Compassion International sends ‘cream of the crop’ to school

By January 22, 2009

Uganda (MNN) — Joseph Okeya is a social work  and administration major at Uganda Christian
University. He's also part of the Compassion
Leadership Development Program, the last phase of the
ministry's walk with kids in the sponsorship program. 

LDP takes the cream of the crop among the sponsored children
and sends them to college. The program's aim is to educate, train and disciple
servant leaders.    

Graduates from the sponsorship program who show exceptional
leadership skills are recruited to participate in the LDP. Through this, students receive a university
education. They also get leadership
training through Compassion and church partners to help them become effective
Christian leaders.  

LDP graduates are
highly-sought after, not only for their academic prowess and skills training,
but also for their character. However,
this is the midpoint of the story. To get a more rounded picture, go back a few

Compassion wants to intervene in an at-risk child's life as
early as possible. Through the Child
Survival Program, that happens before the child is born.

But for some, Compassion's intervention comes a little
later. That's where we pick up with Joseph. His Compassion story began when he was 9-years-old, shortly after he was
orphaned. He was living with an aunt and a grandmother who had a hard
time providing for his needs. It was a
bewildering and hopeless time for a little boy who had already lost so much.

That all changed once he got a sponsor through the Child
Development Sponsorship program. Aside
from the health and education benefit, he said the team was Christ
personified. "They embraced me in
spite of the way I was. I looked at it as a parental love, though I had missed
it in the first place, I actually do not think on the past. I am looking on the

A note ten years ago from his sponsor encouraged him to seek
Christ in all things. Joseph has carried
those words of advice in his heart to this day, and it continues to guide his
purpose to finish his education and come back to help those in his home

When Compassion launched this program in 1999, Uganda was
the first country in Africa to implement it. The program quickly grew and
became the model for other countries who wanted to start their own LDP. 

Today, there are 153 other students like Joseph who are
studying at UCU. 157 others are spread
out at other universities, with several studying at Moody Bible Institute in
Chicago, Illinois. 

There's an old African saying that goes, "It takes a village to raise
up a child." Compassion International has
examined what it would take to raise up a leader. The answer? The body of Christ.  

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