The "Countries of Focus" for our coming fiscal year have been announced! Heading into 2017, our child ambassador team will be focusing on Bangladesh, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Rwanda, and Syria. But what does that really mean, anyway? How can we effectively use the focus countries in our ministries?
Head over to the volunteers website, and look for "Learn about Child Sponsorship" under the "resources" tab. When it opens, look for "Countries of Focus." You'll see each of the different focus countries listed, along with resources like semi-annual reports, prayer requests, stories from Area Development Programs (ADPs), photos to download, and videos.
Take a little time each week to learn about World Vision's work in each of the countries represented. Pray for the children, families, and staff who live there. Becoming better informed about each of these countries will ultimately enable you to better answer questions about World Vision's work and to postition yourself to knowledgeably explain why potential donors will want to help the work that is going on there.
2) Ordering Picture Folders
As you learn about World Vision's work in our focus countries, click on the "supplies" tab and order some new picture folders. To order picture folders from the focus countries, simply click "current campaign" in the drop-down box. Now that you've learned about the work being done in those countries, you're well-equipped to help those children find sponsors!
3) Sharing with Others
Consider contacting a Sunday School class, Moms Group, Rotary Club, or small group and tell them you've recently learned about World Vision's work in Bangladesh (or whichever country you're excited to share about). Ask them if they'd be interested in learning about the various needs in that nation as well as some of the good work that's being accomplished as World Vision shares the love and hope of Christ. Remember, everyone loves a good story! Use the articles or videos from the countries as springboards to talk about World Vision's work! Have a few picture folders from that country available for people to sponsor after your presentation. The best part about using focus countries/campaign materials is that it potentially enables you to share repeatedly with groups - "We have a new focus country and I'd love to share about it with you all!"
Another option is to have a social media share week. After you've taken time to learn about the focus countries, choose one and talk about it for a week or so on social media. Tell your friends that you've been learning some new things that you'd love to share with them and then each day, share a fact and photo, a video, or a story from the volunteers site. At the end of the week, share a photo from a picture folder and ask if anyone would like to sponsor that child! (Be sure not to display the child's ID number for the safety of the child pictured).
Using the Countries of Focus from the volunteers site is a fantastic way to grow in your ministry as a child ambassador! It will help you to become more knowledgeable as a CA; it will potentially open new doors for you as you share about the things you're learning about; and it will enable you to share specific stories of children in ways that will capture the heart of your audience!
Check out the Countries of Focus here!
Contributed by Laura Walls
The word "nativity" simply means "the occasion of a person's birth." Follow along to read the stories of three very different "nativities."
"A new baby is like the beginning of all things-
wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities."
-Eda J. Le Shan
Twenty years ago, I was the mother of a 2 month old baby. I remember how carefully I watched his every hiccup and yawn; how worried I was by every sneeze and cough. He had learned to smile just in time for Christmas and seeing his little face light up when he saw me was better than the glow of a million Christmas trees. It was love, pure and simple and, maybe for the first time, I knew a love that felt wholly unselfish.
I would do anything for him.
Though we didn't have a lot, we did have good healthcare and, while in the hospital, I was able to speak with a lactation consultant to get off to a good start with breastfeeding. I read through the booklet they gave me and learned some valuable tips. I was given a calendar for scheduling "Well Child" appointments and a schedule to keep my son's immunizations up-to-date. At every appointment, I was given tips on how to keep my baby boy healthy and strong. When my son was just a few months old, I returned to my home state and, before I left, I was able to pick up his birth certificate from the county courthouse, safeguarding his citizenship and giving him the ability to someday go to school, get a social security card, and later legally work in the country.
I knew these were the "right" things to do but I didn't fully grasp the advantages each of these small steps would give my son in the future. Nor did I grasp the way that my pre-natal care before he was even born, had already given him a head start. Within the first few months of life, my son already had advantages that millions and millions of children are without. But those children who face so many challenges, have an Advocate who understands.
Over 2,000 years ago, a baby boy was born under harsh conditions. He had inexperienced, young parents, no medical care for his birth, and a germ-infested animal feeding trough for a bed. He was, without a doubt, one of the millions born into poverty. But his was no ordinary birth. His coming would, quite literally, change everything.
Though it is so unlike that first Nativity, we celebrate Jesus' birthday each Christmas with much fanfare and luxury. It's a fun and festive time that bears little resemblence to that lonely night in Bethlehem long ago. While making time to show love to family and friends is certainly a wonderful way to honor and remember his birth, so too, remembering the mothers and babies born, like Jesus, into poverty seems especially appropriate and fitting this time of year.
A different nativity
Along a dusty road in Nepal, a woman lay in the dirt beside the road, giving birth. She had been trying to walk to the clinic with her mother-in-law when she simply couldn't take another step. It was time.
World Vision staff were driving along that same road when they saw her and stopped, ultimately getting this mother the care she and her infant son needed to survive. Yohoshu Ghising, one of the World Vision staff members who helped the woman writes, "I thought about the cultural practices that hold communities back from ensuring women have safe child births, how these practices can be overcome, and how a new life presents an opportunity. I wished this little boy good health and hoped he would be well nourished. I hoped the mother would recover well, and that if she decided to have another child, she’d get support to have a safe delivery."
This is a goal of all World Vision communities - that mothers would have the care and support they need to have healthy children and that children would receive the nourishment and care they need to develop and grow into healthy young adults. It's called the 7-11 Health Strategy and you can read about it here. Understanding more about the way World Vision works with mothers and children in the field will help you as a child ambassador to better articulate the way that child sponsorship changes lives! (Be sure to check out the videos below, too!)
Twenty years ago, I experienced the delight of my son's first Christmas. At two months old, he was too little to know what the fuss was about but I savored the joy of picking out small gifts for him and placing them under our Christmas tree. It was a moment that every mother longs for - to see her child healthy and happy and be able to provide for his or her needs. Now, twenty years later and with a fresh perspective, I think not only of what that sweet Christmas meant to me as a mom, but also of the Christmas wishes of all mothers around the world for their children. Mothers like the pregnant woman along a roadside in Nepal who desperately needed someone to stop and care for her and her coming child. I think of Mary and Joseph on that first Christmas night who needed someone to give them a place to stay for the night. Little did that innkeeper know that the pregnant young woman before him was carrying his Savior and King and yet, even without that knowledge, he had mercy and helped them in the best way he could.
This Christmas, as we rejoice and celebrate with our loved ones, let's keep close to our heart the One whose birth and life changed the world. The baby who, born in desperate, humiliating circumstances, went on to heal and love and save the very people who wronged him again and again - all of us. Let's share boldly about these children who, like our Savior, are born under desperate and harsh conditions. They need an advocate - someone who will speak out for them and share their story. Someone who will love them generously and find them a loving sponsor.
Let's faithfully share His light and hope and find a sponsor for a child this Christmas.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulders: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace."
- Isaiah 9:6
Learn About Maternal and Child Health
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.