Tag Archives: donor stories

Messages of love

Messages of love | World Vision Blog

Violet visiting her sponsored child Cedric and his family in Uganda, whom she sponsored at a Casting Crowns concert. (Photo: Violet Galaviz)

Looking ahead to Valentine's Day on Friday, we want to give thanks for the love you have shown us, our work, and the children and communities we serve around the world. We can't do this work without you! Thank you for your love … we love you, too!

In today's photoblog, five teams here at World Vision each highlight one of their supporters that has been influential and inspirational to them.

Day 23: Share creatively

Day 23: Share creatively | World Vision Blog

World Vision donor Rachel Britz has established a family tradition of giving with her children, each choosing a Gift Catalog item to give every year. “This is going to be our family’s legacy,” she says.

Day 12: Share the wealth

Day 12: Share the wealth | World Vision Blog

A year ago, we received this amazing letter from one of our donors. Check out what Amy’s three girls did to be able to follow God’s lead to give, and how “the faith of a child is more powerful than the ‘logic’ of a parent.”

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.

David’s bright idea

Do you give money to beggars? I can think of plenty of reasons why such giving is not a good idea. Then, I’ll see some destitute woman shivering in the cold, and I’ll feel compelled to press a few dollars in her hand.

Whoever said fundraising had to be boring?

Here at World Vision, we deal with some heavy issues -- famine, AIDS, human trafficking, war, natural disasters, abject poverty -- the sort of topics that might easily have one reaching for anti-depressants.

But there are a lot of fun jobs, too. One of mine is writing about donors who have found wonderful ways to raise money to support World Vision and help cure some of the world’s greatest ills.

Here are some of my favorites of 2011.

The gift we can't wait to explain

I'm often seeking beautiful stories of child sponsorship, because I know so many exist out there. When I find one, I eagerly await the author's permission to republish their words on our blog so it can be shared with so many more. Brynn's post -- which came highly recommended from a World Vision sponsor, who I'm blessed to call a friend -- eloquently captures the beauty of child sponsorship and why it's really a gift to every person it touches. Merry Christmas! —Lindsey Talerico-Hedren, managing editor, World Vision Blog

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This is my most favorite gift that we are giving this year.

Even more than the tablets we are giving the kids, but that might just be because I'm frustrated with trying to set them up and figure out why they won't connect to our wifi. Seriously, Apple has spoiled me because all of their stuff just works and works easily, but with a 10- and 12-year-old, there was no way that we were going to buy them iPads because they are 10 and 12, which means their gifts have to be indestructible or at least not cause their father to cry if they break them.

...And on that point, can I just say I miss the days when you got the kids presents that you spent four hours putting together instead of electronic gifts that require massive hours and Google to set up?

Blessing #3: Compassionate kids

We're counting our blessings each day this week in celebration of Thanksgiving. Blessing #3: The many compassionate and beautiful children who remind us every day what it means to have a child-like faith in a God who loves us.

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The fun and sometimes frustrating thing about being a writer is that you never quite know what kind of story you are going to get. Sometimes, great leads turn out to be disappointing. Other times, what looks like a humdrum story turns out to have a twist that blows your socks off.

So it was with a sense of nervous anticipation that I called Teresa and Carl Camera of Austin, Texas. I’d been asked to write a feature story about them for World Vision Magazine. Teresa had written to the magazine, saying how blessed her family was by the publication and how it was helping their boys -- Kevin, 10, and Christopher, 11 -- develop a more compassionate outlook.

It was very kind of Teresa to say so, of course, but perhaps a stretch to write on for 1,000 words.

But once I got on the phone with the Cameras, I discovered they had a whole range of strategies for helping their boys become more caring people. These conversations became the basis of the “Raising Kids Who Care” feature in the current issue of the magazine.

Congratulations, sponsorship trip winners!

In September, World Vision introduced our first-ever travel sweepstakes: Supporters who found new sponsors for five or more children in a month's time were eligible to win a trip to Peru to witness the impact of child sponsorship firsthand. Just over a month has passed since the sweepstakes closed, and we are ready to officially announce our two winners!

Congratulations Sarah Baerg of Trabuco Canyon, California, and Terry Adams of Venice, Florida! We're very excited to have Sarah and Terry travel with us to visit sponsorship communities of Huanta and Forjadores del Futuro (Huamanga) in Peru, where they’ll meet sponsored children and their families and local World Vision staff members.

We're also blessed that so many more children have been sponsored because of the encouragement of current sponsors and the generosity of new ones. We thank each person who helped to make this possible -- whether you were a sponsor entering to win, or a new sponsor to a child in need.

A network of prayer [infographic]

About six months ago, as my team was putting together the autumn 2011 issue of World Vision Magazine, I asked our social media team if we could pose a question to World Vision Facebook fans -- and potentially use the responses in the magazine.

At that stage, we had an article from Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., about how World Vision’s faith plays a role in every community where we work. I think it’s a great article that shows the big picture of how our faith motivates our staff around the world.

But something was missing. Of course, it is important to see how faith motivates World Vision staff, but I also wanted to show that faith motivates many of you, our supporters.

So we posed the question to our fans on Facebook: How do you pray for your sponsored child?

[Bolivia bloggers] Back at home, but haunted by their faces

The following post was written on Day 1, back at home from Bolivia, from Elizabeth Esther.

