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Tag Archives: reflections

Women who inspired World Vision's founding father

My father, Bob Pierce, first traveled to China in 1947 with Youth for Christ. World Vision wasn’t even a twinkle in his eye. But years later, he would write, “My own world vision from God was sparked on that first trip.” Among the people who ignited that spark were women who were determined to change the world in Jesus’ name.

Giving up more than chocolate for Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, when Christians focus on Jesus’ sacrifice through prayer, fasting, and giving. World Vision's Katie Swift reflects on taking a "Life Audit" -- part of our Live Life campaign for youth and college students around the world.

The most humbling thing about it all...

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.

How much is a life worth?

In the news business, there's a saying that goes, “One dead fireman in Brooklyn is worth five English bobbies, who are worth fifty Arabs, who are worth five hundred Africans.” I quoted this in my first book, The Hole in Our Gospel.

It’s understandable that we identify and sympathize with the people closest to us. We have a harder time empathizing with people who are somehow removed -- whether geographically, culturally, religiously, or nationally. It’s normal.

But it’s not okay.

My eyes have seen, ears heard, mouth still wide open

Today's heartfelt reflection comes from Collins Kaumba, a World Vision journalist in Zambia (pictured above with his wife and daughter). While his job often involves gathering stories of hope, he is also routinely exposed to the pain and suffering caused by poverty -- a reality made all the more personal to him because of his own background. Collins shares about a difficult experience that continues to affect him and makes him grateful for the ways he has been blessed by God.

A good dad, an everyday hero

We don’t always appreciate the miracle of a plain and ordinary but good life. Too often, we fail to value the dad who is simply present. He helps out with schoolwork, shows up at Little League, and brings his paycheck home.

It’s easy to assume that human lives are meaningful when something special happens to make us pay attention. We celebrate the Olympic heroes, those who make great leaps in advancing science, or the industrial tycoons who create the products for which we are willing to stand hours in line. It’s the people we read about, the people we see on television, the decision-makers who really matter. The ordinary, faithful dad doesn’t rank.

From heartbreak to joy

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”

As a World Vision employee, I’ve grown quite familiar with the poignant prayer that our founder, Dr. Bob Pierce, scrawled in the margins of his Bible many years ago.

But on a busy afternoon last fall, as I sat at my desk in the World Vision U.S. headquarters, my heart was far from broken.

It was elated.

Surrounded by my coworkers, a giant bouquet of balloons, and even a photographer, I had received the surprise of a lifetime: My name had been selected in a drawing for a trip to see sponsorship in action! I had earned entries by recruiting friends and family members to become sponsors, and would soon be traveling to the nation of Ecuador to get an up-close look at World Vision’s work in the field.

A cooperative Congress can save lives

Most will agree that Congress does not have a sterling reputation these days -- in fact, it bears the worst public perception of any of our branches of government. Some words you may hear used to describe the deliberating body: dysfunctional, divided, self-serving, broken.

The most recent approval rating for Congress (as of the publication of this post) is a dismal 14 percent. Has it always been this way? Does it have to be this way now?

Give yourselves fully

I always enjoy Easter for its atmosphere of wonderful, joyous celebration.

While Christmas might be described as special, Easter is triumphant. We celebrate the astounding miracle of a man, the Son of God, risen from the grave. But like a parade after any victory, Easter’s celebration is more than the festivity following an unexpected triumph.

We also celebrate what Jesus’ victory over death has freed us to do: to work for the kingdom of God.

Do you feel a stirring in your gut?

In late February, some 4,000 people from across the Unites States descended upon the “City of Roses” for two days. They didn’t travel hundreds or thousands of miles for a major sporting event or to see some famous music band.

From baby refugee to mother, wife, and World Vision staffer

Every woman has a story. And, like all stories, if you change one page, one paragraph, or even one word, you could change her story.

This is my story.

I was born a girl into a culture that still prefers and elevates boys. I was born into a war-torn country whose new government had stripped its citizens of all their rights and freedoms.

Significantly, I was born to parents who were determined to not let these dismal factors prevent their daughter from experiencing the very best that life could offer -- even if that meant risking their lives, leaving their friends and family, and fleeing from the only home they had ever known.

Thus, at the age of 3 months, I became one of the youngest boat refugees to escape Vietnam.

Why my Grandma may be wrong: Living a life of sacrifice

"Sacrifice" is a funny little word. It conjures up images of pain, hurt, and unfinished to-do lists. This word especially takes on a warped meaning when combined with the word “Lent.”

Growing up, Lent was always a little bit of a joke. We teased each other for the excuses we all made for giving into the things we had given up.

My Grandma always had the best excuse. She said that Lent is technically only 40 days if you exclude Sundays, and that on Sunday, she could “break the rules.” I’m almost positive she somehow found biblical support for this, and I wasn’t going to argue if it meant my Sabbath was filled with Thin Mints.

That’s how sacrifice is most of the time, though, isn’t it?

Freedom from poverty: The key to life in all its fullness

This past August, I had the honor, for the first time, of visiting World Vision's field programs in Guatemala. This Latin American country is a gorgeous place -- a lush, beautiful landscape, and equally beautiful people.

In stark contrast to such beauty, however, is the presence of poverty across much of the country. Malnutrition is a major problem here -- 45 percent of Guatemala's population is stunted. Particularly in rural areas, families struggle with limited access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.

But poverty does not define the people of Guatemala. Nor, as I discovered, does it undermine their ability to find joy and hope. And World Vision is working to help families and communities overcome it -- for good.

A cup of coffee? Or water for a village?

In 2010, World Vision magazine published a story about Kathy Williams, a manager at Family Christian store in Killeen, Texas. Through a bottle of dirty water, she struck up conversations with customers -- conversations that resulted in hundreds of child sponsorships.

Because of Kathy's voice of change in her community, she was invited to visit World Vision projects in Swaziland with Austin, Texas area pastors and community leaders. After witnessing World Vision's work in Swaziland, she wrote the following reflection.