“All For One and One for All”

Up until my trip to Africa my view of child sponsorship was very limited. I saw a child and failed to see that child’s community. Oh I talked about community and connecting the child, but everything was focused on “all for one.” It was all about that child. What I didn’t realize was how World Vision’s model empowers and maximizes that “one for all.”

Let me explain. When we sponsor a child we promise that “one” an education, food to eat, medical provision, Aids awareness, clean water etc. however when you stop and realize that some of these areas don’t have a school, or clinic, or clean water… Giving a child all the money in the world can’t fulfill the promises. So the genius of the model works like this.

School in World Vision ADP (Area Development Project)

No school… Pool money from each sponsored child in a village and build a school in the village. Outcome… Every sponsored child can now attend school. However so can every unsponsored child in the village…

“All for one” just became “one for all.”

The promise is fulfilled and multiplied to others.

Fresh onions from family farm – because of irrigation project

Lack food... We tend to think that when we sponsor a child money is used to buy that child a bag of rice or a meal. But check this out. We promise that that child will eat as will all the sponsored children in a village. So if we pool resources from each sponsored child we could build irrigation canals and every family can have an onion farm providing resources to feed not just their sponsored child but the whole family.

Hauling water from a WV water source

Gathering water from a WV water source (looks like bad water but all water is boiled from this source)

Lack water… Many children travel many miles a day to collect water. One child in this village cannot attend school because she travels 3 times per day approximately 7 miles per trip to collect water for her family. When water is provided in the village everybody benefits. Children can go to school because their day is not consumed traveling for water.

I think you get the idea… The promises are true… Your sponsored child gets an education, food, clean water, etc but that sponsorship impacts so many more at the same time.

Petro, My sponsored child from Tanzania

WV staff member translating a sponsor’s letter

So what is the difference between my sponsored child and the other children? First and probably most importantly, your sponsored child has a relationship with you. That relationship is personal and the power of that relationship is profound (see previous blog)! The value of this relationship alone is FAR greater than $35 per month. I cannot stress the importance of this relationship enough!

WV staff with file for a sponsored child

The other difference is the relational contact between World Vision staff and your child. Your child receives monthly contact and check ups by staff members in addition to personal visits every time you write your child. These children become ambassadors for their village painting a picture of what is happening in the village with all the children.

WV Core Values on wall at ADP field office

The goal of world vision is to develop a community in such a way that it is self sustaining with all the promises available for ALL the children. Your sponsorship of one impacts all.

We truly are

“ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL”

If you have not sponsored a child and would like to click here. This is our sponsorship page for our Kilimanjaro Team World Vision climb. When you sponsor a child you can simply put my name as “Athlete” to complete the form.

Bee hives from WV honey project

Honey from WV aided honey project

Honey from WV aided honey project

Banking


Irrigation Canal from river

Family Onion Farm

Sampling an onion from a family farm

Maasai family Benefitting from child sponsorship

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“Dream Big Dreams” – Sponsors really do matter

Darrell and Petro

Have you ever wondered what difference child sponsorships makes in a kids life.  We hear and I have taught that when you sponsor a child you provide food, shelter,

Petro’s soccer ball has notes from sponsor

education, medical needs, and reduce their vulnerability to human exploitation.  That is all true and I will blog more about that later, but there is so much more.  Having just returned from Tanzania where I was privileged to meet Petro my sponsored child I am now even more convinced that sponsorship matters.  Having seen first hand and now having met Moses, I am all the more passionate about how we as sponsors can come alongside a child and his family and make difference that can change a world.

Let me introduce you to some folks…

Petro loves to play soccer

Here is Petro.  He loves “Football” (soccer).  He is 8 and he took his first ride outside his village in a bus 10 hours to meet me.  His Mom and Aunts are so excited about me being a part of their life.  Petro has a great future.

Showing Eniot pictures of her sponsors family

She loved blowing bubbles

Here is Eniot.  She is 11 and loves life and God.  She memorize bible verses and “tries to imitate them.”  Her favorite passage is Psalm 125.  She told me that she loves that Psalm because God is like a mountain and if you believe in him you do not need to fear.  She has led her family to Christ.  My brother is now her sponsor and will be a part of her story and future.