I did 26 hours of travel on two hours of sleep. I don’t recommend this. My body and mind feel sundered–torn apart. This afternoon I started shaking. I’m so tired–physically, emotionally, mentally–that my body started freaking out on me without sending a warning note first. And Mariela’s face haunts my emotions:

[caption id="attachment_7329" align="aligncenter" width="480" caption="Mariela poured confetti on my head--the traditional Bolivian form of blessing and rejoicing"]Haunted by their faces | World Vision Blog[/caption]

I met Mariela at the special-needs center in Colomi. Her uncle, in the words of Mariela’s mother, “es muy malo.” Very bad–meaning, his special needs are severe, overwhelming for a family already entrenched in deep poverty. Mariela wouldn’t let go of me. She held my hand, asked me to draw pictures for her, kissed my cheek repeatedly. Mariela has no father. Her mother is a single parent, recently returned from Argentina where she tried to find work. Mariela was too skinny for her age. But she knew how to love. She caressed my hand and stared into my eyes.

What would you paddle 6,000 miles for?

About a week ago I got this great email from a colleague telling me all about this recent college graduate who is embarking on a 15-month adventure around the Great Loop. (I confess I didn't know what the Great Loop is so I looked it up: The Great Loop is a continuous waterway around the eastern United States and Canada... The route ranges from 5,000 to 7,500 miles, passing through many states and several climate zones. Source: http://www.paddleforwells.com)

So, needless, to say... the Great Loop is basically an extraordinary waterway that would be no easy or quick trip for anyone. And what's more? Josh Tart is going to paddle the whole thing in his kayak. (This is where you and I have the same reaction -- WHAT!!??!)

Always enough love for one more

This note was simply too sweet not to share.

A little background: I first started talking to Debbie on our Facebook page, where she leaves us daily comments of encouragement. On Facebook, we've shared in Debbie's passion and deep love for all seven of her sponsored children. When she receives a letter from one of her "littles" from Thailand, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Brazil, Zambia, or Mexico, it makes our day, too. So when she heard about our bloggers trip to Bolivia, you can guess what she did next...


Why I run...

Maybe running's not your thing. So marathons wouldn't really be your thing. Five kilometers or 42.195 kilometers -- definitely not your thing.

Maybe your thing is music, or sporting events, or enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Now that sounds a lot more like the Seattle Rock 'n' Roll Marathon.

That's because this marathon isn't really your average running venture. Local bands play live music, and cheer squads line the roads every mile. Lake Washington neighbors come out of their homes to join the "crowd" en route from Tukwila, Washington, to downtown Seattle. It's a "running [and I would add, outdoor entertainment] nirvana," as the marathon Facebook page says.

What would you do...if you knew?

One of the greatest blessings I've ever experienced was the opportunity to travel to Southern Africa with my daughter, Amanda, who was 20 at the time. I had worked with World Vision for almost 15 years in various capacities, mostly related to web and social media communications, and had traveled abroad several times. But this would be my first opportunity to meet our sponsored child, Gracia, in person.

The day Amanda and I spent with Gracia -- who lives in the southern part of the Congo and was 8 at the time -- is forever burned into our memories. Gracia is sweet, funny, and very smart. She lives in the poorest of circumstances, but has great potential to break the cycle of poverty, thanks to the way the Lord is working in her life through World Vision and others.

I'll never forget how Amanda burst into tears at the end of a day in which she and Gracia basically became big sister/little sister.

Sponsorship 101 -- from a child sponsor

World Vision’s child sponsorship program has been part of my life for nearly two decades. My dad started working at World Vision when I was 9 years old. I’ve worked here for nearly five years now, and my husband and I sponsor three children of our own.

We love getting letters, drawings, photos, and progress reports from the children in our global family. And we love sending them cards, pictures, small packages, and the occasional extra gift.

But even as a staff person and a longtime child sponsor, I’ve still asked myself: What does sponsorship actually do? How does it actually work?

In putting this blog post together, I’ve learned that, in a nutshell, sponsorship connects you with a child in need and empowers the child’s community to become healthy, safe, and self-reliant, breaking the cycle of poverty.

It’s not a handout. It’s more like a hand up. By helping to provide access to life essentials, we, as sponsors, don’t just “give away” our money and cross our fingers. We actually help World Vision in giving the entire community of our sponsored child a “boost” up and out of poverty.

In order for children to experience life in all its fullness, they must have reliable access to all of the essentials for life: clean water, a secure source of food, healthcare, education, etc. That’s why World Vision takes an integrated approach to helping our sponsored children’s communities become whole, because each piece of this puzzle intertwines with the others.

[caption id="attachment_4665" align="alignright" width="162" caption="In Senegal, a World Vision water pump in Mballo's village gives her community clean water. ©2010 David duChemin/World Vision"][/caption]

Clean water: This is often where our work starts. Simply providing access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene can cut a community’s child death rate by more than half.

Food security: We help farming families learn better crop cultivation and food storage techniques, provide essentials like seeds and tools, and distribute food aid to help make sure that children get the nutrition they need.

Health care: We help to make basic health care accessible by stocking health clinic shelves with medicine, training parents and health workers to treat illness, and coordinating HIV-prevention education and care for those affected by HIV and AIDS.

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.

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...