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Hope is infectious, even healing. But in a world that’s often dark, what is there to be hopeful for? Here are 19 reasons to have hope in 2019 — and how to pray them into reality.

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’—Jeremiah 29:11

1. Extreme poverty is giving up ground.

In the last 20 years, the number of children dying around the world from things they shouldn’t — from hunger and poverty and disease — has dropped from more than 30,000 a day to less than 15,000. And the number of people living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 a day, dropped by more than 1 billion.

Now the world’s nations have set an ambitious goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, and we are joining them in this important work. Every 60 seconds … a family gets water … a hungry child is fed … a family receives the tools to overcome poverty.

Merciful Provider, we thank You for all You have done to make fullness of life possible for people in need around the world. Support us in our critical endeavor of freeing more children from the effects of extreme poverty.

You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.

2. We are 99 percent of the way to eradicating polio globally.

Unlike most diseases, polio can be completely eradicated because it cannot survive for long periods outside of the human body. At its peak in the early 1900s, polio struck tens of thousands of Americans. The World Health Organization estimates that as many as 20 million people are living with polio paralysis.

But right now, this crippling and potentially fatal disease is nearing eradication. In 2018, there were only 29 cases globally. If eradication happens, polio will join smallpox as the only other human disease to become extinct.

Great Healer, we pray for children, families, and communities affected by polio — especially in Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean, where polio still persists. Bless the work of doctors and organizations who are working hard to eradicate this disease.

3. The end of the HIV and AIDS pandemic is in sight.

AIDS-related deaths have fallen by more than 51 percent since the peak in 2004 when 1.9 million people died from AIDS-related causes. Countries around the world are focusing on the 90-90-90 targets of the Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS. The U.N. is working toward three goals to reach 90 percent: that people living with HIV will be diagnosed, those diagnosed will be on treatment, and those treated will be virally suppressed by 2020.

Almighty Deliverer, You are our strong refuge. Reach out with Your unconditional love to be a refuge and source of hope for HIV-positive men, women, and children around the world.

Donors, two communities, and World Vision worked together like a beautiful symphony to bring clean water to thousands of Hondurans.
Donors, two communities, and World Vision worked together like a beautiful symphony to bring clean water to thousands of Hondurans. Completing a water project this massive took persistence, proficiency, and prayer. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

4. We can solve the global water crisis within our lifetimes.

World Vision is the largest nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world, reaching one new person with clean water every 10 seconds and three more schools every day with clean water. We are increasing our impact and scope to reach everyone, everywhere we work by 2030. The sixth of 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the U.N. also includes achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.

This past year, a community in Honduras, with the help of World Vision, finished building a near-marathon-length pipeline to bring clean water to their community. World Vision U.S. President Emeritus Rich Stearns personally committed to help bring clean water to Rwanda, which will likely be the first country in the developing world to solve its water crisis.

Faithful God, help World Vision to bring clean water to those who desperately need it, and work in hearts to reveal the living water we can receive from You.

5. Cheru will walk minutes instead of miles for water that will no longer make her sick.

Hope shines a light in the darkness. It’s infectious, even healing. But what is there to be hopeful for? Let’s look at the year ahead with 19 reasons to have hope in 2019 — and how to pray them into reality.
Even at age 5, Cheru knows her mother worries about water and struggles to carry enough for their daily needs, despite making the round-trip trek twice a day. So every day, Cheru picks up her kettle and walks 6.88 kilometers (4.27 miles) to fill it. “I help my mother,” she says. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Two years ago, we walked the Global 6K for Water with 5-year-old Cheru Lotuliapus, whose daily life in Kenya was consumed with finding water. The effects of this life meant Cheru and so many other girls and women in sub-Saharan Africa were not able to live up to their potential.

Today, World Vision is working in West Pokot County to bring access to clean water to Cheru’s community. So a standpipe will bring fresh water to Cheru and her family, only steps from where her mother cooks, washes clothes, and prepares tea.

Loving Father, we give thanks for water engineers who work tirelessly around the world to bring girls like Cheru clean water and a new lease on life. We ask for Your blessings on children, mothers, fathers, and communities who are thirsty. Purify, protect, and multiply their water sources. Strengthen their resolve so they may fully enjoy the benefits of clean water — essentials like education, gardens of fresh produce, and good health.

6. World Vision has partnered with the U.N. and UNICEF to launch the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Together, we are supporting the efforts of those seeking to prevent violence, protect childhood, and help make societies safe for children. By 2030, we hope to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence and torture against children.

Loving God, reach out Your helping, healing, and loving hands to keep children safe from harm. Bless this work to protect Your children.

Men Care Groups in Agra, India, educate and equip men on the inherent value of women and girls
Mangay Lal, a member of the Men Care Group in Agra, India, treats his 11-year-old daughter, Marhima, to an ice cream cone. “We have been made to believe by society that a girl is someone else’s property and will marry, so why should we invest in educating her?” Mangay Lal says. “World Vision came. They saw the darkness we were living in. They asked us to come to the light. And that light is, with help of our understanding, creating a healthy environment where we care for our families and community and where our children — especially girls — can study to rise above and empower others.” (©2014 World Vision/photo by Annila Harris)

7. Men in India are taking a stand against a harmful tradition — child marriage — that has tarnished the worth of girls for centuries.

Instead of conforming to society’s skewed understanding of a girl’s worth — merely as a profit-and-loss commodity — Men Care Groups in Agra, India, educate and equip men on the inherent value of women and girls. Members of this World Vision program also support one another in leading their families with empathy and encouragement, convincing other community members not to marry off their teenage daughters.

Wonderful Counselor, show Your compassion to the multitudes of girls and women who endure the damaging physical and relational effects of child marriage. Reveal alternatives to parents or change the hearts of those who consider giving up their daughters for social status or financial gain.

8. We are working toward a more open, inclusive, and fair world for people with disabilities by 2030.

Individuals with disabilities can face a lot of barriers — in their living environment, in the form of outdated laws and policies, and in the attitudes and prejudices of people in their community. But now five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations address needs in sectors such as education, economic growth, employment, governance, and infrastructure. World Vision operates disability-specific programming as well as disability-inclusive programming around the world.

Infinite Comforter, equip community leaders, families, and Your followers as they support children with disabilities. May we continue to focus on meeting the needs of people who are vulnerable due to physical and mental limitations.

Rosemary doesn’t know the hunger and hardship her family did. She has hope and dreams of being a chef.
Rosemary, 9, loves to cook and dreams of becoming a chef. One of the dishes she often makes for her family in Zambia is nshima, a cornmeal porridge with Play Doh-like consistency. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

9. Rosemary doesn’t know the hunger and hardship her family did.

This 9-year-old from Moyo, Zambia, knows of prosperity — about plenty, learning, sharing, and being free to follow her dream of being a chef. Five World Vision Gift Catalog goats, her family’s hard work, and child sponsorship helped to lift her and her family out of poverty.

Gracious Lord, we sing Your praise, giving thanks for Your blessings in the lives of people around the world like Rosemary and her family. May we carry Your hope within us.

10. Innovative technology is transforming remote communities around the world.

Mobile technology and other innovations allow humanitarian organizations to work better and smarter, improving efficiencies so more resources can help people in poverty and communities in crisis. World Vision is expanding its efforts to apply new methods and technologies for development work.

Over the first six months of 2018, World Vision tested pilot projects in 16 countries. These pilot projects provide a way to take innovative solutions developed at a grassroots level and test them for potential scale-up into vital programs like Last Mile Mobile Solutions — developed by World Vision and now being used by a dozen other organizations — which is revolutionizing how disaster survivors receive food, cash assistance, and relief supplies in their time of greatest need.

World Vision is also a member of the Global Alliance for Humanitarian Innovation, launched at the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.

Alpha and Omega, we express our gratitude for new knowledge and technology. May we continue to learn more to further help Your children.

World Vision developed a reconciliation model after the Rwanda genocide that endures today.
Wherever Andrew Birasa is, Callixte Karemangingo is nearby. They work side by side in the coffee fields in Nyamagabe district, southern Rwanda. (©2013 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

11. Restored relationships and lives are possible — even in the worst of situations.

In April 1994, when Rwanda erupted into violence, neighbor turned on neighbor, family turned on family, and love turned to hate. The genocide turned friends, like Andrew and Callixte, into enemies.

After Callixte was part of a group that killed Andrew’s wife’s entire family, Andrew turned him in to the authorities. Callixte was imprisoned. Yet after going through training in peace and reconciliation, the two men are as close as brothers again.

Merciful Redeemer, we thank You that Andrew and Callixte are no longer prisoners of their pain. Each new day reminds us of Your grace and the hope found in You.

The Syrian refugee crisis is now the largest refugee and displacement crisis of our time. Because of the Syrian civil war, 5.6 million people have fled Syria as refugees, putting a strain on the region’s ability to cope. And another 6.1 million people are displaced within Syria.
Rama, 10, lives in a center for women and children in Gaziantep, Turkey. Along with her mother and her two little sisters, ages 7 and 3, she fled Syria after a bomb hit their neighbor’s house in an area outside of Aleppo. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Suzy Sainovski)

12. Since the Syrian refugee crisis began in 2011, World Vision has helped millions of people in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq.

Internationally recognized as the worst humanitarian crisis of our time, the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis will enter its ninth year in March. Yet amid the conflict and hardship, governments are allocating funds to meet this humanitarian emergency, churches are raising a cry of prayer and support for people in desperate circumstances, and people worldwide are finding a way to engage meaningfully for the sake of Syrian children and their families.

“This is what gives me hope — seeing people from all over the world caring enough to help,” says Eyad, a mechanical engineer turned World Vision aid worker in Syria. “There is still goodness in this world.”

Good Shepherd, You see Syrians’ needs with a tender heart. Awaken us to the needs of Syrian children and their mothers and fathers. Let us not grow weary in doing what is right and good in Your eyes. Remind us to engage on their behalf as we would if it were our own families who were suffering.

13. Communities in the U.S. are beginning to recover and rebuild after Hurricanes Florence and Michael.

Hurricane Florence made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane the morning of Friday, Sept. 14, over Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, which is east of Wilmington and not far from the South Carolina border. It ashore with 90-mph winds and a punishing storm surge, killing at least 51 people. In the months since Florence, World Vision has assisted 35,400 people with relief supplies including food, water, temporary shelters such as tents and sleeping bags, hygiene items, coolers, blankets, diapers, clothing, and flood cleanup kits.

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach on the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4 storm Wednesday, Oct. 10. The first Category 4 storm in recorded history to make landfall in the northeast Gulf Coast, its heavy rain, high winds, and extreme storm surges caused massive destruction, spawned numerous tornadoes, and killed at least 35 people. Since then, World Vision has assisted more than 14,900 people.

World Vision’s goal isn’t only to be the “first in” when responding to the most urgent humanitarian crises, but also be the last out — seeing families and communities through hardship to restoration.