Moses and Becky talking outside of school

But the person I want to tell you about is Moses.  Moses was a sponsored child.  He now holds multiple degrees and has taught at Cornell and has spent time with Henri Nowen.  He is now back in Tanzania working with World Vision amongst his people group and is changing his country.  We were privileged to sit with Moses and have dinner and ask tough questions about Sponsorship.  Here are a couple things we learned that have solidified in me the value and importance of relational sponsorship and your letters.

Dream Big Dreams – you can be whatever you want to be

Moses telling us about the value of this water source for this Maasai village

Moses still caries with him as an adult the letters from his sponsor.  They are letters that not only helped him as a child growing up, but helped him get through multiple degrees as an adult.  He told us that his sponsor wrote him and told him he could be whatever he wanted to be.  As a child growing up in a Maasai tribe all he could see was becoming a herdsman and taking care of goats and cows.  But that letter planted something in him that took root later in life.  As he was going through his degrees and at different times in his life he would pull out those letters and they were a source of encouragement and hope for him.  He now holds multiple degrees and has taught at Cornell.  He now is a Godly professional back in Tanzania working to make a practical difference in his country.

Sponsorship saved my brothers life

Moses and team

Moses also told us that when he was sponsored it saved his brothers life.  I am not sure the full details of his brothers physical needs but when Moses was sponsored it engaged the family and World Vision and the community development that provided for his medical needs and he is alive today because of it.

What is the value of a relational sponsor?

John with his sponsored child’s family at their home

building relationship with Petro

I don’t think we can put a price tag on the value of a sponsor who builds a relationship with a child.  Let me encourage you as a sponsor to do more than simply send in $35.00 a month.  Write letters to your child.  Encourage him or her to dream big dreams. Be a positive influence in that child’s life and be a part of giving them hope and a future.

A great kid with a great laugh

If you are not sponsoring a child and would like to be a part of changing a child’s life forever click here.

Jambo, Jina langu ni Petro

Jambo, Jina langu ni Petro…. (Hello my name is Petro.)

Petro is my 8 year old “son” in Tanzania, who I hope I get to see and hug this next week.

Petro is a “Hope” child. A “hope” child is a child living in a predominately Aids infested area.

World Vision Hope Initiative is an unprecedented campaign to address the needs of children, families and communities that have been devastated by the global HIV and AIDS pandemic.

Orphans and vulnerable children often do not have enough food to eat, have no access to proper medical care and cannot attend school, and face abuse and neglect. In many cases they must care for sick and dying parents as well as younger siblings.

Children like Petro are highly vulnerable.

You can be vulnerable and not be in poverty but you can not be in poverty and not be vulnerable.

When you sponsor a child like Petro you reduce their vulnerability. You connect them with a loving community and give them access to the necessities of life that give them a hope and a future.

Will you join me and our Kilimanjaro team and change a child’s life forever.

 

Simply click here and build a relationship with a child like Petro…

 

Future posts will focus on how you can build a relationship that will change your sponsored child’s life as well as you and your families lives.

Enjoy the journey

A Picture of the Church

There are many today trying to define and paint a picture of what the church should be. I too have my thoughts and opinions. And last night my definition and opinions were solidified for me as “the church” uncovered that definition with this picture.

Jesus is revealed as the Church lives as family in community

They gathered the last few years of our journey together in pictures and had them made into this picture of Christ. It is as the church lives life together as family in their communities and neighborhoods that Christ is revealed for the world to see. The pictures tell the story of family dinners, ball games, time in the park, study of the word, sleeping on the “family” couch, refrigerator rights, loving our community, donating time and resources, crying together, serving our world, adding neighbors to the family through baptism, and simply being brothers and sisters on a journey with Christ. These pictures reveal “The Living Church”. These pictures reveal Christ in us in our community.

Thank you to the greatest example of “The Church” I have ever been a part of. You have shown me what it means to love and be loved. You have shown mean what it looks like to Love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. You have shown me what it looks like to Love your neighbor as yourself. You have shown me what it looks like to GO and make disciples. You have shown me what it looks like to live as “The Church” the body of Christ. You have shown me what Christ looks like.

