Monthly Archives: July 2012

There are no words for the loss of the child

My nephew, Archer Beeme, has a unique name because he has a unique story.

A year before Archer was born, my sister miscarried. As I try and think of a sentence to elaborate on what she must have felt, I feel a lump forming in my throat and tears in my eyes.

There are no words for the loss of a child.

PHOTOS: Games that will never make it to the Olympics

Every two years, the world waits in anticipation for the Olympic Games. It is the height of athleticism, competition, and pride in one's country. For athletes who compete in the games, this event can be the realization of dreams or the disappointment of a lifetime.

All of this fanfare, built around games.

While the Olympics represent the upper echelon of games, for many, games are simply a way to pass the time, connect with others, and have fun. The Olympics utilize the best in facilities and technology, but many games for people in developing nations involve found objects and a heavy dose of creativity and ingenuity. These games will never make it to the Olympics -- and that's okay. The joy they bring to their participants is worth more than a gold medal.

Top 5 things you didn't know about the Olympics

In honor of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics tonight, our post today comes from Olympic enthusiast and World Vision staff member Kristin McGunnigle, who is currently in London to watch the games.

When Kristin isn't traveling with the World Vision Experience, you can find her watching a wide variety of sporting events and teams -- her favorite being the Olympics. Read on to learn from Kristin five fun Olympic facts you might not know.

A sponsor's story of finding Samuel Isaac

Today's guest contributor is a child sponsor who told her inspiring story of faith as part of our "What Moves You" campaign -- a space where World Vision supporters share their reasons for joining our global efforts against poverty and injustice.

In order to protect her identity, we won't be sharing her name, but please read how her battle with infertility led her to a very special little boy named Samuel Isaac.

Lopez Lomong: September 11, the day I became an American

In the first installment of the Lopez Lomong series, we shared Lopez's terrifying experience of being ripped away from his parents by rebel soldiers at the age of 6. After his kidnapping, Lopez was taken to a camp where boys were forced to become rebel soldiers, killing other people, or dying themselves.

From there, a series of miracles occurred. Lopez was befriended by three older boys in the camp, who rescued him and fled the camp on foot at night. After running for three days and nights, the boys found themselves at a refugee camp in Kenya.

Lopez lived there for the next 10 years, dreaming of what else life might hold and growing closer to God each day. He prayed that one day he would be able to leave the refugee camp and find a new life. His prayers were answered when a family in the United States near Syracuse, New York, decided to adopt him as their own.

Part 2 of the series picks the story up after Lopez moved to the United States. It was only a short time that Lopez had been here when the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred. As his new home was under attack, Lopez struggled to reconcile the haunting memories of wars and violence in Sudan with the expectations of new life and safety in America.

Read on to learn how this experience shaped him.

[Sri Lanka Bloggers] A firsthand look at sponsorship from Sri Lanka

Poverty: It's a word everyone has heard. Much of the world understands it firsthand.

Maybe you've personally experienced physical poverty at some point, with its life-depleting side effects -- lack of nutritious food, clean water, safe shelter, medical care, or education.

Or maybe poverty is a reality that feels distant to you -- something you've heard of but never experienced for yourself.

If you are in the latter category, you might have more questions than answers on the topic: What causes poverty? Why is it so complex? How does poverty affect families and communities? What can I do about it?

World Vision’s teacher resource center: like Christmas for teachers

I love it when I get to visit any of World Vision’s teacher resource centers in cities across the United States. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of that sense of excitement I felt when I started a new school year, with my brand-new book bag filled with untouched notebooks and unsharpened pencils.

Building backpacks: A tangible demonstration of God's love

One of the great joys in my job is getting to meet many of World Vision's great church partners. I met one of these church heroes at a Renton, Washington, church. His name is Alex.

He told his congregation that God had planted them right in the midst of people whom they wouldn’t reach if they didn’t get out of the church pews.

So, Alex walked across the street and introduced himself to members of the staff at Northwood Middle School. This began a partnership with the school in which people from the church mentor students, and the church also hosts a year-end celebration of the teachers.

Lopez Lomong's childhood story of terror

Today's post is the first in a series that recounts the life story of Lopez Lomong, who will run with Team USA in the London 2012 Olympics, with dreams of bringing home a gold medal.

