While in Malawi, Africa, my daughter, Roseanna, and I had the opportunity of a lifetime to meet with the family we have been sponsoring for the
past 16 years. During this timeframe, we have walked with them through periods of growth as well as hardship. Pictured are a grandmother and four of her grandchildren. Not pictured are a sister who died of Malaria at age 10, the children’s father who passed away 6 years ago, and their mother, who remarried after losing her husband, and as their culture dictates, went to live with her new husband and his family. In all these difficulties, the family has remained intact with the support of the community.
For almost 20 years, their community has been part of an Area Development Project that has brought much positive change. Clean water and sanitation training have greatly improved their health. Children
who before suffered from stunting, now have better nutrition and
better health care. The two younger children, who we still sponsor, are
in secondary school and learning some English along with their other studies. While there, we had the opportunity to share a meal with the family and meet with members of the community. The words of a song that a group of young people sang, “We will never forget you,” still ring in my ears.
Roseanna and I traveled to Malawi to attend a conference where World Vision staff were gathered from many parts of the world to be encouraged and trained in helping communities help themselves to thrive in places where a lack of resources makes life very difficult. Helping people understand who God really is, how much He loves them and how He wants to use them to bless their family and community where they live, is foundational to creating the environment for this to happen. World Vision calls this “A Biblically Empowered World View.” Two days of the conference were spent in the field, meeting people whose lives have been changed for generations. They have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, now have access to clean water, a way to earn a livelihood, and a network of Christians who speak openly about the love that is extended to them by the grace of God.
Sponsoring this family, a vision trip to the Dominican Republic, and a conference in NYC with Dru Dodson focusing on the work in Haiti, had a big impact in our family getting so involved with the work World Vision is doing. I am so grateful to the members of Lake Valley for the children you sponsor in Haiti, where we also continue to sponsor children. Your sponsorship will have a lasting impact for generations to come.
For the past five years, our family has focused on new sponsorships in Honduras. Unlike the effort required to make a trip to Africa or the difficulties of Haiti, travel to Honduras takes only a half day and a trip to see the work and meet the children takes only three to four days. If interested in a future trip we will be making, please let me know. – JIM SMITH