Jesus, we thank You for offering hope to those suffering from disaster — the hurricane survivor, the refugee, the family facing famine.

Sovereign Lord, thank You for healing Jennifer and more than 50 other women of fistula in Uganda.
Jennifer Nyirmbe prays outside of her church in Uganda. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

14. Jennifer Nyirmbe is back in church.

After her baby died during a home birth that resulted in complications from an obstetric fistula, 21-year-old Jennifer would only pray outside her church in Uganda. She felt she couldn’t step inside for fear of losing control of her bladder. World Vision brought surgeons specializing in fistula repair to Jennifer’s community. Her surgery was successful. The Sunday afterward, Jennifer was back at church — this time inside.

Sovereign Lord, thank You for healing Jennifer and more than 50 other women of fistulas in Uganda.

15. Children like Constance are experiencing God’s love.

World Vision is empowering local churches, schools, and parents to create engaging, faith-filled environments that help children and youth, like 11-year-old Constance from Kenya, explore their faith and experience Jesus’ love.

“It felt so nice when the preacher said that we had been forgiven our sins,” says Constance. The sermon she heard that day made her realize she wanted to commit her life to serve Christ. She’s an active member of her Bible club, and now after participating in leadership training from World Vision, she talks to her peers about God and their faith journeys. She has grown in her own faith, as well as in her self-esteem.

Jesus, Your love changes hearts. As children learn to follow You more closely, may they find their value in Your grace. Help them love people around them in ways that point them to You.

16. The standard for a basic education has changed from simply attending school to ensuring students can read, write, and do basic math.

World Vision’s education programs prioritize equitable access for all and measurable learning outcomes, so we can ensure children have the education they deserve — and a solid start to reach their God-given potential. And with 1 in 4 children living in a country grappling with humanitarian crises, we are providing education along the continuum from disaster relief to development.

Righteous King, You created every one of Your children with great potential. May we empower every child to achieve their best and walk into Your plan for them.

With help from World Vision, moms around the world are raising, harvesting, and preparing food to make their children healthy and their communities more prosperous.
Community members water their vegetable gardens early on a Saturday morning in Warrup, South Sudan. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

17. Moms around the world are tapping into their vast potential.

With help from World Vision, moms around the world are raising, harvesting, and preparing food to make their children healthy and their communities more prosperous. We’re equipping them with the economic tools and training they need to build a brighter financial future.

Wise Father, thank You for inspiring people to invest in the futures of moms so children and communities can thrive.

18. As one of the largest Christian humanitarian organizations in the world, World Vision has the infrastructure, experience, and relationships needed to bring about lasting change.

Together we’ve impacted the lives of over 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. Our nearly 40,000 staff worldwide — 95 percent of them working in their home regions — apply 68 years of relief, development, and advocacy work to transform lives. We work in more than 1,600 program areas in nearly 100 countries, including the U.S. Our integrated model addresses the many causes of poverty, and our tailored approach is community-based and community-owned.

Savior, You have prepared this good work for us to do. Thank You for the people who share their resources so we can help empower the poor. Show them what amazing things their gifts are doing in the lives of children in need around the world. Bless them as they honor You by blessing the poor.

19. Because of our community-focused solutions, for every child you help, four more children benefit, too.

Seven-year-old Debby and her friends live in Moyo, Zambia, and although only Debby is sponsored, they are all benefiting from child sponsorship that began in Moyo in October 2009. Debby’s best friend, 12-year-old Brendah — like every child in the community, sponsored or not — has access to clean water. Five-year-old Adam benefits from the new health facility in Moyo, a necessity for a little boy battling stomach trouble. Debby’s neighbor, 11-year-old Lightwell, goes everywhere with a book in his hand and attends World Vision’s reading camp, held on weekends. Eleven-year-old Beatrice is as funny and feisty as her friend, Debby. She and her family benefit from World Vision’s agriculture work in Moyo.

Kind Father, help us show Your love to children like Debby and her friends. Thank You for multiplying the effect of child sponsorship to impact many more of Your children. Empower children, families, and their communities to stand tall, free from poverty.

Sponsoring a child is a personal way to show God’s love to a child in need.

Kari Costanza, Chris Huber, Denise C. Koenig, Kathryn Reid, and Laura Reinhardt of World Vision’s staff in the U.S. and Annila Harris of World Vision’s staff in India contributed to this article.

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In the heart of New York City at Bryant Park, World Vision is bringing charitable giving to life Nov. 25-27 through the Give-back Gift Shop, an interactive pop-up shop where thousands are learning how one simple gift can light up an entire community.

Actress and author Sadie Robertson, part of the “Duck Dynasty” family, visited the Give-back Gift Shop on Monday, Nov. 26.
Actress and author Sadie Robertson, part of the “Duck Dynasty” family, visited the Give-back Gift Shop on Monday, Nov. 26. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Visitors to the shop discover meaningful gifts from World Vision’s Gift Catalog and opportunities to shine bright this Christmas season through generosity. The Give-back Gift Shop also showcases many interactive experiences including live animals, assembling hope kits for women in the U.S., a virtual reality experience that takes you to Kenya to meet Cheru, a water walk where you can carry a jerry can filled with more than 40 pounds of water to understand the global water crisis, and a 180-degree photo booth.

Emmy Award-winning actress Patricia Heaton visited the Give-back Gift Shop on Giving Tuesday last year and is returning again this year. She says, “Americans are very generous people, but it is hard sometimes when you look around the world and you think, ‘How could I possibly help?’ But you can, because World Vision is there to do the work that you want to see get done.”

Light up the world with your generosity this Giving Tuesday!

Any gift given to World Vision on Giving Tuesday, Nov. 27, will be matched with a donation of product from Thirty-One Gifts, up to $2 million.

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World Vision has helped impact millions of lives through transformational gifts from philanthropists — evidence of God’s faithfulness. Today, more families have access to clean water along with new hope for healthy futures. Parents are better equipped to earn incomes that meet their children’s basic needs. Children are protected and nurtured, while they are growing in their Christian faith. A new day is dawning for a generation of people.

In the last 20 years, the number of children dying from preventable causes — from hunger, poverty, and disease — has nearly halved, going from more than 30,000 a day to under 15,000. The number of people living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 a day, has dropped by more than 1 billion.

For the first time in modern history, the world is coming to the collective realization that it is possible to end extreme poverty in our lifetimes. And you can be part of it.

Big gifts, exponential impact

Supporting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, World Vision is dedicated to keeping this momentum going to help end extreme poverty in all its forms, everywhere, by 2030. Driven by a $40 million gift to its water programs by Dana and Dave Dornsife — which Forbes magazine and The Bridgespan Group ranked as one of the top five most promising philanthropic big bets for social change — World Vision announced in September 2015 a commitment to reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean water by 2030.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura Abernathy visits Florence, 36, and Walter, 37, who live in Uganda and are the parents of seven children. “Right now I face so many challenges,” says Florence. “It’s visible. My children had to drop out of school. They lack clothing. I can’t provide for their basic needs. I have sat them down and advised them not to give birth to so many children. They have seen what I’ve gone through.” (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“I really get excited at phrases like ‘end poverty by 2030’ and ‘clean water everywhere we work,’” says Laura Abernathy, a World Vision donor partner. “Those big goals may sound like publicity, but when you learn about World Vision and the strategies they have in place, you have faith. I’d hate that to be the headline in the news and not have been part of it.”

Audacious ventures are challenging, but history shows we can succeed.

Together, we have impacted the lives of more than 200 million vulnerable children by tackling the root causes of poverty. From 2010 to 2015, World Vision’s first capital campaign raised nearly $538 million and reached nearly 26 million people. That’s more than 500 people every hour for five years.

Now, World Vision is the leading nongovernmental provider of clean water in the developing world. Every 60 seconds, a family gets access to clean water, a hungry child is fed, and a family receives the tools to overcome poverty.

This incredible success took significant transformational gifts from philanthropists, corporations, and foundations; hundreds of millions of dollars in government grants; more than 60 years of experience in sustainable global development; and scale — more than 42,000 staff working with communities worldwide in nearly 100 countries. Learn the stories of some of World Vision’s generous donor partners:

A 2017 Bridgespan study of 15 of the greatest social impact stories of the 20th century reveals the majority of initiatives took at least 20 years to achieve success and involved at least one philanthropic investment of $10 million or more.

“World Vision has the proven methods we know will help end extreme poverty in our lifetime, the community development model that allows these systemic social changes to last after we leave, and the scale to reach millions upon millions of people with this God-honoring work,” says Chris Glynn, senior vice president of Transformational Engagement at World Vision. “Large philanthropic gifts are the catalyst that drives us to achieve maximum impact.”

You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.

Find out what draws major donors like Debbie Quesada of Golf Fore Africa to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Debbie Quesada, president and CEO of Golf Fore Africa, visits a new well in Niger. (Photo courtesy of Debbie Quesada)

Betsy King and Debbie Quesada, Golf Fore Africa

  • Investment: $10 million toward water, sanitation, and hygiene in Africa
  • Results: Water projects from this investment are estimated to bring clean water to 200,000 people.

Check World Vision out, but don’t wait. The time is now. You won’t regret it. Whatever commitment you come up with is worthwhile. It’ll not only change the world but change you.—Betsy King, World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer

Professional golf is a male-dominated sport, and for World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King, she can point to golf as the source of the only discrimination she has ever experienced. Growing up, she wasn’t allowed to play on the boys’ golf team. Then as a professional golfer, the money she made was only a fraction of what the men made for equal work.

Recognizing that her financial situation is much different from other women around the world, 62-year-old Betsy says, “I can understand the discrimination women experience. So it’s very important to me to help eliminate it.”

Based on this conviction, Betsy’s retirement from the LPGA tour was anything but a retirement. In August 2005 after 28 successful years and 34 tournament wins, including six major championships, she began a journey to create her own nonprofit, a journey culminating with a goal of raising $10 million over the next five years to help World Vision reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean drinking water by 2030.

Find out what draws major donors like World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King visits a well in Africa. (Photo courtesy of Betsy King)

After her first trip to Africa in 2006 with World Vision to see the impact of poverty and HIV and AIDS on women and girls, Betsy founded Golf Fore Africa in 2007 to link her passion for golf with her compassion for children. Over the next 10 years — with the help of an expanding network of advocates, volunteers, and staff — Golf Fore Africa raised more than $6 million, the majority of which has provided clean water to children and families in Africa. This work is helping to lessen the 200 million hours that women and girls spend daily walking for water for their families.

“The biggest impact I’ve seen is lives changed and livelihoods improved. Healthier children and healthier families,” Betsy says. “I’m pleased with the investment because from back when we first went in 2006 to now 2018, I’ve seen huge improvements. There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’ve seen extreme poverty getting closer to being eliminated. That’s really what we care about — impacting the lives of children.”

Walking alongside Betsy in this journey is Debbie Quesada, president and CEO of Golf Fore Africa, who traveled with Betsy on that first Africa trip to Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia in 2006 and helped Betsy launch Golf Fore Africa.

