Author Archive: World Vision Malaysia Admin

“If I can do more, why not?” says Wye Yee, sponsor of 45 children

by Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

MALAYSIA: Cherish relationships, and do what you can. These are two pillars of Yong Wye Yee’s approach to life, and a belief she stands behind in everything she does.

Under World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Programme, Wye Yee currently sponsors 45 children from countries all over the world and writes regularly to them.

“I believe in writing letters, that through the relationship the child knows that miles and miles away there’s someone who cares about them,” she said.

Her first sponsored child, U. Munkherdene from Mongolia, graduated from the programme last year after 11 years of sponsorship. He left home to continue his studies in a vocational school.

Pulling out letters and photographs marking years of correspondence, Wye Yee said she was very touched when during a visit to Munkherdene’s hometown in Nalaikh in 2012, he shyly thrust a traditional purse into her hand.

Wye Yee and Munkherdene during her visit to Nalaikh ADP in 2012

Wye Yee and Munkherdene during her visit to Nalaikh ADP in 2012

“I was so touched when he gave me the gift,” she said, adding she had been surprised at how shy and reserved he was when she met him, as he was so open and expressive in his letters.

Over the years, as her career flourished, Wye Yee gradually sponsored more children each year. The 45 children she sponsors today hail from China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Laos, Lebanon, India, Mongolia, Thailand and South Africa.

“Why sponsor so many? Again, it’s back to philosophy and values. Also, World Vision is a good channel and trustworthy organisation.  I ask myself: if I can do more, why not?”

An engineer by training and volunteer at heart, Wye Yee grew up wanting to make a difference in the lives of others and was actively involved in many charities and organisations.

“I was on the lookout to give back [to society] and when I found out about the Child Sponsorship programme back in 2002, I thought it was something good I could give to.

“I really liked the fact that it’s not a general donation, and that I could so easily and conveniently contribute to a child’s well-being,” she said.

Labour prompted by Love

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Here’s Michelle sharing a lighthearted moment with Mr Lam, Lac Son ADP Manager

By Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

The tall, narrow buildings looked like colourful blocks as our bus left busy Hanoi and headed into Vietnamese countryside. Suddenly, the tiny green patches I had seen from the plane became lush paddy fields stretching far and wide until towering mountain ranges stopped them from conquering the horizon altogether.

I was on my way to Lac Son, a province in northern Vietnam. World Vision Malaysia is the support office for an Area Development Programme there, and we were taking a group of Malaysian sponsors (and their companions) to visit their sponsored children.

Having been in World Vision Malaysia for three months, I still feel new. Every day poses a new challenge, a new climb. When I was asked if I would be willing to travel to Lac Son and gather stories for some of our publications, my first thought was, “God, is this You?”

I had come into World Vision after months of an incredible struggle between surrender and safety. Having taken unpaid leave from my previous job to attend a three-month Bible school, I had already felt that something new was coming. And when He told me to leave my job and simply trust Him with my future, I knew the something new had come. It was terrifying.

Three months later, after many tears, crippling fears and learning to utterly depend on a God I knew I could trust but was many times afraid to, I found myself in World Vision.

Another three months on, and there I was: sitting in a crowded bus, surrounded by Manglish chatter and an almost tangible air of excitement as we left the colourful buildings behind. Settling into the steady jolting of the bus, I had a quiet conversation with God, thanking Him for this rare opportunity and asking Him to keep my heart close to His. I really wanted the trip to be more than an assignment; I wanted to know Him better.

Needless to say, He never disappoints. Throughout the entire trip, I felt as though I was on a journey into the middle of His heart. Each day revealed a little more of God’s heart, a greater revelation of who He is. And as I discovered more of Him, I learnt more about myself, my faith and my work.

Growing up, I’d always wanted to love and serve God perfectly. But it hardly seemed attainable. I eventually burnt out after years of trying to be the ‘good’ Christian, disillusioned and discouraged. It was in Bible school that I reconnected with Him and embraced the knowledge that He has a great purpose for my life. All I need to do is trust Him.

