Tag Archive: world vision

this has been quite an eventful week.


World Vision made a dramatic did-they-really-not-expect-the-reaction-it-got decision involving allowing employees to be in same-sex marriages.

the Evangelical response was strong with notable Christian speakers such as John Piper and Franklin Graham speaking out against the decision and many Christians apparently withdrawing support for World Vision and specifically for the children they support via World Vision.

a day or two later World Vision does a wibbly-wobbly and reverses their decision with president Rich Stearns answering some questions about the matter which included the fact that some of their staff had resigned because of stress:

We had a few in the past few days resigned partially because of stress. You can imagine some of the folks in our call center that our answering our 800 line. They’re receiving an earful of anger. I think we had a few people who couldn’t handle the stress and the anxiety created by the incoming calls.

the decision being reversed also had a dramatic impact on the organisation:

Within an hour of the reversal, the call volume dropped. The angry calls stopped and dropped to a much lower level. Some of the sponsors called back to reinstate their sponsorships.

The Twitterer was on fire with every well-known Christian writer/speaker/blogger having something to say including Rachel Held Evans:

I have never in my life been more angry at the Church or more embarrassed to be a Christian. It feels like a betrayal from every side.


meanwhile, on the other side of town, i posted a story from my friend, Irma, as part of the Taboo Topics section of my blog, on the topic of abortion, where there were special circumstances with both of the babies she lost and where she and her husband had wrestled with the decisions and ultimately she admitted that she still didn’t know if they did the right thing.

i am very much pro life and anti abortion, but when you read a story like Irma’s you realise how not black-and-white those issues can be when there are lives at risk and beyond the issue itself i was very interested to see how people, especially christians, would respond and for the most part there was a lot of love, grace and compassion on offer, but then also responses like this:

I don’t think that there is Any excuse for abortion. We have to suffer for our children and truly lay down our lives for them. those born normal and not. not just abort when the child doesn’t look normal or deformed. thats playing GOD. people died during child birth to give birth to babies that died , were sick and weren’t normal. no amount of justification will remove the fact that you took away a life. I don’t think God favors abortion, under any circumstance. He is a God of forgiveness, yes, but this is coming across as someone who just took things into their own hands and doesn’t have the faith that they speak so much about.

LET’S LET GOD BE GOD [as if we could stop Him!]

A couple of things to take note of:

# In Matthew 22 Jesus is asked what the most important thing is and His response is to love God with everything [heart, soul, strength, mind] and to love our neighbour as ourselves. [Later on He adds enemy to people we need to love and reminds us that His definition of ‘neighbour’ is everyone else in the world and particularly the person in need]

# In John 13 we read: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

# In James 1 we read two important things to take note of here: 26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Tight reign of tongue and look after orphans and widows.

# In Matthew 25’s parable of the sheep and the goats, those who are sent to eternal punishment were not sent away because of their bad theology or because they failed to judge those who had messed up – they did not hit the mark because they ignored the hungry, naked, sick, thirsty, imprisoned etc.

There should be no doubt that our primary focus needs to be love. God is going to be doing the judging and each of us will stand in front of Him one day giving account of our lives and actions and maybe more importantly the times we failed to show love, compassion and grace, mercy and forgiveness.

Jesus has a lot of encounters with terribly sinful people and the ‘Go and sin no more’ of his encounter with the woman caught in sin is a reminder that He never takes their sin lightly or dismisses it. But we don’t see Him making the ‘horrible sinners’ feel bad and in fact He is accused of hanging around with the drunkards and prostitutes which means that they probably enjoyed being around Him and not because He made them feel bad i imagine. In fact the major time we see Jesus making people feel bad, it is the Pharisees and the Sadducees who held so strongly on to ‘the law’ and used it to place heavy burdens on those seeking God.


God is the judge – let Him judge.

We are called to hold people accountable yes, but let the phrase “Speak the Truth in Love” always be our guide and mentor.

And whatever we do, wherever we get it wrong, or are not sure, we HAVE to always get LOVE right. That is the highest call on us and we cannot get that one wrong. Love, compassion, grace, mercy, forgiveness, friendship, community… but always LOVE.

