They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting for the Lord for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:3
On Tuesday, I had the honor and privilege of meeting several of these outstanding young men and women. At the Compassion student center I met Roxanna. Her mother works at this CDSP and they live right there, in a room off the church. It was fun talking with her. I practiced my Spanish and she practiced her English.
When we returned from our day of visiting the CDSP, there was a wonderful surprise waiting for me in my room. I still don't know who is responsible for getting it there, but it was fabulously delicious!
We then headed down to a special dinner with five Leadership Development Students. I got another birthday surprise as we headed into the meeting room - David, my correspondent LDP student, was one of the five invited to share dinner with us. I got to sit next to him and hear his story in detail.
After dinner I was treated to a second piece of fabulously delicious birthday cake! Yes - of course I shared with everyone in the room.
These are the five LDP students who shared their stories with us. David, Harold, Cindi, Eunice and Daniel.
Every single LDP student I have met (current and former) is such an inspiration to me. These young men and women have risen above nearly impossible circumstances to overcome poverty and the despair and hopelessness that accompanies it. Getting accepted into LDP is extremely competitive and on the best make it. This past year in Peru, there were 128 applicants and only 14 were accepted. Why do so few make it? Because there is a limited number of people willing to sponsor LDP students. The financial commitment is a BIG one ($300 month), but the investment is well worth it.
Many LDP students go on to receive further education after they graduate from University. Harold, for example, has received a scholarship to travel to Italy this fall to begin his master's degree. Upon completing this master's degree, he plans to return to Peru and help the children in his home country overcome their crisis of poverty. It is also his dream to become a sponsor himself.
Another example is my friend Alex, from Uganda. Alex came to Oregon after finishing LDP in Uganda to go to seminary. He has completed his education and when his wife graduates, they will return to Uganda - to serve the Lord, and minister to the people of their home country.
In 2009-2010, there were 2,099 LDP students enrolled in 19 countries around the world. According to Wess Stafford, CEO of Compassion, the LDP students are "nation shapers". This is the program that will defeat poverty.
I know it's a huge commitment, but maybe you can be creative and pull together some families from your church or small group to sponsor an LDP student. If you ever get the chance to meet and LDP student, be sure not to miss the opportunity to hear their story. God is being glorified through their lives.