Tag Archives: churches

Messages of love

Messages of love | World Vision Blog

Violet visiting her sponsored child Cedric and his family in Uganda, whom she sponsored at a Casting Crowns concert. (Photo: Violet Galaviz)

Looking ahead to Valentine's Day on Friday, we want to give thanks for the love you have shown us, our work, and the children and communities we serve around the world. We can't do this work without you! Thank you for your love … we love you, too!

In today's photoblog, five teams here at World Vision each highlight one of their supporters that has been influential and inspirational to them.

An extraordinary Sunday

An extraordinary Sunday | World Vision Blog

Child Ambassador Jim Gross with his Granddaughter Kennady. (Photo: 2013 Jim Gross)

While fans in Seattle and Denver were celebrating their football victories on Sunday, a different wave of excitement was sweeping through a small church community in Houston, Texas. Jim Gross is a World Vision Child Ambassador … this is his story.

Day 21: Share faith

Day 21: Share faith | World Vision Blog

Today, rejoice with us about the work God is doing through a small church in Wyoming. Read about their “Coins for the Kingdom” ministry that has already raised money for a wide variety of Gift Catalog items!

Why World Vision? Sharing God's love

"He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor" (Luke 4:18b). At World Vision, we are a community of Christians following Christ's example to work alongside the poor and oppressed.

Today’s infographic gives an overview of how our faith motivates our commitment to children and the holistic development of their communities.

Building backpacks: A tangible demonstration of God's love

One of the great joys in my job is getting to meet many of World Vision's great church partners. I met one of these church heroes at a Renton, Washington, church. His name is Alex.

He told his congregation that God had planted them right in the midst of people whom they wouldn’t reach if they didn’t get out of the church pews.

So, Alex walked across the street and introduced himself to members of the staff at Northwood Middle School. This began a partnership with the school in which people from the church mentor students, and the church also hosts a year-end celebration of the teachers.

Big advocates can come in small sizes

In the weeks leading up to World Malaria Day on April 25, we're calling attention to this deadly but preventable disease and sharing simple ways by which everyone can be involved in stopping it for good. And by "everyone," we mean exactly that -- including a 7-year-old boy from Missouri, whose unique story we hope will inspire others to take action.

Help save lives: Bring Malaria Sunday to your church

Every 60 seconds, malaria claims another victim.

A single mosquito bite can be a death sentence for people who lack access to medical treatment. What makes malaria deaths particularly tragic is that they are fully preventable -- and some of malaria’s most common victims are children under 5.

Churches join together to stop a deadly night predator

Jeff Farmer Sr., retired president of Open Bible Churches, shares a story of how the Lord challenged him with the reality of suffering caused by malaria, and how this sparked his passion to see the future changed. Read his story, and learn more about how you can be involved.

Four things any church can do to address global poverty

Churches and pastors are often eager to respond to the problems of global poverty and injustice. Yet before they take steps to address these problems, pastors -- like anyone else -- want to know how they can make a difference. Because there are so many hurting people whose communities face complex obstacles, I’m frequently asked what one person or one church can do.

If you’re a fellow church or ministry leader, you know that God doesn’t promise that the odds will always be in our favor when accomplishing the work He has set before us.

When church leaders look today at the scale of global poverty, it’s easy to feel like the numbers are stacked against them.

  • 1 billion people suffer from a lack of adequate nutrition.
  • Half of the children in developing countries are born into poverty.
  • 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 per day.

Compared to those staggering figures, the size of the average church in America is just 186 regular attenders. Sounds a bit like Gideon facing thousands of Midianites, “thick as locusts,” with just 300 men.

What can a typical church in Michigan or Oklahoma do when poverty and justice issues are so big, global, and daunting? When pastors ask me what their church can do to help meet the needs of hurting people around the world, I give them four ideas.

I've met the face of AIDS

My name is Ange, and this is my story.

The first time I stepped into Africa was in 2004. It was in Kitale, Kenya, on a mission trip. I met a young boy named Andrew. He captured my heart and my soul, and I still think about him often.

The first time I “Stepped into Africa” was in 2007. It was at my church in Southern California. I met a boy named Kombo. He captured my heart and my soul, and I think about him often.

I know both of these kids’ stories. I've seen where they live. I've seen their families. I've learned their stories. And I feel a strong connection and compassion for both of them.

But what's the difference between these two children? Andrew has seen my face. Kombo has not.

Dreaming with Martin Luther King Jr.