God will be God. [He’s pretty good at it!]


I discovered that this week was the Global Week of Sharing [sharemydream.org] and the invitation was to be ‘sharing your website or blog this week with someone who’s dream you share and want to encourage. Ask them to write a guest post for your site about their dream.’ My South African friend Uel Maree was the first guy that came to mind and he agreed to share his story on my blog, for which i am eternally grateful… meet Uel Maree, the life of the party:uel


…and then i dived into the river & broke my neck.

Prior to that i “had it all”. 27 years old, a job i loved, living in beautiful Cape Town, beach on the weekends, outdoor adventures on the surrounding mountains, involved in my local church. Life was good.

However after my accident, being paralysed from the shoulders down, there was a definite spanner in the works. No more job, no more beach, no more mountains, no more church, no… more… movement.

100 days in hospital, operations, emergency procedures, tubes down my throat, purified foods, specialists telling me to accept my condition…. Why not just let it rain indoors as well? Hahaha.

I was an avid rock climber so people used to ask me, “Why do you climb the mountain & not use the cable car?” I always remembered then the bruises & cuts i received along the climbs, looking up from the base at what seemed like an impossibility but then i would forget its size but rather focus on the next step & the next handhold. Eventually i would look down from the peek & smile over the world. You see, mountaintop experiences are great but what makes them truly special is the work it took to get there. Generally free things are never as appreciated as earned things.

We stretch & work our body & senses more often than we do our mind & spirit, they need exercise too. For many of us, our cushy jobs, easy lifestyles & facebook addiction this fast world assaults our senses with, keeps us so busy floundering around the shallows that we never explore the deep recesses within ourselves. I know, i was there & at times still am. I was forced into having  a time-out from the world after my accident & i’m grateful that the experience taught me that the eternal things really worth putting effort into in life are friends, family, relationships, love & God. The flashing lights & latest gadgets can only satisfy for short periods until u need your next fix. Its taking half a day to sit without a phone, book or IPod & explore that dusty room in your mind, open its curtains, sweep its floors, rearrange its furniture & see who you really are. I pray that nobody ever has to physically go through what i am BUT, i do hope that everybody takes time out for self-discovery before ending up in a difficult situation (which you will) or before time runs out (which it will). The magic doesn’t happen in your comfort zone. Your career generates your salary, but its your calling that makes your life.

Forward thinking is great, future planning is wonderful.

Yes we’ve seen this day’s dawn but that doesn’t guarantee us this day’s dusk.

Stop living only for this coming weekend, stop living only for the next holiday,
but start living for the only moment that is truly ours, right here, right now. Make these seconds count more than the thoughts of a future that is not yet yours.

I know, i almost died… face down in a river.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15)

“2 farmers pray for rain but only 1 of them goes out to prepare His field. Which 1 do you think trusts God…. ” – Facing The Giants

Seems like im finding myself standing at my field, being reminded by God & my peers, to not turn away but to keep sowing with an expectant heart…

Though sometimes we get so fixated on staring at the ground or other people’s fields, waiting for the seed we want to grow, that we forget to look up at the rest of our field & see the endless sunflowers that we planted a while back but are now waist high 🙂

I’m convinced that seeds take longer to grow when we stare at them 😛

We cant bear fruit until our trees are grown.

So my outlook has changed. Sure i cant walk… yet 😉 but i have more now then before my accident & that’s thanks to having learnt (& still learning) how to reevaluate all i see & have through a different filter….. eternity.

We’re all different & there’s different ways to do things BUT its all built on a universal Truth & there’s no changing that.

Uel Maree 

“Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.”
[You can join the Pray for Uel Maree group on Facebook to stay in touch with his progress and more importantly his wickedly good sense of humour]

Trevor and the Mann’s [the irony being the rest of them aren’t] are a family I met in Florida last year when they flew us up to speak at a youth function and spoiled us horribly. He is a very busy man and so this is a short offering but exactly the kind of thing i was looking for – a fairly simple way of instilling a great life lesson in their daughter:


Don’t have time to write much but Nicki, Lacie and I have given each other items from World Vision’s gift catalog.

