Recent Posts By Guest blogger

Following Coach Richt to Honduras -- a trip that changes lives

Special thanks to Steve Hummer, Sunday sports feature writer at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, for guest-blogging this post for us. Following the UGA sports blog's May 25 post and our May 31 post, Steve joined University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt and his wife, Katharyn, in Honduras to witness World Vision's work there.


World Vision? What’s that? An optician with delusions of grandeur? A new psychic helpline? A few months ago, I had no idea.

Then there came a curious off-season story from the most watched sports beat here at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: University of Georgia football. Bulldogs fans were all atwitter over a report that head coach Mark Richt had put his vacation lake home up for sale. That prompted wide speculation that after two disappointing seasons he was selling off as a hedge against the possibility of being fired this year.

Food is an answer, but what's the solution?

What if there was one nutrient that would take away feelings of constant fatigue, keep hearts beating regularly, and help kids to get better grades in school and reach their potential? What if this “magical” nutrient would prevent dizziness, provide strength and energy, protect against other diseases, keep mothers from dying during delivery, and keep babies alive past their fifth birthday?

If you had access to that food, would you buy it for yourself? If you had it, would you give it away -- even to someone halfway across the globe?

In the world of global nutrition, that nutrient does exist. It is called iron. Iron is all over the place in America -- beef, pork, chicken, seafood, beans, breads, cereal, and dark leafy greens. With all of these food sources, it seems like it would be so simple to get enough iron.

Blogger interview with World Vision on tornado response

Editor's note: On Tuesday evening, World Vision blogger Dan King conducted a Skype interview with Romanita Hairston, World Vision's vice president of U.S. programs, about how World Vision plans to help those affected by tornadoes in the U.S. Heartland, and her recent experience in the tornado zone in Joplin, Missouri.

I was sitting in the delivery room with my wife early on the morning of April 28, and we turned on the TV to pass a little time. Flipping over to the news, we saw video of a mile-wide tornado ripping through Alabama. It was part of what’s been termed the "2011 Super Outbreak." As we were about to welcome a new life into the world, our hearts broke for the victims of such a devastating storm.

A gazillion steps away

Editor's note: The following is a guest post written by World Vision mommy blogger Alise Wright.

Though my children are getting old for picture books, I can still talk them into snuggling with me on the couch every now and again to read with me. And if I’m really lucky, the kids will ask me to read them a bedtime story. When I got African Heartbeat from World Vision by Barb Christing, I made sure that I gathered up the kids and sat down for a read.

African Heartbeat is a beautiful story about young Katie in America and little Neema in Africa. Katie has a desire to go to Africa to meet her sponsored sister, Neema, and she knows that even though their worlds are “a gazillion steps away,” the world gets smaller as her heart grows larger. Through sponsorship, Katie finds her heart growing larger each day.

I love that African Heartbeat doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like AIDS and the reality of extreme poverty. It’s easy to assume that children are unable to process issues of this magnitude, but Christing’s story makes them accessible even to young children.

[caption id="attachment_4685" align="alignright" width="240" caption=""African Heartbeat" By Barb Christing. ©2011 World Vision"][/caption]

This story shows a wonderful progression in the life of both the sponsoring family and the sponsored child. The reader, no matter how young or old, is able to see how sponsorship allows Neema to have a better life through education, training, and friendship.

The final pages in the book give some additional information to parents so that they are able to expand on the sponsorship story. It includes a map showing the location of Malawi in Africa, where Neema lives, a translation of the various Swahili names in the book, and some items to look for in the pictures, highlighting the differences in the community before and after sponsorship.

My story: a hope-filled Sunday

Editor’s note: The following post was written by Jay Strum, World Vision sponsor and Hope Sunday host (pictured above with his wife).

“What if they reject me?” Swallowing my fear and pride, I stood up and began to speak. I quietly prayed to myself for God to allow the words to flow out. Then as I spoke from my heart, I knew exactly what to say.

I had a few reservations when I learned that I could share about World Vision’s child sponsorship program at my church by hosting a Hope Sunday. And at times I felt like the Lord’s reluctant servant. But I knew that I was being called to share my story.

After overcoming my initial discomfort, I was able to respond to the Lord’s gentle nudge, understanding that God's vision is greater vision than my own.

I began planning for my Hope Sunday and, in the process, discovered that there were other families who sponsored kids through World Vision in my church. I thought that combining our stories would be powerful for the church to hear, so I asked them to share about their own sponsorship experiences. I was grateful when six people said they would be happy to speak.

[caption id="attachment_3728" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Other sponsors at Jay's chuch share their sponsorship experience on his Hope Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Jay Strum)"][/caption]

On the day of my Hope Sunday I was planning on talking about the many ways in which sponsorship benefits and transforms the life of a child. But as I spoke to the congregation I found myself, instead, sharing about how my own life has been transformed by sponsorship.

Child-Friendly Space opens in Japan

Editor's note: In the aftermath of tragedy and disaster, World Vision uses Child-Friendly Spaces (CFS) to care for children by providing them with a safe place to learn, play and emotionally recover from the trauma they've faced. (For more on how we use CFS, read Freedom of imagination) The following was shared with us by Nanako Otsuki, communications officer with World Vision Japan.

Zenin syugo, meaning "everyone gathering together", is the name children in Tome City have come up with for their new playing ground, a World Vision CFS. The name fits perfectly for its purpose, providing children with a venue to come together and share their experiences as they begin the road to recovery.

All the children come from Minami Sanriku, a town that was almost completely destroyed by the tsunami. Right now, they're living in an evacuation center. They don't know when classes will start again; most of their schools were destroyed. Most of them have lost their homes, and many have loved ones who have been confirmed dead. They seek a sense of normalcy after having their lives turned upside down.

"What I want to do"

[caption id="attachment_3438" align="alignright" width="237" caption="Staff at the Child-Friendly Space encourage the children to write and draw their desires. (Itoh Kei/WV/2011)"][/caption]

In the first gathering here, World Vision’s Child Protection Specialist, Makiba Yamano, and other World Vision Japan staff sought to hear the voices of the children. The children wrote down what they wanted to do at the CFS on a piece of paper and made their favorite figure with origami paper.

“I want to play a piano!!” (Minaho, age 12)

“I want to play soccer with eight people.” (Rin, age 8 )

“I want to play cards with other friends.” (RIe, age 12)

“I want to play baseball with everyone.” (Takahiro, age 11)

"What makes me worried"

[caption id="attachment_3439" align="alignright" width="237" caption="Takuma (age 11), Takahiro (age 11), and Syoki (age 12) write "what makes them worried." (Itoh Kei/WV/2011)"][/caption]

The children also wrote down “what makes them worried” and shared their experiences with one another.

“I wonder if I can go to the same junior high school with my old friends.” (Shiori, age 12)

"I am so grateful" -- a tsunami survivor's story

Sachie is the mother of one year and four month old Kouka. She told World Vision Japan about the day when earthquake occurred. This is her story: “Kouka was having a nap in the house when the earthquake occurred. I took Kouka right away and ran out side, but the earth was shaking for quite a long time." ....

A very veggie love

I knew right away that I would host at least one Very Veggie Party.

My son has watched VeggieTales since I can remember. Even at age 5, he is just as excited about watching the shows as ever. I know it has helped shape him into the generous, loving boy he has become...