It was 48 years ago this week that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of his most famous speeches on the Mall in Washington D.C. His declaration, “I have a dream” remains one of the most stirring addresses in American history as well as a prophetic discourse opposing injustice and the continued oppression of grandchildren and great grandchildren of slaves.

If Dr. King were to deliver his address again this year, I’m sure he would continue to see the need to speak out against the injustices that continue to oppress many black and other minority communities in the U.S. But I believe that Dr. King might also speak out against the injustices, oppression, and poverty that cause suffering in communities around the world, including the suffering caused by the drought and famine now occurring in East Africa.

In The Hole in Our Gospel, I pieced together a letter that God might write to the church today. In remembrance of Dr. King’s magnificent speech, I’ve taken the liberty to imagine how Dr. King might dream again today and challenge the church to “preach good news to the poor.”

Easter in Colombia

Editor's note: Celebrating Easter, including its preparation, is distinct to religious tradition and cultural custom. Candelaria, a World Vision community volunteer, and her daughters Martha and Mara describe how their family prepares and celebrates Easter according to Catholic tradition in Colombia. The following post was written by World Vision field communicators Ivon Curevo and Astrid Zacipa.

There is a Wednesday ever year in which Candelaria, 29, and her husband Carlos, 46, go with their daughters Marta, 11, and Mara, 7, to the nearest Catholic Church to receive from the priest the imposition of the "Cross of Ashes”.

"You are dust and to dust you shall become," says the priest, while drawing the symbol of the cross on their foreheads with ashes. This day is known as "Ash Wednesday” and marks the beginning of Lent -- forty days of preparation for Easter.

"Lent is the time to get together as a family, to feel at peace with God. It is a time to reflect on the positive as well as the negative aspects of our lives and to repent ourselves," says Candelaria.

[caption id="attachment_4130" align="alignright" width="246" caption="Candelaria with her daughters Martha and Mara outside their home in Colombia. (Zacipa & Cuervo/WV)"][/caption]

Especially at Easter, Candelaria and her family abstain from eating meat, except fish, like many of those of Catholic faith. "From what my mom taught me, we do not eat meat [so as] not to desecrate the suffering of Jesus on the cross," says Candelaria.

Because it is Easter, Carlos saves money from his bricklaying work so Candelaria can prepare a special meal for the family on Thursday or Friday. "Mom prepares fish from the river, beet salad, rice with beans and fresh fruit for dessert," says Mara.

As learned from her grandmother and her mother, Candelaria has taught her daughters the Catholic traditions of the Holy Week. The first Sunday of Easter recalls the day that Jesus entered Jerusalem at the beginning of Passover and was acclaimed by the people. That day the custom is to "take a bunch of palm to the church for the priest to bless it," says Mara.

My story: a hope-filled Sunday

Editor’s note: The following post was written by Jay Strum, World Vision sponsor and Hope Sunday host (pictured above with his wife).

“What if they reject me?” Swallowing my fear and pride, I stood up and began to speak. I quietly prayed to myself for God to allow the words to flow out. Then as I spoke from my heart, I knew exactly what to say.

I had a few reservations when I learned that I could share about World Vision’s child sponsorship program at my church by hosting a Hope Sunday. And at times I felt like the Lord’s reluctant servant. But I knew that I was being called to share my story.

After overcoming my initial discomfort, I was able to respond to the Lord’s gentle nudge, understanding that God's vision is greater vision than my own.

I began planning for my Hope Sunday and, in the process, discovered that there were other families who sponsored kids through World Vision in my church. I thought that combining our stories would be powerful for the church to hear, so I asked them to share about their own sponsorship experiences. I was grateful when six people said they would be happy to speak.

[caption id="attachment_3728" align="alignright" width="288" caption="Other sponsors at Jay's chuch share their sponsorship experience on his Hope Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Jay Strum)"][/caption]

On the day of my Hope Sunday I was planning on talking about the many ways in which sponsorship benefits and transforms the life of a child. But as I spoke to the congregation I found myself, instead, sharing about how my own life has been transformed by sponsorship.

Celebrating 20 years with 30 Hour Famine

The 30 Hour Famine began in the 1970s when World Vision New Zealand and World Vision Australia sought ways to engage youth on global issues. World Vision U.S. adopted the Famine in 1992 through partnerships with churches, youth groups, and students who desired to fight global hunger. Some 20 years later....

Are you an ‘ageist’?

Any of us would be horrified to be accused of being a racist — someone who has a hatred or intolerance of another race. But I actually think that many of us are ‘closet ageists’ — people who discriminate against persons of a certain age group — especially when it comes to children and youth.

Most often, the term ‘ageist’....