Wess Stafford: Leveraging Your Past

From the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, president and CEO of Compassion International, opened up about his painful past and how that has given him his deep compassion for the poor.

His book, Too Small to Ignore, tells his story, which was so painful to tell, "sometimes I could write only 1 sentence a day."

"My most courageous leadership moment came at age 10." At his missionary boarding school, the housemaster put him on a chair and lit a candle on both ends and put it in Wess's young hands to punish him and make the point that "you cannot serve both God and Satan."

He had been hit by belts, the treads of sandals–and so had his friends–for the most trivial infractions, such as a wrinkle in the bed. He was, on average, being beaten 17 times per week. There was sexual abuse as well–being done by the same people who read the Bible stories, and by older children who had been victims and now became perpetrators.

At 9, in America, he had looked into his mom's eyes and said, "I don't want to ...

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