Since I’ve gotten back from World Vision's 2012 True Spirit of Christmas Tour, I'm frequently asked: “Didn’t you go to Kenya? How was that?”
I’m never one to answer really fast, because I always want to give a real answer. I could just say, “It was great!” -- and the conversation would end there, but that would defeat the purpose of why I went.
I went so I could tell people about what’s going on in Kenya and what World Vision is doing to help out.
This Christmas season, you had the chance to follow along as Kris Allen journeyed to Kenya to learn what really happens when you give gifts through the World Vision Gift Catalog. Today, Kris Allen has a special message for you!
Merry Christmas from the World Vision family.
Andrea Zahler wound her way along a narrow pathway in a small farming village near Sitapur, India, past oxen laying in the sun and mud-walled homes where chai is brewed atop small, open wood-fired stoves.
Andrea was a World Vision Child Ambassador in the truest sense that day. She was going to meet a sponsored child named Laxmi Ramhit, a 12-year-old Indian girl with a shy smile and deep doe eyes.
As Laxmi’s home came into view, Andrea saw a large group of women and children sitting on the floor, waiting patiently in a small courtyard outside the home. They pulled out a patio chair for her, the oldest girl brought her chai, and other children touched her feet as a sign of respect and welcome.
“I was very nervous about visiting [Laxmi] because I knew that it wasn’t just me, but I was representing an entire neighborhood of people,” Andrea says.
“Education for every child,” says Anne Wachira. These words are the mission statement of the school where she has taught for 8 years. But these are not just words to Anne, they carry a much deeper meaning.
“As I came to this area, I was touched by the way the children were. They were illiterate. That’s why I started to work at this school.”
Anne was determined to see change in the lives of her students.
Today, you get to see Brian smile his gap-toothed grin as American Idol's Kris Allen strums and sings 'This Little Light of Mine." It's one of our favorite moments from the 2012 True Spirit of Christmas Tour, and we couldn't help but share.
Before sponsorship, Brian and his family didn't have a roof over their heads. They didn't have a lamp to see at night.
But all of that changed after Brian became sponsored and received a special gift from his sponsor in the United States.
Kris Allen, host of the 2012 True Spirit of Christmas Tour, was able to meet Brian and his family -- and see firsthand how their lives had been changed.
"Sponsoring a child is something that is going to last them a lifetime, and is something that changes their whole community."
During the True Spirit of Christmas Tour, we have seen how lives in Turkana, Kenya, are being changed through gifts like chickens and goats. While in Kenya, our team also had the chance to get to know John Okere, who helps oversee World Vision's work there.
John has worked for World Vision for six years because he believes in the positive impact of our work on communities.
“We touch people’s lives directly, and we see transformation almost immediately.”
John earned a degree in public health from Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya, and uses his knowledge to help families in the Turkana region.
Today, he shares with us how we can be praying for the people of Turkana.
In the most beautiful, mountainous landscape you could ever imagine, the Rift Valley of Kenya is a land of contrasts.
While waterfalls, canyons, and wild monkeys complement glorious sunsets, not all who find themselves in this land have time to appreciate its beauty -- at least, not when basic needs aren’t met.
What you haven't seen him do is the thing he is most known for -- singing.
Today, that changes. You get the chance to see Kris Allen share a song with Sylvia and her family.
Leo, age 4, explains why he loves Christmas and why he would give the gift of a chicken.
Kris Allen, host of this year's True Spirit of Christmas Tour, shares his perspective on the life-changing impacts of clean water.
Kris Allen, host of the 2012 True Spirit of Christmas Tour, met a Kenyan mother whose family has benefited from a World Vision clean water project in her area. Where drought once caused extreme hardship, there is now new life.
We asked whether you wanted to see Kris Allen herd goats -- or feed goats.
You voted -- and Kris is Kenya's newest goat herder.
Juliette, age 4, shares why she loves Christmas -- and why she would give an alpaca out of the World Vision Gift Catalog.
Kris Allen, host of the 2012 True Spirit of Christmas Tour, had the chance to visit Mary's village and farm. Watch and see what he learned about the life-changing impact these goats have had on Mary and her family.
Mary and her family lost everything in a flood: possessions, livestock, and their home.
"I do not take it for granted getting to December. Making it to a new year. It is by God's grace."
We asked -- and you answered.
We asked you to take a vote on our Facebook page: Would rather see Kris Allen carry chicken feed on his head, or play soccer with the kids in Kenya?
Kris Allen, host of the 2012 True Spirit of Christmas tour, has been traveling with World Vision across Kenya for over a week now. During this time, he's had the chance to meet amazing people, participate in new experiences, and go places he had never been before.
Today, Kris shares what he has been thinking throughout his experience.