Meet Linda Stombaugh!
Her favorite non-World Vision hobby is reading and hiking in beautiful places with her family. She's also a big fan of listening to and singing songs from the musical, Hamilton.
She is married to Chris and they have three wonderful children, Brittany (also a CA and she and husband, Ryan, are expecting a baby boy any day), Jordan, and Grace. After working in the insurance industry for most of her adult life Linda decided to be a stay-at-home mom after Grace was born. The Stombaughs live in the small town where they were both born and raised. Chris travels a lot for his law practice and Linda's parents live next door which can be so helpful. Linda says the benefits of having them so close are far and wide. They are looking forward to welcoming their first grand-baby, a boy, into the family very soon.
Linda and Chris have sponsored children through World Vision for over 20 years. Chris is a great support to Linda in her ministry and speaks along with her at Hope Sunday events. He also helps at concert events. He even attended her first CA conference with her in Seattle in 2015.
Linda, could you tell us a little bit about what made you become a CA?
I knew for quite some time that something important was missing in my life. A memorable moment happened during my Bible Study with my small group. We were doing Francis Chan's "The Forgotten God". Francis likened the church in some instances to an athletic team merely preparing for the exciting big game yet remaining on the bench. He points out we are called to the playing field as participants, not observers. I realized that I had been sitting on the bench. Who wants to be a benchwarmer? So, I became a CA.
Linda, could you tell us a little bit about your favorite event/favorite sponsorship story as a CA?
I once did a Hope Sunday at a small church. I had a strong impression that a particular little boy from Sierra Leone, who appeared to be an orphan, MUST be sponsored. It was so cool when a couple came to the table and chose that little boy out of all the folders there. It was awe inspiring. It was the only sponsorship that day.
Is there a bit of encouragement you could give to other CA's?
When you look at the folders and think, "How is this going to happen"? Know that God is right there with you. Ask Him how to proceed. Ask for wisdom. Tiny steps lead to results.
Which scripture/quote gives you encouragement in this ministry?
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us. - Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
My daily prayer is:
Lord help me be "in by for".
Help me to be:
In your Kingdom,
By your power, and
For your glory.....
Linda can be reached via email here: email@example.com
Contributed by Paula & Wendy Hemphill
Maybe you're new to our small orange army. Maybe you've been around a while. But maybe you don't know what we mean when we speak of a Vision Trip.
When you signed up as a CA you probably saw that you could earn a trip to the field to see World Vision at work. Each year a small team of CAs earn a spot to do just that! When you go on a Vision Trip you go to the field to SEE the work being done there by World Vision. That being said, being part of a Vision Trip is so much more than just going and seeing for yourself. It's also a great responsibility. Those of us who have had the chance to go have the responsibility of coming home and stewarding the stories we've seen well.
A Vision Trip is not like a standard short-term mission trip, in that it's not a service project. When we embark on a Vision Trip we are going to see not do. Learn not teach. We are their to love and support the good work already being done and to uplift and encourage those doing the good work in the field. And when we come home, what we learned can be shared to inspire and encourage people to get involved in that work. Anyone who advocates sponsorship is already a part of that good work-- even if they'll never see the field.
Vision Trips can be a life changing experience. I was so fortunate to be able to go on one to Tijuana, Mexico a few summers ago. What I learned there has been so valuable to my ministry. I wrote some very informal notes that the CA Dept asked me to share with you at the time. If you want to take a trip to Mexico today, you can read them here.
You, too, can be a part of a Vision Trip. It is not an impossible feat to earn a spot. Almost everyone who does will tell you they really didn't do anything grandiose or mind-blowing to get there. They just shared sponsorship. One child at a time. Sharing sponsorship is so rewarding, and seeing the work that sponsorship does is a life-changing experience. Any CA, with the help of God, can earn a chance to go on next year's Vision Trip. Just order some picture folders here, focus on one child at a time, pray without ceasing, and see what God can do! You can learn more about ministry rewards (like Vision Trips, etc) here.
We have a team embarking on a Vision Trip today to see and meet the beautiful people of Nicaragua. As the part of the team who isn't going to be there with them in these World Vision ADPs, we still have a part in their amazing journey.
