World Vision


A challenging story of how a successful Christian, CEO answered God’s calling reminds us that sometimes we have to do more than just sit in a pew.  Rich Stearns, is the current President of World Vision and is well respected within the international development community.  I had never heard his story before, but am amazed at how God worked in his life.

The Hole in Our Gospel, is more than just an autobiography though.  He critiques the modern church for missing a large part of the Gospel message Jesus shared.  Stearns sacrificed his lifestlye as the CEO of a chinaware company to become president of World Vision.  It is a cool story and one you should read.  But as he makes clear in this excerpt, he is not calling us to get rid of everything in our life:

However, I don’t want to also suggest that all true followers of Christ must forsake everything to bring comfort and justice to the poor. I
only propose that genuine concern for “the least of these” that finds tangible expression must be woven into the pattern of their lives and faith. That expression might involve small but regular gifts to compassion ministries, advocating on behalf of the poor to government representatives, or regular volunteering at a soup kitchen, the local nursing home, or the Ronald McDonald House…. Even Jesus did not spend every waking hour helping the poor.  He dined with the wealthy, celebrated at weddings and feasts, taught in the synagogue, and perhaps did a bit of carpentry.  Still, there is no question that His love for the poor found consistent and concrete expression in His life and ministry.

Yes, this book contains numbers and statistics that are overwhelming, even to me.  But his focus is more on telling the story about how God redeems us and redeems our brothers and sisters around the world.  Stearns will not allow you to get bogged down in the numbers, but will help you remember that each number represents a living person that Jesus died for.

Pick it up, read it, discuss it, share it with a friend.

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This is part of a recent ad campaign from World Vision. It came to me via Christianity Today’s daily news e-mail.  I thought it was thoughtful and though provoking.

What are your thoughts?

A friend commented that Not For Sale was available for free as an audiobook so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to “read” this compelling book I had heard about before.  So I downloaded it and put off my normal podcast material for the 8 hours it took to listen.  I am glad I did.

Not for Sale: The Return of the Global Slave Trade–and How We Can Fight It shares some powerful stories about getting children, women, and even men who get caught up in forced labor – as laborers, prostitutes, child soldiers, and other gruesome situations.    The book tells stories from around the world (including the United States) of both the slaves and the abolitionists who are working to free slaves and prevent future slavery.

Sadly, most people think slavery ended in the 1800’s but some researchers suggest that there are actually more slaves today than at any point during the African slave trade.  As you can tell this is a cause that I care deeply about so I was a little biased by the book.  I think it is a short and relatively easy read and could change the way you look at the world and those “foreigners” at your local restaurant.

I appreciated that the book wasn’t just tales of sorrow and misery but that each chapter also shared the hope and beauty of freedom.   There are a lot of organizations working to end human trafficking and this book shares some of their stories.  It is a “Christian” book but it doesn’t shove Christianity down your throat – just stories.

The biggest thing that I didn’t like about the book was how the stories were interwoven.  You would be reading about one person then pause for a little bit about another and then back and forth.  This was a little confusing in the audio format, but probably made more sense in the written text.

I encourage you to read the book and take action.  The book has an excellent and helpful companion website for the Not For Sale Campaign.  The site offers relevant news, actions to take, and other was to get involved including following their blog.

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I can’t say how thankful I am for everyone of you who supported me through the marathon and especially through my fundraising efforts for Team World Vision. It was a humbling honor to run on behalf of my African friends and to share their stories with you over the last months.

It really has been fun to combine two of my passions into such a powerful event. Thank you! I am excited to announce that as of writing this post, we have raised $2,086 for Team World Vision!!! This exceeded the $2,000 goal!! Thank you!!

Below you will find a list of the posts where I shared about my passion for Africa and my experiences there. You can also read all of the posts by clicking on this link. In the order they were published:

That pretty much sums up Team World Vision. I’m not sure when/if they actually close down the fundraising page, but you still have the opportunity to give today. Thank you!!

Team World Vision

Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.

On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.

