On the road for World Vision Water

On the road for World Vision Water | World Vision Blog

Sherree and Jim Funk visiting a family in Ethiopia. (Photo: Jon Warren/World Vision)

Five years ago, World Vision launched a groundbreaking initiative called the For Every Child Campaign (FEC), which aimed to create sustainable change in five strategic areas of our work for 20 million people! This week, the campaign comes to a close.

Hear from one of our FEC donors, whose passion was clean water, and the project she and her husband are embarking upon today to make an even bigger difference.

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What changed us? How did we morph, in just the last five years, from casual, inconsistent givers to passionate water warriors? Why are we not only willing to give more, but also eagerly encouraging others to give?

Answer: World Vision’s For Every Child Campaign.

We first heard about the campaign in World Vision’s Washington D.C. office in the summer of 2010. It was billed as a new effort by World Vision to increase giving from private donors. Our World Vision rep had invited us to speak at the chapel service, and my husband, daughter, and I were treated to a private tour and much more. We listened to Emmanuel Opong tell his personal story about water and the WASH program.

On the road for World Vision Water | World Vision Blog
Dr. Opong in Zambia with Claris, now sponsored, next to her community's dirty water source. She now has clean water! (Photo: Jon Warren/World Vision)

 

It was this captivating narrative that really got our attention. World Vision’s Campaign For Every Child (FEC) was just getting underway, and we wanted to help. With some urging, we chose to increase our annual gifts to World Vision and committed to a five-year pledge.

By 2012, we were blessed to attend our first FEC conference in Chicago, where Vinh Chung’s exciting story of being a refugee saved by World Vision gave us chills.

At that same conference, Stu Phillips described how his family had sold a treasured ranch and given it all to World Vision’s FEC Campaign.

The newly active National Leadership Council (NLC) seemed like the kind of people we wanted to associate with.

By 2013, we had joined the NLC and heard Mark and Jennifer Smith describe their passion for water.

On the road for World Vision Water | World Vision Blog
Mark and Jennifer Smith celebrate the first water from a well in Ethiopia. (Photo: Jon Warren/World Vision)

 

We also heard about the amazing things done in Christian witness in El Salvador, India, and elsewhere. Friendships were born and have deepened over the years.

We thought about other friends who needed to know about the amazing things World Vision does. We invited people to join us in Chicago. With other NLC members, we hosted “Turning Wine-to-Water” parties in Houston, New Orleans, and Sewickley, Pennsylvania.

Our enthusiasm led us to sign up for a trip to Rwanda and Ethiopia in January 2015. Nothing compares with seeing people get clean water for the first time. When Kuma, his wife, and their children washed their faces in the clean cold water at Wonchi, we rejoiced with the entire community. We came home even more excited to share what we’d seen.

On the road for World Vision Water | World Vision Blog
Sherree and Jim Funk celebrate new water in Ethiopia. (Photo: Jon Warren/World Vision)

 

Turning sixty this year was a milestone made more sweet by the contributions of friends and family to World Vision Water. They gave more than $60,000, glad to know about the difference World Vision makes in developing countries. We are now focused on helping World Vision with a pipeline extension in Ethiopia where 15,000 people will benefit from clean water.

To this end, we hope to enlist hundreds of new contributors as we travel the legendary Route 66 across America.

Starting September 29 in Chicago, not far from the site of the last two For Every Child Conferences, we will drive ten days to Santa Monica, California. I first traveled that road as an infant when, in 1957, my parents loaded all of their worldly possessions and me in the back of a ’55 Chevy and moved to California.

Nowadays, the road is hard to locate, taking many twists and turns, much of it replaced by modern interstates. We will leave small cards at small businesses along the Mother Road, asking for $66 for Water on Route 66. Facebook posts will highlight our trip and the people we meet. We would love to meet any World Vision water warriors who live nearby.

Contact us and we will meet you on the way!

The road to solving the global water crisis is also full of twists and turns, as rogue governments, natural disasters, geology, and engineering issues make World Vision’s water provision a challenge. But we are convinced that sustainable wells coupled with hygiene and sanitation education are lifting communities out of poverty and into world-changing opportunity.

On the road for World Vision Water | World Vision Blog
Striking water in Ethiopia. (Photo: Jon Warren/World Vision)

 

The dedication of World Vision staff at every level is inspiring. We remember George Gitau, World Vision Rwanda’s national director, gently teaching us that the best way to help the poor is not to simply purchase the truck they need. He showed us instead the benefits of granting loans to business owners, who then get the truck they have earned for themselves. We remember the early morning homily by long-time staff member, Ananias Sentozi, in the Simbi Area Development Program about Jesus healing the paralytic carried by his four friends.

We want to be like those friends. We will not forget Dereje Alemu who manages World Vision’s water work in Ethiopia and Meseret Worku, the area development program manager at Wonchi, a new Facebook friend, and Sean Kerrigan, our senior director for water, sanitation, and hygiene, who with his wonderful family invited us to his home in Addis and in June splashed in our swimming pool here in Pittsburgh.

We now feel like advocates for this unique organization. We are convinced that the way to show the love of Jesus in the world is to do all we can to help people in poverty beyond the borders of our nation. And this is what World Vision is all about. The blessings of giving really do outweigh any happiness from material possessions. Almost as much fun is infecting others with the viral excitement of such giving.

World Vision’s Campaign For Every Child has given much to children and communities all over the world. But it has also given us the opportunity to share in that good work. Thank you, World Vision!


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