Child 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.

"My second family" - encouragement for a rainy day

I always find the springtime one of the hardest times of the year to get through, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Christmas break is now a distant memory, winter still drags on, and the rain keeps coming down. Sometimes, we all need a little encouragement to get through the rainy days.

My much-needed encouragement came from an unexpected place.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of reading a beautiful goodbye letter from Viviana, a former World Vision sponsored child from Colombia. She wrote to her sponsors as her sponsorship ended and she finished high school:

Dear Mike, Jennifer, and all of the members of my second family,

I want to tell you that you have been with me since I can remember, and I keep you in my heart. Thank you for all the help that you gave me.

I always dreamt of meeting you, giving you a really big hug, and thanking you for everything. I want you to know that I love you dearly.

Your letters made me really happy, and every time I got one I tried to translate them so that I could know for sure what you were saying. It made me really happy when I could finally see you in pictures. I still keep them, and the letters, too… Thank you for always being with me and for all your support.

I finished school and now I am studying accounting. I want to study business administration, and I work really hard to be able to achieve my dreams. I know that the memories that I have of such a beautiful family that sponsored me for so long will give me enough strength to keep on going with my studies and to be able to get ahead in life and be a great human being.

A winning essay

Traveling to the Dominican Republic is quite a big deal for someone who's never been out of the country. At least that's what April Wright told us when we informed her that her essay won her a trip to the DR to witness World Vision's work first hand.....

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...

Refrigerator galleries

Everyone likes art on their refrigerator. While I don’t have children of my own, I proudly display some of my nephews’ work whenever I receive it. Of course, I don’t display it because the technical qualities rival the Mona Lisa, but because I value the artist. Well, we value our sponsored children, and in honor of Youth Art Month...

Chile: Always in mi corazon (my heart)

At 30,000 feet in the air, my plane goes through a stretch of moderate turbulence. It's the closest resemblance to an actual earthquake that I have found. The shaking, rocking, and sometimes sudden movements transport me back to Chile, and the days, weeks, and months of aftershocks that followed...

The best Valentine's Day card

Finding the perfect Valentine's Day card for the one you love can be something of a challenge. As a publishing professional, I'm more than a bit choosy about the design, graphics, and message. I'm always looking for a card that contains just the right words and design that convey something heartfelt in a special way. I love the idea of touching my husband's heart with...

My liver's new home

Editor's note: I have the privilege of communicating with World Vision supporters every day, and I am constantly amazed and humbled by their larger-than-life hearts, generosity, and desire to truly make a difference in our world. Many of them are parents, athletes, or students — donors and beneficiaries of charitable work in this country and others. About a year ago, I stumbled upon a blog post from Amanda, a World Vision sponsor, Caregiver Kit assembler, and living organ donor to her stepson. She has rewritten her post here. As her story has encouraged and reminded me of the power of great faith, I hope it does the same for you.

I am a wife, stepmom, second-grade teacher, and woman of faith. On April 26, 2010, I was blessed to be a living donor for my 17-year-old stepson’s liver transplant.