My time in Lac Son was where He reassured me that World Vision is where He wants me to be, right now. I had always wanted my work to be my ministry, and it’s definitely easier to find that place in a Christian organisation. However, it’s also easy to lose sight of it. In marketing, I sometimes find myself chasing numbers instead of looking to the One who brings in the numbers. In Lac Son, the Lord brought everything back into focus.

It was also during this trip that I saw this truth in action: God is love. I’ve known this phrase ever since I could read, but I have begun to see it with greater clarity.  He is love. As a Christ-centred organisation, World Vision therefore works from a place of love. It is His vision of love we weave into people’s lives with each step we take toward community transformation.

I saw His love everywhere. It was in Canh—an ADP sponsorship staff—who knew the name of every child running up to her trying to steal a hug and hello. I saw it shining through the gentle Mr Lam, faithfully leading his small but passionate team of staff committed to serving the poorest of the poor. I saw it amongst the child sponsors as they lugged their big suitcases and bigger hearts, bearing gifts for the children.

And I saw what His love brings—the shining confidence in Nguyet’s eyes as she recounted how, through World Vision’s training and help, she became a successful chicken farmer; the contagious joy in the children’s laughter as they darted around muddy puddles and yellowing columns; the beads of sweat glistening on young Minh’s forehead, proof of a healthy boy no longer suffering from a debilitating heart condition but now able to play football with friends.

I now realise my work extends far beyond the confines of my cubicle and the tapping away of fingers on my keyboard. From child sponsors to sponsored children, fundraising staff to field staff, volunteers to donors—we are all part of His vision of love. Immersed in His love, it spills out in everything we are and do. It starts with Christ, and ends with Him.

So I pray that my eyes remain fixed on Jesus, and that I live in the reality of my Father’s love for me. For I know that as long as I stay in that place, I will carry His vision of love—in my work, in my home and in my world.  As the Thessalonians lived, I too want my work to be inspired by faith, labour to be prompted by love and endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

That’s my world vision.

A place at the table

by Rachelle Gan
World Vision Malaysia

You could say food means a lot to me. In fact, food is a part of most of my best memories. Never food at fancy dinners or feasts, but home cooked fare and street food gems. Warm meals shared amongst loved ones at down to earth places which allow for easy conversation and laughter. Knowing all is good as it is, that there are people who will care for you long after the table is cleared.

The significance of what food represents and what we associate it with makes it so much more than just a necessity, although that in itself is significant enough. There is a bond that comes from willingly sharing a meal in good time and talking over your thoughts and experiences. Over time you build your own culture and rhythm, an inner stability you carry with you even as times change and dinner companions are no longer the same.

On a base level these kinds of interactions encourages one to think for oneself, to care for the importance of nourishing oneself, and by extension caring for others. Truly, the joy and appreciation for food is just the beginning, a basic first step leading to a joy and appreciation of the other little things in life.

Admittedly I never had to worry about my next meal, or having enough to eat. There would always be food and all that came with it. Many of us never had to deal with the insecurity of not knowing if one of the most basic survival necessities of humanity was going to be simply, cruelly out of reach. There was always a place at the table for us.

Although I will never fully understand the depths of actual real hunger, it pains me nonetheless to think of the child who does. A lack of food security goes beyond the terrible clutch of hunger, the effects reach far into a child’s life.

A hungry child’s brain and body will not mature as they should without the proper nutrients, and many of these children can be emotionally stressed from the strained home life of a family who cannot afford to buy food. Additionally, their futures are affected should they have to neglect school and work to earn money to avoid starvation.

The few memories these kids treasure will be haunted, maybe even eclipsed by the daily grind of hunger, of uncertainty, of hopes dashed and unfulfilled longing to see past the shadows of poverty. And I believe everyone deserves a chance to be free of such circumstances.