While his current life sounds like a dream come true, his childhood was more like a nightmare. Born in war-torn South Sudan, Lopez was kidnapped by rebel soldiers at the age of 6 with two foreseeable futures: being forced to kill as a child soldier, or being killed himself.

Part one of the series tells the story of this dark chapter of Lomong's life. Follow along as we hear from him on his abduction, being adopted into the United States, and the realization of his Olympic dreams through his new book, "Running For My Life."

Malaria: The disease that silences laughter

Today, I bought a coffin.

We spent the morning in a village in Mozambique visiting Marita, a dear little girl whose best friend had died of malaria last year.

Marita was still grieving. She sat quietly while the rest of the children played in high spirits, shouting and laughing through a game of soccer.

Marita’s mother invited us to come back later for supper. Hospitality can never be refused, even when the givers have so little. Marita’s father makes just $48 a year in a country to which both people and nature have been unkind.

You can help families in Alabama get back on their feet

Last year, a series of destructive tornadoes ripped through the American South, devastating families and communities. This year, World Vision is organizing a series of mission trips to come alongside survivors as they continue to recover and rebuild. Laura Reinhardt reports on one mother in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who has already seen the compassion and generosity of others firsthand.

John Lennon: A sponsored child who imagines, too

There's one well-known John Lennon who wrote and performed a famous song about imagining. But another is a 15-year-old boy from the Philippines who imagines something of his own -- a better future and an opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher, thanks to his sponsorship through World Vision.

Lopez Lomong: From Sudanese 'Lost Boy' to U.S. Olympian

Today's guest contributor, Lopez Lomong, will run with Team USA in the London 2012 Olympics at the end of the month. But behind his remarkable accomplishment is a turbulent -- and inspiring -- life story of danger, poverty, and ultimate redemption.

Now, this South Sudan native is partnering with World Vision to bring help and hope to children and families in his home country who continue to struggle one year after the celebration of its independence. Read the story of Lopez, and let us know your thoughts!

Human trafficking: Consequences of congressional inaction

Upon arriving at the courthouse in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, we walked up four flights of stairs and into a sparse, yet lively courtroom.

We took our seats on the wooden benches and listened as a pastor from a local church translated the defense attorney’s remarks from Spanish into Creole for three young men.

I was witnessing my first human trafficking trial -- and the Dominican Republic’s first forced child begging case.

Hunger at home: Five surprising facts on child hunger in America

Recently, a woman approached me and asked if I could spare change for a meal. Without thinking, I said, "I'm sorry, I don't have any money."

My cheeks automatically flushed with embarrassment, and my heart sank. I had meant to say I didn't have cash to give her. It was completely obvious that a lack of money wasn't something I was dealing with.

It was my birthday. I had spent the day exploring downtown Seattle and shopping with my friends. We were just leaving a restaurant, shopping bags in hand, when the woman approached.

Walking back to our car, I was ashamed at the thoughtlessness of my comment. But the uncomfortable pit in my stomach wasn't just that. I was faced with this woman's needs. It hurt to see her lacking something she needed. I felt guilty for what I had. The sadness of the moment lingered with me.

The truth is, hunger is all around us -- even right here in the United States -- and it affects more people than we would like to believe. This woman made her need obvious to me. But hunger is often invisible. When we don't want to see it, hunger's power to harm people only grows.

One of the saddest realities of hunger is that the people most vulnerable to its harmful effects are children. Growing and developing without proper nutrition can impact a child for life. Many people believe that American children are immune to hunger because of school feeding programs.

But the reality is a much bleaker picture. Here are five facts on children facing hunger in America.

PHOTOS: When empty shelves threaten lives

Here in the United States, when our little ones come down with common childhood illnesses, we have relatively easy access to over-the-counter medicines and supplies that can treat them and ease their suffering. Rarely, if ever, do such ailments become life-threatening.

Tragically, the opposite is often true in developing countries. Children who become ill with treatable conditions -- such as worms, diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria -- seek treatment at local clinics, but the shelves there are frequently empty. Poverty renders basic medicines and supplies unaffordable or inaccessible, and children's lives are needlessly placed at risk.

World Vision works with pharmaceutical companies and other corporate partners, who donate medications and medical supplies that we can ship and distribute to clinics around the world where they're needed most. The images below depict the problem -- and what we're doing to help solve it.