“We were so impacted by what we saw,” says Debbie, 55. “We came back knowing we could do something.”

Betsy wholeheartedly agrees. She says, “We felt a responsibility. God doesn’t allow you to see something like that and then do nothing.”

Partnering with World Vision was an easy next step. Debbie grew up knowing about World Vision; her grandparents were child sponsors. Betsy had already been partnering with World Vision since 2001, and the pair had already worked together to run an online auction of memorabilia donated by professional golfers, with the proceeds benefiting World Vision.

Betsy and Debbie partnered with World Vision not only because of history, but also because of its scale, scope of work, holistic approach to community development, and emphasis on stewardship.

“World Vision is best at what they do,” Betsy says, “and they have a heart for what they do.”

Find out what draws major donors like World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King with children who have received new backpacks from World Vision. (Photo courtesy of Betsy King)

Since 2001, Betsy and Debbie have each taken close to 20 trips to see World Vision’s work — to see “children given the opportunity to actually be children. To enjoy life in all its fullness. To play. To learn. To not have the burden of fetching water every day,” Debbie says.

They’ve seen the impact not only on children but on families as well.

“There’s dignity when you can provide for your family. It makes you feel good about yourself as a mother or father to be able to care for your children,” Debbie says. “As parents, to be able to give that to your children — it means so much. Then they start caring about their neighbors and their communities. So, it’s not a handout. It’s actually empowering them to care for the work that World Vision does. That holistic approach allows them to care for their families in the way that every parent wants to.”

Throughout their partnership, Betsy appreciates how “World Vision is willing to be critical of themselves and evaluate their work so they can constantly improve.”

In 2015, the University of North Carolina Water Institute announced the results of an independent study examining the key factors affecting the sustainability of water sources in rural Africa. The study found the odds of other organizations’ water sources being functional decreased by an average of 2 percent each year, whereas the functionality of water sources installed by World Vision did not significantly decrease with age.

World Vision is best at what they do, and they have a heart for what they do.—Betsy King, World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer

“They’re willing to listen to donors and outside consultants about how to really do the work,” Debbie says. “That study done by the University of North Carolina is a great example of caring about going back and continuing to see what we can do to improve on this work.”

An identifiable water committee and evidence of charging a fee for use of the water were the main reasons associated with the continued functionality of the water points. In addition to these best practices, World Vision’s community engagement model also includes training local people as mechanics to repair pumps when they break down, contributing greatly to the longevity of World Vision-installed water points.

Find out what draws major donors like World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King pumps water from a well. (Photo courtesy of Betsy King)

“We have been blessed to have committed partners who have made significant transformational investments in our work, allowing us to leverage our unparalleled worldwide reach for its highest and best use,” says Chris Glynn, senior vice president of Transformational Engagement at World Vision. “For example, their support has helped enable us to scale our clean water projects from reaching 200,000 people every year to more than 3 million annually, now reaching one new person every 10 seconds.”

Betsy calls their relationship with World Vision and the progress toward reaching everyone, everywhere we work with clean water as “invigorating.”

“I love the excitement involved with the goal of bringing clean water to everyone in the world,” she says.

Betsy and Debbie realize how World Vision truly expands the reach of Golf Fore Africa.

“What World Vision does that’s really awesome is they invite people to come along with them on a journey,” Debbie says. “So, to be invited on this journey, whether it be on a Vision Trip [to see World Vision’s work] or to partner with them on a water project or an economic opportunity, you’re invited in to do something that you could never do on your own. And to be part of something that’s so big, it’s bigger than yourself. We don’t have a lot of opportunities like that in our lifetime. It’s magical to get to do something like that.”

Every child deserves clean water.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu and Robin Phillips on their beloved Wyoming ranch they christened Moriah, which means “chosen by God.” (©2012 World Vision/photo by Kari Costanza)

Robin and Stu Phillips, retired lawyer and retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center

  • Investment: $10 million toward economic empowerment
  • Results: After implementing a little more than half of their investment, nearly $5.3 million, in Malawi:
    • 7,856 smallholder farmers have improved their agricultural practices using improved seeds, crop storage, and increasing their yield per hectare.
    • 13,418 participants have access to financial services through savings groups and/or microfinance.
    • 9,461 smallholder farmers have increased their produce sales prices by accessing local and regional markets.
    • 39,045 hectares have been planted with new trees and/or regenerated.
    • 1,920 smallholder farmers are receiving early warning information to prepare them for natural events (drought or flooding) or market price fluctuations.
    • 6,000 participants have received empowered worldview training.

Start with the foundation of prayer. Do your research. Ask God for guidance. And if called to this work, contribute in every way you can: time, talent, and treasure. But when conflict arises between your analysis and the heart God calls you to apply, always go with your heart.—Stu Phillips, retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center

In 2010, when rereading The Hole in Our Gospel while spending time at Moriah Ranch, his family’s 14,000-acre vacation getaway in Wyoming, Stu Phillips heard God ask him what possession he valued most. Looking at his surroundings, he instantly knew the answer — Moriah Ranch.

 

Empowering people to care for themselves and advocating on behalf of the vulnerable have been lifelong passions for Robin and Stu Phillips. They describe the blessings God has provided them as numerous, extraordinarily powerful, and, as they have discovered, requiring obedience.

“God had gone out of his way to make it clear from the beginning of our business that he was the one who was enabling us to proceed, grow, and thrive,” says Stu, 65. “So because of his intervention early on and his engagement after that, he had prepared us for the time when he was going to ask for those resources to be used in a different way. He’s an amazing God.”

Now, God was calling them to sell their most prized possession to become more actively involved in what they believe is the greatest systemic social issue of our time — extreme poverty.

“As a businessperson, you tend to approach things analytically, as an intellectual process,” Stu says. “God isn’t impressed with your intellect. He breaks your heart. From there, he uses the strengths you have to fulfill his purposes. And God made it clear he wanted me to use the resources he had provided.”

At first, Stu and Robin questioned the validity of the call. They tried negotiating with God, reasoning — among other things — that the ranch was a legacy for their sons, but none of the excuses offered any comfort.

“We only had [Moriah] because he had provided the resources,” Stu says. “So, if God wanted it for his purposes now, it is our responsibility to provide it.”

Recognizing that the ranch was God’s possession, Robin and Stu sold Moriah, which means chosen by God, to the State of Wyoming in April 2012. They dedicated the total of their proceeds from the ranch, including the original purchase price, to eliminating extreme poverty.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu and Robin Phillips have traveled to Africa to see World Vision’s work. (Photo courtesy of the Phillips)

“We’re ordinary people who are being obedient to what God has asked us to do,” says Robin, 64. “People talk about our gift as sacrificial. And in some sense, it was sacrificial because it involved taking something away from our children that we had implied to them would be theirs when we were gone. That part was difficult.”

However, over the following years, they’ve watched God work in mysterious ways to honor their obedience — both in their lives and in the lives of people who have heard their story.

“Recently, we met a Rwandan woman farmer at a project site we had funded,” Robin says. “She told us that in the past, she had not been able to feed her children a meal every day or pay school fees among other challenges. But then she told us about participating in World Vision’s economic empowerment work. She said, ‘I thank God, World Vision, and this project because with what I have been taught, and what I know now, I am not in poverty anymore, … and I will never go back!’ That mother is now an empowered woman who is fulfilling her God-given role as her children’s mother with knowledge, confidence, and joy.”

A deeply personal moment for them occurred while visiting Tanzania to see the impact of their transformational investment. Robin and Stu found places where they looked around and if they didn’t know better, they would have thought they were back at Moriah.

“One of the first times we were in Tanzania,” Robin says, “we’re literally on a different continent, but there are certain places that when we saw them, we just looked at each other and smiled. It’s surprisingly so like Wyoming! It feels to us, that Moriah Ranch is in some strange way here in Tanzania. To us, it was a unique confirmation from God.”

It was another gift from God — from the aromatic vegetation that reminded them of sage to the similarity between elk and kudu. No one but them at the time understood the significance of what they were seeing.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu and Robin Phillips join a community in prayer. (Photo courtesy of the Phillips)

“Those are grace gifts only God can provide,” Stu says, explaining that God’s economy is far different from ours. “Nobody puts that on a spreadsheet.”

Robin says that it doesn’t get any better than seeing the faces of the children Moriah’s proceeds were helping.

“[God] asked me to surrender something great in order to receive something greater,” Stu says. “He wanted to remind me that there is no vista, no place, no possession more beautiful than the face of a child.”

When one of their sons later traveled with them to Rwanda, Robin remembers he said, “I finally get it. I know why you wanted to do this. I thought my legacy was always going to be the ranch. But now I see that the children of Africa and these people, this is the legacy for our family.”

Longtime sponsors of several children, Robin and Stu are also members of World Vision’s National Leadership Council — a core group of passionate and influential donor partners.

[God] asked me to surrender something great in order to receive something greater. He wanted to remind me that there is no vista, no place, no possession more beautiful than the face of a child.—Stu Phillips, retired chairman of the board and principal owner of a neurological rehabilitation center

“For me, World Vision and seeking to eliminate extreme poverty was a calling,” Stu says. “When that happens, you’re confronted with a fundamental decision. Are you going to listen and obey God, try to ignore him, or try to substitute your own plan? Ignoring God is like all our sins; it limits what God can do in us and through us. As to our plans versus God’s plans, God’s plans are always better. Fundamentally, there is no greater purpose, no greater honor, and no greater joy than to know that God is actively using you to fulfill his purposes.”

Their investment of time and treasure toward World Vision’s economic empowerment work has supported the development and expansion of THRIVE — Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments — a program that focuses on family-level change and is proven to dramatically increase household incomes, resulting in stronger and more self-sufficient families.

Find out what draws major donors like Stu and Robin Phillips to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Stu Phillips shows children a photo on his phone. (Photo courtesy of the Phillips)

“The potential scale of your impact isn’t regional. It’s not even national. It’s global,” Stu says. “When, as a donor, you’re looking at return on investment and social impact, scalability is one of the things you have to consider. World Vision is the premier Christian organization serving the poor, and it is unique in its willingness to not only use our financial assets but our time and our talent as active partners in the process.”

One aspect of THRIVE that Robin and Stu are particularly excited about is the foundation of a biblically empowered worldview, based on the understanding that each person is created in the image of a loving and redeeming God, is accountable for their actions, and has the power to shape their own future. That is the first and most critical transformational step in eliminating extreme poverty.

“God doesn’t ever ask us to give more than we can give or to give something we don’t have,” Stu says. “Because we’ve been blessed the way we have, we have greater responsibility to demonstrate our appreciation for the blessings he’s shown us.”