After all, everyone deserves a place at the table.

Click here to help children and families who face hunger and the lack of food security by contributing to the 30-Hour Famine Fund >>

A little girl in Myanmar is fed nutritious food after her mother received training in nutrition and hygiene from World Vision

A little girl in Myanmar is fed nutritious food after her mother received training in nutrition and hygiene from World Vision

Gratitude

by Yuen Shalyn
Communications
World Vision Malaysia

The word “Famine” took on a whole new meaning since I started working at World Vision Malaysia. 2014 is my third year participating in this annual event. It never fails to bring about a new perspective each time. This year, I learnt about GRATITUDE.

All staff are encouraged to fast together for 30 hours and this included a time of reflection. It was July 7 when all of us went through our usual day of work without food. It was initially liberating to go hungry for such a cause as we stepped into the shoes of those who struggle with hunger on a daily basis.

But as the day progressed, lethargy kicked in. With the stomach rumbling away, I found it difficult to concentrate. At that moment, the story of children struggling to stay attentive in class cause of hunger became real to me.

Did you know that 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world? (WFP, 2012)

Well, it was more than a number for me. The truth is that each hungry child is not able to concentrate, learn and perform specific tasks because hunger is very real. Education is one of the basic elements needed to create a safe place for children to thrive, while school meals will provide children at least one full meal a day. This helps children to learn better.

One of themes of this year’s 30-Hour Famine is on Child Safety. Every child should be safe, secure, protected and cherished. When it comes to children, the first thought that comes to mind is my 4-year-old daughter. How we, as parents will always try our best to provide an environment where our little ones can grow and flourish. Some of our concerns may be to provide our children the best education, a comfortable home, and to help cultivate their talents. But for many who are struggling with poverty, their main concern is to SURVIVE with basic provisions such as food, water and healthcare. I feel for the children but more too for the parents who by default are their pillars of strength and refuge.

My personal reflection on gratitude does not stop here. Yes, we should be grateful with how blessed we are while many are striving for mere survival. But more importantly, we should be more conscious on the needs of those struggling and start acting on how we can make a difference in their lives.

We were indeed grateful that our ‘next meal’ was served at 4pm, July 8 (after fasting for a total of 30 hours).

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The entire office breaking fast on July 8, 2014

For many, their hunger continues on. Leading up to the Famine Countdown, all of us at World Vision are reminded of how we together with the thousands of campers can do our part in creating a safe place for every child and for them to have hope of a better future!

To learn more about the 30-Hour Famine movement, check it out here: http://famine.worldvision.com.my

Mighty oaks from little acorns grow

by Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

My little bit is making a difference somewhere in the world; that’s what I’m conscious of everyday,” said child sponsor, Joyce Lai who is CEO of Educ8 Group Sdn Bhd as well as a merchandising company. Joyce currently sponsors two children through World Vision Malaysia.

Her first sponsored child was Shalini (age 14) from Kangayam, India, whom she sponsored from 2008 until early 2014 when World Vision successfully phased out of the area as the community is now self-sustainable.

“When I first decided to become a child sponsor in 2008, it was because I wanted to help children and was looking for ways to do so.”

A few months after becoming Shalini’s sponsor, Joyce went on a Sponsors’ Visit to Kangayam, where she saw firsthand how her contributions were being utilised to help Shalini and her community.

Joyce surrounded by children during her visit to Kangayam, India

Joyce surrounded by children during her visit to Kangayam, India

“The entire visit was overwhelming and emotional for me, mainly because I was really quite amazed at how my contribution was making such a big difference.

“If you look at the value of money today, RM65 is not much. What I like about World Vision’s model is that it’s all about sustainability: developing skills and investing in permanent solutions.

“It’s not about handouts or about giving for eternity; it’s about pulling them up to their feet and then giving them a little boost so they can carry on themselves,” she said.

During the visit, Joyce was also deeply affected by the work of World Vision’s field officers.

