Goats, scones, and life-changing gifts

On day 11 of the 2011 True Spirit of Christmas Trip, our team introduced you to Joyce, who's life has been changed thanks to the gift of goats from the World Vision Gift Catalog. The goats provide Joyce with milk and a means for extra income that she sometimes uses to purchase ingredients to make scones from her own recipe.

We shared Joyce's special scone recipe straight from her kitchen with World Vision supporters on Facebook after our trip host, Kirsten Stearns, did some midday baking with Joyce calling her scones "among the best she has ever tasted." Back in the United States, a long way from Joyce's kitchen in Zambia, Kirsten's sister-in-law Sarah and her church group agree the scones are quite delicious.

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When I found out that my sister-in-law was going on the trip of a lifetime, I was excited for her. When I found out that I would be able to follow her trip on Facebook, I was thrilled! I am a self-proclaimed Facebook junkie, and being able to watch Kirsten meet so many beneficiaries of the World Vision Gift Catalog was exciting.

I had an amazing trip to Zambia with World Vision seven years ago, so I was anxious to see how Kirsten’s trip would go. Each morning, I would check in on the trip to see if there were any new videos posted. If there were, I would watch with my 10-month-old -- who was excited to see his Aunt Kirsten on the screen -- to see what was going on that day.

On day 13, the video posted was particularly touching. Kirsten met with a woman named Joyce. Before Joyce received the gift of goats from World Vision's Gift Catalog, she struggled to provide for her children. Affected by AIDS, her family cast her away and stopped caring for her. But her story of prayer and perseverance has a happy ending -- and it begins with goats.

Sarah shared Joyce's scones with the moms' fellowship group at her church.

"I now have joy in my life. I'm so thankful for the people who provided these goats," Joyce said through a smile in the video. Because of the goats, Joyce now has an income, and she has used part of that money to buy baking supplies and make scones to share with her family and neighbors. Another video showed Joyce teaching Kirsten how to make those special scones.

I love to bake, so I was thinking of trying to make the recipe myself. A few days later, one of Kirsten’s friends transcribed and posted the recipe on her blog. Knowing that I had a Christmas brunch with the moms' fellowship group at my church in just two days, I realized the timing was perfect. I would make the scones for my group and share Joyce’s story.

The recipe was so simple, yet delicious! It yielded 45 mini scones, so I was able to share them with my group at church, as well as some other friends. And as I handed out each scone, I would tell them Joyce’s story and how they could help others like Joyce -- through simple gifts to World Vision.

I hope that I have planted a seed with my friends, and that someday they might make the decision to share with a family in need. This year, as I have many times before, I was able to purchase chickens and a backpack full of school supplies from the Gift Catalog.  I always knew these gifts were helpful to their recipients, but now, after following Kirsten’s trip, I know that these gifts are truly life-changing!

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