I think my favorite was that I once received a goat. Obviously, I didn’t receive it but a needy family in a 3rd world country did. Lacie usually chooses clothing and meds. It’s a great lesson/experience to share with your family. Here’s the link: http://donate.worldvision.org/OA_HTML/xxwv2ibeCCtpSctDspRte.jsp?section=10389

[To read the next powerful story of a family moving into an area considered to be really dangerous and how that has affected their children, read here] 

Let this be a least of these Christmas

a little while ago i put a general request out on facebook to see what fun and creative things people were doing or have done for Christmas in terms of using the season as a way to reach out to those who are less fortunate than us or considered by the world as ‘the least of these’ and this bunch of great opportunities emerged…

[i don’t normally allow smiley faces on my blog, but we are talking Christmas here…]

if you haven’t yet taken time to think of something that is not focused on just you and your family and friends for Christmas then perhaps there is something in this list that you could commit to putting your time or money or energy into doing?

or perhaps you are part of something else creative, fun and inspiring that you want to share with others or invite others to be a part of this coming Christmas time? please add a comment below and add you thing and give us a link so we can see how to get involved!

or maybe just reading this blog inspires some creativity in you and you have an idea, or get together with your family or friends and come up with an idea of something new and creative and life-transforming to do for someone or a group of someones who otherwise might not have the greatest Christmas – tell us about it!

Christmas giving












i am thinking of your next door neighbor whose name you don’t even know… the lonely old folks who don’t have any family coming to visit them at the local Senior’s home… the cancer ward in the local hospital… the man with the sign at the traffic light begging for money… a family from another religion who live nearby and don’t celebrate Christmas? someone who you have refused to forgive or a friendship that you just allowed to drift that once meant a lot more to you? the local police station crew? and so on…

this should be our heart and attitude always but for some reason, Christmas gives many of us a bit more of a nudge than we are normally accustomed to do and so why not make the most of it. and don’t do it alone. get people you love involved. often people are just waiting for an idea or opportunity. it doesn’t have to cost any money but if you have money it can cost a worthwhile contribution.

so, in the order that they arrived [and waiting for some links which i will add as i receive them] here are some things people are doing – PLEASE add yours in the comments section or at least the commitment you have to do something outside of yourself…

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Brendan Leslie Vermaak: We run a Soup kitchen/feeding scheme during the year, but every Christmas we have an extra special sit down Christmas lunch for the poor and destitute within our town. Check it out.

Link to last year’s party photos.

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Jonothan Rawson: My wife’s involved in this

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Ashley Brownlee: Will be handing out 50 plus shoebox Christmas gifts in an impoverished area near Ladysmith tomorrow. We’ve been visiting this creche for almost three years now, and will post photographs after the event.

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Godz Garage: Thanks Brett Fish Anderson. We’ll be serving breakfast again this year on Christmas morning, and distributing gifts to children in the community. We will also be having a family dinner at our home for others to join us who may not have a family. Much love to you bro! Tim

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Kristin Heineman: World Vision has a great Christmas giving catalog online.

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Valerie Duffield Anderson: Robin Pocock, was it you who shared that super cool no heatcooking contraption christmas present vibe?

Robin Pocock: Yes! I am using mine right now to cook soup 🙂

Valerie Duffield Anderson: wasn’t there an SA group that was promoting them as gifts for low-income families complete with several ingredients and stuff?

Robin Pocock: Yip here is their Facebook group. For R150 you get the bag and a whole bunch of food:

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Katie O’Connor: My church is doing our Annual Christmas Spectacular 🙂 I invited you all and we are in the process of updating our web!

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Heather Lane: I’ve got a PDF of ways for peeps to bless the children of Linawo this Christmas although you should have received that already 🙂 We’ve just about covered the costs to send the kids on various church camps as part their Christmas gifts – I love Jesus presents!

Emailing me is best: heatherwsa@gmail.com. I’ve also attached the document with more details. Unfortunately we don’t have a website (STILL!!) but peeps can also make donations via GivenGain. This link takes peeps directly to the ‘donate now’ page.

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What else is there? What are you personally going to be involved in this year end? The difference you make to someone could be life-transforming!


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