“I felt like my heart was expanding like a big balloon and would burst.

“They sacrifice and give up so much of their own lives, living with the communities to gain the trust so necessary to transformation; their faith must be very strong,” she said, tears welling in her eyes.

When Joyce returned home, she began corresponding with Shalini, who wrote back with tales of everyday life in school and at home. Once, Shalini sent her an entire scrapbook describing her family, community and interests.

In return, Joyce sent storyboards filled with images and short descriptions, introducing Shalini to her family and friends, her work and her travels. She would also send practical gifts.

Looking back on the six years in which she was able to journey with Shalini, Joyce hopes her letters and personal stories have inspired the teenager to hold on to hope.

“I believe we as child sponsors can be the ‘satellite’ that opens up their world to the possibilities beyond their circumstances. We plant hope and dreams in them so they can be inspired to do well in life,” she said.

Joyce finds it rewarding and liberating that Kangayam and the people there are now able to stand on their own feet and believes that their lives will continue to improve from there.

What was the best thing about being a child sponsor?, Joyce replied, “It is learning how every little bit counts in the path to sustainable change.

“Many of us tend to say, ‘Ah, someone else can do it lah.’ But when you’re conscious of what’s going on, you’d take the five minutes or spare what you can to be more caring and giving

“It’s my little bit that is making a difference somewhere in this world; that’s what I’m conscious of everyday,” she said.

Joyce beams as she proudly holds up the scrapbook her sponsored child, Shalini made for her.

Joyce beams as she proudly holds up the scrapbook her sponsored child, Shalini made for her.

Indeed, every bit counts. When you sponsor a child, at least six more children in the community benefit. To find out more about child sponsorship, please call +603 7880 6414 or email [email protected]

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Pastors’ Field Visit To Arpana ADP, India

By Rev. Terrence K. K. Sinnadurai
Chairman, Desa Amal Jireh/Rumah Faith

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Group picture taken in front of World Vision India Office, Chennai, after an encouraging interaction session between the Malaysian pastors team and World Vision India on the first day of arrival. (From left to right: Front row –  Rev Calvin Lim, Rev Allen Tan, Dr Jayakumar Christian (CEO of World Vision India), Pastor Cheryl Lai, Rev Denise Yong; Second row – Rev Francis Ho, Sister Margaret, Brother Valentine; Last row – Pastor Faye Chen, Brother Joseph Lai, Rev Lynda Choi, Rev Terrence Sinnadurai, Brother Allen Benjamin. World Vision India staff)

I.    Introduction

Firstly I would like to thank World Vision Malaysia for inviting me to join the  Pastors’ Field Visit to Guntur, South India on May 19 – 23. This is my first visit to Andhra Pradesh .

Secondly, after being involved in social work for so many years, I realise that I am just touching the surface and our work is very small and specific compared to what World Vision (WV) is doing in India.

Thirdly, with limited funds and personnel, we can only do limited work but what World Vision is doing in India is a real eye opener. I would like to congratulate World Vision for their efforts.

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Pastor Faye Chen was showing the coloring work that she did happily together with one of the children in a community church that we visited.

II.    What Impacted Me Most During This Visit?

A.    First Impact – Adequate funding and personnel is needed to competently handle all the work that is being done. I also learnt one aspect of interdependence in the World Vision Partnership: the Malaysian office and other Support Offices in other countries commit to fund-raising while countries like India (designated National Offices) are the recipients of the fund. I realized that adequate funding is important to give good service to the poor. The rich must help the poor. The haves, the have-nots.

B.    Second Impact – That all of World Vision staff in India are passionate about the Lord and their work. Many are regular church goers, and some are even Bible College graduates. They work among all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. They are very professional in their approach. As they work among the poor and oppressed, their main aim is to promote human transformation, seek justice and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

C.    Third Impact – World Vision’s structure must be commended. The founders and those who have spent a lot of time in working out the structure must be commended for it seems very successful. I believe this is replicated in many countries. The World Vision head of India, Dr. Jayakumar Christian has a firm hold on the organization and runs it well with the help of the support staff.