Help build improved and resilient livelihoods for smallholder farmers and their families.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura and Robert Abernathy teach Sunday school at Buhimba Christian Fellowship in Uganda. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Laura and Robert Abernathy, retired nurse and retired healthcare CEO

  • Investment: $6 million toward mother and child health (includes a recent $1 million pledge)
  • Results: Their $5 million investment (impact of new $1 million pledge is pending based on upcoming programmatic decisions) will help provide healthcare and nutrition services for nearly 500,000 women and children in Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia. It will also contribute to:
    • Training and equipping more than 4,700 community health workers and volunteers to provide care and education to children and pregnant women who may otherwise not have access to healthcare
    • Equipping 600 faith leaders as advocates and educators for improving mother and child health in their communities
    • Supporting 34 clinics in Uganda with nurse and midwife training, delivery kits, hand-washing equipment, and improved conditions for safe delivery
    • Launching a new program, BabyWASH, in 10 facilities in Uganda and Zambia; includes renovations of maternity wards, medical equipment and supplies, piped clean water to delivery rooms and postnatal areas, toilets, and other sanitation improvements

It never says in the Bible to care for the least of these only if you get a good return on your investment, but you do want to know that your money is being utilized in the most efficient way possible to help the least of these. And World Vision does that.—Robert Abernathy, retired healthcare CEO

Laura and Robert Abernathy had no idea what God had in store for them when their neighborhood Bible study read The Hole in Our Gospel by World Vision U.S. President Emeritus Rich Stearns. A little more than five years later, as they reflect on that time, Laura, 61, says, “It really touched our hearts. Both Robert and I have been Christians since we were children and been involved in mission projects, mission programs, our churches, and other organizations. But we were convicted that we were not really touching the least of these.”

Within six months of that deep conviction from the Holy Spirit, Laura and Robert joined World Vision’s National Leadership Council and made their first transformational philanthropic gift to World Vision.

“We were all-in,” says Robert, 63, a former senior vice president at Kimberly-Clark Corporation and most recently the retired CEO of Halyard Health Inc.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura and Robert Abernathy talk with Jennifer Nyirmbe, 22. At the end of the visit, they gave her a lovely blue dress. Jennifer developed fistula problems after the loss of her baby during a difficult, prolonged delivery. Soon after this visit, in October 2016, Jennifer had successful fistula repair surgery at a surgery camp organized by World Vision. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

In their excitement, Laura and Robert told their adult children, Elizabeth and James, about World Vision and its child sponsorship programs. They were surprised to find out that both of them had sponsored children already.

“We now sponsor two little girls. We chose them — it’s so hard to choose — because they have the same birthdays as our two little granddaughters,” Laura says. “We pray for our sponsored children as we pray for our granddaughters. And we celebrate their lives as we do our granddaughters.”

But that transition to becoming all-in came with due diligence.

“We’ve seen a lot of organizations have bold visions,” Robert says. “And then when you dig a little deeper, they’re under-resourced, or they can’t get the job done.”

What were they looking for? A Christian-based organization.

“Our giving is all about faith,” Laura says. “It’s not ours to begin with. Robert’s been blessed. We’ve been blessed.”

Robert says they clearly saw World Vision was Christian-based from the start.

“You don’t have to read much further than the first 10 lines of The Hole in Our Gospel to know,” Robert says. “You see it in the people you meet, the staff members. It’s written into the mission and vision of the organization.”

Next came a closer look at World Vision’s finances to make sure they felt good about how their investment would be utilized.

“I wanted to know how much money actually gets to the poor,” Robert says. “I’ve seen organizations where less than 20 percent gets to where it’s supposed to go. And I’ve seen organizations that say they give 96 percent, and then you dig through it, and it’s really more like 46 percent; they count the money funny.”

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Laura Abernathy holds a baby while on a trip to Uganda. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

In 2017, 85 percent of World Vision’s total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need. Then World Vision multiplies the impact of every $1 donated into $1.30 on average.

“Once you really get into World Vision and understand it at a deeper level, you start to understand the multiplying effect,” Robert says. “World Vision is able to take your gift and then leverage it with corporations, foundations, and government grants. They really can multiply your gift many times, and not many organizations are able to do that. You don’t feel like what you give is just a one-time investment. It feels bigger.”

Laura adds, “We are told not to bury our talents, but to multiply them.”

Financially speaking, World Vision also helps round out their investment portfolio.

“It helps fulfill the rest of the picture for us,” Robert says. “We’re involved in our local community. We’re involved in our church. World Vision is the organization that allows us to connect in a Christ-like way to the world.”

Lastly, they looked for the ability to get results using winning strategies. World Vision’s proven, community-based health approaches aimed at the first 1,000 days of life feature basic health interventions for mothers and babies, including a sharp focus on nutrition (the 7-11 model) and the delivery of timed and targeted counseling and education through local volunteer community health workers who are trained and supported by World Vision.

We are so fortunate that World Vision is an organization that desires to partner with donors. It’s one of the few places where you can give money and be part of what your money’s doing.—Laura Abernathy, retired nurse

Over the last five years, 89 percent of the severely malnourished children World Vision treated made a full recovery — far above the industry standard of 75 percent or greater. In addition, World Vision supports one of the largest community health worker networks in the world, with more than 220,000 in over 48 countries who can reach 66 million people. They are trusted by the community and are able to reach remote villages, delivering frontline care cost-effectively.

“When we decided to give [to World Vision], we knew of terrible, terrible situations that were in desperate need of help,” Laura says. “So, there was no need to wait.”

Over the span of Robert’s corporate career, their family moved 17 times, at one point living overseas in Australia. Robert has traveled to more than 130 countries and with each trip has brought back stories of desperate situations to his family.

Find out what draws major donors like Laura and Robert Abernathy to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Donors sing “Amazing Grace” and then pray in a circle with
Josephine Bingi, 63, who makes 650 banana pancakes every Sunday to sell for income that helps her care for 13 orphans she’s raising on her own. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

To see World Vision’s work in action, Laura and Robert have traveled to Zambia and Uganda.

“You see the quality of the World Vision staff in country and the number of community volunteers who are supporting that,” Robert says. “You come away saying, ‘I can see change happening — not continent by continent all at once, but community by community over time.’”

They’ve not only seen World Vision’s work in mother and child health, but also clean water, economic empowerment, education, child protection, Christian discipleship, and ultimately, how those sectors work together to form a holistic community development model.

“They’re so interrelated,” Laura says. “I visited several health clinics that were without electricity. And then I was able to go back three years later and see the difference — see a facility with clean water, electricity, and solar power.

“One nurse midwife — instead of being on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week — has a staff and can actually sleep at night on occasion. Then to hear how malaria rates have gone down to almost zero. HIV and AIDS have been greatly reduced. To hear those very distinct measurements, it wasn’t just looking better; it was measurably better.”

Since Robert’s retirement mid-2017, Laura says they “have the time to do more and want to do more.”

And they have — Robert recently joined the World Vision U.S. board of directors. He describes their relationship with World Vision as spiritual, rewarding, and challenging.

“You don’t increase your commitment if you’re dissatisfied,” Robert says.

And they’re thankful for the partnership World Vision has offered to them.

“We are so fortunate that World Vision is an organization that desires to partner with donors,” Laura says. “It’s one of the few places where you can give money and be part of what your money’s doing.”

Help eliminate preventable deaths among mothers and children.

Since the Syrian civil war officially began March 15, 2011, families have suffered under brutal conflict that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, torn the nation apart, and set back the standard of living by decades. Today 13.1 million people in the country need humanitarian assistance.
This informal tent settlement in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley houses Syrian refugees. Families build shelters with wood frames and plastic tarps on land they rent. Here, World Vision has provided families with toilets, water tanks, water, and works with the World Food Program to provide food assistance. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Dan and Aimee F., financial industry

Do your due diligence like we did. Meet the people. Look at the numbers. Do the math. You’ll find that this is a very, very good place to invest your charitable dollars.—Dan F., financial industry

Over the past 15 years, Dan F. has gradually become well acquainted with World Vision’s work and staff by investing in multiple community development sectors, including economic empowerment and water, sanitation, and hygiene. That gradual relationship has coincided with becoming more and more confident in World Vision.

“When you see the numbers line up and then you are impressed by the quality of World Vision’s staff, it’s pretty easy to pull the trigger on some larger investments,” says Dan, now 40. “I am confident that our money is being put to good use and is making a significant difference in people’s lives.”

On a trip to Zambia in 2010, Dan not only visited a well he’d paid for but also met the community members who are benefiting from the water project. He saw how World Vision partners with communities for sustainable change.

“The community members I met in Zambia take tremendous pride in their new well because they are actively engaged in the full process of planning, implementation, and maintenance,” Dan says. “Instead of treating people like helpless victims, World Vision invests in them, trains them, and builds up their capacity to continue driving their lives forward. They are the protagonist of the stories, and we are the supporting cast who helped them achieve their goals. It is amazing to see.”

Halfway through his journey with World Vision, he met his wife, Aimee. She says that being involved with World Vision is so important to Dan, and she has learned more and more about the organization through him.

“I soon became just as impressed with World Vision and the good work they do as Dan is,” says Aimee.

Before 2015, the vast majority of Dan and Aimee’s generous donations were allocated to long-term community development projects in stable countries. That all changed right after their first child’s birth — when they first learned about the Syrian refugee crisis.

“I found myself spending a lot of time glued to the news coverage, cradling our newborn, and crying over the stories and images I was seeing,” Aimee says. “Dan and I agreed to focus as much giving as we could to support World Vision’s aid efforts in the region. It was the first time I’d ever felt that I wasn’t completely powerless to help people so far away who are suffering in such a dire situation.”

 

World Vision has been working in the Middle East for nearly 40 years and extended a helping hand to Syrian families beginning in 2011 when the Syria civil war began.

“World Vision is equipped to help in ways we never could, and our support, combined with many others, is making this possible,” Aimee says.

Dan and Aimee have continued to serve the most vulnerable in their hour of greatest need. They now allocate a large portion of their family’s charitable investment portfolio to World Vision’s work in emergency relief and fragile contexts — where extreme poverty stubbornly resists solutions, but also where they recognize a dollar can have a “radical impact.”

Dan explains, “It’s riskier giving money to places like Syria or South Sudan, but there is so much suffering and so little help. I think of it as a high-risk, high-reward investment, but a short-term focus. It’s a very different mentality than I started off with WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene).”

You can give to the amateurs, or you can give to the people that have been really perfecting this for the last [nearly] 70 years. World Vision is a very impressive team that takes a scientific approach.—Dan F., financial industry

With his background in the financial industry, Dan equates work in emergency relief and fragile states as credit card debt the world needs to pay off and community development work as the long-term investment portfolio.

“You need to pay off your credit card balance each month while building your long-term investment portfolio,” Dan says. “In the last couple of years, the magnitude of short-term needs has been so startling. Every dollar you can put in — it’s going to alleviate a tremendous amount of suffering today and help prevent a situation that’s already really bad from spiraling into something much, much worse.”

