What does it take to survive a disaster? What does it take to thrive and build back better?
Matthew Paul Turner is with the World Vision bloggers in the Philippines this week. He describes how the people of Tacloban are no longer defined by the monster of Typhoon Haiyan.
After Typhoon Haiyan, survivors were living in tents and makeshift shelter; some still do today.
World Vision is building new homes for the most vulnerable families, and providing building supplies and training workshops for thousands more!
Our bloggers are in the Philippines this week, marking the year anniversary of the storm. See the recovery through their eyes ...
In our work to fight against the root causes of poverty, it often takes a whole community to come to the aid of another community in need. That’s what you made happen a year ago for communities like Tacloban in the Philippines that were devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
Our World Vision Bloggers are in the Philippines this week marking the one-year anniversary of the storm and witnessing first-hand the remarkable progress that’s been made this past year and what’s still to come. Follow their trip right here!
Jesus refers to God as "the Lord of the harvest" (Matthew 9:38). How do you reflect God's bounty in your everyday life?
Guest blogger Benjamin L. Corey encourages us to put God in his place this harvest season.
Happy Mother’s Day! Today, we celebrate and honor our mothers for the mothering they do every day of the year. We acknowledge the challenges they face, and we thank them for persevering.
This past week, three of our mom bloggers wrote about the challenges that mothers face around the world, in countries like Bangladesh, Kenya, and India.
Check out their amazing perspectives on motherhood!
Mother, sponsor, and author Micha Boyett writes today about her first book – Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer – released last month, along with the joys and challenges of both motherhood and sponsorship, and the role that grace has played in both.
In today’s blog, we ask a variety of Christian thought leaders why we as Christians should care about the conflict in Syria, a crisis that day to day often feels very far from us. Or someone else’s problem.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am usually a stickler on no-Christmas-stuff-until-Thanksgiving-is-done rule. I want to experience one holiday at a time -- mixing pilgrims with Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree is just too much for me!
But, this year, I caved.
In November, I opened up my mailbox to find a new VeggieTales DVD -- a Christmas Veggie Tales movie, "The Little Drummer Boy." I couldn't tell my kids to wait several weeks before we watched it, right? Right?! We had to sit down immediately and see what Bob and Larry were up to!
And I'm so glad we did.
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.
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?
Years of being blessed with a low checking account balance forced me to rethink my approach to Christmas. Those were not easy years as I tried to tell myself that Christmas isn’t all about the presents, while fearing that my family would consider me cheap or inconsiderate.
A budget gift is a budget gift.
In a happy case of irony, my focus on gift-giving led me back to a better conception of Christmas.
If art thrives on limitation, gift-giving followed suit. If I only had $10 to spend on each person, I had to ask very different questions for gift-giving, the most important being: “What would this person never buy for himself/herself?”
This led to a series of time-consuming projects, such as homemade applesauce, unique jams, hot sauce, and framed photographs. Everything was tailored to the specific needs of each person, and in most cases, kept us within our budget.
[caption id="attachment_10609" align="alignright" width="270" caption="Ed's homemade applesauce."][/caption]
Starting today, World Vision bloggers are linking up to spread the true spirit of Christmas. Our 12 blogs of Christmas represent the creativity, love, joy, hope, memories, and family holiday traditions that keep us connected to the true reason for the season.
Counting your blessings this week for Thanksgiving? We are, too. Blessings #1 and #2: The people we serve and those who serve with us, and the many faithful donors and supporters of World Vision's work around the world. Thank you.
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I was in the Dominican Republic last year with World Vision.
On our last day there, the World Vision staff in Santo Domingo threw us a "goodbye" party. At some point during the festivities, I was asked to say a few words and then pray.
I don't remember what I said exactly, but I remember what happened after I finished. As I handed the microphone back to the sound guy, a woman grabbed my hand. And when my other hand was free, she grabbed it, too, and cupped them inside hers.
When she had my complete attention, the woman began talking. I couldn't understand what she was saying as she spoke in Spanish. I thought about stopping her so I could look around for somebody to translate her words, but so much was happening around us -- talking, laughing, shouting, music, and dancing -- that I felt compelled to keep my eyes on her, listen closely, and experience what she was saying.
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