D.    Forth Impact – World Vision’s emphasis on regular prayer is commendable.

III.    What Significant Benefits Can The World Vision Community Development Programme Bring Or Provide To Arpana ADP?

In my opinion WV is doing a tremendous job among the villages in Arpana. Initiatives like Economic Development, Education, Health and Sanitation and Community Empowerment seem very effective and are touching many lives and raising them from their level of poverty. Many families, individuals, ladies and students are being helped.

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Children of a school in Arpana gathered under the WV program of “Child Health Now” to pledge on their commitment towards health while receiving mosquito nets and livestocks supply. Malaysia pastors team was overwhelmed by the cheering and smiles of the children.

The only way I can see further significant benefits that can be extended to them is to help more people in more villages. Maybe more funds should be raised to give further help to reach out to more villages.

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A family headed by a widow living in a “home” made do by cloths and bamboo sticks. The children and family are deprived of security, protection and provision.

Secondly, I feel after spending resources on these projects, there must be another back up group that tactfully ministers to the spiritual aspect.

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Malaysia pastors were praying for the children and families who respond to the sharing of the gospel. Years of laboring with the people living with HIVs in this community has opened up the hearts to receive the good news of Christ – a holistic transformation that World Vision pursues with faith.

Fourthly, the schools are in deplorable conditions with poor furnishings. I understand the Government is only constructing the structure and not helping with the furnishing. It will be difficult for World Vision to furnish all the schools in the villages. I hope that World Vision can work further with the local politicians to look into the furnishings.

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A community centre that World Vision started with local villagers to give safe space for children to play and to learn, and to hold community meetings that emphasize on the well-being of children.

IV.    What Will Be The Positive Learning Lessons You Gain That May Contribute To The Christian Social Ministry in Malaysia

The situation in Arpana is different to Malaysia and as such we can’t adopt all the programs that are being done over there. Though it may be hard to find hardcore poor in our country, there may be pockets of them in certain places and relevant programs should be considered.

The only hard core poor I can think of are the Orang Asli in West Malaysia and the Pribumi in East Malaysia. World Vision and churches should penetrate into these Orang Asli villages with the relevant projects.

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Children in a school that we visited raise up their hands with excitement to express their response to “Child Health Now” project.

V.    What Are The Opportunities That You Have Discovered And Would Like to Explore Further To Support This Initiative With World Vision?

While visiting some places I was impressed to give an offering. But I think my offering will be a small drop in the vast ocean of World Vision’s financial need.

It will be good if World Vision can share her vision with the local churches so that we can partner with World Vision in the mission fields of these needy countries. Sponsoring children will be a good way to start with.

I think churches will come forward to partner more readily if the social emphasis which is an important way to break the ice with the community is capped with a spiritual emphasis too.

The remarkable thing called family

by Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

“You can’t leave the table until you finish eating your food.” The order was loud and clear. My five-year-old self did not even dare consider defying my mother’s stern look as she issued the command. Bitter gourd, ginger, garlic and avocado were the banes of my taste world. I thought nothing could be worse than gagging through mouthfuls on fateful days when Mum chose to cook the ‘foods that are good for you, Michelle’. In my five-year-old heart, I sincerely thought my parents revelled in my suffering.

Being (nearly) grown up now, though, I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. They’re more significant to me today, when my world has opened up a little bigger and I realise not everyone grows up with that wonderful gift called family. I have a father who taught me what it means to be protected, a mother who nursed my wounds and nurtured my soul, and a sister who is my best friend even though we’re thousands of miles apart today. They introduced me to the healing balm of love and walked me through the growing pains of growing up. And until today, I feel God’s love – when Pa waits up for me, and in Mum’s chicken curry which is by far one of the best in the world.

