Tag Archives: World Vision ACT:S

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.

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?

12 challenges for your summer bucket list

When I was in college, I spent my summers visiting family and friends, journeying on cross-country road trips, catching up on extracurricular reading, or traveling internationally (if I could afford it). I always started off my summer vacation with a desire to make my summer really count -- to do something purposeful and intentional to help other people. But after a few weeks in the sun, I often resorted to all my summer norms.

College students aren't getting away with that mentality so easily anymore -- not with resources like our World Vision ACT:S Summer Adventure Bucket List. It's 12 challenges meant to get you out of the house and experience the world around you.

But I do not despair

Close your eyes and imagine this...

Imagine if our culture was taken to the -nth degree, to its logical end.

Maybe Lady Gaga is president. Maybe digital devices hang in front of our faces, precluding any unmediated communication. Maybe our nations war over water. Maybe norms about intimacy and privacy have melted. And maybe our speech has deteriorated into grunts, slang, and chuckles.

If North American culture keeps it up, we could be in big trouble.

Our culture is infatuated with stars like Justin Bieber, and our top TV show is even called "American Idol." We revel in Charlie Sheen “winning.” Our king is LeBron. Chatroulette and PostSecret spotlight our basest tendencies and hidden shames. College grades are inflated. Polar ice caps are melting. Our states are broke, and our nation is $14,421,378,214,947 in the red.

As consumers, we spend more than we make. Kids kill other kids. Yesterday, I heard the phrase “economic collapse” on the radio a few times. A friend of mine jokes that she’ll put her tent in our yard when it really hits the fan.

ACT:S to end malaria

Editor's note: In lieu of World Malaria Day (Monday, April 25th), the following post was written for us by our friends at RELEVANT Magazine.

Recently, the RELEVANT staff became aware of a problem.

If you watch the news (who does that anymore?), or follow the news feed on Facebook or check in online with the media outlet of your choice, you know the world is in trouble. Our world’s issues have created issues that have created more issues that could lead one to believe the world, in its current state, is not right. How does one respond when the world seems to be on fire?

Apathy is our worldview

Some have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and pretend this “world on fire” doesn’t affect their everyday life. They’ve embraced apathy as a worldview—it informs the way they spend their time, money and conversation. Others have chosen to respond by passionately standing up for a cause they feel called to. But how do you go about choosing what evil to war against when there is so much evil in the world?

The problem that caught our attention was the very problem we thought had gone away. Several decades ago our U.S. government decided to wage a war against the threat of malaria. Along with relocating people away from river beds and dangerous bodies of water that hosted deadly mosquitoes, we launched an all-out chemical assault on malaria with DDT. We attacked the disease at its origin. Since the threat has now been all but eliminated in the U.S., most of us have seen malaria as that virus you might get on a mission trip that, at its worst, is similar to a common cold and a few trips to the bathroom.

Truth be told, malaria isn’t on our radar anymore because it’s no longer a deadly threat to our culture. We’ve moved on to “bigger” problems—economic development, child mortality, education, health care, ending poverty, fighting global AIDS, etc. But the fact is, if you care about any of these issues, you have to solve the problem of malaria first

The numbers don’t lie

Nearly 1 million people die every year due to diseases that were caused by malaria—85 percent of them are children under the age of 5. If you care about solving other issues in the world, you have to pay attention to the fact that 30 percent of all school absenteeism on the entire continent of Africa is the result of malaria. It slows the economic and educational development of countries around the world by perpetuating the cycle of poverty and becomes exponentially more deadly when accompanied by AIDS and malnutrition.

How have we lived on this planet without knowing? Ignorance is killing more people right now than all the great wars described in our history books.

Lent 2011: A Franciscan blessing

As today, Ash Wednesday, marks the start of the season of Lent, may this Franciscan blessing encourage and prepare you for a meaningful and blessed Lent Experience.

May God bless you with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships...

Ending modern-day slavery through innovation

You’re at party—laughing with friends, having a good time. When someone comes up and tells you about the excitement going on in the other room, you follow, intrigued. You find yourself joining a group crammed into a small, crowded space. Suddenly the door slams behind you and the lights...