Hello, my name is Matt and I’m one of the new staff for The Village at the Northtown Mall in Spokane, WA. Before joining the World Vision team in Spokane, I interned in Seattle this past summer after graduating from Eastern Washington University. We have been in Spokane for three weeks and it’s been a great experience talking with people about World Vision, Count On Spokane and child sponsorship.

I have spent a lot of time in The Village presenting a 7-min movie entitled “Brenda” in our mini theater and challenging visitors to consider getting involved through WV child sponsorship. (to learn more about it, click here) ‘Brenda’ is an uplifting and inspiring story of a little girl in Uganda featuring the power of developmental progress done by WV in her community. The five main areas of development are: clean water, food and nutrition, education, health care, and economic growth. As I watched Brenda’s video over and over I started to notice subtle images that opened my eyes about life in Africa and other parts of the world. Brenda collects water three times a day, but I can’t imagine having to do this even if it was just down the street. Throughout the video she doesn’t wear shoes, even when carrying heavy jugs of water down dirt roads. Everyone in the video is always wearing the same clothes (except when they’re at school,) and their clothes don’t look very clean. Yet Brenda says in the video she is always happy. A pretty bold statement when you think about it. She has so little but yet God has given her so much joy through her friends, family and sponsors that love her — she is happy with the life she has.

It made me think how much of a blessing sponsorship can be for a child. I have been giving a child sponsorship challenge to visitors after every video, talking about how it can make a difference in a child’s life for about a dollar a day. I’ve also talked about sponsorship dollars going towards development within communities; and that World Vision’s goal is to build sustainable communities so these children, as well as future children, have a better chance in life. After watching Brenda’s story so many times and seeing how happy and blessed she is through her sponsorship, and knowing that World Vision really is making a difference — I started looking at kids on our Sponsorship Wall and I considered sponsoring a child myself. That’s how I found the child, “Innocent” and chose to sponsor him. He lives in Rwanda with his mom, two brothers and two sisters, and just had is 14th birthday this month. I’m excited to hear how World Vision is helping his community that has been severely affected by HIV and AIDS and how sponsorship will change his life.

We’re in our final week here at the Village, if you know anyone in Spokane make sure to send them our way!

— Matt

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Hello, everyone! Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Rebecca, one of the “newbies” to the Count on Spokane tour team (click here to learn more about Count on Spokane.) After three months as an intern with World Vision, I am very thankful to have the opportunity to be spending this month on staff with World Vision for Count on Spokane. It’s been an incredible experience thus far, and here’s a little taste why:

The other day, a four-year-old boy was sitting in the front row of The Village mini-theater, watching the story of a girl named Brenda, from Uganda. I was standing in the back, he was with his Mom and baby sisters, and had blonde-blonde hair, blue-blue eyes and eyebrows that were so light, they were more like “suggestions” of eyebrows.

Inside the "mini" theatre

Inside the "mini" theatre

Now, for those of you who haven’t seen the film, there’s a point at which Brenda explains that she carries water (barefoot, might I add) three times a day. The moment he heard that, this boy spun around in his seat on the bench, looked right at me with wide eyes, and exclaimed loud enough for all to hear: “THREE TIMES A DAY!?!?” In the moment it was humorous to me, and I tried to quietly control my laughter. The more I thought about it, though, the less it was funny and the more it was sad to me.

You see, I’ve been here with The Village nearly two weeks. In that time, not enough people have had the reaction my little blonde buddy did. I haven’t even had that reaction as much as I should. If he – at approximately four years old – understands, and is outraged by, Brenda having to carry water three times a day, why aren’t more of us who claim to be “older and wiser?” If only we were all as quick to recognize and react to the fact that there is something wrong with that picture.

This past Saturday’s Caregiver Kit Build (here at the NorthTown Mall with The Village) was such a success! God led such an abundance of people to the build, that they assembled 500 kits in 45 minutes! For me, that is encouraging as we press on in the second half of our time here, and continue to count on Spokane. Thank you for all the continued prayers and support!

— Rebecca

The Grove in Riverside, CA was a great site–we just finished up this past weekend and it was a wonderful week!  This church did something very unique — they created an “Experience” for their children’s ministry during the week.  Lots of kids were able to walk through an interactive display showing what life is like in Africa — and it was all geared towards children, it was great!

Marilee Pierce Dunker came to speak (Bob Pierce’s daughter, founder of World Vision) — it was an honor to listen to her speak and share her heart for suffering children.

The Grove is heavily involved in Uganda and have taken several trips to the community of Aber where World Vision is working (northern area in Uganda).  Their heart for this area is evident, and it was amazing to see a large congregation focused on the same purpose — to help those who are suffering.  Thank you to everyone involved in planning for the event!

If you attended the Experience at The Grove please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the week.