In the past decade, the number of people affected by emergencies has almost doubled, and this number is expected to keep rising. World Vision is uniquely situated to respond to any disaster or humanitarian emergency — anywhere in the world — from immediate life-saving supplies when disaster strikes to long-term recovery work so people can rebuild their lives.

“You can give to the amateurs, or you can give to the people that have been really perfecting this for the last [nearly] 70 years,” Dan says. “World Vision is a very impressive team that takes a scientific approach.”

In 2017 alone, World Vision staff around the world, 95 percent of whom work in their home region, responded to 170 emergencies and assisted approximately 13.8 million people in 56 countries.

Millions of people in East Africa are experiencing chronic hunger and the threat of famine. Conflict, recurring severe drought, and high food prices are to blame. In a recent development, more than 800,000 people have fled their homes due to violence in south Ethiopia since the beginning of 2018. They are in desperate need of assistance.
World Vision distributes food in Turkana, Kenya, during the East Africa hunger and food crisis. There has been very little rain in Turkana, with drought cycles becoming more and more frequent. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

“From the crisis relief standpoint,” Dan says, “it makes a really big difference to me that when something goes wrong somewhere in the world, whether it’s a hurricane or war or famine, it seems like a lot of organizations fly in and try to help, but World Vision is usually already there, and they’ve already been there for decades.”

Dan and Aimee see their investment as an opportunity to live out the radical message of Jesus by helping people in the most desperate situations.

“Probably the best way to introduce people to Christ is by living out compassion,” Dan says. “There are a lot of people in the world right now who are very turned off by Christians. They have good reason to be. But when we go out and we really try to minister to the least of these — the people that are on God’s heart — we’re showing people an image of God that’s a lot more accurate than the image they’re seeing in the media.”

Overall, Dan and Aimee are focused on making sure everything they invest in is a cause they really believe in. They say they feel a God-given responsibility to be part of God’s kingdom in terms of alleviating suffering throughout the world and a high accountability for how they do so.

“We’ve come to our current charitable portfolio by really thinking about where our dollars should go first and then thinking about the most trustworthy institution to be tasked with deploying these dollars,” Dan says. “We take stewardship very seriously. World Vision is the largest charity in our philanthropic portfolio because we view it, based on our due diligence, to be a very high-quality organization.”

Meet urgent needs of the world’s most vulnerable children.

Find out what draws major donors like Cody Nath of Refined Technologies Inc. (RTI) to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Cody Nath (center, without a hat) and staff members from Refined Technologies Inc. visit a school in Jamastran, Honduras, that received clean water through their generous gift. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.

  • Investment: $1.1 million toward water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in Honduras
  • Results: In less than a year, 3,000 people in the Jamastran Valley of Honduras now have clean water. Their gift is expected to support another 34,000 people with clean water.

Our partnership with World Vision is incrementally strategic — growing in strategy, trust, and direct involvement. We’re trying to figure out how can we leverage more and more of what we’re doing as a business to make an impact globally with World Vision.—Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.

Cody Nath, 37, can’t remember a time growing up when his family didn’t have World Vision sponsored children — often two or three at a time. Then at age 14, he traveled with his father, Bill Nath, to Mexico to see World Vision’s work at the time with children living on the streets. Nicaragua came next, then Honduras, and with each trip, the values his parents instilled in him — the importance of missions, prayer, and faithful giving — became ingrained.

In 2001, Bill founded Refined Technologies Inc., a chemical decontamination company providing operational consultancy, chemical cleaning, and mechanical rental services to refineries. Cody succeeded his father as president and CEO in 2016. From the beginning, their mission statement leads with, “Honor God always.” Cody explains that this means everything from operating under biblical principles like honesty, integrity, and respect to reinvesting profits for eternal impact into ministry partners like World Vision.

“We believe our company belongs to God, and we are simply stewards,” Cody says. “We’re responsible to him for how we use the profits from the business. And as Christians, we know we’re called to give.

Find out what draws major donors like Cody Nath of Refined Technologies Inc. (RTI) to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Cody Nath and staff members from Refined Technologies Inc. celebrate providing clean water to a community in Honduras. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Beyond the calling, Cody finds the opportunity to give extremely rewarding. “It blesses us,” he says. “We end up benefiting because we’re now giving as a team instead of giving as a family — that’s a very rewarding experience. The Nath family is only a piece of this; we earned these profits as a Refined Technologies team.

“I also want to encourage our team to give and know that they’re part of something much bigger than refinery services. And I know that’s happening because of the stories I hear from our team. When people come to work for us because of what we’re about, then I know it’s making a difference.”

For Cody, it’s not about work-life balance; it’s all about work-life integration, focusing on incorporating your philanthropic values into your job.

Cody’s vision is to engage RTI employees by providing numerous ways for them to participate in the partnership with World Vision and emphasizing how excellent work enables the partnership — employees delivering their daily work translates to dollars for water. Opportunities for employees to get involved include paying a portion of sponsorship for Honduran children, taking brief RTI-sponsored trips to Honduras to see World Vision’s work toward ending the water crisis, distributing co-branded water bottles to clients and partners to share their commitment to help make a difference, and walking in World Vision’s annual Global 6K for Water.

“When people know that what you do matters, it’s not just a job. That changes lives,” Cody says. “Our employees would say they’re different people from having worked and spent time here. And their families are different. World Vision is part of that. It’s an aspect of what we do to try and be our whole selves at work.”

During a trip to Honduras about five years ago, solving the global water crisis became a personal mission for Cody. Confronted with the reality of a community’s water source in western Honduras near Gracias, Cody saw dirty water like he’d never seen before — dirt-ridden suds had left a thick film on the surface. “It was terrible — like all the horrible photos you’ve seen,” Cody says. “If it’s within your power, you’re not going to walk away without doing something to help.”

Find out what draws major donors like Cody Nath of Refined Technologies Inc. (RTI) to World Vision and why they feel led to make significant investments in ending extreme poverty worldwide.
Cody Nath and staff members from Refined Technologies Inc. gather around a new water tank in Jamastran, Honduras, that their gift funded. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

So Cody integrated his personal mission with his work at RTI. Over the past five years, Cody broadened his investment to water, sanitation, and hygiene projects, culminating in a $1.1 million gift to World Vision made in 2017.

“Like any relationship, the level of investment grows over time,” Cody says. “Trust grows over time, and results are a big piece of it. You can see the results, which gives us confidence in our investment.”

Generous philanthropic gifts like that from Cody and RTI have enabled World Vision to reach 10.4 million people with clean water in the last two and a half years and remain on track to reach everyone, everywhere we work with clean water by 2030 — an estimated 50 million people. World Vision is a proven leader in solving the global water crisis, reaching one new person every 10 seconds.

“What I really like about World Vision, and why we’ve gotten more involved, is the holistic approach,” Cody says. “This is a development model that helps people develop physically, emotionally, and spiritually. World Vision launches an effort and lets the community drive it forward as their own.”

World Vision believes in a big-picture approach to helping communities address critical needs — bringing together all of the pieces — nutritious food, clean water, economic opportunities, healthcare, education, protection, and the love of Jesus — for a full solution to the puzzle of poverty.

 

“World Vision is a place where you can make a significant financial investment,” Cody says. “No investment is too big. They have the structure and organization to effectively use your gifts as they grow over time.

“World Vision has the organizational capacity to execute investments to scale and always with a spiritual, Christ-centered focus. If you don’t have a spiritual component, it’s helpful, but not life-changing.”

Cody’s life-changing investment truly hit home in January while traveling to the Jamastran Valley of Honduras to celebrate bringing clean water to 3,000 people in two communities — Sartenejas and Zamorano.

“Being part of a visibly transformative project that can happen in under a year to dramatically change the lives of people — it’s not a difficult concept to say we should do more of that,” he says. “So then we ask ourselves, ‘How can we increase our giving as a company and as individuals?’”

World Vision has the organizational capacity to execute investments to scale and always with a spiritual, Christ-centered focus. If you don’t have a spiritual component, it’s helpful, but not life-changing.—Cody Nath, president and CEO of Refined Technologies Inc.

He also recognizes that the project was not without its learnings and challenges.

“World Vision does a good job of managing, ‘This is what we said we were going to do. This is what the challenges were, and this is what we accomplished,’” Cody says. “It’s not like everything goes smoothly. We’re dealing with developing countries and clean water projects that have never existed before. So there’s learnings; there’s challenges.”

But beyond challenges, he has confidence in the sustainability of World Vision’s water projects. “When we spend an investment on a project like Jamastran, I feel very confident the project will still be helping people in 20 years,” Cody says. “They now have clean water for life, not clean water for a year. Our confidence in the local World Vision team is very high due to their capabilities, character, and commitment.”

Now he’s looking forward to additional development work for the families and children he has come to know.

“We know that when we invest in water with World Vision, that’s going to lead to additional community development,” Cody says. “We didn’t leave Jamastran in January thinking, ‘Great, we’re done.’ We know the local communities are committed to continued development and the many challenges that lie ahead. We also realize there are many more communities in need of getting started on their development journey, and we’re eager to be involved. We look forward to an enduring partnership with World Vision and seeing families changed in Jesus’ name.”

Every child deserves clean water.

‘One of the best investments you’ll ever make’

Anne and David Grizzle
Anne and David Grizzle. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

David is an aviation consultant and the retired Chief Operating Officer for the Federal Aviation Administration. His previous roles include serving as the FAA’s chief counsel and as the senior vice president of customer experience for Continental Airlines. In addition, he also spent a term working for the U.S. Department of State in Kabul, Afghanistan, as attaché, senior advisor, and coordinator for transportation and infrastructure. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. David and his wife, Anne, currently serve as the co-chairs of World Vision’s Every Last One Campaign. They live in Washington, D.C. and have three sons and seven grandchildren.

When it comes to supporting charitable enterprises, I tell people that I’ve never made a single donation, but I’ve made lots of investments. Investors want to see a return. Stories can be moving and put a personal face on need, but data is critical. Good intentions aren’t enough. I want efficacy. It is because of the unique product that World Vision offers that Anne and I overweight our investments in this organization.

World Vision is holistic. They offer a multi-faceted approach to reducing poverty and its brutal effects on children, families, and entire communities. As a result, they’re more effective than most other organizations working in the field, which only work on one or two causes and cannot address the complex puzzle of poverty.

They’re collaborative. Some organizations aren’t interested in partnerships — they tend to dictate to the communities they’ve come to help. In contrast, when World Vision comes into a new place, they work alongside community members to bring about sustainable, long-lasting change. This inclusive approach sets World Vision apart.

Few other organizations have the history, experience, or sheer size of World Vision. They’re big and their roots run deep. All around the world they have access, reliability, and credibility. They’re a trusted partner with local communities, national governments, and global partners. An example of this is World Vision’s work in the most fragile of places, like Syria, where other NGOs have a hard time going. World Vision can be transformative there because they’ve been transforming for nearly 70 years, committed to learning and growing and adapting. I’m living proof that being big and old is not necessarily a good thing, but World Vision uses those two attributes to tremendous advantage throughout the world.

