Tag Archives: reflections

What I love about my mom

I always wanted to be just like my mom. When I was a little girl, I used to write her letters, telling her of the admiration I had for her beauty and grace, and that she would be my best friend forever.

Just a few months ago, my mom reminded me of those letters. She told me just how much she adored those scribbled, misspelled notes from the 5- and 6-year-old me. Her favorite was one that I had so appropriately titled on the outside of the envelope, “What I love about my mom,” proceeding on the inside to name 20 of the things I loved most about her.

Even as an adult, that list continues to grow. I add to it daily things like her unconditional support and her wise advice for making marriage last. She truly is the mother who has taught me how to love and how to grow in myself, and is still my best friend.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom -- and happy Mother's Day to every mom like you who cares for her children, strives to give them what’s best, and loves them unconditionally.


Here are few more “What I love about my mom” thoughts from a sponsored children in Armenia and the World Vision Facebook family.

[caption id="attachment_4620" align="alignright" width="198" caption="Sponsored child Sahak. ©2011 Armenuhi Sahakyan/World Vision"][/caption]

My mother

By: Sahak, sponsored child in Armenia

Mother so much tender
Kind and sincere
Forgiving and helpful
Courteous and dear

Mother, my darling
I love and adore you
Dearest to my heart
Let you be always so bright.

----

A "mom" to walk beside me

At 24, I moved across the country by myself for a new job.

At the time, my parents, as empty-nesters, moved to London, making the distance between us much, much farther -- six time zones away.

Having recently graduated from college, with a big move and new job before me, I was asking myself the typical “20-something” questions: What did my faith mean? What was God’s plan for me? Would I ever get married?!

As a beginning step to discovering those answers for my life, I started volunteering with my new church’s youth group. One of the girls’ parents, Kay and Sandy, invited me over for dinner.

Through Kay and Sandy, I was given what seemed like the two greatest gifts at the time -- free dinners and unlimited listening.

Of course, I was homesick and missed my parents, particularly my mother, very much.

Then, when the man I thought I was going to marry broke up with me, Kay put on the full eight hours of the "Anne of Green Gables" movies and cried with me.

When disaster strikes home

Editor's note: World Vision's Nathan Looney reports from his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, that while neighborhoods in his immediate area were spared, towns just 30 minutes north and south have been completely devastated. Nathan, who happened to be visiting his family for the Easter holiday, will connect with our incoming assessment team tomorrow as they jumpstart World Vision's response.

I’ve seen countless pictures of destruction and hundreds of video clips of unimaginable devastation. In my few years at World Vision, I’ve sat in meetings sifting through images and articles, looking for the ones that best tell the story.

At times, those pictures and stories ended up just being a tool to me, a means to educate our donors, a device to appeal for donations. Their utility masked the unique personal story that existed beyond the letters, pixels, and paragraphs.

[caption id="attachment_4416" align="alignright" width="238" caption="Residents inspect the aftermath of overnight tornadoes that left this suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, in ruins April 28, 2011. Photo: REUTERS/Marvin Gentry"][/caption]

Two days ago, my perspective changed. That’s what happens when the “before” in a stack of before-and-after photos isn’t just an image, but a place you’ve been, a place frequented by the people you love.

I had traveled home to Alabama to visit my family for Easter. On Wednesday morning, the sound of tornado sirens woke me. For the remainder of the day, the television stations pre-empted their regular programming to talk about the storm, and the even deadlier storms that could be coming that night.

It’s common in the South for the broadcast outlets to cut into programming during severe weather outbreaks, but this was the first time I had ever seen them interrupt their schedule to warn of an upcoming outbreak. The tone of the meteorologist was ominous, almost pleading.

As evening approached, so did the storms -- tornado after tornado, many of them caught by news tower cameras and traffic cameras. They were like cyclones you see barreling across a Kansas plain in a movie, except these were placed against the backdrop of a city skyline -- my city’s skyline.

But then came Sunday...

Just a few weeks ago, I walked in those places where Jesus walked in the Holy Land. It dawned on me yet again that Jesus did almost everything differently than conventional wisdom would have dictated. I visited Capernaum and Galilee, where most of His three-year ministry took place -- a "hick town" ten days' journey from Jerusalem. Not the best location to start a movement that would change the world.

I also walked in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed in agony that night -- and then on to Jerusalem, where He appeared before Caiaphas and Pilate, and where He was beaten and spit upon. Jesus was no conquering hero in the manner of Caesar or Alexander the Great. And then I followed His footsteps along the Via De la Rosa to Calvary, where He was brutally crucified. Not the best strategy to overthrow Rome and declare your new kingdom.

As a marketer, Jesus didn't seem to understand "ratings" and size of audience. As a political figure, Jesus had a penchant for telling people what they didn't want to hear -- take up your cross, lay down your life, the first will be last. And as a leader of the Jewish people itching to be freed from Rome's occupation and oppression, He commanded no army, brandished no weapons, and wielded no force.

Everything He stood for seemed to be lost that Good Friday afternoon as His disciples watched Him suffer and die. Peter denied Him, and the rest scattered. The lofty ideals had been crushed. The movement had failed. End of story.

But then came Easter Sunday...He is risen!

I sometimes feel the work World Vision does around the world is met by human suffering that never ends. Twenty-two thousand kids still die every day, 1 billion go to bed hungry, and more than a third of the planet lives on less than $2 a day.

