Tag Archives: holidays

How to spread love across the world

How to spread love across the world | World Vision Blog

Photos of Rina, one of Kelly's sponsored children. (Photo: ©World Vision/courtesy of Kelly Stilwell)

When building relationships with their sponsored children, most of our sponsors find themselves sending that love long-distance.

Hear from Kelly, who blogs at Virtually Yours, about how she builds relationships over distance and over time, and how love has made the world feel just a little bit smaller.

New Year, new baby … but how to name her?

New Year, new baby … but how to name her? | World Vision Blog

Babies of 2016. This is a seriously cute baby. And it gets seriously good news because World Vision is upping support for health care programs in this community, which is in Uganda. (Photo: ©2016 World Vision, photo by Jon Warren)

Our writer Shaun Kempston and his wife are very close to having a New Year Baby!

Hear from Shaun about this new addition-to-be for their family and how they've gone about choosing her name. And along the way, meet some of the babies we've met around the world in 2016.

Loving through our differences at Thanksgiving

Loving through our differences at Thanksgiving | World Vision Blog

Syrian refugees in Lebanon. (Photo: @2014 World Vision/photo by Jo Currie)

Especially as we come together with friends and family during the holidays, we can find ourselves so easily divided by differences.

But we can overcome our differences by focusing on what we have in common and loving our neighbors the way Jesus showed us, both here and across the globe.

This Thanksgiving, Rich Stearns encourages us to pray for those—like refugees—who don't have the homes, food, and family we celebrate today.

Magical moments in the kitchen

Magical moments in the kitchen | World Vision Blog

9-year-old Rosemary cooks nshima in Zambia. She dreams of becoming a chef! (Photo: ©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Cooking with your grandmother, sharing a meal with family—these are some of the special moments we look forward to during the Christmas season, or remember fondly from past holidays.

For 9-year-old Rosemary, the magic of cooking and eating together is a big part of her dream to become a chef!

See what's making Rosemary's dream possible.

Recipe: The language of food and the people we share it with

Recipe: The language of food and the people we share it with | World Vision Blog

Thai fried rice—a local dish in Thailand. (Photo: ©2016 Somluck Khamsaen/World Vision)

The holidays are upon us—a season of thanks, love, and spending time with family, but also of sharing food with loved ones.

Learn how to make Thai fried rice—a common local dish in Thailand—and explore how food is a global language for all we share it with.

Christ first, America second

Christ first, America second | World Vision Blog

Crosses erected on a steep hillside above the city of Zahlé in Lebanon, the sun rising over Syria to the east. (Photo: 2016 Jon Warren/World Vision)

As we celebrate America this holiday weekend, World Vision USA president Richard Stearns reminds us that we are citizens of Christ first.

God has blessed our nation, but for Christians those blessings come with a purpose. See the priorities our faith commands:

[Infographic] How will you spend Valentine's Day?

Love is in the air this week as millions prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day. There's certainly nothing wrong with wanting to spoil your loved ones; we all do it occasionally.

At the same time, we wanted to ask the question: How much money do Americans spend each year on Valentine's Day -- and what impact could that amount make in fighting global poverty?

This isn't meant to induce guilt; instead, consider it a source of encouragement as to how effectively you can make a difference with the resources you have!

The power of one person's obedience

I am continually astounded by the power of individual people to make a difference.

After The Hole in Our Gospel was published, readers started sending me letters, telling me how God has used them to do remarkable things. Sometimes they took in foster children or became adoptive parents. Others changed careers or sold vacation property so they could be more useful to the kingdom of God. All of them are changing lives, spreading hope, and making the Gospel tangible to people in need.

The power of individuals to change the world has been a theme in our culture over the last year. It was a single person who launched what became the Arab Spring. Protesting corruption and inequality, a street vendor set himself on fire, galvanizing demonstrations that toppled the Tunisian regime, and setting off a protest movement across North Africa that continues even now.

Merry Christmas from around the world [PHOTO BLOG]

What do Christmas celebrations look like in other parts of the world? In some places, World Vision throws big Christmas parties where disadvantaged children can enjoy the festivities and even receive presents. In other places, children participate in traditional celebrations that might look quite different than our American Christmas.

Something miraculous at Christmas

The follow post was written by Narine Ohanyan, World Vision field communicator in Armenia.

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Do you believe in miracles?

For a mother in Armenia, something miraculous is happening at Christmas.

“I love the ornaments and the lights. I love to stare at them,” says 4-year-old Narek Qotanjyan.

Coming from a child in the United States, this statement wouldn’t be so surprising. However, Narek lives in Armenia with a disability.

A little child shall lead them

Although I wrote this last year, I feel it deserves a repeat-performance. I visited this family again recently and brought their daughter Lilly an actual malaria net, like those World Vision uses in Africa because I know the compassion she feels for those affected by malaria, an experience from a previous visit with her folks. She's a busy 7-year-old now and couldn't remember the entire incident, so I promised to find what I'd written last year and send it to her. Re-reading it blessed me and I hope it blesses you, too.