Today (May 15) is the International Day of Families. Let’s honour our families this month for being there for us, supporting and loving us through our wonderful moments, cranky days and at times, less than attractive tantrums.

Dejid, a mother of two, is all smiles with her family. She learnt nutrition and vegetable-growing skills through one of World Vision's projects in Mongolia. Today, she and her family are happy and healthy.

Dejid, a mother of two, learnt nutrition and vegetable-growing skills through one of World Vision’s projects in Mongolia. She has since started a greenhouse and helps the family income by selling her crops. Today, her family is happy and healthy.

While many are blessed with good families, others are suffering a fate worse than gagging on mum’s bitter gourd. Many children from poor families are being sold for child labour or end up as street children, vulnerable to all kinds of danger. Child sponsorship can prevent this so that they go to school instead of walking the streets.

If you know how amazing it is to have a family to go home to at the end of tiring days and traffic jams, why not give a child the opportunity to grow up with the love and security we at times take for granted?  

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Hands up!

by Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

This week (May 1-8) is World Vision’s Global Week of Action – millions of people raising their hands to help children live to see their 5th birthday. While many of us remember our fifth birthdays as a colourful blur of cake, presents and balloons, more than six million children all over the world will simply not live long enough to celebrate five birthdays.

Although the number of children dying under the age of five has decreased by nearly 42% and maternal mortality by 47% over the past two decades, many countries will still not meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets for improving child and maternal health by 2015.

Child Health Now is World Vision’s five-year advocacy campaign that spans 50 countries and is seeking to end child and maternal deaths. We need to mobilise governments, donors, supporters and organisations toward accelerating the progress made and reducing the number of children and mothers who lose their lives each year.

As Malaysians, let’s stand up this week and raise our hands in support of ending the more than six million deaths of children under five each year. Take a photo, (hands up please) and post it on our Facebook page so children can #survive5!

 Pledge for #survive5 in five easy steps!

1. Whip out your camera or phone

2. Get your family and friends together, explain the Global Week of Action and why we need to remind leaders that all children should ‘Survive 5’.

3. Take a picture of the group members with their hands in the air. Even a photo of one or two persons work!

4. Hashtag #survive5 for your pictures.

5. Upload your photo to: http://bit.ly/GWAsurvive5, where you’ll join thousands of people around the globe campaigning for change. Share your photo via your Social Media channels and inspire as many as possible!

We want every child to #survive5!

Brighter Futures: Stories from our ADPs

by Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

World Vision is changing the lives of people all over the world each day with the support of Malaysians like you. Read on for stories of renewed hope everywhere as children and families can now look to a future brightly lit with opportunity, triumph and fullness of life.

Fried Banana Cakes (Bati, Cambodia)

Despite working very hard, Sorkhon and her husband were unable to support their family or feed their three children. They would rely on the generosity of their neighbour for food. Sorkhon baked and sold cakes in the village while her husband worked odd jobs, which included driving a motorbike taxi and being a seasonal construction worker. Her cake business was not doing well, and in desperation they took a personal loan from a private loan provider. When they could not repay the loan, they had to give up everything, including their house. Sorkhon’s family moved into a cottage and her children were not able to go to school.

Everything changed when Sorkhon was selected to join the ‘Accumulative Savings and Credit Association Group’, an initiative by World Vision where loans with a minimal interest rate are handed out. With the support, Sorkhon started a more sustainable small business selling fried banana cakes. With more capital, she was able to expand her business into a medium-sized grocery stall. Now reaping the benefits of her labour, Sorkhon says, “I am committed to send my children to attend school regularly and also to share my experiences with other group members and neighbours.”

“When I become a teacher…” (Moises Padilla, Philippines)

Eleven-year-old Sarian has a dream. “When I become a teacher, I will help my parents build a durable and comfortable house,” she says. However, both her parents work as labourers in a sugar cane plantation and with have an income of around 140 pesos (RM10) a day, they doubt they can provide for the needs of Sarian and her siblings. Sarian’s mother, Marlyn, said her daughter has many dreams. “I want her to have a good education… It is my prayer that help will come someday.”

