Entries tagged with “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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In the past few years I have written about HIV/AIDS quite a few times (see them here). But let’s be honest here for a few minutes. Who really cares?

AIDS is a four letter word, that like so many others shouldn’t be spoken about in polite company. Do you even remember what the four letter’s stand for? Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.  Yea, that means nothing to me. When you spell it out like that, it makes even less sense.

So what will actually make sense? We are very blessed that in the US, even though over a million people have HIV/AIDS (CDC), for many people it is managed through medication and is almost thought of as a type of cancer.  But did you know that babies die from HIV/AIDS related infections or were you to busy protesting at an abortion clinic?

You see, HIV/AIDS ravages your body so that something as simple as a winter sniffle could end up killing you.  That is the simple version, but it makes sense. Why did the baby get HIV? Her mom gave it to her, more than likely.  What kind of terrible mother would give her child HIV?  Who knows, maybe she was raped by a stranger in the middle of the night.  But does it matter how she got it? Only if you want to pass judgment. Why can’t we love someone without trying to pass judgment?

Ok, so babies and children are dying because of no fault of their own. A quick question, if the entire population of Spain had HIV/AIDS do you think someone would care? What about the entire population of Texas? Well according to World Vision, that is the current estimate of how many people are currently suffering with this ailment. 40 million.

By 2010, the number of children orphaned by the disease is expected to exceed 25 million — slightly more than the population of Texas — according to the United Nations. The impact on these children, both before and after the deaths of their parents, is catastrophic.

A few days ago was Black Friday.  Did you go waste your money on earthly materials that do nothing but provide five minutes of happiness to your child before being thrown in the bin with last year’s?  This year a Walmart employee was “trampled to death” by shoppers eager to purchase the latest craze.

Something is wrong with this picture.

This is truly a sad state of affairs.  As a culture we are willing to trample over fellow Americans to purchase a blender.  I guess it should be no surprise to me that no one cares about babies dying in a foreign land.  All of this makes me angry and sad.

But I am thankful for the organizations, churches, and individuals who are willing to stand up today and throw off the chains of injustice and care for the orphaned child and suffering widow.  These are our brothers and sisters and they deserve our love and admiration.

James 14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

Will you sit idly by or will you act today?

Bloggers Unite

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Refugee

That word conjures up a lot of different thoughts and feeling for different people.

Some say Jesus was a refugee, others think refugees are just another group of immigrants taking over our country. But to me, refugees are neighbors – both in a literal and figurative sense. We live in the most diverse neighborhood in Minneapolis. Minneapolis is home to the largest Somali population in the US and has a very large Hmong population as well.

Moving here has truly made the plight of refugees a part of my life. They are my co-workers, friends, neighbors, and if nothing else fellow humans on a journey seeking love and happiness.

Technical note: A refugee is a person who is fleeing their country due to a well-founded fear of persecution (for any reason) who is unable to seek protection from their own country.

I’d like to share a few stories about my refugee friends…

A Hmong student at my school recently came to the US to be with her family. She had not seen her dad in her 12 years of life. Like many other Hmong refugees her family was seeking safety after supporting the US during the Vietnam War. It had taken her father 12 years to secure the family visa’s to live in the US. This family helped our Army fight and we can’t let them be together?

A Somali co-worker has lived in the US for about 12 years. He is a well-respected man in his community and was fairly rich in Somalia before the civil war. He owned several banana farms and a large house. Now he serves as an Educational Assistant at my school helping with discipline and translation for our Somali student’s and their families. His wife and a couple of his children live with him in a suburb but are unable to gain citizenship, because they might be terrorists. He might send them to Canada so they can become citizens there and be safe to live here.

Some of the Somali women that we work with in our English tutoring were sexually abused before fleeing their homelands. Many saw their husbands and children killed. We can’t fully understand their story because of the language/culture barriers but also because the horror they experienced is too much to recount. We try to be their friends and help them navigate and understand more about the US so that they can feel more comfortable here.

I could share more stories but I think these give a glimpse into what it means to be a refugee. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have suffered through a horrible ordeal and relocating at great cost and pain, and then having to adjust to a new culture and the hurt and pain that can come with that.

Please take a second and pray for the individuals in the story I shared, a refugee you may know, or for refugees in general. If you want to do more there are many great organizations working with refugees around the world. World Vision, World Relief, Catholic Charities, Refugees International and the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children are just a few.

This post is a part of Bloggers Unite For Refugees.

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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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If you didn’t know today is Blog Action Day around the world!!!

Thousands of bloggers are writing about poverty today and offering radical ways to end poverty. It is an interesting idea and has produced some great posts. My BAD post is simply a wrap-up to the Team World Vision fundraising!! I am so super excited that my family and friends were willing to donate over $2,100 towards World Vision and supporting my marathon. You can see my official BAD post here.

I know World Vision will put that money to great use in eliminating poverty in Africa. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

A quick thought about ways that I’m involved in eliminating poverty:

  • Working for an inner-city school with a large immigrant population – trying to find ways to enhance the learning environment and educational experiences for 400 kids.
  • Tutoring Somali adults so that they can learn English and obtain US Citizenship.
  • Providing another peaceful presence on our block and being involved in the neighborhood.
  • Being involved in a church that is focused on show the love of Jesus to our neighbors.
  • We support a child in Ghana through World Vision.
  • We partner with several friends who are working internationally trying to bring peace and justice to the communities they work in.
  • We recently made a small business loan through OptINNow a Christian micro-lending organization. Our loan helped a Kenyan man expand his retail outlet.
  • We haven’t done this in awhile, but shopping at a Goodwill or Salvation Army store gives you some great deals while supporting their job training programs.
  • We actively advocate for the end of Genocide and other issues related to international and local poverty.
  • I blog a lot about social justice and poverty!

This is just a start… what are you doing to end poverty? Here is a list of 88 Ways to Do Something About Poverty.

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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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There is nothing more important than having a passion that drives you. You probably know that two of my passions are running and Africa (if you didn’t know you do now!). I have decided to bring these two passions together to create something exciting and hopefully powerful and life changing. Read on to learn more!

A few years ago while lining up for the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon, I noticed a guy wearing a bright orange jersey with the World Vision logo all over it and the words “Team World Vision”. I found that quite interesting, but didn’t really have time to talk with him before the race started. When I got home I did some research and found out that World Vision has a fund raising program where individuals join the Team, raising money while competing in an athletic event.

Since then I have thought about when would be a good time to join Team World Vision and combine running and Africa. When I started thinking about running my first marathon, I decided this would be the time. I will be running the Twin Cities Marathon, here in Minneapolis on October 5, 2008. I am about halfway through the training and it is going really well. Christy and I decided that this would be a good time to raise money for World Vision in honor of our friends across Africa. We set a goal of raising $2,000, which is roughly $76 per mile! My goal for the marathon is to cover the 26.2 mile distance in 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Will you join our team and support me as I train for this important race and vision? Your gift of any size will have tremendous impact. World Vision is one of the most respected humanitarian organizations in the world today. You can make your tax-deductible donation by visiting the secure website at http://www.firstgiving.com/teamcross

Thank you for your friendship and your ongoing support!

With thanks and hope,

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