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This year, we all agreed to forgo the typical presents for our adult extended family members and instead choose gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalog. We'd given some similar "gifts" previously, but this year there was a special abandon to it -- a desire to really make these "thoughtful" gifts for each receiver, a criteria very close to my wife Janet's heart.

Happy birthday, Jesus | Blog 12 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

I love to give gifts.

Love. LOve. LOVe. LOVE to give gifts.

It started as a little girl when I would go shopping at the Dollar Store for my family for Christmas.

Then, when I got my first job, I began shopping year-round, seeking the best deals and the perfect gifts for everyone on my list.

15 years later, I still shop year-round. I usually finish shopping in early November and want to start wrapping right away.

I am THAT excited to give the gifts I have purchased.

Sharing joy...a little bit more | Blog 11 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

My favorite part of the classic holiday storybook "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" is near the very end when the Grinch is baffled by the Who's singing after he has stolen their presents and roast beast.

And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.
"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store."
"Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!"

Every year at Christmas I wrestle with a more mentality. As a naturally selfish human being I always want more.

Extravagant gifts | Blog 10 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

I’m always a little bit hesitant to talk love languages, because I have the most selfish-sounding of them all. Because my primary love language is gifts. Which basically boils down to, “If you want to show me that you love me, give me stuff.” It’s kind of embarrassing.

Of course, it means that Christmas has a special place in my heart. Sure, there’s the peppermint mocha coffee goo that I put in my morning joe, the plates of Christmas cookies that are passed around at family gatherings, the unending stream of Christmas music in my car, the rehearsals for church services. These are all wonderful parts of the Christmas experience, and I look forward to them every year.

Occupy Advent | Blog 9 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and the holiday season gift-buying is in full swing. Black Friday specials have the shoppers out in droves. Downtown Portland is a sea of moving people with packages, shopping lists, and agendas. Me, I’m armed with my Nikon camera, hoping to capture some artistic street photos.

I stand on a street corner for a half hour or so, just getting a feel for the people walking from store to store. I notice that some of the downtown citizens remain outside the retail giants’ doors. There is an older gentleman attempting to hand out copies of his religion’s periodical. There are street performers and musicians demonstrating their talents in hopes that the holiday revelers would donate a bill or two in the spirit of the season. The young man standing next to me has a stack of pirated CD’s and is trying to get a passerby to listen to his iPod long enough to decide to buy a track or two.

Then, there are the homeless. Like in every city, they have cardboard signs about their most immediate needs. When I spotted Cecil, I immediately liked his face. I semi-hid behind one of the large pillars in front of a department store so I could raise my camera without drawing too much attention. It didn’t work. Cecil looked directly at me as I released the shutter.

Less of more and more of Jesus | Blog 8 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

Back before the days of flip cameras and high-definition video cameras, my parents recorded some of our early Christmases on tape. Well, I don’t even know what they used to record it, but they made a cassette tape for me with the recorded memories. Yes. I am old.

Anyway, on one particular Christmas, my parents had gotten 2-year-old me what they assumed would be the hit of the year -- my very own play kitchen. The tape documents me coming down the stairs Christmas morning and discovering all the gifts Santa had left behind.

The real Christmas story | Blog 7 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

I grew up in a Christian family, where I understood the true meaning of Christmas from a very young age. I heard the Christmas story so many times, I became almost numb to it. The Wisemen, shepherds, angels, and stable animals were all supporting actors in a play that I had seen too many times, and, at times, felt I couldn't sit through again. After all, there were presents waiting to be unwrapped and hot cocoa waiting to be sipped.

I am thankful my parents didn't indulge my childish impatience, and that they consistently took time to explore the spirit behind Christmas with my siblings and me. It's more than just a season that happens every year and brings sweets and gifts. The first Christmas was an earth-altering, destiny-changing day. Those there to witness it must have been in awe of what was happening.

This year, my family is looking more closely at the Nativity story (found in Luke 2 and Matthew 2). We want to explore what it must have been like to be the various people inside that story. What did each of them think and feel? Did they know that they were witnessing the most important historical event that would ever take place?

Compassion | Blog 6 of the 12 blogs of Christmas

For years, I never understood Christmas. Admittedly, I was a bit of a Scrooge. It just seemed like the whole thing was a farce.

Every made-for-TV movie I watched between Thanksgiving and New Year’s preached the same gospel: “It’s not about presents.” But then, every Christmas morning, I was inundated with presents. It didn’t make sense. Someone was lying.

Everything you want?

My parents, and probably yours, would conclude every December 25th with the same nervous question: “So… did you get everything you wanted?”

Are you kidding me? Everything I wanted? Is this what we want to teach our children about life? That you can get everything you want?