Sarian qualified for World Vision’s Child Sponsorship Programme in 2011. An active child and natural leader, Sarian thrived in new opportunities presented to her. She represented her class in a Math Quiz, participated in a Christmas card drawing competition and became part of one of the first batches of children chosen to represent others in their communities for an island-wide children’s congress sponsored by World Vision. She returned inspired and even more determined to succeed. “I thank World Vision for letting me experience the children’s congress,” she shared with a smile. “Not all children like me are given this chance to learn and enjoy being with other children. I know this can help me reach my dreams. There are other children like me before who became successful and I can be like them,” she said, adding that she wants to lead other children in her communities with World Vision’s help.

At the start of something new

By Michelle Chun
World Vision Malaysia

I joined World Vision Malaysia nearly two weeks ago, fresh-faced and eager to start working after a few months off work (I knew I had to start doing something soon as I was beginning to imagine the sound of fingers tapping away on keyboards around me). Having heard so much about World Vision and the incredible work it does in so many communities, I was excited to begin.

But let me backtrack a little. Two days before I started my first official workday, I went to hear Marilee Pierce Dunker, daughter of World Vision founder Dr Robert Pierce, tell us the story of her father. It’s hard to forget such a lady. I sat unmoving, save to wipe away tears that defiantly fell despite my strongest efforts to stay composed, as I listened to her recount the experiences Dr Bob and his family went through, the sacrifices made and sufferings endured to serve the God they loved so much.

It was humbling to listen to Marilee as she spoke, simply and in sincerity, of the hardships the Pierces had to go through as a family to fulfil the world vision Dr Bob had in his heart: to take every weary hand that’s reaching out and somehow, help that tired heart find life in all its fullness.

On that rainy Sunday afternoon, I realised World Vision is not just any humanitarian organisation seeking to tackle poverty and help people. It is a family of like-minded people desiring to show God’s love to the world in the most practical ways possible; it is, in essence, a reflection of God’s heart for people.

World Vision began in the heart of a man who had a world vision, and 64 years later, it is one of the largest relief organisations in the world with more than 40,000 staff serving in over 100 countries. ‘That’s a really big family,’ I thought. ‘And I’m going to a part of it.’

Two weeks later and I’m at my desk tapping away on the keyboard, adding my part to the quiet, steady rhythm of work around me. Finding my place in an entirely new field has brought with it a melange of emotions as I try to hold tight to confidence, embrace change and discover the joy of being in an organisation so dedicated to serving God and people. I know that any work done here is never in vain, and that’s exciting.

The scale of work being done by World Vision is immense; we have assisted over 20 million people through our emergency relief and developmental efforts around the world. Everything is so practical: digging wells, stocking school bags, constructing proper piping systems for clean water, teaching parents how to look out for their children’s well-being, ensuring children go to school, introducing entrepreneurial skills to families; the list goes on.

But as a support office staff, I don’t really get my hands dirty. I’m not out in the field, sweltering under the sizzling heat as I dig a well alongside a farmer or struggling to keep warm in the bitter cold. I don’t need to swat away mosquitoes every few minutes or ride on rickety motorbikes through muddy hills to bring healthcare supplies to a tiny village. It’s easy to lose sight of my purpose, and I’m only two weeks in.

I’m learning every day to bring meaning to my work, to have an open heart willing to see beyond my horizon and know that all over the world, World Vision staff are all part of one great orchestra bringing comforting notes of life to a silent, hurting world. And the God we love so dearly and want to serve faithfully stands in front of us, holding the conductor’s baton and weaving His vision of love into our work.

That’s my first learning. From the wonderful people whose expert eyes have been trained to see and manage the organisation from a bird’s-eye view, to the field officers carrying sponsorship letters, and newfound hope, to children all over the world, each of us is a significant part of this vision. We are World Vision.