Most importantly, World Vision is Word-of-God–empowered. They’re reliant upon God’s word, employing a biblically empowered worldview. God calls us to be good stewards — to take personal responsibility for our assets, talents, family, and community. If you care about serving the poor in the name of Jesus and you want to see comprehensive work crafted on biblical principles, World Vision may be your only alternative.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.—Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

There are opportunities for all types of investors, no matter your passion or risk tolerance. World Vision offers low-risk “blue chip” programs like drilling wells for more cautious donors, and venture capital investments like THRIVE for the more entrepreneurial. There are also options for return periods — from flash returns like water and emergency relief to long-term projects in economic empowerment and education, where results build over time for powerful and lasting change.

World Vision is also unique because of its significant absorption capacity. They make it easy for major donors to make the larger contributions that stewardship often demands of those of us who have been blessed with great means. Few organizations outside of universities or hospitals are equipped to accept and utilize substantial donations effectively. No other operating organization focused on eliminating poverty has the absorption capacity of World Vision.

What’s holding you back? Fear of Better Options (FOBO)? Some investors may be waiting to give, thinking they might discover a more efficient mechanism out there for the work World Vision is doing. It’s conceivable that you might find one, down the line. But right now, there’s a child dying every five seconds — most often from causes we can help prevent. The good news is that God is not sitting still. He is doing deals right now that you should want to be part of. But keep in mind, once a well has been drilled or a program has been launched, that IPO is closed. Rather than FOBO, you ought to be suffering from FOMO — Fear of Missing Out.

World Vision belongs in every charitable portfolio. We can’t ignore Jesus’ example or the incredible work being done by Bill and Melinda Gates — poverty reduction must be a high priority for all of us and good stewardship demands significant investments. The weighting in different portfolios will depend on each investor’s passions, time frame, and capacity. But the simple truth is this: donors — especially high net worth individuals — need to strongly consider graduating to World Vision. My hope is that right now, when you look at where you are in your lives, and when you look at eternity, you’ll discern the right place for World Vision in your investment portfolio.

You + World Vision’s local staff = help, hope, and love to people in nearly 100 countries.

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A shrill whistle pierces the warm summer air, signaling to volunteers from Menlo Church that one among them has found the 1 millionth kit. As everyone looks toward where the sound originated, 7-year-old Caroline is smiling from ear to ear and runs over to hug her mother, Nancy, amid the claps and cheers.

Caroline excitedly clutches the orange backpack, a SchoolTools kit, and adds school supplies and a note of encouragement for the recipient — a child in need in her local community, the San Francisco Bay Area.

“It feels good, and it means a lot,” Caroline says after assembling the 1 millionth kit. SchoolTools kits provide the opportunity for children in the U.S. to engage in learning and help ease the burden many parents feel when they cannot provide for their children; they free up family resources for other essentials such as food, medicine, and utilities.

That day, 220 volunteers from Menlo Church assembled 2,000 SchoolTools kits, including the 1 millionth kit assembled by Caroline, and another 4,000 Promise Packs that World Vision will distribute in the Dominican Republic. It is one of many “Serve Your City” opportunities hosted by Menlo Church.

“The ability to connect people with people, serve together, and understand the greater good of why we’re doing this is really what matters,” says Nancy Rosa, a Menlo Church attender for 28 years.

The partnership between Menlo Church and World Vision is rich in history. The church has partnered with World Vision for 13 years, assembling more than 50,000 kits — more than any other World Vision partner — that have impacted 1.7 million people around the world. Not only was Menlo Church the site of the 1 millionth kit event on July 28, it was also the site of the first World Vision kit event in 2005.

“This is just the tipping point,” says Nancy, who was instrumental in the launch of the first kit event. “I think this is just going to explode. I can’t imagine we won’t keep going. I want to keep going until I can’t build them anymore.”

Numerous World Vision staff echoed that sentiment.

“This isn’t the end,” says Karen Sendelback, World Vision’s national director of partner engagement. “We feel this is a chance to say we’ve reached this incredible milestone, and what we want to do now is focus on getting to the 2 millionth kit. There are still children out there that need these school supplies. There are still children who need Promise Packs.”

Easing the back-to-school burden with SchoolTools kits

The 1 millionth kit makes its journey in the San Francisco Bay area from 7-year-old Caroline at Menlo Church to 9-year-old Estefani at Familia Cristiana Verbo.
Nine-year-old Estefani Alvarado holds up her new backpack filled with school supplies. Her favorite subject is math. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Two weeks later, the 1 millionth kit is now at Familia Cristiana Verbo, another local church, in the hands of 9-year-old Estefani Alvarado — right in time for her to start fourth grade.

“I feel so happy because she packed it for me,” Estefani says. When Estefani opened the backpack, she found Caroline’s note and was excited to see a pack of paper, which she sometimes runs out of. She expressed feeling overwhelmed by the generosity.

“Not all the kids get what I have right now,” Estefani says.

Her father was also grateful for the school supplies and the honor of his daughter receiving the 1 millionth kit. “I feel happy and privileged,” says Nehemias Alvarado, 31. The Alvarado family has been attending Familia Cristiana Verbo for nearly 12 years.

Pastor Orlando Cardona, 56, explains that their annual backpack distribution not only helps families in need, but it also gives their pastoral staff a way to approach families in their community.

“When I hand them a backpack, it gives me the opportunity to show them the love of God and be able to converse with them,” Orlando says. “Then through that, it allows us to tell them about all the programs we have for youth, for adults. And ultimately, we’ve seen how through the help we give them, they’ve gotten closer to the church in search of God.”

His wife, 57-year-old Patty, adds that the physical provision of school supplies is especially important.

“When children hear about the love of God but also receive something from the love of God, they feel more in their hearts,” Patty says. “This community has much need, and we’re happy to be a small part of their lives.”

The staff at Familia Cristiana Verbo are incredibly thankful for the generosity of Menlo Church and many other churches and organizations who have assembled World Vision kits.

“Thank you for taking the time and going the extra mile for people you don’t even know,” says Associate Pastor Ever Turcious, 41. “Thank you so much. God bless you.”

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Five years ago, Pastor Larry Heenan of Spring Valley Baptist Church in Raytown, Missouri, challenged every Sunday school class in his church to raise $85 for goats from World Vision’s Gift Catalog.

For Sharon Baker and her class of 12 third, fourth, and fifth graders, this seemingly simple request felt daunting. They were doubtful they could raise the money for even one goat.

But now with the 470th goat in the works, Sharon’s husband, Tom, has lovingly dubbed her the “crazy goat lady” — a nickname she has embraced with open arms.

We can’t help everyone, but we certainly can help someone.—Sharon Baker

“Goats are one of the cutest animals ever. They’re so precious, and they provide so much for each family,” Sharon says. “We realize there’s a lot of hurt out there. We can’t help everyone, but we certainly can help someone.”

Fundraising really took off once her class started letting donors name each goat — starting with goat No. 47, named “The Old Goat — Russell” by Jaunita Box in memory of her husband.

All of the goats now receive names, each one unique to the situation or the reason for buying the goat. And the children were insistent on going back and naming all of the previous goats too.

After goat No. 50, Sharon says they were planning to quit, but the children wanted to keep going. And an answer to her prayer came quite obviously the next Sunday morning, with Pastor Danny Dyer pointing directly toward her during his sermon and telling her emphatically to never quit doing this good work.

“We do not have a goal any longer,” Sharon says. “We are just going to keep going.”

With help from her fellow teachers, Ed and Peggy Conway and Joe and Kim Biondo, the children in their class have been donating their allowances, doing extra chores, selling donated items, saving aluminum cans, collecting UPC codes, and using their imaginations to create crafts to sell — all to add another goat to their classroom’s “goat meter,” which keeps track of their progress.

Sharon Baker holds one of the four baby goats who visited Spring Valley Baptist Church on April 30, 2017.
Sharon Baker holds one of the four baby goats who visited Spring Valley Baptist Church on April 30, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Baker)

“‘I am a Christ-centered, biblically anchored world-changer.’ I have the children say that every Sunday,” Sharon says. “Their eyes light up when you tell them they are a world-changer. Saying that really broadens your view of who you are. It gives me the confidence to be the ‘crazy goat lady.’”

Both the church and the community, particularly those in Sharon’s line dance classes, have rallied behind them every step of the way. Money periodically arrives in her mailbox with a note to buy another goat, and for Sharon’s birthday and Christmas gifts, her friends give a goat in her name. People also donate money in honor of someone or in their memory.

“I could not possibly do this alone,” Sharon says. “As we’ve asked others to come in and be a part of what we’re doing, they become part of the team.”

Both their team and impact continue to grow, but Sharon gives all the glory back to God.

“Knowledge and prayer bring the passion — the knowledge that there are people out there who are hurting that you can help, and prayer to ask God’s guidance every step of the way,” Sharon says. “There are doors we never dreamed we could open.

“We never dreamed that we could talk to someone about a goat, and they would hand us [$85]. That is purely God working in the hearts of other people. Once you see that happen, your passion becomes like a bonfire. It just grows. You realize that you can do something significant with God’s help.”

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Children are a precious gift from God. As adults, we have the privilege and responsibility to care for them and help them live the full and abundant life God desires for them. Sadly, love and security are not the reality for hundreds of millions of children who suffer from sexual exploitation, labor in hazardous conditions, or struggle to survive on the streets.

In some places, warfare can separate children from their families, leaving them vulnerable to exploitation. Children are also forced to join armed rebel groups to serve as soldiers, porters, sex slaves, and more. Extreme drought and hunger force families to make desperate choices about putting children to work or girls into child marriage.

Despite being outlawed in many countries, girls are still undergoing female genital mutilation and cutting (FGM/C), and some girls aren’t born at all because of prenatal sex selection. In other places, children are trafficked for sex, sent to work in dangerous factories, or locked into domestic servitude. And in some countries — the U.S. included — gang violence tears families apart and creates a culture of violence that draws youth into harmful activities.

Abuse, neglect, exploitation, child labor, bodily harm and female genital mutilation, child marriage, and other forms of harm against children — even murder and child sacrifice — are among the greatest evils in the world.

I was in prison and you came to visit me.—Matthew 25:36 (NIV)

One warm Wednesday in June 2010, 15-year-old Savoeun Chea went to work in Leuk Daek in southeastern Cambodia. Her hands clutched a small bag containing items she had been instructed to bring: her clothes and her older sister’s birth certificate.

At the factory that morning, Savoeun’s sister, Simean, was the first to notice. “I did not see her working,” says Simean, 21. “I asked where she was. People told me that she’d gone to work in Malaysia. I called my family.”

In making that call, Simean set in motion a Cambodian-style Amber Alert. Savoeun’s family, friends, local officials, coworkers, the police, community members, and the children of two villages joined in a singular task: bringing Savoeun home — alive.