This Picture will hang in a prominent place in our new home where we will continue to be reminded of what it means to be the church.

Thank you. You all are DEEPLY loved!

Our Plano TX Church Family

Our McKinney TX Church Family

God is in charge of southwest seat assignments

Divine Encounters

When you board the aircraft there is always a bit of curiosity, excitement and possibly, if truth be told, fear about who you will “have” to sit by or be privileged to sit by.  I am beginning to think that God is choosing my seat assignment and travel buddies.  On my flight from Dallas to Kansas City I was PRIVILEGED to sit by Jerome and his wife Kendra who were on a weekend getaway. After a great in flight conversation about family, church, god, Kilimanjaro, sponsoring children, golf, and shopping we said our goodbyes thinking that would probably be the last time we saw each other.  That was until the next morning.  Waiting for our ride to pick us up from our hotel a man says, “hey are you stalking us”? Of all the hotels in Kansas city they and their family from south Dakota who they were meeting up with could have chosen was the same as ours.  That was when my buddy and partner John Huddle walked up and I introduced him to my new friends. And John said, “way cool, we were neighbors last night. They are staying in the room next to me.” and then unfolded a great conversation about God, divine encounters, Kilimanjaro, sponsoring children, world vision clean water projects and how god has used an airplane encounter to bring great joy into my life, to encourage one another and to spur us on to love and good deeds.

Thank you Lord for another great seat assignment!

Here comes the Bride – Big Fat and Wide

bride-churchOK women try this – tell your husband that you only want to be married on Friday’s. The rest of the week is for you to do what you want, when you want, and with whomever you want. Oh and you want to be known as his bride whenever it is in your best interest. At times take off the ring so no one knows and at other times, when the right people are watching put it on and make it clear you are married to him.

How long do you think this relationship would last?

God uses a variety of images in Scripture for us to know and understand what a relationship with him looks like. One of those is the picture of the bride. The church is called the bride of Christ. From my perspective, much of the church only wants to be married on Sunday. They want to repeat the wedding every week but never really be married.

James 4:4 says, “You adulterous people…” Is the church of today married to Christ but sleeping with the world?

A bride is to be a bride 24/7 and she should live and act like a bride all week long.

When I do weddings I typically include a comparison between the wedding and a marriage.  It looks something like the following…

  • The wedding is an event
  • The marriage is a lifetime
  • The wedding is where vows are made
  • The marriage is where vows are lived
  • The wedding is celebrating
  • The marriage is serving
  • The wedding promises are made
  • The marriage promises are tested

When and how did we come to believe that the church is defined by the wedding not the marriage?

Jesus, I only want to be married to you on Sundays.  The rest of the week is for me to do what I want, when I want, and with whomever I want.  There will be times when I will want those who I am with to know that I am a Christian but at other times it would just be too uncomfortable and not in my social best interest if they know so I will at those times hide our relationship.  But I want you to know that i am committed to you and you alone every Sunday….

Refrigerator Rights

refrigerator.jpgWho do you have in your life that has refrigerator rights?  Relationships happen at different levels.  There are those people in our lives who are just acquaintances, others who are “friends” and others who have fridge rights.  They are people who I would categorize as “family”.  They are the people who you are so comfortable with you tell them “to get their own coke”.  They feel free to offer you something out of your own kitchen.  Some of you are right now freaking out inside.  One, you would never think about doing that to someone else and two, you would be offended if someone did that to you.  Could it be that you are missing out one one of the deepest and most meaningful levels of relationships?  It has been these relationships (rare as they are in my own life) that have had some of the most meaningful and transforming impact in my life.  It is at this level that the masks come off and the reality of our struggles come out and the honesty of a friend changes our life forever.

Do you have any friends with refrigerator rights?  What fears, hurts, histories, are keeping you out of the kitchen with a few people?  What would it take for you to “get connected”?  Maybe you have discovered this true in your life.  What would you share with those who are struggling to find deep meaningful relationships?