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On Weds I wrote about Blog Action Day and some ways that Christy and I are working to end poverty. I was really happy to see that over 20 of the blogs I read on a regular basis posted something for Blog Action Day. So below is a list of their posts:

As you can see my reading list is quite eclectic, but it is awesome to see so many people willing to take a day and blog about something so important as poverty. It is really cool to see some of the creative ways that individuals tied poverty into their blogging niche.

One action you can take that will help children in Romania is purchasing some Christmas cards from Word Made Flesh’s Valley House!

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It has been almost a week since I finished my first marathon!!! Yes I made it the entire 26.2 miles!

It was quite an adventure as the rain pelted down on us for at least 4-5 miles of the race. But it was very thrilling to reach the finish line and to know that I had accomplished such a large feat. My finish time was 3:25. My Dad asked, “What does that mean? Is that fast, slow, really fast or what?” He’s not a runner so that’s understandable. Most of my running friends know what that means – I finished in the top 10% of all the finisher’s in Sunday’s race. I didn’t quite make the “gold standard” of a Boston Qualifying time, but for my first marathon I am quite pleased with the effort!

I have already posted two reviews of the race, so I would encourage you to check them out. The first is Grading the Race Plan and the second is a more traditional Race Review.

On a similar note I am very excited to say that we have surpassed our $2,000 goal for Team World Vision!! Isn’t that awesome. So thank you to the many of you that donated and supported this effort. It was a pretty amazing and overwhelming feeling to know that my running a marathon changed my life, but also lives of children and families in Africa. Thank you for being a part of the journey with me.

As I write this today, pretty much all of the soreness is gone, but you can ask Christy and she will tell you that I kinda hobbled around Sunday and most of Monday! The truly insane part is that I’m already thinking about running another one sometime next year (maybe I am a little nuts!)

I wanted to give you an update on the marathon and thank you for your support. If you were planning to make a donation you still can! Tax-deductible and secure donations can be made at www.firstgiving.com/teamcross

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Laura Bush Speaking

In case you missed it the Republican National Convention was in my new town this week. Before you click away, this isn’t really about the RNC. Only partly. We did our part and let a sister-in-law of a friend spend the night with us – always glad to be gracious hosts! My penchant for politics made me want to be involved someone, but Christy said if I volunteered, she would go protest. Well I’m glad I didn’t because she might have been a little anarchist (not really but did you see the news?).

Cindy McCain Speaking

Ok, now for the main point of this post: World Vision and the ONE Campaign wanted to do something productive with the thousands of people hanging out and taking part in democracy. Sp they took the opportunity to get delegates, friends of the Party, and regular people like us to spend a few hours one afternoon so that we could impact thousands of lives – thousands of miles away.

We joined a few hundred other people on Tuesday at the Minneapolis Convention Center to put together Caregiver Kits. We were standing next to a lot of delegates, somebody important from the State Department’s Eurasia division, and I’m sure other “important” people I didn’t know, like the crippled woman or students from Bethany House of Prayer. We heard from Senator Bill Frist, Laura Bush, Cindy McCain, and Princess Zulu of Zambia. I will say that of all the “celebrities” in attendance Janet Huckabee actually stayed until the end and did a lot of work putting together the kits.

Enough Hype
What did we actually do? We put together Caregiver Kits that included basic medical supplies that a trained Caregiver in a developing co

Laura Bush hugging
Princess Zulu of Zambia

untry can use to “bring dignity and comfort to those living with AIDS.” Please read more about the kits and what they can do. It was a lot of fun to be involved in something that would make a tangible difference in someone’s life. Christy and I probably made at least 40 kits out of the 2,500 total from the event. Simple items such as latex gloves, antibacterial soap, antifungal cream, washcloths, and more can help a person live a better life.

I took a video putting together a kit:

Laura Bush & Princess
Zulu making a Caregiver Kit

A very simple project that has a lasting and powerful impact. The last item placed in each kit was a handwritten note to the caregiver – offering encouragement and thanks for their hard work. The ONE Campaign has a great write-up and video’s from the event. They did this same event in Denver at the Democratic National Convention, write-up here.

Updated: ONE now has a full video of the speaking part of the event and the “celebrities” creating caregiver kits.

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