1. Follow along on Facebook. The CA Dept and other members may upload things for us to see as they are on their journey.
2. Pray for each team member by name and follow along with the prayer calendar Wendy (my awesome Mom and prayer team member) created for us. Let's unify our voices and pray intentionally over the team!
Vision Trip: Nicaragua 2016 - Prayer Calendar
Team members: Megan, Laura, Salina, Jo, Vicki, Sue, Merrill, Jocelyn, and Kristen
SUNDAY/APRIL 10 - Love Makes Us Go! (The Vision Team Departs Today)
You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. - Psalm 139:5-6
Stepping forward in obedience is not always easy. Our enemy shifts into high gear to stop us.
PRAY for endurance, health, and safety; complete satisfaction and rest in Christ as the preparation to depart is over; and the journey to be enjoyed.
MONDAY/APRIL 11 - We are your Ambassadors (Visit #1, The National Office)
Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being, and You teach me wisdom in the secret heart. - Psalm 51:6
PRAY for our Vision Trip Team for unity, humility and grace as they step into the lives of others. PRAY that relationships with the children will develop quickly, and friendships grow naturally. PRAY that every child would feel special with this team. Help the team to learn well, so they can teach us to be great Ambassadors for the kids.
TUESDAY/APRIL 12 - The Workers (Visit #2, ADP Regional Office and Home Visit)
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me. - Psalm 63:8
PRAY for our Team as they come alongside and link arms with the workers in the ADP.
PRAY that together, the Source of our strength will be celebrated. Together Christ would be made BIG. Together our call and mission would be refined and energized. Together the Lord's patience and mercy would be seen. PRAY that faithful, stronger servants for the Gospel would result, and more laborers enlisted both here and there.
WEDNESDAY/APRIL 13 - The Kids (Visit #3 ADP, School and Sponsored Child Visits)
Keep me as the apple of Your eye, hide me in the shadow of Your wings. - Psalm 17:8
PRAY that the presence and the power of Christ will be experienced by the children through our Team. God's goodness and grace will be known by every child as having a face and hands and heart to touch and hold. PRAY that everyone would be moved by the love of God and never be the same again.
THURSDAY/APRIL 14 - Wrap Up… Final ADP (Visit #4 ADP, A Community Close to Graduating)
Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things! His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for him. - Psalm 98:1
PRAY for this team of Child Ambassadors as their cup is full to overflowing – that with God's help, they could process and consolidate all that the Lord has been showing them. PRAY this Day would be one of rejoicing and celebration; a new song to the Lord. PRAY they would leave behind courageous hearts for Christ, and likewise be encouraged in the work.
FRIDAY/APRIL 15 - Journey Home
Because he holds fast to Me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows my name. - Psalm 91:14
Most of the team returns home today. PRAY for safety and for good flight schedules. PRAY that this time of travel would be one of fresh and new evaluations. A time to define or redefine their personal call and mission for the kids. PRAY the Lord's simple and uncomplicated message would be embraced and they would be better equipped as Child Ambassadors for the impoverished. Pray for US – that we could learn from their experience and insight.
SATURDAY/APRIL 16 - Final Three's Last Mission
You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. - Psalm 16:11
PRAY for the last of the team (Megan, Merrill, Laura) as they finish their final day. PRAY that their eyes would see the beauty of Christ in the people of Nicaragua. That indeed, as we minister to the thirsty, hungry and naked – we have ministered to Christ. PRAY the Lord would use this time for them to help lead the Orange Army of CA's on to even greater fruitfulness for His glory.
SUNDAY/APRIL 17 - Final 3 Return - What God Starts He Finishes
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His Name sake. - Psalm 23:3
PRAY for safety and good flight schedules for the last and final leg of the Vision Trip Nicaragua 2016. Pray that the work, partnerships and observations will be made useful to our national team, and we will be made better Ambassadors for the kids, stateside. PRAY that every Vision Trip member will be refreshed and together we would be better servants for His glory.
Want a printable reminder to pray for the team? Click the document below to download. Thank you for your prayers!