A long road ahead for Japan

Some humanitarian disasters occupy a few days worth of headlines -- if that -- and then quickly become a distant memory, if they're remembered at all.

The Japan quake and tsunami, in my opinion, has been the opposite. On March 11, we were instantly exposed to a flood of media coverage on the devastation in northeast Japan and the gravity of the nuclear crisis created by the crippled power plant. That coverage didn't subside much in the weeks to follow. On some level, the headlines and news clips about this historic natural disaster seem to have rendered the crisis more of an ongoing suspense film than a real-life story about human suffering.

One month after the disaster, I must remember to view the events in Japan in the latter context. Some 31 days since the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami, there are still thousands homeless, still thousands missing, and still thousands who must rebuild their lives from the rubble that this tremor has left behind. This isn't a movie or television program that I can turn on or off based upon my level of interest. The people of Japan certainly can't.

To that end, World Vision is still there -- and we will be, for the days, weeks, and months to come, helping children and families recover a sense of normalcy, stability, and independence. Japan's tragedy may eventually fade from the 24-hour news cycle, but our commitment will not. Check out the updates below on what we've done so far, and what we have planned over the long term.

A tribute to World Vision's 'birth mother'

Editor's note: Lorraine Pierce, widow of World Vision founder Dr. Bob Pierce, died on April 4, 2011, after a brief illness. Mrs. Pierce was 94. It was by the vision and calling of Lorraine's late husband that World Vision was founded in 1950. Today, Dr. and Mrs. Pierce's vision and dream to help those around the world lives on.

It is a time of mourning and also of celebration as the World Vision family honors the life of Lorraine Pierce, the spiritual 'birth mother' of World Vision, as many would say. I echo the words of our president, Rich Stearns, “The choruses in heaven must be especially sweet as this great saint is welcomed home.”

[caption id="attachment_3556" align="alignright" width="243" caption="Jane Sutton-Redner with Lorraine Pierce. (Greg Schneider/WV/2004)"][/caption]

As I spent time this morning remembering the life of Lorraine Pierce, I recalled her gift to serve, her elegance, her wisdom and her godliness. These quotes, taken from interviews with Mrs. Pierce from 2000-2006, will forever remind me of her legacy of faithfulness.

On adjusting to a life of ministry with Bob Pierce:

“I never thought I would marry an evangelist. I don’t think that my husband expected to be an evangelist. We were going to have a church, and that seemed all right to me. But it didn’t turn out that way. When I realized that it was going to be evangelism, that we were going to have to be on the road, and it was a life that was absolutely opposed to what I expected for myself, then there had to be a change in me. It was not going to be in my husband. It had to be in me. And I knew it was worthwhile, and I knew it was necessary, but I was very, very fearful that I was in no way ready to do this job and this work along with him. So I knew well enough that it was necessary to die to self.”

On the early years of World Vision:

“God has given us through the years a daring that was there in the beginning. I think he gave to my husband a great portion of daring to trust God when there seemed to be no way, knowing that if he stepped out upon an empty void, he would certainly find a rock beneath his feet—and he did.”

[caption id="attachment_3551" align="alignright" width="247" caption="Family portrait- Bob Pierce, Lorraine Pierce and children, December 1965. (Photo courtesy of the Pierce family)"][/caption]

Suffer together, rebuild together -- notes from a Japan aid worker

March 29, 2011- It’s 7:00 am, an aftershock shakes the building awake. It's big, lasts for maybe 30 seconds. Even two weeks after the quake and tsunami, tremors and ripples continue to wreak havoc and remind survivors of their fears and losses. I’m in Miyagi, one of the hardest-hit areas, with World Vision’s emergency response team. We’re....

Made possible by water

It’s been a tough two weeks for the World Vision family. Our 40,000 staff work in nearly 100 countries, so when there is a devastating event in Japan, with its 75 World Vision staff members, it affects our entire family.

The stress level around here has been so high that today I decided....

Children are our hope -- notes from a Japan aid worker

Editor’s note: The following note is from Mitsuko Sobata, World Vision Japan communications and advocacy officer, on the ground with World Vision relief and assessment teams.

March 18, 2011- Yesterday, World Vision Japan relief teams .....

Notes from a Japan aid worker

The following notes are from Mitsuko Sobata, World Vision Japan communications and advocacy officer, on the ground with World Vision relief and assessment teams. March 17, 2011- Today, our relief items arrived with two trucks with diapers, blankets, water and wet wipes....

Chile: Always in mi corazon (my heart)

At 30,000 feet in the air, my plane goes through a stretch of moderate turbulence. It's the closest resemblance to an actual earthquake that I have found. The shaking, rocking, and sometimes sudden movements transport me back to Chile, and the days, weeks, and months of aftershocks that followed...

Buried for two days beneath the rubble in Haiti

Earthquake survivor, Faradhia, stands at the former site of the Caribbean Market where she was once buried for 50 hours -- the rubble now cleared away and the foundation visible behind her. A powerful experience, it was the first time she had returned to the site since she was rescued. (Mary Kate MacIsaac/WV)

Faradhia Moise walked into the Caribbean Market to pick up dinner for herself and her parents – they were going to have pizza that night – when the floor started to shake. “There was a really loud noise, and I thought the building was about to collapse,” she said, recalling that fateful day last January.  She turned, ran, and then it was dark.

“I could not really move,” she said.  “I was stuck there.” Broken bottles of ketchup, mustard, and hot sauce surrounded her, and screams filled the air.  It would be another 50 hours before she would see the light of day again.