September 2009

Westerville Christian Church has a mission statement that you not only see written on the walls of the church but also on the hearts of its members: Love God, Love People.  What an incredible church with a huge heart for their community.  The sanctuary where the church meets in is actually a gym that they use for a huge sports ministry open to the community of Westerville.  This was the room the exhibit was set up, they moved their weekly services to a smaller room so they hosted not the normal two services but four!

WCC’s heart for the community was also evident in the many groups that came through the exhibit – junior high and high schoolers, nursing students and college students. There were many great opportunities for us to share the work of World Vision and the numerous ways for people of all ages involved in World Visions work,

One of the Experience volunteers was from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and she had heard about the Experience through her friends in Ethiopia!  She moved to the Columbus area six years ago to attend school and is currently pursuing her medical degree. Recently she went home to Addis Ababa to visit and discovered several of her friends were working for World Vision Ethiopia.  She loved learning what they were doing for World Vision and the way the community was being transformed and asked how she could get involved here in the states.  They were the ones that told her about the Experience and e-mailed her to notify her that we would be in Columbus.  Pretty incredible!

Thank you for a great week Westerville, it was an honor to serve the community beside you , can’t wait to hear about the trip to Zimbabwe!

We spent 4 wonderful days in Kansas City at Evangel Temple.   Although this site was short it was packed with great stories and lots of hearts changed for suffering children around the world. A great example is a group of a junior high students who walked through the exhibit.  After they had all gone through a story they decided as a group, to empty their pockets and purchase a Caregiver kit!  They were so excited to be able to contribute!

As we were tearing down the exhibit we had the VERY best carpet races!  Not only did every participant finish the game successfully, but one group in particular was extremely creative in presenting their large wad of tape — into a fruit basket.  Yes, you read that right.  Who knew that a large wad of tape could be molded into a fruit basket?!  Only at Evangel 🙂  We were extremely impressed with the creativity of those who participated!  (see photo below!)

It was wonderful to be a part of a church that is fairly new to World Vision, and were so eager to help by setting up, volunteering, or sponsoring a child. It was a blessing to be at Evangel!

If you went to the exhibit at Evangel, feel free to leave a comment about your experience!

We kicked off the start of our busy fall scheduled at the Community Church of Hendersonville — a great community on the outskirts of the Nashville area. The church was more than ready for us by the time we arrived. Billboards were posted around town, radio stations advertising and a great week with a concert and a children’s night planned. We had great attendance and even heard a story about one couple who was visiting from California and decided to come to the exhibit while on their vacation after learning about it from their waitress!

We heard stories throughout week about visitors whose eyes were opened to the issue of HIV and AIDS and felt they finally had a way to make a difference. One visitor shared “I have felt let to contribute in some way for awhile now and am extremely thankful God has blessed me with this opportunity [sponsorship]!  Since I can’t be there with them now, helping in this way seems like the next best thing.”

We were also able to learn more about the local ministries and nonprofits within Hendersonville. We spent the entire week getting to know and becoming huge fans of the founding members (ages 10 and 12) of Together We CAN Make a Difference, a nonprofits that uses aluminum cans to raise money for wells with World Vision. It is something they’ve been doing for a year and have collected over 700lbs of cans they turned into cash for shares of a well with World Vision. What an example to find ways to get involved with World Vision at any age!

It was an incredible week with many new friends, great stories and changed lives.

What a great week at Christ Church of Oak Brook! A wonderful congregation of people, who were so willing to go the extra mile in everything they did.

During the week we had a gal come back to the exhibit the day after she had initially walked through. Her good friend had sponsored a child 2 days ago and received a free copy of The Hole in Our Gospel using automatic payment withdrawals. This gal came back and said her good friend had gone home, read the entire book in ONE sitting — and couldn’t stop talking about how powerful it was. This gal came back and chose to sponsor a child just to receive a free book. She was SO excited to read it.  She called her daughter while in the marketplace to tell her to come down and see the exhibit. She was so moved by her experience that she wanted to tell others, and continue learning about World Vision and how she could make an impact.

We also received a lovely email from a volunteer:

“…Then your lovely exhibit came to Christ Church. I have to confess to you that going into the week I was a little skeptical of how the lives of these children would be portrayed. I have seen many well intentioned organizations do a poor job of showing the struggles of day to day life in Africa, and many innocent children accidentally exploited in their wake. How wrong I was to be suspicious! As I walked through the exhibit of Emmanuel, I appreciated so many of the details in what you were doing. The “hut” displays were well done, not too sanitized, not glamorized, but a fair representation of what my kids described to me as daily life in Africa. I also appreciated the rawness of their tale, and the depiction of the stigma that many aids affected children face from family and community, and the worry that comes with being the head of a household at the age of 10.

God used this exhibit to gently blow on those embers in my heart and to reignite that flame of 15 years ago, calling me to action, and calling me back to help the workers who are few and the needs which are many. Please pray for me as I seek further marching orders…”

God worked in wonderful ways at Oak Brook, it was a great week and we celebrate how God used them in a mighty way.