Another girl had been taken before in Leuk Daek. “This case happened before [I started,]” says Louy Samnang, who joined Leuk Daek’s police force in 1999. The girl was raped and killed. Community members admit no action was taken because back then, no one knew what to do.

But this time, when Savoeun disappeared, the community sprang into action because they knew how to respond. And this time, it worked. Mayor Chrin Voeurn provides one reason Savoeun survived: “Our commune has World Vision.”

Now safely back home in Leuk Daek, the community surrounded Savoeun. She was treated at the hospital for what appeared to be drug-induced memory loss. She spent many days in hiding, but eventually became well enough to work again.

Savoeun, now 17, is working as a waitress in a province in northeast Cambodia. She is concerned for her younger sister, Srey Keo, who is 11. “I tell her to study hard. I tell her not to travel to a faraway place or she could be trafficked.

“I will protect my younger sister,” she says. And the people of Leuk Daek are standing by to help.

Join us in prayer for an end to all harm against children, for the children who remain trapped in this nightmare, and for World Vision’s work to protect children.

Pray for supernatural protection for children.

The criminals who exploit children roam the world like the predators they truly are, looking to prey upon the vulnerable. They use lies, threats, coercion, and violence to force children into sexual and other kinds of exploitation. This is an evil business of supply and demand. Ask God to eliminate the demand and blind their eyes from seeing potential “supply” in their paths.

Dear Lord, Your Word is filled with accounts of miraculous protection. We claim that power for vulnerable children. Make Your little ones invisible to people who seek to exploit them. Whisper in the ears of the children to run and hide until the danger passes.

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” —Psalm 82:3-4 (NIV)

Child labor and exploitation, FGM, and human trafficking are among the greatest evils in the world. Pray with us for an end to all harms against children.
Tarikul Islam wishes he could go to school like the other kids in his community in Bangladesh, but today the 14-year-old has been working for five years at an auto shop and forgotten everything he has learned in school. He works for about 12 to 14 hours a day and makes about US$25 a month to help support his family. His mom works 14 hours a day as a domestic laborer to earn US$12.50 a month. Islam has been attending World Vision’s Khulna Child-Friendly Learning and Recreation Center for about 10 days. He hopes to learn how to read and write and do basic math so he can one day have his own auto shop. If he can learn those things and get about three to four more years of training, he could make about US$437 a month, and that’s his goal. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Laura Reinhardt)

Pray for the safety of children working in hazardous conditions.

Worldwide, 151 million children are involved in child labor. Of these, 72.5 million are involved in the worst forms of child labor, including mining, construction, scavenging, domestic and factory work, and agriculture. Hazardous conditions endanger children’s health, safety, and moral development. Ask God to keep children from harm as they struggle under heavy loads and work with unsafe tools and harsh chemicals.

Lord, we know You love Your children, and we pray that when they must work, that You would protect their growing bodies. Please keep them safe and free of injuries and toxins. Deliver them from oppressive bosses and hazardous conditions. Make it possible from children at risk to stay in school.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” —Psalm 46:1 (NIV)

Pray to eradicate the root causes of child exploitation.

Child exploitation means using a child for profit, labor, sexual gratification, or for some other personal or financial advantage. At the heart of child exploitation are complex issues, including extreme poverty that can lead parents to sell their children. Sometimes moms and dads are tricked into believing that their children will work in a wealthy person’s home and will be treated fairly. But many are held as virtual slaves. Throughout the world, sin leads people to put their evil desires above all else, ignoring how they destroy the lives of innocent children. Ask God to do what only He can — soften people’s hearts and heal their minds.

Dear Lord, Your Word calls us to hunger and thirst for righteousness — a righteousness that leads to compassion for the poor and a renewing of minds. Lead us to this kind of faith that works to make a better world for all Your children.

“You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted … so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.” —Psalm 10:17-18 (NIV)

Child labor and exploitation, FGM, and human trafficking are among the greatest evils in the world. Pray with us for an end to all harms against children.
Sonali, which means golden, plays at the World Vision Hat Khola Child-Friendly Space almost every day. Her mother, Reshma (*name changed to protect privacy), is a sex worker. Reshma came to the Hat Khola Brothel in Jessore, Bangladesh, when she was just 10 years old. “I loved a boy who brought me here,” she says. The boy, Mustafa, left her at the brothel. Now in her 30s, Reshma has worked here for most of her life. “I am working hard in the brothel for my children’s education,” she says. “It is their way to a better life.” (©2014 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Pray for an end to child labor.

Child labor can be fought at many levels — governments can enact or strengthen laws around human trafficking and labor; corporations can ensure that children are not exploited along their supply chains; communities can take greater responsibility for collectively protecting children; families can value their children’s well-being above economics. Pray for the power of God’s love to counter greed and desperation to change the hearts of people who can create better circumstances for children.

Lord, You are our provider, and we know all good things come from Your hand. Help families to find reliable incomes so children don’t have to work. Let laws and cultural practices protect children from a childhood of abuse and suffering.

“‘Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,’ says the LORD. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’” —Psalm 12:5 (NIV)

Pray for an end to human trafficking.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Nearly 25 million people worldwide are being trafficked for the sex trade, forced labor, and other illegal purposes. And evidence from the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime suggests that more than 20 percent of all people trafficked are children. Many are sold into prostitution to pay off family debts or abducted from the streets and forced to work in brothels. Children who escape or are rescued face a difficult physical and emotional recovery process.

Dear God, there are times when it is right — and righteous — to be angry. It is right to be angry about people who exploit children. Let that righteous anger fuel action, Lord. Don’t let it fade into complacency.

“Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.” —Psalm 10:12 (NIV)

Child labor and exploitation, FGM, and human trafficking are among the greatest evils in the world. Pray with us for an end to all harms against children.
On a bright December day, songs, dances, and shouts of joy sounded from a field on St. Catherine’s Secondary School campus. The girls’ boarding school hosted 330 girls and 170 boys in Kenya’s West Pokot County. Family members, government officials, teachers, and religious leaders cheered and celebrated the teens during the alternative rite of passage, a positive substitution for female genital mutilation and cutting. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Pray for an end to female genital mutilation (FGM) and cutting.

Female genital mutilation, also known as cutting or female circumcision, is the removal of part or all the female genitalia for nonmedical reasons. This traditional rite of passage initiates girls into adulthood and, ultimately, readies her for child marriage — despite FGM and cutting being outlawed in many countries worldwide.

Done with a razor blade or knife — often with no anesthesia and no disinfectant — FGM and cutting can cause severe pain, bleeding, and swelling that may prevent passing urine or feces. Though the scars may heal, the horror of the event — including being physically restrained — can affect a young girl for years. And FGM can also cause chronic pain and infections for the rest of her life.

World Vision and other organizations are educating and empowering girls and their communities to end FGM, often substituting positive rites of passage for teen girls and boys.

Lord God, help families that practice FGM see its damaging effects on girls and young women. Motivate these families to turn away from inhumane practices, and protect their female children from all forms of harm, including FGM. Lay a hand of protection over girls at risk of FGM and cutting.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made …” —Psalm 139:14 (NIV)

Pray for an end to child marriage.

In developing countries, one-third of girls are forced to marry before their 18th birthday. Fear of premarital pregnancy, rape, hunger, homelessness, and harmful traditional practices are all drivers of child marriage. Girls will also marry because of threats and coercion. Of the 25 countries with the highest rates of child marriage, the majority are affected by conflict, fragility, or natural disasters.

Girls trapped in child marriage tend to be poor, under-educated, and live in rural areas where birth and death rates are high and conflict is common. They are more likely to experience domestic violence, forced sexual relations, and poor reproductive health.

World Vision helps organize local leaders, parents, educators, law enforcement, and social services to support girls in pursuing education and avoiding child marriage. And World Vision children’s clubs empower girls with information, particularly on child rights and healthy physical development.

Lord, we echo the psalmist’s confidence that You will deliver those who cry out to You for help. See to the needs of precious girls and boys vulnerable to child marriage or already trapped in its grasp. Hear and answer their cries for help. May cultures where child marriage is accepted and encouraged learn of the harm it causes to children and change these societies.

“For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.” —Psalm 72:12 (NIV)

Child sacrifice, child labor and exploitation, FGM, and human trafficking are among the greatest evils in the world. Pray with us for an end to all harms against children.
Juliet Nabirye, 26, with her son, 2-year-old Junior Kisule, who was saved from child sacrifice through World Vision’s Amber Alert-style program in Uganda. Juliet was ecstatic when she was reunited with her son. “It was the happiest time of my life,” she says. Obed Byamugisha, who works as a child protection and development facilitator for World Vision in Uganda, says poverty has led to child sacrifice in Mukono District. “People believe in witchcraft as a way of reviving their fortunes and getting money to boost the family income,” he says. There are witchdoctors who demand children — perfect children, usually between the ages of 2 and 15. But Junior was saved from his abductor because of World Vision’s program. “If a life is saved, there’s no greater good than that,” says Obed. (©2014 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

Pray for an end to child sacrifice.

Child sacrifice is an abomination. In certain districts of Uganda, witchdoctors convince people desperate for money, to bear children, or to rid their bodies of disease that only a child’s body part, such as the head, the fingers, or the private parts — mixed with traditional medicine — will cure the problem. Ritual demands that the parts be removed while the child is still alive and conscious. World Vision’s Amber Alert-style program is taking on child sacrifice in Uganda.

Father, protect Your children from abductors who prey on the most vulnerable. Bless the radical partnership between leaders of all faiths, law enforcement, traditional healers, and communities to stop child sacrifice once and for all. Comfort grieving parents in their time of unimaginable loss.

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.” —Proverbs 24:11 (NIV)

Pray for an end to gang violence.

Drug trafficking, gang activity, easy access to guns, and ineffective justice systems have contributed to high levels of crime and violence in Central America and urban areas worldwide. Even people living in small towns fear being robbed, threatened, extorted, or kidnapped. Of the top 50 most violent cities in the world, 42 are in the Latin America/Caribbean region. Pray for World Vision’s work, which helps young people find their identity in Christ — not gangs — and teaches them vocational skills so they can better resist the temptation of easy money from criminal activities.

Lord, chaos and fear cripple communities overrun by gang violence. Thank You so much for the gift of Your Son. Through Him, we truly become a new creation. We claim Jesus’ blessing for peacemakers in Matthew 5:9. Help young people see themselves the way You see them, so they can help bring peace and hope to other people’s lives.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” —Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

Child labor and exploitation, FGM, and human trafficking are among the greatest evils in the world. Pray with us for an end to all harms against children.
Children from the Old Jothiammal Slum express their joy at a World Vision Child-Friendly Space in Chennai, India. While there, kids are absorbed in fun, laughter, and games to help recover from the grief they experienced after the floods in Chennai. When a disaster strikes, World Vision helps to identify children separated from their families, provides psychosocial support, and operates Child-Friendly Spaces — safe havens for children where they can play, draw, sing, share their feelings, and engage in educational activities. This helps kids regain a sense of normalcy in their lives. (©2015 World Vision/photo by Mahima Sash)

Pray for all eyes to be opened about child exploitation.