Photos and story contributed by Laura Walls in Stories from the Field
Coming to Cambodia, I’d never really experienced the hopelessness of deep poverty before. But while there, hearing stories of families struggling to survive on just $1.25 a day, I saw that poverty is so much deeper than a lack of material things. It’s really a lack of hope. An inability to think about anything beyond survival for your family. A lack of choices. But that's not where the story ends! God is working to transform lives in Cambodia, using Christian staff as tangible witnesses of his love and care. Read along for a story of transformation and hope!
Is there anything as quintessentially American as a front porch? It expresses an American ideal of family and community - right up there with baseball games and apple pie! But strangely, my favorite porch, where I experienced the greatest hospitality and sweetest moment, isn’t found here in the United States at all. Rather, it's half a world away in the country of Cambodia and belongs to a remarkable woman named, Boeun.
We met Boeun late in the afternoon after driving past miles of rice paddies, through a small village with houses poised delicately on stilts, and finally walking down a little dirt path to the very last house along the trail. On the drive to her home, staff explained that Boeun has six children, four of whom have moved to Thailand and two who are in primary school. She also suffers from a disability – a foot that’s permanently arched and makes her tasks more challenging. She'd experienced so much trauma and pain in her life that when World Vision staff met her, she couldn’t find it in herself to even make eye contact with them. Her trust in people was gone. She had no hope for a good future for herself or her children. She was isolated, alone, and withdrawn.
We walked beside Boeun's neatly thatched home and I couldn't help but appreciate the tidy yard and the peaceful sound of birds in the trees. I reflected on the trauma Boeun had experienced in her life and braced myself to hear a sad story. But nothing could've prepared me for what happened next: we came around the corner of her house and there was Boeun, standing beside her door with an honest-to-goodness radiant smile. She was so beautiful! We walked into her home and there seemed to be some kind of confusion. Sophorn, the World Vision ADP manager and our guide stopped and laughed.
“Boeun! Where did this come from?!” Sophorn motioned to the deck of the porch and then looked at us, completely incredulous. “I was here two days ago and this (the deck) wasn’t here!”
Boeun smiled with absolute delight and pride, hopped up onto her bamboo plank deck, and patted it. Sophorn translated. “She made this so you could sit with her!”
We were amazed that this thoughtful woman had, in addition to her huge amount of daily tasks, been so concerned about OUR well-being and comfort, that she BUILT us a deck, in her porch, so we could sit alongside her as friends.
We listened as she shared her personal story through tears and saw how her face lit up as she shared about when World Vision staff found her and started helping her - sitting with her, listening, and showing her Christ’s love. They learned she was struggling to get her bamboo cakes to the market so they provided her with a bike. They also gave her chickens to supplement her family’s diet and income. They check in on her and her children and, in short, Boeun isn’t alone any longer.
Boeun showed us how she went about finishing the cakes, and it was labor-intensive! First she carved the outside, then smoothed it until it was finally ready to be peeled like a banana and eaten. It’s filled with rice, coconut milk, sugar, and beans, and it’s really good!
The next few hours transcended culture and countries. Boeun’s inspiring act of selfless hospitality had transformed us from strangers into friends. It was as though, in that moment, we were simply neighbors stopping by to enjoy Boeun’s wonderful bamboo cakes and fellowship on her porch. And as we laughed and talked together, a beautiful thing happened. A cold blast of wind blew through the doorway and the sky grew dark. Rain, desperately needed to soften the dry ground and coax it to bloom, poured down like a gift. This gift was like a reminder of our Father’s great love – a love greater than the bitterness of poverty and broken dreams, a love that transforms and brings fullness of life.
I went to Cambodia unsure of what I would see and the whole experience turned out to be so much greater than I’d dared to hope! Boeun’s life has already changed as a direct result of what God is doing through the World Vision. She has gone from hopeless to hopeful! God is so in love with Boeun and has placed Christian staff in her life to show her he cares. Her children will no longer have to see their mom withdrawn and broken. She’s free and hopeful for the future!
And this transformation isn’t just for Boeun. All across Cambodia we witnessed God’s power changing and restoring lives. There is a lot of work to be done but through sponsorship with World Vision, God is bringing hope to families and smiles to the faces of women like Boeun.
2016: Update on Boeun!
I received my annual progress report from Cambodia for my sponsored child and saw this familiar face on the back of the booklet!
It's wonderful to hear that Boeun and her children are continuing to thrive!!!
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.