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She feeds, clothes and educates a child in Kenya through Compassion International.

When hurricanes Katrina and Rita ripped through the South she baked, selling her wares to raise money for displaced families.

When she read about the famine in Africa she began saving up to somehow help those living in it's smothering wake.

Every night she prays for children and adults by name who are sick, and for regions of the world ravaged by natural disasters and other catastrophes. Every night she thanks God for what she has and asks him to help those who have less or nothing at all.

She's single-handedly planned to stage a "Compassion Sunday" event at our 5000 member church this weekend, hoping hundreds of children are sponsored.

I won't be there. And she's upset about that. Not because she'll miss me or need me but because Brian and I get to hang a little with Wes Stafford, the President of Compassion International this weekend and she doesn't.

He's a rock star to her.

She's read Wes' book. She wants Wes' job.

Her dream is to feed, clothe, educate and protect children around the world as the next President of Compassion International. But for now she's going to school every day to prepare for the task.

Third grade's a pain. But its just a stepping stone to bigger things for Olivia, my nine year-old niece.

Study hard, girl. You have a world to save.


Anonymous Kelli said...

It's awesome that Olivia is already so broken-hearted for the needy and unfortunate. I hope and pray that she continues to be broken for others and wants to serve and help others as she gets older. We need more people like her everywhere. I go to Lipscomb University, and we have all kinds service projects, service days, and spring break and summer mission trips. The idea is to teach us how lucky we are and that there are many people out there that need our help. It could be a huge project like connecting doctor's offices in a third world country by using solar-powered equipment, going to Europe to travel and sing in different churches for a week and a half, or going to Ensenada, Mexico to play with the kids and paint buildings. But the university wants to teach us that serving others should be a life-long attitude. Unfortunately, many of the students do these projects just for the extra credit they could get or to show off. They don't leave here with a serving attitude; they view serving as something they have to do every once in a while to make themselves look good. I wish that more of them were like Olivia. The world would certainly be a better place if more of us were like her. She's lucky to have a family that is teaching her to be grateful for what she has and to try to comfort others who aren't as fortunate as she is.

Anonymous hollybird said...

a little over a year ago, my husband, son and I had the privilege of meeting the child we sponsor (along with our youth group) through Compassion International. I knew we were helping, but I could not grasp the vastness of it until I looked into her beautiful eyes and held her little hand as we walked together.Then I realized that she was helping me far more than I was her! Your neice will make a difference in this world becuase she sees fron the heart. What a blessing- to know what God has made you capable of before you even experience it! Blessings on you Olivia! God has BIG plans for you girl!!

Blogger Kathryn said...

wow, your niece's beautiful example has much to teach ppl. . esp. apathetic adults.

Blogger Todd Wright said...

amazing post...

Blogger Shaun Groves said...


Alright, correction: Olivia's Compassion Sunday at our church is NEXT Sunday. I WILL be here after all -0 hopefully manning the Compassion table in the lobby.


Anonymous Tiffany said...

Tell your niece that she inspires me. Not only as a college student who shares her passion for the world, but as a Sunday School teacher who has been struck by the realization that even I underestimate 9 year olds and now want to really share my passion with my kids this summer.

Blogger Shaun Groves said...

Brian and I got to spend some time with Wes yesterday and this morning (It's Sunday 12:40 CST right now - I'm at the Orlando airport again waiting on brian to return the rental car as I guard luggage curbside). And we got a chance to tell him about Olivia. Wes is never surprised by the bigness of little people. I told him she wants his job and he just laughed, "Someday."

I'll write more about this amazing weekend when I get a chance, but for now I'm enjoying the warmth of the Florida sun and the feeling of a weekend well spent all by myself.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Olivia, is an amazing girl. We need more young people like her. Thanks for sharing! I can't Tell us how compassion Sunday goes.


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