Child exploitation isn’t only a problem “somewhere else.” It’s an issue everywhere, including the most developed countries and all 50 states in the U.S. Anyone can be exploited or trafficked, regardless of race, class, education, gender, age, or citizenship. Ask God to open the hearts and minds of people everywhere to recognize the signs of child exploitation and give them the courage to take a stand for protection.

Dear Lord, Your Word tells us that it is a sin to do nothing when it’s in our power to help someone in need. Help us to speak out against crimes against children. Prod us to act whenever we suspect that a child is in danger. Don’t stop prompting us until we do the right thing.

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed …” —Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

Pray for World Vision’s work to protect children.

Inspired by World Vision founder Bob Pierce’s prayer, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God,” World Vision works to protect children from all forms of harm. This includes preventing children from being trapped in abusive circumstances; protecting children with shelter and healthcare; and restoring children through life-skills training, education, and reintegration with families. Pray for strength and courage for staff at the forefront of this work and for World Vision’s fundraising efforts to help even more children.

Prince of Peace, You know the challenges our brothers and sisters face in helping people and working for peace. We ask that You give grace to World Vision’s staff to fulfill the responsibilities You’ve placed in their hands. Thank You for empowering them to be Your hands and feet.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” —Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

 

Kari Costanza, Chris Huber, Denise C. Koenig, and Kathryn Reid of World Vision’s staff in the U.S. contributed to this story.

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The excitement was palpable on May 6, 2017, for families in Portage, Indiana. It wasn’t only World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at Real Life Community Church; it was the local high school’s much-anticipated prom night.

Students and parents alike were excited to complete the Global 6K but also excited to get on to hair appointments, picking up corsages, and getting ready for the big dance. So about an hour-and-a-half after the 6K began that morning, pastors and volunteers started to close the course that about 75 people had completed to expedite the clean-up process.

When a family — which volunteers thought were the final participants — came around the corner to cheers and the banging of cowbells, instead of first celebrating, they shouted to the crowd that Judy and Debbie were still on the course behind them. Suddenly everyone was in motion once again to restore the course.

Meanwhile, 71-year-old Judy Carlson was walking the Global 6K at her own pace — slowly and steadily using her cane for support. On her race bib was Bintou, 6, from Mali.

Judy Carlson, 71, walked the 2017 Global 6K for Water at her own pace — slow and steady, using her cane for support. Six kilometers is the average distance people in the developing world walk for water. Judy walked her 6K for 6-year-old Bintou from Mali. Who will you walk for?
Exiting a local park, Judy starts the last kilometer of her 6K. Six kilometers is the average distance women and children in the developing world walk for water, which often isn’t even safe to drink. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

“I’m grateful to be able to walk for her today,” Judy says. “We should appreciate that we can turn on the tap and get clean water anytime we want.”

Judy and her friend, 61-year-old Debbie Torres, were still trudging along, occasionally taking a moment to rest and look at the flowers.

“The birds are cheering us on,” says Debbie, her race bib featuring Ramatou, 6, also from Mali. “I can’t imagine what it’s like to walk all that way and then have to carry water back that’s almost 50 pounds. God bless the little children.”

Meanwhile, pastors and volunteers had quickly put the course markers back up and gathered to cheer Judy and Debbie on at the finish line. Team World Vision Endurance Program Manager Steve Spear doubled back on his bike to join Judy on her last kilometer, calling her “tremendously inspiring.” He says, “If you think you could never do a 6K, I did it today with a 71-year-old lady with a cane. If she can do it, you can totally do it.”

As the wind picked up and they heard the faint sound of clanging cowbells, Judy became even more determined, “I’ll be okay. We’re going to finish. It’s the wind beneath our wings.”

Two hours after they began, still walking at their own pace, Judy and Debbie crossed the finish line together with smiles from ear to ear and plans to visit Dunkin’ Donuts to celebrate.

“They were so great — out there ringing cowbells and cheering us on,” Debbie says. “We knew it would take us awhile to get there. But we knew we could do it, and we did it.” She says Judy had told her before that race that they would finish, no matter how long it took them.

The next morning, on Celebration Sunday, Judy sponsored Bintou — an only child who loves math — with the hope that soon she will no longer have to walk for water.

“The 6K has been instrumental in us getting people to feel what is on God’s heart for the poor,” says Scott Marshall, Real Life Community Church lead pastor. “[We] can actually do something about it and not feel overwhelmed by the need of the world; [we] can actually make a difference.”

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Parents everywhere are driven by a dream — for their children’s lives to be better than their own. Economic empowerment is not an end in itself, but a tangible expression of God’s love that radically improves the lives of children and families today — a transformation that lasts for generations and can help to lift families out of poverty. Yet millions of people in the most impoverished parts of the world lack access to the knowledge, capital, markets, technology, and information they need to build thriving businesses.

World Vision has learned the best way to help people is to empower them to unleash their own drive and talents. That’s why we work to give some of the world’s poorest people the tools they need to start or build small businesses, save money, take responsibility, care for their communities — and break the cycle of poverty in their families for good.

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.—Matthew 25:35 (NIV)

Valentine Uwingabire’s five children used to cry for food. She says, “You can imagine a little child crying for food from the morning up to the evening.”

She tried farming in the valley below her home with little success. Then in 2015, World Vision started the Akagera Marsh Project in Nyaruguru, Rwanda.

Valentine says, “We were very happy because we knew World Vision has the potential … to initiate the irrigation system and also to put all the farmers together. So we felt hope that this is going to work. And indeed, this has worked so well for us — beyond what we even expected.”

World Vision funded the building of a water intake system plus canals along the sides of the valley. This system — completed in September 2016 — provides water during the dry season, but also channels floodwaters away during the rainy season.

Valentine’s first crops with the Marsh project were onions and cabbages followed by corn. She sold enough corn to earn $100 and had some left for her family.

The Marsh Project then linked the farmers’ corn harvest to a local corn-flour processing plant — another World Vision project. By grouping the farmers together and providing them access to markets, the farmers’ profits are greatly increased.

“I feel independent,” Valentine says. “When I wake up in the morning, and I see that I have sacks of beans and every kind of food, I feel good. I feel secure.”

Join us in prayer for hardworking families like Valentine’s to break the cycle of poverty for good.

Pray for increased family livelihoods.

When families’ livelihoods improve, they can break from the cycle of poverty and sustainably improve their family’s education, health, food security and nutrition, and shelter.

Great Counselor, bless families taking the risk of starting a business. Grant them wisdom in their decision-making. May their successes benefit their children and family and then overflow to the community.

“From the fruit of their lips are people filled with good things, and the work of their hands brings them reward.” —Proverbs 12:14

Pray for families to manage their finances in a way that reflects the love of God.

It’s important for people to understand that they are created in the image of God, have great value, and have the power to move from poverty to prosperity.

Loving Father, let Your presence shine in and through families’ finances. May learn to be good stewards of what You provide for them more and more every day.

“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.” —Psalm 1:3 (NIV)

Pray for good weather so farmers can have healthy crops and animals.

Globally, 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture for income and food. Dry spells and floods destroy families’ crops, but poor weather conditions can also kill animals, another valuable source of food and income. Because the weather is unpredictable, World Vision teaches improved farming and livestock management techniques that help families to be more resilient when hard times come.

Holy God, we see throughout the Word Your powerful control of the weather. Please provide the right amount of rain and sun for farmers’ crops and animals. Use World Vision staff to help teach even more families how to overcome farm and livestock challenges so they can better provide for their families.

“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” —2 Corinthians 9:10 (NIV)

Pray that hardworking farmers will become resilient, so they have plenty of food during lean seasons.

World Vision’s community-led THRIVE model — Transforming Household Resilience in Vulnerable Environments — addresses underlying causes of vulnerability for farmers, since the journey upward from extreme poverty to one of improved well-being is not without interruptions. Resilient families can withstand or recover quickly from droughts and other emergencies, adapting to a changing environment.

Merciful Provider, watch over farmers and their crops, especially during times of vulnerability. Help farmers learn and practice good storage techniques and other measures, so they don’t experience loss or waste.

“Those who work their land will have abundant food …” —Proverbs 12:11 (NIV)

Pray that women will be equipped to start and grow their businesses.

Through microloans, savings groups, and training, World Vision is focused on especially teaching women around the world about best practices in operating small businesses, such as tailoring, mat weaving, or selling crops they grow. As women gain confidence and contribute to the family income, they are able to positively influence decision-making on important issues such as nutrition, children’s education, healthcare, and child marriage.

Alpha and Omega, thank You for generous donors who help World Vision equip women and men with training and microfinance support to start their own businesses. Bless these small business ventures so families can live healthier, more secure lives. Help women become voices for improvement in their families and communities. 

“She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” —Proverbs 31:17 (NIV)

Pray for World Vision and its partners to create opportunities for families to move beyond poverty.

World Vision’s fully integrated, proven approach to economic empowerment equips hardworking men and women to move from surviving to thriving. Ask God to continue to equip World Vision and its partners to provide the basics parents and caregivers need to provide for their families.

Almighty Lord, thank You for providing life-changing opportunities for families that struggle in extreme poverty. Equip World Vision and its partners working in Your name to reach even more families, empowering them to walk into the fullness of life You intend for them.

“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” —Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)

 

Contributors: Denise C. Koenig and Laura Reinhardt, World Vision staff

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You’re sure to find man’oushe (pronounced ma.nuʃ) at a traditional Lebanese breakfast. It’s a flatbread often topped with za’atar (thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and salt), cheese, or kishk (fermented dried yogurt and ground bulgur wheat). Serve with olives, fresh cheese, croissants and jams, tabbouleh or fattoush salad, and keep the courses coming for a taste of Lebanon this spring!

Recipe for man’oushe

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup za’atar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

  1. In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup water and yeast. Set aside 5 to 10 minutes until yeast foams.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  3. Add yeast mixture, remaining water, and vegetable oil to flour mixture. Mix until combined, and knead 10 minutes until dough is soft and elastic.
  4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1.5 to 2 hours.
  5. Punch down dough and divide into four to six balls; use extra flour, if needed. Cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees, and place a baking stone or steel on the bottom rack. (An upside-down cookie sheet will do.)
  7. Combine za’atar and the olive oil. Set aside.
  8. On a floured surface, press each ball with your palm. Turn and flatten from the center to edge, adding extra flour as needed until each is 1/4 inch thick and about 8 inches across.
  9. Spread za’atar on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch edge.
  10. Slide pieces onto the heated stone, and bake for 7 to 10 minutes until golden and bubbly. Serve warm, and enjoy!

 

Did you make man’oushe? We want to see pictures! Send your photos to us at editor@worldvision.org or tag us @worldvisionusa on Instagram or Facebook.

The post In the kitchen: Recipe for man’oushe, Lebanese flatbread appeared first on World Vision.