Monthly Archives: June 2012

Gaming for a greater cause

World Vision recently announced an exciting new partnership that reaches into territory we've never been before: online gaming.

Verge Games created Grumpy Goats with the aim to provide an online gaming experience with a greater purpose: donating a real goat to a family in need through World Vision's Gift Catalog.

Today's guest contributor, Bob Regular, president of Verge Games, shares his vision and heart for this idea.

How much is a life worth?

In the news business, there's a saying that goes, “One dead fireman in Brooklyn is worth five English bobbies, who are worth fifty Arabs, who are worth five hundred Africans.” I quoted this in my first book, The Hole in Our Gospel.

It’s understandable that we identify and sympathize with the people closest to us. We have a harder time empathizing with people who are somehow removed -- whether geographically, culturally, religiously, or nationally. It’s normal.

But it’s not okay.

Before disasters strike

There's a common misconception that, whether we’re ordinary citizens or professional disaster-responders, we’re all helplessly at the mercy of unexpected, random disasters, both natural and man-made.

The truth is, it’s rare for disasters to be totally random -- and they’re almost never totally unexpected!

Organizations like World Vision and professionals who engage in disaster response are increasingly investing time and energy into what we call “early warning/early action.” The more we can predict when and where a disaster will strike, the more we can prepare for it. And the more we prepare for it, the less traumatic and devastating it will be when it actually happens.

There are a number of different tools we have available to assist in the prediction of disasters. Let’s talk about two main types here.

[Infographic] Drought, food crisis, and famine: What's the difference?

Drought, food crisis, and famine: When the technicality of these terms is stripped away, we simply associate them with people not getting the food and water they need to survive. While this is easy enough to understand as a general concept, the "how," "why," and "what can I do" are a bit more complex.

In order to make these concepts easier to understand, we've broken in them down into an easy-on-the-eyes infographic. Click the image below to get the full scoop!

My eyes have seen, ears heard, mouth still wide open

Today's heartfelt reflection comes from Collins Kaumba, a World Vision journalist in Zambia (pictured above with his wife and daughter). While his job often involves gathering stories of hope, he is also routinely exposed to the pain and suffering caused by poverty -- a reality made all the more personal to him because of his own background. Collins shares about a difficult experience that continues to affect him and makes him grateful for the ways he has been blessed by God.

The fatherless epidemic

Today's post comes from World Vision blogger Matthew Paul Turner, who traveled to Bolivia on our blogger trip last August to experience the work of World Vision and the impact of child sponsorship. Here, he shares one of his encounters from that trip -- and how it changed his perspective on the idea of fatherhood.

Are you game for goats?

I've never been much of a "gamer" -- you know, those video game types who get a kick out of spending countless hours racking up points or battling pretend enemies. The virtual world never interested me.

I've tended to prefer investing my time and energy in things I have considered more substantial or long-lasting. But these days, you could say I have found a new respect for video games -- especially since I started working at World Vision.

A good dad, an everyday hero

We don’t always appreciate the miracle of a plain and ordinary but good life. Too often, we fail to value the dad who is simply present. He helps out with schoolwork, shows up at Little League, and brings his paycheck home.

It’s easy to assume that human lives are meaningful when something special happens to make us pay attention. We celebrate the Olympic heroes, those who make great leaps in advancing science, or the industrial tycoons who create the products for which we are willing to stand hours in line. It’s the people we read about, the people we see on television, the decision-makers who really matter. The ordinary, faithful dad doesn’t rank.

Images of fatherhood

One father in Burundi struggles to feed his child, but lays down his pride and begs his neighbors for help to feed his son. Another in Mexico leaves his gang and opens a tattoo studio to teach his son and friends about the importance of a non-violent lifestyle. Yet another father in Cambodia starts a new chapter by giving up his alcohol addiction in order to be a better dad and husband.

The challenges of fatherhood may be diverse and broad in scope -- but love, care, and self-sacrifice are traits that dads all around the world have in common, regardless of their circumstances. In honor of this upcoming Father's Day, June 17, these images show some of the precious moments fathers around the world share with their children.

Here he comes, the violinist!

Looking at the photo of 5-year-old Abner and his violin, you might think, “How cute!”

But don’t let his gap-toothed smile fool you. Abner is what you might call a child prodigy.

Before he could read or write, Abner could play the violin. He picked it up when he was 3, and from that day on, practicing for an hour a day wasn’t a chore -- it was a joy.

Mauritania: A story of life or death

Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., recently warned that we must take decisive action now to prevent the hunger crisis in West Africa's Sahel region from devolving into outright famine, similar to what was seen in parts of the Horn of Africa last year.

Today, World Vision's Adel Sarkozi writes from Mauritania, confirming this message: West Africa may not be making headlines in the media, but the humanitarian situation there is dire, and we must act immediately.

Child trafficking: Notes from the front lines

June 12 is the World Day Against Child Labor.  Globally, at least 2 million children are trafficked annually for child labor and sexual exploitation. World Vision is working in places like Bangladesh, a human trafficking source and transit country, to protect vulnerable children from trafficking and forced labor. Traveling in Bangladesh to see World Vision's child protection programs in action, Jesse Eaves, our child protection policy advisor, reflects on what he sees at the Benapole border crossing between Bangladesh and India.

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I see the trucks long before I see the actual border -- colorful, well-used, laden with cargo and people, lined up one after another on the shoulder of the road.

In fact, I almost don’t even see the border gates for all the trucks and the mass of humanity congregating at the exit point. The Benapole border crossing is the busiest in Bangladesh. More than 5,000 people a day cross this inauspicious boundary with India.

The first thing I notice is that lots of people are trying to enter India -- and almost no one is coming over to Bangladesh.

Mission teams: An answer to tornado survivors’ prayers and dreams

In April 2011, I arrived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to a scene of utter devastation after a series of tornadoes wreaked havoc across the state and the American Southeast.

It was hard to imagine what the city looked like before the storm swept through. But it was not hard to imagine what the people were like -- because their strength and caring were evident in how they responded.

I got the opportunity to meet Tracy and his wife, Tiffaney. Tracy was built like a football linebacker, while his wife was a petite woman with a big heart.

They talked about the day of the storm. Tiffaney had laughed when Tracy started running their three children through tornado safety exercises. She stopped laughing when they saw the huge tornado heading right toward them.