Imagine being a child who lives in poverty and disaster stricken area. Hunger is your daily companion and your siblings are already dying from malnutrition. Most of your family including your parents fell victims to either genocide or AIDS. You may be living with an elderly grand-grandmother who is your closest living relative, in a hut with no electricity, no sanitation and no access to clean water. Other children in your community are vanishing from preventable diseases such as diarrhea or typhoid. You cannot count on any aid from your decayed government and there is nobody else to turn to. Or is there?
Purpose of World Vision
Since 1950 World Vision, a Christian based humanitarian relief organization, has been serving, advocating and providing emergency relief to more than 100 million children and their families in need, in more than 100 countries. Any time a disaster such as war, flood, earthquake, drought or famine occurs, World Vision is there to comfort people, help them to survive and show them the love of Christ.
WorlVision.org gives any individual from around the world, with a computer access and burden for those who suffer, an opportunity to contribute in building better world for children and their families. World Vision very creatively incorporated numerous tools in their website that can harness our God given potential and resources for this purpose.
Your impact can be bigger than you think
There are plenty of ways how to get involved with World Vision. Since they are a non-profit organization, financial gifts seem to be an obvious choice. But it’s not the only choice. Besides of becoming a donor, you can also turn into an advocate, a runner, a volunteer, a party organizer or a speaker.
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
-Bob Pierce, World Vision founder
If you decide to start with financial giving the array of options of how your money can be used is very diverse. You decide what cause your money should go to. Sponsoring a child, funding a micro loan, contributing to building an infrastructure for clean water, restocking hospital shelves with basic medical supplies, helping sexually abused girl getting back on her feet, or buying couple of chickens for a family are just few of many causes you can contribute your money to. If you have a gift of influencing people, another way to get involved is to become World Vision’s child ambassador and extend the child sponsorship option to potential sponsors in your community, church or workplace through home parties, kiosks or more formal presentations, depending on the setting you choose. There are great tools available on worldvision.org for this purpose. Maybe you are not the most outgoing person but you don’t mind breaking some sweat; there is an outlet for that as well. You can help build awareness and recruit others for child sponsorships by running/walking marathons for World Vision Team. Believe it or not, worldvision.org will supply you with a training plan, no matter whether you are a conditioned athlete or just a beginner. I was amazed to see a video of a runner who actually set up a treadmill with World Vision kiosk at the front of a health store and ran a marathon that way. What a creative way to raise an awareness of the child sponsorship program while proclaiming God’s purpose for this cause.
What’s in it for you?
If you’re forgetting what you learned in your geography class, there is an entire section devoted to information about involvement of World Vision in each country including comprehensive facts about that particular country.
“If you lived in Ethiopia, your life expectancy would not exceed 49 years”
I have learned, for example, that Ethiopia has population of 81 million who are spread out 186 people per square mile. If you lived in Ethiopia, your life expectancy would not exceed 49 years. Only one fifth of your friends would have an access to safe water, one third would know how to read and write and two thirds would be Christians. One fifth would have to survive on a dollar per day. Maybe it’s little bit more material than your geography class has covered, but it represents an adequate amount of information, for a person living in more blessed economy, to think about their ways of spending and expectations from their economical status. It will make you feel grateful for what you have and for where you live.
How World Vision spends the money
Financial responsibility is extremely important attribute an organization of this nature and on this scale, such as World Vision, has to possess. Not only do we need to know that our hard earned money go where intended, but we also need to know that most of the money isn’t burned on administrative cost, or misused in any other way.
“Every dollar is of a sacred trust from God through you, donors, on behalf of the poor”
-Larry Probus, World Vision CFO
Therefore, financial transparency of such a large non-profit organization is very comforting to a generous donor. Annual review, audited financial statement and IRS Form 990 for the last year are publicly available in .pdf format on the website. World Vision’s CFO, Larry Probus, talks about organization’s financial stewardship by explaining how every 89 cents on a dollar go on average to each particular cause, but also explains how a dollar and fifty cents of value is being actually delivered.
If you can’t imagine, take a look instead
Do you think I was exaggerating during the opening paragraph of this post by letting you imagine for a minute to be one of these less privileged children? Well, World Vision let’s you experience a similar scenario that is not far from the above, either in person at their Federal Way, WA headquarters tour or through a virtual tour on worldvision.org website. Walking through the model of an African village while listening to an audio is an eye opening, real world simulation that will introduce you to the life of a child.
How worldvision.org impacted me
Spending some time on worldvision.org made me think of how I burn through my God-given resources such as my time, money and energy. It made me look at my personal stewardship with scrutiny. I was not happy with myself, to tell the truth. The blessings I get to enjoy through the economy and relatively stable society I live in, might not even exist in the wildest dreams of recipients of emergency aid provided by World Vision and other humanitarian organizations.
To indulge or to save a life?
I started to think that giving up or at least limiting some of our luxuries can translate to life changing or even life saving event for someone else who struggles in a different part of the globe. Our lives are full of choices and it’s our decision what these choices consist of.
“An estimated 2 million children are enslaved and abused in the global commercial sex trade”
Let’s see. We can either keep that upgraded HD package with 250 channels or sponsor a child for $35/month instead, and give them an opportunity to go to school, have access to clean water, and better medical care, put food on their table, provide them with clothing, and much more. We can also enjoy a 50 minute massage or we can buy a goat for a family for $75 instead. The goat’s milk will provide necessary nutrition for children and sale of its milk will create small income to cover their basic needs. $35 or skipping high fat, high cholesterol diner with onion rings as an appetizer in our neighborhood grille, will make possible an assistance with rehabilitating a sexually exploited girl, her medical treatment, basic non-formal education, vocation training and placement in a loving environment. Should we get that new hit game for our PlayStation or Wii or should we not, and rather spend those $60 on restocking hospital shelves with antibiotics, antifungal medicines, bandages, and other life-saving supplies? Again, these choices are at our discretion only and nobody should judge (except of God) our indulgences but to ignore what we can learn from worldvision.org is nearly impossible.
Blessing of stewardship
No, this is not about some guilt trip I’m trying to sell a ticket to, because life is also about enjoyment of the blessings and privileges some of us were entrusted with by God. But how can those be fully enjoyed without sharing some of them? Order in our personal stewardship will bring us peace of mind over this dilemma.
There seem to be two choices left: We can either turn on our TV, and watch some children act silly in the “perfect” world of Hannah Montana, and laugh it off, or we can absorb some hard reality from the worldvision.org and maybe let our “heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God” and help to change the World.