Sunday, March 6, 2011

World Vision

Logo courtesy of

If you can read this, you are blessed. 

Seriously, you are. 

It's amazing how many people take basic things like water, food, and clothing - even reading and writing for granted.

When I was 20, I had the opportunity to travel to Peru for the Thanksgiving holiday to spend time with my aunt and uncle, who were missionaries there. My uncle was director of a bible school 500 miles north of the country’s capital in a town called Chiclayo. I had been so excited, collecting clothing, shoes, and the like to take with me on my journey, not thinking of too much else.

When I arrived, I was not prepared for what I was about to see. The country itself is absolutely breathtaking; the living conditions were anything but. I almost felt deflated. This is not what I had it built up in my mind. The poverty-like conditions were almost too unbearable. The hardest hit for me was little children living in filth, begging on the street, asking for food.

It was the first time I truly realized just how lucky and blessed I was. I also knew my life would never be the same.

6 months later, I was extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to go back, this time taking my Mom. It was so nice to see the same friendly faces I had gotten to know the first time I was there, but the nagging heartache soon returned. It seemed so unfair that I lived in a place with such abundance while these lovely people lived with just the clothing on their backs and a few scraps.

However, one thing remained etched in the back of my mind: Their outlook on life. MANY had nothing, but were happy to be alive. My heart went out to that country...and a piece still remains there.

In 2006, just before our daughter was born, my husband and I sponsored a child through World Vision. A three-year-old little Peruvian boy named Kevin. His information card had stated he lived in one of the poorest parts of the country. I had seen some shocking places while I visited, so I could only imagine his surroundings.

I collapsed into a pool of tears when we received a letter from little Kevin’s Mother, praising God and thanking us that we had chosen him. They were in dire straits and just didn’t know to do. She said that her prayers were heard and answered. Wow. How does one get over a statement that powerful? To know that we helped even just a little is a feeling I will never forget.

That was almost 5 years ago and Kevin and his family are doing very well. We get cards, letters, photos and a progress/health report from him and about him. He is now in first grade and loves math.

In 2008, we decided to sponsor another child, this time a little girl. We sifted through the children that needed the most help. Julissa, a gorgeous 9-year-old (almost 10) from El Salvador chose us. Sponsoring a girl was important to me because I wanted the chance to help educate her about her body and the changes she would inevitably go through. With HIV, Aids, and widespread disease, knowledge is power.

Julissa will be 13 in July and is doing incredibly well. She personally writes to us and sends drawings, and like Kevin, we get progress and health reports. She is such a lovely little girl, doing well in school and her family is very grateful for everything we have done.

We wanted to do more.

In 2009, my husband decided to throw his first annual charity soccer game. He recruited 40 people, rented a soccer pitch, and charged a small fee to play. All monies he earned went directly to World Vision. It was a huge success. Once word got out, he had so many people asking to be put on the list for the following year. Local companies soon got wind of it and donated amazing prizes. Umbro has donated all the shirts, balls and whistles for them to play in since the first tournament. It has gotten bigger every year with more involvement and amazing prizes. Twitter and facebook are a wonderful thing to spread the word!

He just completed his third annual charity soccer game, earning over $2,100 for World Vision. I am so proud of what he has accomplished for them thus far - and I know it will only get better. 

If you have $35 a month, I implore you to think about sponsoring a child. You will change the life a precious child forever.

It will also change you in ways you never thought possible.  

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