As of the time of writing this page, I have officially given notice today that I will be ending my support of my World Vision Australia as a Child Supporter. This decision was reached in consultation with God and confirmed by cell group members.
World Vision has had my support for the longest time. Back in Secondary School (1995 – 1999), as a House charity cause, we supported a child. One of the interesting stories was that during that four year journey, something happened and the supported child changed – but we didn’t realise this straight-away…
During that same period of the 1990s, within the Youth Group at Clayton Church, we supported World Vision Australia in their 40 Hour Famine program. Over the years, I have participated in the program so many times that I have lost count. I definitely did the 40-hour fast at least three times during my teens, and at least another five times during my university days. Add to that, as a young working adult within Surge three times means I probably have fasted at least 10 times with the World Vision program. Not all years did I fast from food – I did fast and abstain from other things, such as technology (once).
Since 2008, I have supported a Bangladesh child, who at the time was eight years old. For six years, until now (May 2014) I have continuously provided the monthly support to his community. I had picked this particular child because we shared the same birthday. Via the reminders and communication tools World Vision had in place, we regularly swapped hand-written letters where we were able to maintain correspondence. World Vision was particularly good at ensuring birthdays and Christmas cards were sent in a timely fashion. Via the letters and cards, I was able to learn that he was getting schooling, learning basic English and very fond of soccer. One of the interesting aspects which I took in stride was the religious teachings and influence of the local culture and temple. Whilst World Vision has been very clear that their programs are not specifically religious and that they will assist anyone no matter what their faith – I’m not sure to what extent the child and his community were aware that the support they receive from countries like Australia were via Christian-based organisations.
It has only been in recent times that I learnt of the shared historical origins of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse. Both were founded by Robert Pierce. However, the two groups approach their Christian identity and mission differently; Samaritan’s Purse with a more explicit Christian focus whereas World Vision tone down the religious nature. Indeed, to serve and represent Samaritan’s Purse requires a Christian faith whereas World Vision allows anyone to work for them, whilst acknowledging and requesting respect of the Christian, bible-based practices.
So, whilst my support of World Vision spans a 20-year period and is no longer active, I do so for personal reasons. As aligned to my calling, I believe God seeks quality over quantity. That is, my ongoing charity support will shift more to giving of time rather than just finances. In this way, World Vision may still have my spiritual and ad-hoc support – their impact on the world and developing countries remains as important as ever.