child.  The task could not be entrusted to adults.  They think too much.  They know too much.  Or at least they think they know!”

Imagine if we were able to interview all our Compassion children, I wonder how many of them would be able to tell us of the times God has used them in their community or school. 

This book is a real insight into God’s heart for children and Compassion’s ministry.  I have enjoyed this book so much that my copy is now filled with folded down pages, areas that I wanted to come back to. I would like to share some of these ‘gems’ with you.

“It begins now, here, with you!  It begins with the very next child God brings across your path.  Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.  With each one you have the power and opportunity to build the child up or tear the child down.”

“Whatever the methods, the need remains for adults to surround children – their own and other people’s children as well with love and attention and support.  We are all in this together.  None of us is meant to be an island.  The word community is more than just a grey sociological descriptor.  It is a God term, designed by the Creator of children to water their souls and enhance their spirits as they grow.  To ignore this is to sow seeds of dysfunction and future trauma.  To welcome the young into the centre of our lives is to enrich not only them but ourselves as well.”

“Years later and far away from my village, I learned the name of the feeling that gripped our hearts when another suffered.  It was compassion.  This feeling swirled in the dust of our games, hung in the air of our classrooms, embodied our gifts to one another, and shaped our hearts.”

I have included a few reviews from other members of our book club to further encourage you to read it yourself.

“Too small to ignore is not only an extremely powerful personal testimony; it is also a call to advocacy on behalf of children worldwide.  The book is a invaluable insight into the life blood of Compassion and the background and motivation of it’s leader. Throughout the chapters of his book, Wess’s passion and burning heart for children shines through. The recall of his experience and challenges are heartbreaking yet inspiring, bringing the reader face to face with a call to action to change the world one precious child at a time. I would recommend this book to anyone hungry to see God’s heart for children practically manifested in our world. ”  Charlotte Davis

“This book is encouraging and motivating. It will inspire you to make a change in the world, one child at a time. Wess really brings alive the reality of extreme child poverty from using his own personal upbringing in Africa.  Wess vividly describes moments leading up to events in a way which captures your imagination as if you were there. This book is perfectly written and is guaranteed to leave an impression on whoever reads it.” Rebecca Thabet

 Too Small to Ignore, along with Wess’s latest book ‘Just a Minute’, is available to buy from Amazon.

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3 Responses to Book Review – Too Small to Ignore

  1. Sarah Tummey
    Sarah Tummey 14/02/2012 at 4:35 pm #

    I would recommend this book too. It’s amazing to be able to see what motivates Wess to do what he does.

    I’d love to join the book club! Can sponsors join it? Or see a list of which books you’re reading?

  2. Jill Swainson 02/04/2012 at 6:59 pm #

    I am just finishing this book and I have to say what an emotional journey it was just reading it – living it must have been traumatic and amazing at the same time. I was touched by Wess’s parents’ sacrifice for missions in Africa – but what a high price he and his sister had to pay by being abused and beaten at the mission school! People were much more naive in the 1950s and did not question authority as we do today and so the abusers were allowed to “get away with it”. Wess was so brave as a child and it is amazing that he wasn’t more damaged by his traumatic childhood. I also have questions about why God allowed that to happen and I can understand Wess’s reasoning to some degree: that God was shaping him for an epic fight on behalf of abused children. If God did not spare his own Son…! I often tell my sponsored child that it’s not how you start that is important, it’s how you finish. I had a bad start in life and I am determined to have a great finish and who better to champion the cause of abused children than someone like Wess who has lived it for himself? Amazing book!


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